ePrivacy and GPDR Cookie Consent by Cookie Consent How a glass side return extension can lighten your home

How a glass side return extension can lighten your home

With a glass side return extension you can make sure to invite as much natural light as possible into your home, bringing a unique sense of tranquillity.

4 min read

There are fewer ways to invite more light into your home and really emphasise the space you’ve created with a side return extension than choosing glass as one of your sole materials. As well as this, glass side return extensions reduce the distance between your home living and the outside world – creating a connection to nature which can contribute to a sense of tranquillity that can be beneficial to both health and wellbeing. You can make your glass side extension as unique as the rest of your home – we explore how to choose the right approach for you.

How much is a glass side return extension?

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to glass side extension costs because each property and project is so individual. While we can estimate it will fall somewhere between £80-£140K, it’s not an exact science and will depend on a number of factors – from the size of the extension to the specific materials used, contractors and area you live in.

Do you need planning permission for a glass side extension?

Side return extensions don’t always require planning permission as they can often be carried out under permitted development rights. Some factors that may be taken into consideration are size and height of your proposed renovation project, whether you’re impacted by any listed properties or conservation areas and proximity to your neighbouring property. Use the checklist below as a rough guide for whether your project falls within your permitted development rights:

  • Sits to the side (as long as this will not face a highway) of the house (not the front)
  • Uses similar building materials to the existing house
  • Takes up less than 50% of the size of the land around the original house ("original" being the latest of when the property was built or if it was built before 1948, then as it stood on 1st July 1948)
  • Takes up less than 50% of the width of the original house
  • Is less than 4m in height (or less than 3m if within 2m of a property boundary)
  • Has eaves and a ridge that are no taller than the existing house

If you’re not sure whether your project falls under permitted development rights, book in a free consultation call with our friendly team today.

Glass side return extension ideas

The beauty of a glass side return extension is that you’re left with more space and more light in your home. There are so many unique ways to achieve this effect in a way that fits the character and style of your property. We explore some of our favourite ways of using glass to put your own stamp on your side extension:

Glass roof

A glass roof on your side extension is a wonderful way of maximising the amount of light that reaches your home. It can also look incredibly modern, add value and inject some real personality to your property. However, it’s also worth considering how easy they will be to clean (think removing fallen leaves and rain marks in Autumn). Luckily for you, there’s practical self-cleaning glass you can choose for ease, as well as handy, extendable brushes that mean you’ll never have to risk climbing onto your glass roof. Another consideration is where your project idea falls under UK building regulations. Find out how your glass roof project may be impacted with our guide to 10 things you need to know about glass roofs.

Glass roof

Glass and bi-fold doors

Glass sliding or bi-good doors will hugely increase the amount of natural lighting in your new side extension. Glass sliding or bi-fold doors with minimal framing would open up your extension to the garden and allow for a perfect view when entertaining guests and strike a beautiful balance of indoor and outdoor living during the summer months.


Opt for Skylights in your new side extension to flood extra light into your home. There’s a vast array of shapes and sizes to choose from, so you can choose one that uniquely suits your home. Consider also adding a shutter or shade to block heat if the skylight is in a place which could receive direct sunlight during the summer months.



The frames that you choose for your glass side extension are a practical and stylish decision. From a design perspective, the colour, material and thickness of the frames that you use can either blend seamlessly with your existing property or create an eye-catching contrast that makes a characterful feature. Explore how different frames are used in glass side extensions with inspiration from Pinterest.

To discuss any ideas for a side return extension project for your home, book a free advice call with one of our in-house experts.

Looking to improve your home?

Which part of your property would you like to extend?

Ground Floor
First Floor


How much does a glass side extension cost?

The cost of a glass side extension can vary depending on a number of factors. On average, they can cost between £80-£140K.

Do you need planning permission for a glass extension?

Side return extensions can fall under permitted development rights depending on the project.

Related articles

Resi is the UK's largest residential architect


Track record in getting planning approval


Projects undertaken across the UK

34 days

Average time from survey to planning