7 Kitchen Extension Do's and Don'ts

08 March 2022

A carefully designed kitchen extension can not only provide you with the additional cooking and dining space you dream of, it also helps to improve relationships and the quality of life for those that will live in it.

A classic kitchen design in neutral palette with an island in wooden accents
Designed by The Myers Touch in collaboration with Adam Knibb Architects

Although it is one of the most common home improvement projects, a kitchen extension can also be one of the trickiest to do well. So, before you start knocking down walls and marking out where your new kitchen cabinets might be, here are six things you should consider.

1. Research and Plan

First of all, ask yourself — do you really need a kitchen extension? Before rushing into this significant undertaking, we suggest that you first consider whether an extension is indeed the best solution. Understand what you want versus what you need.

For instance, could you renovate your existing kitchen? Perhaps you could remove an internal wall or convert another room to create a larger space into a new kitchen. Think of all possible solutions first.

This is also the best time to get knowledgeable about the project's scope to get an accurate cost estimate once you start talking to builders or project managers. As our director, Keith Myers, said in a recent Real Homes article; "The way to avoid costs changing wildly is to be very clear on specifications from the start and try not to change your mind too many times as that will add to the bill."

2. Be clear about non-negotiables

Being clear on the ‘must-haves’ allows architects, designers and contractors to plan realistically. You don't want to end up in the middle of construction only to realise that you forgot something important or didn't think something through well enough.

As with any building work, your kitchen extension must comply with the necessary building regulations and permissions. Rules vary by area, so although it's one of the more tedious tasks, get clued up on this at the very beginning of your planning.

Think about your boiler too. It may well need upgrading and repositioning to fit your bigger home's requirements. With spiralling energy costs, this is also an excellent time to understand how much heat your new extension will need, to plan for future bills. (Maybe it’s a good time to consider alternative heating sources such as a ground source heat pump to reduce heating bills long-term?)

3. Consider the Kitchen layout and flow

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is not considering the existing or internal space when building a kitchen extension. The new kitchen should flow from the old living area in the right way to form a seamless transition.

A modern, handleless kitchen with seating around an island
Designed by The Myers Touch in collaboration with Snug Architects

To execute the best kitchen extensions possible for your home, you will need the right architect who will be able to optimise your space and budget. Check their portfolio to determine whether they've tackled projects like yours and you like their style.

And as Keith says in his recent article for i-Build magazine, it’s vital to bring in your kitchen designer at an early stage! At The Myers Touch, we take a holistic approach to building your dream kitchen. Yes, your kitchen must be beautiful, but it must also be functional. That is why it is crucial to work with a professional kitchen designer who understands how to holistically design kitchen living spaces to reflect your lifestyle and your family's needs.

4. Do you want an Island?

A kitchen island can transform your living space, so it's a big decision that needs to be considered early on in your project.

A contemporary kitchen in a light colour with contrasting island with waterfall ends
Designed by The Myers Touch in collaboration with E. Francis Architects

As well as visually improving the space, kitchen islands also have a practical and multifunctional component, providing additional worktop space, storage and a place to grab a quick bite to eat. Consider a hob (with extraction) if you're a keen cook who wants to feel involved at the same time.

5. Consider colours and textures

Kitchen colours and textures form an integral part of your overall kitchen design, so they also need to be considered at an early stage. Incorporating a blend of well-considered materials and finishes can elevate the outcome of your kitchen project from 'good' to 'spectacular.'

Consider what colours complement each other well, how different finishes reflect light in certain places, and also how the use of certain materials as accents can reflect your personality.

Remember that design trends change and evolve, so ensure that bolder choices are future-proofed and can be updated over time. For example, you may want to choose a unique design for your splashbacks and bold colours for breakfast stools, whilst opting for a more neutral palette on your kitchen cabinetry.

6. Get the light right

As Keith explains in i-Build magazine; "When designing a kitchen, I like to start with a foundation of natural light, and a glass kitchen extension is a great way to do this. You can then arrange the lighting to illuminate architectural features."

A contemporary kitchen with dining, skylights and view to the garden
Designed by The Myers Touch in collaboration with a local architect – a 4-zone cooking, living, bar & dining space.
A contemporary kitchen with dining, skylights and view to the garden
Designed by The Myers Touch in collaboration with a local architect – a 4-zone cooking, living, bar & dining space

Once you have a clear idea of the natural light, you can plan for mood, task and accent lighting in the appropriate places.

7. Get the right space for today and tomorrow

Consider both present and future living situations to ensure that you can use the space in the years to come.

A key factor is how many people will be using the kitchen and how they will use it over time. For example, perhaps you may have children or grandchildren in the near future? You probably want a kitchen that works for them, too. For instance, perhaps consider incorporating more storage like a walk-in pantry.

The Myers Touch design ethos is grounded in creating kitchens with ‘Light, Space and Laughter’. Each of their unique designs has the ultimate goal of enriching household relationships and quality of life through the space’s efficiency, functionality and beauty.

If you are thinking about a future extension to your kitchen, check our luxury kitchen projects for design inspiration.