Kitchen extensions: All the inspiration and advice you need

Looking for pictures of beautiful kitchen extensions? Our showcase of light and bright kitchen ideas will inspire and help you create your perfect scheme, transforming a cramped layout into an inviting modern space for living, dining and entertaining.

A must-have in new properties and one of the top remodelling projects in period homes, the generous open-plan kitchen is now the epicentre for modern living. There are several ways to scale-up space, from combining adjoining rooms or adding a conservatory to building a completely new room or digging out the basement. Be under no illusions, all options require time and money but, once the dust has settled, it’s a decision few regret.

Planning and designing an extension

Recommendations are by far the best way to find a tradesperson in your area. Ask friends and members of the family whose projects you’ve admired. Few people will pass on the contacts of someone who has done a shoddy job.

Check out the boards and signage that building firms and architects put up outside their projects, if you’ve been impressed by the build. It’s also worth approaching the owner to see if they are happy with the work.

Search online – most industries have a professional body or web-based collective that lists its members along with contact details. For an architect try architecture.com, ciat.org.uk for an architectural technical designer, and find structural engineers at istructe.org. Visit mybuilder.com or ratedpeople.com to locate building-trade specialists.

Also try Trust Mark, which encompasses a wide range of trade bodies such as Federation of Master Builders, National Federation of Roofing Contractors and the electrical institution, NICEIC. It claims to check its member’s work, financial status and insurance, and also offers extra insurance and a complaints procedure.

Ask your kitchen designer – creating schemes for new renovations and extensions is now the norm, so they are well-placed to recommend a good builder or architect. You can also trust your designer to alert you to any bad eggs in your shortlist of contenders.

1. Colour code kitchen zones

Colour code kitchen zones

Make large, open-plan spaces work by using colour to define different functions. Try white, handleless cabinetry for a practical, easy-to-maintain cooking and food preparation area. Introduce a contrast shade on a breakfast bar island to signpost the change of function, but keep the worktop white to indicate that this is a dual-function surface. For dining, go unfinished wood – in keeping with its proximity to the patio, this table and chairs could be mistaken for garden furniture. Unify the whole with timber flooring, a wooden sideboard and a row of wooden bar stools.

2. Blur the boundaries

Blur the boundaries

Pick simple – but strong – colour schemes

The modern extension will increase the light levels in a property, so be adventurous with colour in your new kitchen. Working against a white or neutral backdrop, make a strong statement with a black gloss central island and black modern stools that create crisp, clean-lined silhouettes. Use gunmetal-finish patio door frames to tie in with stainless-steel appliances. Complement and uplift the scheme with a bright yellow splashback and matching pendant lights that draw the eye upward to impressive roof lights.

5. Temper the new by referencing the old

Temper the new by referencing the old

When designing and decorating a new extension, always keep the style and period of your home in mind. Pick up on any period architectural features and incorporate design elements of any adjacent rooms into your new space. In a large, multifunctional area emphasise continuity by using freestanding cupboards or sideboards as feature cabinetry. Choose finishes that reflect the mix of old and new, such as the mahogany and Shaker-style designs used here.

6. Adopt multifunction living

Adopt multifunction living

Plan well and a large kitchen extension has all the makings of the perfect open-plan living space. Create distinct and separate zones for cooking, dining and relaxing, but ensure continuity with a neutral shade throughout. Use a central island to divide the room and make cooking social by adding a breakfast bar. Position the dining table adjacent to patio doors to get the best view and a comfortable armchair in one corner for enjoying the new-found light.

7. Unite a multifunctional space with wood

Unite a multifunctional space with wood

Use a single material throughout an extended space to keep the feel orderly, contained and open. This extension features a country kitchen with breakfast bar, a seating area and separate dining space. Decoratively, this could be a messy arrangement, but the use of wood throughout brings its own settled order. From the fitted shelves and larder unit at the back of the room, through to the impressive breakfast bar at the centre and out to the low coffee table, farmhouse dining table and mismatched chairs, the warm wood tones unite the scheme, with pops of vibrant colour on soft furnishings and ceramics to add to the fun.

8. Build in, build out

Build in, build out

Enjoy the freedom to fit out a room from scratch. Plan your new extension carefully and in a perfect world you will end up with a room that balances practicality and beauty. Every appliance and every ounce of storage will occupy its ideal spot. This kitchen uses a false wall to house built-in ovens, open shelving and upright and overhead cupboards, while the hob, sink, wine cooler and supersized drawers have been incorporated into a standalone island.

9. Use a peninsula as a divider

Use a peninsula as a divider

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