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Extension ideas for growing your family home

Your family home is growing, and you might need more space. An extension could be just the solution you are looking for. We share our best ideas.

9 min read

Growing your family home doesn’t carry all the same connotations it once did. The pitter-patter of tiny feet still calls for adaptations to be made but it’s far from the only way your family layout could influence the way you live. After all, families are growing higher – think of young adults staying at home for longer or inviting older relatives to join the home – sideways – blended families with kids of various ages come to mind – and, of course, the traditional lower – with little ones arriving into the world.

And, because each and every family is different and comes with a unique set of needs, no one family home is a perfect one. We explore just some of the extension options available and how they could benefit your family unit.

Different types of home renovations for growing families

However your family is growing, it’s often the case that there’s pressure on space and time to accommodate any new faces in the home. We’ve unpicked the pros and cons of a range of home extensions and renovations options to make the transformation process as smooth as possible for you and your brood.

Side return extensions

Side return extensions (also referred to as side infill extensions) are relatively small but mighty. They’re a winning option for almost any property that has unused space to its side – Victorian terraces with alleyways are a classic candidate for this reason.

These extensions come in a wide range of materials, styles and sizes so they’re easy to individualise for your family’s needs. Because of the vast number of options available, the costs can range from £80-£200k. Of course, each property and project is entirely unique so this is more of a ballpark figure than a certainty. To learn more about the various types of side extensions and how much each costs, check out our deep dive and become a side return extension aficionado.

As well as being cheaper than some other extension options, side returns take advantage of the dead space next to your home and don’t cut into your garden space. This is a huge benefit if you’re a young family with little ones spending time outdoors or your green space is a haven for yourself and older family members.

What’s more, the amount of time a side return extension takes to be built is also minimal by comparison to some other options. While the amount of time it takes to build any extension is never an exact science, side extensions tend to take between 3 and 5 months. Read our guide to how long renovations usually take for more precise timelines.

If you’re looking to invite more light into your home, maximise your existing space, create a more open-plan living set up or even a small storage area, side return extensions could be a great option for your family. You can create a snug area for your teenage kids to unwind, a play space for toddlers or a satisfying storage space to keep everything in order. For more inspiration, discover our side return extension ideas to improve your home.

Getting a side return extension for a growing family home© Veronica Rodriguez

Rear extensions

Simply put, a rear extension is a way of increasing the amount of available space in your home by adding on to the back of the existing property. If you’re lucky enough to have some garden space at your disposal, they can be a fantastic way of boosting the indoor area of your home (although at the expense of your garden).

Rear extensions can range from conservatories to double-storey extensions so, naturally, there’s no uniform way of predicting prices. The style you choose aside, you’ll have to consider factors including planning permission, the area that the property is in and who you choose to carry out your construction work. For a more detailed breakdown of prices explore our Ultimate guide to rear extensions or try our Quick Quote Calculator.

Learn more about the different styles of rear extensions with this inspiring ideas shortlist and weigh up which options would be best suited to you and your loved ones. We love the idea of a double-storey extension for creating an open-plan kitchen and a brand new bedroom in one go or an elegant orangery that’s perfect for your mother-in-law to unwind on sunny days.

One downside of some of the rear extension options is that they can be extremely disruptive as well as time consuming (and that’s supposing that they stick to their predicted timeline). If you’re on a deadline – an impending birth is up there in our books – it could be wise to ensure that you have a project manager taking care of the renovation process and that you have somewhere safe and relaxing to stay while the works are taking place.

For all the disruption, time and cost that a rear extension demands, the outcome is rarely regretted and the results can be life-changing for families. Explore Pinterest for rear extension inspiration.

Kitchen rear extension

Garden room

If you have available unused garden space surrounding your home, a garden room could be a fantastic way for you to create extra room for accommodating your family. Depending on the unique shape of your family, it could serve as an independent living space for an older family member, a private hideaway for teens to enjoy their own space, or a play haven for little ones. The possibilities are endless!

There’s even the possibility of a garden room being a space just for you. If you’ve been pining after some peace and quiet on work-from-home days, taking your office outside could be just what you need. This valuable space could even be converted to a home gym, cosy reading nook – whatever you need your retreat to be, a garden room could bring it to life.

Garden rooms have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, something that could be down to the drive to carve out independent space while huddled at home with family throughout the pandemic or the emphasis on being in touch with nature. They’re also relatively fast to build and cost-effective compared with other extension options. If a garden room sounds like it could suit your family, learn more from our essential guide to creating your own.

Tips for growing families who can’t renovate right now

Let’s be honest here, renovations require a pretty significant savings pot – even with outside financing, there’s a certain amount you simply just need to make anything happen. We know now, more than ever, that sometimes big changes just aren’t possible right away. We share our top tips for situations where extending or moving isn’t an option right away.

Declutter your space

If space is feeling a little bit tight, the best way to maximise what you have is to declutter and get organised. Streamlining what you need and what you don’t will also ultimately help you in the long run because deciding what you do want to keep now will make things easier for you later when you’re either clearing room for construction or preparing to move.

Get organised

Once your space is decluttered and you have a little room to breathe, look for home organisation solutions that make everyday tasks feel easier and keep your clutter in check. This article on clever ways to maximise home storage is a great place to start. We’re also fans of  IKEA’s trademark savvy storage – from pull-out drawers in bed frames to stylish and practical wall organisers, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Organising to get more space

Set your priorities

Does it feel like everyone needs the available space, all at the same time? We get it, and it can be one of the most challenging aspects of navigating a growing family. Set aside time to create a schedule for non-negotiable times such as working from home, therapy or medical visits. Once this is established, it’ll be easier to negotiate how the space can be shared the rest of the time. And, while this may feel a little retro, nothing beats the simplicity and transparency of a family planner hung in the kitchen – we adore Papier’s range of year calendars.

Stick to a saving plan

We can’t control everything but, if increasing your space – either by renovating or moving home – is realistically the only way that growing your family feels manageable, we recommend finding a savings plan that works for you and committing to it. There are some brilliant saving plans – Money Supermarket is a great resource for comparing various savings accounts and finding which one is most suitable for you.

However your family is growing, we’re here to support you through the changes. Book a free advice call with one of our experts.

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