Planning the layout
To create a truly functional multi-purpose extension, it’s essential that everything is well planned out to ensure maximum efficiency. Ideally you want to have a kitchen and living area that feel connected and social, but are separate enough that the heat and noise of the kitchen doesn’t encroach on the rest of your living space. Here’s how to nail your kitchen extension layout…
Divide with counters
In your larger space, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to divide the different areas of your kitchen. Using your kitchen cabinets, an island, or peninsula units is a simple way to define different areas of your space.
If you’re planning a kitchen diner extension, a peninsula counter, or island in a wider space, will signal the end of the kitchen and start of the dining room. Follow the lines of your old kitchen when deciding where to place your island; the original wall boundary is a natural place for your divider.
Play with levels
A split-level layout can add powerful wow factor to your kitchen. In a large, square living space, you have the freedom to divide sections of the kitchen across several levels; a slightly sunken dining or living area can add a feeling of snugness, with steps leading up to the raised kitchen, or you could add a living space on a mezzanine level in the roof.
Merge indoor and outdoor
Why not extend your kitchen further, by creating a flow from indoor to outdoor? Glass sliding or bi-folding doors will let light in to brighten your kitchen with natural light, and choosing a kitchen floor material that also suits outside will create a seamless transition. Wood and tile are best for this, as both can work well on an outdoor patio.
This is a great conservatory kitchen extension idea, and also works well for other modern kitchen extensions with large doors or floor-to-ceiling windows.
Blending new with old
A big challenge with extensions, particularly in older buildings, is how to add the new section without creating a disconnect with the original building. You can’t change what’s already there, so it’s essential that you match the design of your extension to the period and style of your house.
You can do this by preserving and accentuating original features like roof beams, using materials that are appropriate for the building’s period, and echoing the original architecture in your kitchen layout.
Lighting the space
Expanding your space can introduce new lighting challenges that didn’t exist before, particularly in a small kitchen extension. However, if you’re able to fit ceiling windows, an extension provides a fantastic opportunity to bring more natural light into your kitchen.
Kitchen extensions are a perfect opportunity to add extra natural light to a previously dark or gloomy kitchen. Installing skylights in the extension will flood your kitchen with natural light, and add an element of the outdoors to your kitchen.
If skylights aren’t possible, consider fitting bi-folding glass doors across the whole width of the kitchen, which should still let in plenty of light.
If your extension has significantly lengthened your kitchen, this could leave the original section feeling darker than before if natural light can no longer reach it.
Bear in mind that you may require additional lighting in this part of your kitchen space; LED spotlights are the most subtle solution or, if your kitchen has original ceiling features such as beams, track lighting can be stylishly moulded around them.
In an extended kitchen, your colour scheme can both divide and unify your kitchen. While that sounds like a paradox, a well-coordinated colour scheme with varying dominant tones in different areas can neatly define sections of your space, while still working together as a consistent decor scheme.
Start with a neutral base
To give yourself the largest choice of colour schemes, begin by choosing a neutral base colour that can flow through the entire space. White, cream or light grey are all great starter colours, which can dominate the majority of the space to layer other colours on top.
Divide with contrast
While it’s smart to have a light colour as your base to keep your extension feeling bright and airy, darker or contrasting colours adds extra interest to your design and can help to create ‘zones’ in the space.
For example, white worktops for food preparation and cooking can be countered with navy blue or dark grey cabinets for storage. If you have a dining or living area in the extension, signal another change in function with a wooden dining table, or brightly coloured fabric sofa.
Your wall and floor decor is another way to highlight these transitions; a fun kitchen extension idea is to keep the same flooring throughout, but add a large patterned rug in the living/dining area. You could even introduce a second wall paint colour; the end of the original wall may provide a natural point for the switch.
Unify with accents
Once you’ve defined your zones, it’s time to bring everything together! A consistent pop of colour that features throughout your open plan kitchen extension unifies the areas and provides a sense of flow, even in a large space.
To ensure it’s noticeable, choose a bold colour like mustard yellow, hot pink or emerald green, or a consistent material like wood or marble, and feature it in small elements like kitchen splashbacks, island bar stools, sofa cushions and wall art. Alternatively, you can utilise several neutral colours to unify across the space.
With so much extra space, it’s easy to assume that storage room will take care of itself. While this is partly true, in your new larger kitchen you want to make sure that storage is arranged efficiently so your most-used items are all conveniently in reach.
All in one place
Placing the majority of your storage in one place rather than spread out around the kitchen is a great way to arrange cupboards. A consolidated block of base and upper wall units along one side of the kitchen could serve the majority of your storage needs, or for additional space, you could add a kitchen island with drawers or cupboards in the base.
In a small or narrow kitchen tall units can be a risky move, but in a more spacious kitchen tower units can provide a nice variation in levels next to your base units. Add a tower unit at one end of your kitchen to store less commonly used items like specialist cooking equipment or baking ingredients; these can even be integrated neatly next to or around a fridge or full-length oven unit.
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