5 Questions to ask Yourself before Planning a House Extension

A house extension is a hugely popular way to make living spaces work better. Ask yourself these 5 key questions before diving into a new project to make sure you make the right initial decisions. There are no right or wrong answers – your responses are entirely personal to you and will help focus your thoughts on what you hope to achieve and why.

1. The Good: Which spaces work well in your home, and why?

Which rooms do you currently enjoy spending time in? What is it about these rooms that you like? Using your five senses (sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste) try to identify what it is that really works for you in the spaces that you enjoy. Perhaps there is a pleasing view through the window, there is plenty of natural light, you can’t hear the nearby motorway or you can smell what’s cooking in the kitchen.


2. The Bad: Which spaces in your home don’t work well, and why not?

Revisit your five senses to help describe what isn’t working well in your space. Is it too noisy to work or play? Too hot or cold? Too small to fit everyone who needs to be there? Is it too dark, or not fit for purpose?


3. The Dream: How would you like your lifestyle to change as a result of home improvement work?

Have you always wished you could look out onto the garden while dining? Do you dream of having the whole family together in the evening – cooking, playing, doing homework in one space? Is your kitchen too small to accommodate dinner party guests, leaving you and them in separate rooms while you finish preparing your meal? Try to avoid solutionising at this stage. Instead, articulating how you would like to live in your space will help to identify a variety of potential options, not just extending your home.


4. The Negotiable: What are you willing to compromise on?

Look back at the spaces that currently work for you and those which don’t. Reconfiguring the layout of your home might mean removing some internal walls. Which are non-negotiable? If you value your lounge as a separate space, would you be willing to knock it through to achieve a more open-plan layout? If a house extension is the most suitable solution, how much garden space are your prepared to forsake? While a separate utility room and boot room might be on your dream list, is a bigger kitchen a greater priority? Try to give a weighting to your answers to question 3 to see where your priorities are.


5. The Budget: How much can you afford to spend?

While it’s not worth getting too bogged down in the detail at this stage, it’s still important to keep one eye on finances. The cost of a house extension will vary wildly depending on size and shape, but generally it is cheaper to build at the top of your home than at the bottom – so a loft conversion will be cheaper than a ground-floor extension and, in turn, a basement conversion. So if you’re on a tight budget then don’t jump straight into a house extension without considering other options such as an internal layout reconfiguration.