9 Small House Extension Ideas

When you look at potential new homes to buy it seems that everyone is thinking of how they can improve the space or make it larger. Does anyone buy a new home without plans to change it?

We find that many people want to know how to make the house larger. So here are 9 small house extension ideas.

Loft Conversions with an Attic Room

Usable living space is always at a premium. As people grow up and mature, they want their own space to hide themselves or their stuff in. Privacy then becomes a major point of contention for family members, unless they can miraculously conjure up some extra space.

The attic room is the perfect way to eke out some more living space. Rooms in the attic are a cost effective way to provide an extra room, whether for occasional visits or for long-term stays. Extra openable windows provide light to the attic room and help with air circulation.

The support in an attic room is provided by the outer walls, which gives you a lot of flexibility you don’t have in the lower grounds of the house. Any internal load-bearing walls can be used as well.

An converting the loft into an attic room, or as is sometimes called a “room in the attic”, is the perfect sanctuary, especially when designed as a reading room, with a sofa or bed in front of the window. Soothing colours, minimalistic furniture and soft, natural lighting coupled with the lack of distractions, creates a serene atmosphere where dozing off with your favourite book feels natural and blissful.

Garage Conversion

Garages already have all the prerequisites for becoming liveable spaces; all they need is a  makeover to convert them from a strictly utilitarian space into  a more habitable part of the house. Once the junk is out, or the car is parked on the drive,  a garage can become a another way into the house.

Cement tiles with painted wooden rafters exude a classical look that accommodates all decorative styles. Weatherproof and easy to clean, this kind of design gives enough space for multiple people and pets to spend their time together without tracking dirt into the house.

For gardeners, a garage can be converted into a handy utility room with enough comfort to entertain guests for garden parties. Lovely wooden furniture and wooden floors give plenty of warmth, and if they’re made out of reclaimed materials, this raises aesthetic appeal to many. A kitchenette can be installed too, with the garden providing a ready supply of sights, scents and perhaps produce too.

For adults who need a home office, with enough privacy to make uninterrupted video calls to the boss, a garage conversion is the answer. Comfy chairs curb the instinct to fidget or walk around, while clever cable management maximises the available space and eliminates tripping hazards. An entire wall can be filled with screens, doubling as a media centre when not in use to use in the evening.

We have seen many homes who convert their garage into an extra bedroom as it is often easier than moving house.

There are lots of garage conversion ideas so let your imagination play!


The original idea of the orangery extension was that it was built to host orange trees and other exotic plants. Being a warm, inviting place, made out of light materials and filled with light, the orangery is the perfect place to welcome and entertain guests. Many homeowners extend their kitchen with an orangery too.

Plants dread the frost and thrive in the heat, which allows them to grow and develop year round. With plenty of glass panels and a lightweight construction, an orangery near to the garden becomes the perfect sanctuary for vulnerable plants and a magnificent vantage point in any weather.

In the winter the orangery will need a heating source. There are three main options: radiators; electric underfloor heating and wet underfloor heating. Using radiators is often the most cost effective if it only means extending the existing radiator-based central heating system from the house. Bear in mind though, that in the orangery radiators will take up a lot of wall space.

Electric underfloor heating is quite expensive to install but less so than wet underfloor heating. You can think of a wet underfloor heating system like a gigantic radiator, hidden under the floor. These 2 underfloor heating options leave more room in the orangery for plants, people and entertainment.

Side Return

A side return, or return extension, is most often a narrow strip of land running along the side of a building to the back of it. It’s often the area that people avoid, or it becomes bit of a dumping ground. But, transforming it into an extension of the house can make a big difference in terms of liveable space.

A single-storey extension is the simplest option in many cases. The most common way to use it is as a kitchen extension, turning the previously wasted space into a focal point of the house.

As a side return area is narrow and close to the building, in most cases, adding a natural light source will need to be considered.

As far as planning permission and building regulations go for side returns, or extensions, the construct can’t exceed a certain height and must stay within the boundaries of the house. We recommend that you speak with your local council about the regulations in your town.

No matter what you choose, plan well ahead and articulate your vision before contacting a construction company. If you’re indecisive, write down what you don’t want and work your way backwards to the house of your dreams. We would recommend exploring your options with an architect.

Kitchen Extensions

We have already mentioned that you can extend a kitchen with an orangery. There are many other ways to add more space to the kitchen though. Imagine what you could use the extra space for. You could make it into a kitchen diner, add a breakfast bar or just give yourself more storage space for the expanding Le Creuset saucepan set.

Rear Extensions

A rear extension can transform a home by creating more space at the back of a house. They are a great option for buildings that do not have a side return. If the rear extension is within certain limits it may not need planning permission.  If the extension is within the limits of permitted development you may not need to apply for permission to build. Please alway check the building regulations before starting a project as no one wants to be told to demolish the extension.

Garden Room Extensions

With outdoor space at a premium for many households the garden room extension is very appealing and to be honest, versatile too. Technically speaking, orangeries and conservatories are garden rooms that create outdoor space but we think of garden rooms as standalone constructs with glazing and a roof that are not attached to the main house.

Garden rooms are used as home offices but we think the most popular use of this extra space is for relaxing, socialising and for hobbies. You really need to think what you want to use the space for so that you get the plans right before any building starts. For example, will you want a water supply? what type of lighting do you need and do you even want to add a toilet. Garden rooms are also good places to use as a playroom in the summer for children.

Most garden rooms don’t need planning permission as they are classified as outbuildings. But you know our mantra don’t you? Check with your local planning authority or ask an architect or builder.


Everyone has probably seen a conservatory, even if they have not stepped inside one. A conservatory is an extension to a house that has windows/glass rather than than brick built or plasterboard walls. The roof is often glass too or sometimes  made of a plastic. The conservatory is attached to the house, unlike a garden room.

Conservatories are very versatile and you’ll find them on all types of house. Conservatories are build at ground level extend backwards from the rear wall. You can add a conservatory to the side of the house but the limits change so check the building regulations.

Although a conservatory does extend your home to add extra living space is usually falls under “permitted development” rather than an extension.

Basement Extensions

We’ve referred to building upwards into the roof, adding an extension to the side of the house or developing extra space outside with a garden room. But have you considered a basement extension?

The basement extension is often overlooked perhaps because it’s an area that you don’t really see day to day. But there are options and it could be the best house extension idea for you, especially if you have a cellar.

The most difficulties encountered with a basement extension are with water ingress and access for construction. Your architect will need to research the area to discover potential issues with water, rocks and the structure of the main house.

If you need extra head room in the basement extension using trusses is the ideal option.

If you are looking to create more space indoors or want more outdoor space there are many options available. There will be budget considerations and various layout configurations.

Which of the 9 Small House Extension Ideas appeals to you the most?