Kitchen extensions – a complete guide
6th Jan 2019
Kitchen extensions are a valuable way to improve your home, both for you and your family’s enjoyment and for potential resale in future. Current lifestyles generally call for more open plan living, connections to outdoor spaces and a greater feeling of space and light.
This isn’t necessarily readily available in existing housing stock. Depending on your house’s current condition and layout, there are likely to be a lot of options for improving your current space for cooking and dining.
Visit Architecture for London’s residential projects page to view our recent kitchen extensions, or contact us on 020 3637 4236 to discuss your project.
Kitchen extensions: the options
The most common options for kitchen extensions are as follows:
- Creating an open plan kitchen / diner by removing internal walls.
- Extending into the side return.
- Extending to the rear.
- Creating a double-height space.
If you have a Victorian or Georgian property with a lower ground and raised ground floor configuration, consider whether the kitchen is best located in the raised ground floor (with access to the street) or lower ground floor (with access to the garden). A double-height connection between these floors can solve the typical lower ground floor issues of low ceilings and insufficient natural light.
If your property has been badly developed in the past, the kitchen may be squeezed into a corner of your original reception rooms. This compromises the use of living areas and allows cooking smells to permeate the space. An extension may allow the kitchen to be relocated into a new area and the original living spaces to be reinstated.
|As well as improving your enjoyment of your home, you are likely to recoup the building cost when reselling your property.|
Kitchen extension costs
Single storey kitchen extensions in London and the South East will typically cost between £2,000-3,000 per sqm (see our article on house extension costs), but one of the biggest variables within this cost is dependent on your ambitions for the kitchen fit-out.
Once you’ve considered all of the requirements and drawn up an agreed scheme with an architect, quotes can be obtained from kitchen suppliers.
|A simple kitchen fit-out including appliances and services can cost as little as £15,000, whereas a top-end kitchen could be more than £60,000.|
How to design a kitchen
Outline design considerations:
The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home, so it’s important that it is carefully planned. At the outline design stage it is important to consider how you use the kitchen and how you will move between zones:
- Consider what works and what doesn’t in your current kitchen.
- Create an efficient triangle between the sink, oven and fridge.
- Consider zoning the kitchen into cooking, eating, cleaning and storage.
- How many people will use the kitchen at once?
- Would a single bank of units be best, or do you prefer a galley kitchen?
- Would a peninsula or island work in your space?
- Do you prefer an open plan connection to your dining space?
Think about whether you can connect your kitchen extension to the garden – through sliding doors, bi-fold doors, or just by establishing a visual connection to the outside. Even if you don’t have access to an outside space, don’t forget you can still introduce greenery into your kitchen by allowing for a window planter with herb pots on a window sill.
|If you can work around existing services locations for electrical and plumbing, you may save yourself time and money.|
Detailed design considerations:
- Are you a messy cook who wants to be able to hide dirty pots and pans?
- Do you have a prized cookery book collection or ornaments to display?
- Consider electrical sockets in a cupboard to hide the kettle, toaster and blender out of site.
- Electrical sockets can also be hidden on the sides of the kitchen island.
- There are clever storage devices available that make awkward corner cupboards easier to use.
- Do you require built-in wine storage or a wine fridge?
- Do you require charging points or USB sockets for charging phones and tablets?
Who is going to build your kitchen?
There are a number of options for how to get your kitchen installed:
This might include B&Q, Wickes, Howdens, IKEA and online companies such as diy-kitchens.com. This is the cheapest option with the least flexibility.
|An off-the-shelf approach can still result in a great kitchen if the design is carefully considered.|
You could have these installed by your builder, or by the company who is supplying the kitchen. IKEA units are the deepest, so can sometimes be difficult to fit in existing buildings. Other suppliers tend to be slightly shallower, which gives you more tolerance to work around awkward walls.
If budget is tight, but you still want some personalisation, carcasses can be bought off-the-shelf and then be installed by a builder. They can be adjusted to fit as necessary, and bespoke door and drawer fronts can be made to your architect’s design.
|General builders can be unwilling to undertake, for example, the installation of stone worktops, so specialists may be required for some elements.|
There are many high-quality specialist kitchen companies such as deVol and Bulthaup. The downside of these companies can be that the cost is greater. They use modular systems, which tend to give a bit more flexibility than off-the-shelf options but are not completely bespoke.
If your contractor has joinery experience, you may want to ask them to price for supplying and fitting the kitchen as part of the main building works.
If you want a completely bespoke kitchen to meet the exact requirements of your family and the space available, consider a bespoke solution from a joiner. Look for a craftsman with specialist experience, who can show you some of their completed work.
If you are keen to save costs, you could supply appliances yourself. These may be existing appliances for re-use or newly bought from a store or online. Costs can vary widely depending on the specification you choose.
You will be responsible for making sure the appliances are on site in good time so that you don’t delay the contractor’s work. If you would prefer not to have the hassle, you can ask your builder to supply the appliances. They may be able to get trade discounts which they could pass on to you.
Some key items to consider:
- Ovens – how many ovens? Do you want a fan oven, multi-function, gas or electric?
- Hob – how many rings? Do you prefer induction or gas?
- Extractor – this deals with moisture and smells. Types of extractors include ceiling and pop-up.
- Fridge and freezer – do you prefer separate or combined, under-counter or tall, or side by side?
- Microwave – ideally this is either integrated on simply concealed in a cupboard.
- Sinks and taps – do you want a boiling water tap, a filtered or sparkling cold water tap?
- Dishwashers – what suits you and the space better? Drop down door or drawer type?
- Washing machine & dryer – do these need to fit into your kitchen or can they be located elsewhere?
If you haven’t used induction before, try to visit a showroom where you can see one in action, or ask around among friends to see if they have one you can try. One thing to bear in mind is that induction hobs can be safer if you have small children around.
It may be possible to create a separate utility area, where a second sink, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer can be hidden away.
Consider the energy rating of your chosen appliances as this can have a huge effect on your running costs. This is also worth considering when re-using existing appliances.
|A water softener in your plumbing system may also be worth considering, as it can help prolong the life of your appliances.|
Worktops and splashbacks
There is a wide range of options for your worktops :
- Laminate on chipboard (from £30/metre) – not a very attractive material, particularly at joints.
- Solid laminate (from £50/metre) – a fine edge (typically 12mm), can look good in modern kitchens
- Plywood laminate (from £50/metre) – the ply detail to the edge is attractive and contemporary.
- Wood (from £60/metre) – a range of wood worktops available, from bamboo to walnut.
- Composite materials (from £100/metre) – Corian for example. Available in a wide range of colours and textures.
- Stone (from £150/metre) – marble will need to be sealed in accordance with the supplier’s recommendations.
- Concrete/terrazzo – these are cast on site, so prices can vary considerably.
- Tiles – can be suitable for splashbacks. Available in a wide variety of prices and finishes.
The above prices are supply only. Expect to pay £500 per linear metre for a mid-range worktop material installed, with cut-outs for appliances, sinks and taps.
Typically worktops are 600mm deep, but it can be worth spending the extra money for a 650 or 700mm depth if you have space available. This allows you a little extra room for toasters, kettles, storage, etc. and still allows you to work in front of this space.
We usually advise clients to choose splashbacks that match either the worktop material or the wall, rather than adding another material into the mix, which can look too busy.
Again there is a wide range of options, here are just a few ideas:
- Laminated plywood – hardwearing and easy to clean, available in a wide range of colours.
- Veneered plywood – timber finish with either exposed plywood or timber veneered edges.
- Sprayed lacquered finish – this is cost-effective and hard-wearing.
When thinking about colour you may be worried about choosing something you will then have to live with for 10 years – using neutral cabinets and putting colour on the walls instead allows you to change the feel of the room for less cost.
|You also need to consider the type of handles required, or whether you prefer ‘handleless’ options with recessed grooves.|
When choosing a floor for the kitchen, consider a material that will suit various spaces. You may wish to use the same material throughout a kitchen, dining room and living area if they are partially open plan. Look for a surface that is hard-wearing and unlikely to stain from tomato sauce or red wine mishaps.
These are just some of the options:
- Timber – this can be appropriate in a kitchen if a suitable type and it is sealed properly to avoid staining.
- Tiles – a wide range of colours, textures and sizes are available.
- Stone – the supplier’s advice should always be followed for installation and sealing.
- Natural linoleum – a sustainable, and cost-effective material choice, particularly suitable for kitchens.
Consider where the kitchen and dining table are located in relation to windows, roof lights and glazed doors. Artificial lighting may include dimmable mood lighting and task lighting. We can make suggestions for the types of fittings that you need, and these come in a range of costs.
Do you want to use blinds, curtains or shutters? Consider what is appropriate for the style of your house and ensure you use the correct materials. Talk to suppliers when looking at fabrics and ensure they know where you are intending to use them, so they can advise you on suitability.
It is important that you allow for adequate ventilation in your new kitchen. Allow for passive ventilation through openable windows and doors and ensure you have a good quality extractor fan near to the hob.
Consider how you want to heat the space, especially if you are also including a pantry or utility area in the kitchen.
|You may wish to use underfloor heating if you have the budget, or simple radiators would be a more cost-effective option.|
Before buying a dining table and chairs, make sure you take the time to measure up the available space. Also, choose materials and finishes that will complement your new kitchen.
Visit the Architecture for London projects page to view our kitchen extensions in London.