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Extension design

Your extension: Aesthetics vs Utility

There is a lot of reasons people choose to build extensions. It is often the case that homeowners can’t bear to move, that they love the area or they have a sentimental attachment, but need more space. Occasionally market forces can be a part of the decision. If the housing market is slow or prices are falling, it makes sense to make more of what you already have. The reasons you have for building an extension will have a bearing on the design choices you make. In this post, we take a look at how to balance aesthetics with utility to make sure you end up with an extension that meets your needs and looks the part, too.

Your needs

When it comes to designing an extension to your home – assuming there are no listing constraints – the best place to start is by talking to your architect about it. You need to be as clear as possible about what you want to achieve, and why. If you are not able to do that yet, take some time and think about why you want to build an extension. Even if you don’t have an idea of how the finished structure will look, your stated needs will help an architect with drawing up some plans you will love.

As an example, if you are building an extension because your family is growing, you may want to incorporate another bedroom in the plans. If you’re looking to add value to your home without necessarily needing space, you can afford to be more creative with the finished product.

Your budget

You may like the idea of extending your medieval cottage in the exact same style and materials used in the original construction, but this may prove prohibitively expensive. And this is the point where many inexperienced designers fall down – in trying to fit a difficult extension to a small budget, designs might involve cutting corners. Your new extension may look the part but it could be challenging to maintain, to heat and to involve in daily life.

On the other hand, failing to observe the aesthetics of the existing building in the pursuit of a simply-built, utilitarian extension may lead to more comfortable living, but an extension that ruins the appearance of the property as a whole.


Speaking of comfortable living, how technologically advanced is your day-to-day life? You may like to surround yourself with the latest tech, from smart white goods to wireless charging hubs. Your extension is a chance to use some of these innovations to make life easier. But like it or not, these items will change the aesthetic of your new structure.

Your architect can help you discover ways of preserving the aesthetic spirit of your property while taking advantage of new modes of living. If you’re stuck in the debate between form and function, get in touch with one of our architects today to discuss your specific needs.



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    96 Kensington High Street London W8 4SG
    Studio 2 4 The Highlands Exning Newmarket Suffolk CB8 7NT
    T: 01638 662393
    Your extension: Aesthetics vs Utility