Rear Extension Ideas for a Single Storey Home

If you want to get more space without the hassle and expense of moving house, an extension is the way to go. We’ve put together a few rear extension ideas for a single storey home that can be done on a variety of budgets.  

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5 Rear Extension Ideas for a Single Storey Home

A bigger kitchen, open plan living space, an orangery or garage conversion are all popular rear extension ideas. Timelines and costs for these home renovations vary depending on size, structural work and purpose. As a guide, budget for £60,000 to £130,000 and plan for 10 to 12 weeks to complete, depending on the scope of work.  

1. Rear Kitchen Extension

An extension allows you to completely rethink the design of a cramped kitchen and update it with features like an island or breakfast bar. Opening up walls or adding rooflights will also improve illumination and functionality no end. Consider adding sliding doors so you can open the kitchen up to the dining room or garden whenever you fancy.  

Rear Extension Ideas for a Single Storey Home

2. Side Return

A side return is the small strip of land down the side of detached or semi-detached homes. It’s often little more than an uninspiring dumping ground for bikes, bins, etc., but connect it to the existing ground floor and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes. 

Popular uses for a side return include extending the kitchen, dining room or living room, or creating an office or laundry room.  

3. Open Plan Extension 

An extension isn’t just about creating new spaces, it’s also a chance to rethink the whole ground floor. If you can’t extend far, creating open plan living space will make the most of the space you have. Connecting up the kitchen with the living room or dining room also affords more sociable living, lets in more light and creates a sense of flow. Plus, it’s a great way to make the most of a narrow side return.  

4. Orangery Extension

A conservatory used to be the go-to home renovation to enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of indoors. However, these energy-inefficient extensions have fallen out of favour lately and orangeries are now the new black. 

An orangery is a cross between a conservatory and a traditional extension. Glass rooves and large windows let in more light than a traditional extension, while brick pillars make for a more solid, cosy interior than a conservatory. While the glass roof makes them less suitable for bedrooms, orangeries are versatile spaces that can be for almost any other purpose. Orangeries usually work out quicker and cheaper than a similar sized traditional extension.

Rear Extension Ideas for a Single Storey Home

5. Garage Conversion

If your garage does little more than collect clutter, you could do worse than convert it into a guest bedroom, living room or kitchen extension, office, or home gym. Because you’re using the existing structure, garage conversions are quicker, more cost-effective and less disruptive than other extensions.

As long as you’re not extending the overall space, you don’t need planning permission. However, you will need to apply for a change of use under Building Regulations to convert an attached garage to living space. 

Rear Extension Ideas for a Single Storey Home

Rear Extension Planning Permissions 

Under Permitted Development Rights, you can build a single-storey rear extension without planning permission as long as it is under 4 m high and doesn’t extend over 8 m for detached houses; 6 m for other homes. 

Side returns must also be under 4 m high and no wider than half the house. No extension can occupy more than 50% of the land around your house. 

You will need planning permission to add verandas or raised platforms to the design or to work on a listed building or in a conservation area. You’ll also need to use materials compatible with the original structure, get the work certified under Building Regulations, and get a Party Wall Agreement to build within 3 m or dig within 6 m of shared boundaries. 

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