Looking for design ideas for adding an extension to a period property? Whether you're considering a contemporary extension or one that's entirely sympathetic to your property's period, it’s important to ensure that you opt for a design that suits your needs, while remaining sensitive to the original architecture.
Extensions for period properties work best when they are either perfectly seamless and look like they have always belonged there, using materials that complement the existing property, or are more contemporary in style, creating contrast. Your local authority can provide guidance on the types of design that will be acceptable.
If you like the idea of extending your home, but don't know where to start, our ideas for extending a period home are here to inspire.
1. Choose an oak frame sunroom for rustic style
Traditional cosy cottages often have small windows, so adding a sunroom or conservatory is a great solution that allows you to balance darker rooms with a brighter space.
This beautiful oak frame extension attached to a brick and flint thatched home provides a relaxing dining area for a previously small kitchen.
Find out more about planning an oak frame extension in our guide.
2. Connect the indoors with the outdoors
A contemporary glass box extension was built onto this listed stone country cottage to create an open plan kitchen. The glazed design flooded the kitchen with natural light, while adding a modern touch to the old cottage.
Minimalist sliding doors allow for seamless access to the garden, and create an indoor-outdoor feel by merging the dining area with the patio.
3. Opt for complementary materials
With its lower roofline and colour-matched handmade bricks, this oak frame extension complements the original property – parts of which date back to the 18th Century – while remaining subservient.
As the main house needed its roof repaired, handmade tiles were used to tie together the old and new sections. The extension was finished with larch wood waney-edged cladding and softwood windows and doors.
Read more about choosing cladding and render in our guide.
4. Consider a modern contrast for a Victorian semi
When extending a Victorian terrace, there is often more design versatility than other period properties. This six-bedroom Victorian semi was in need of modernising when its owners bought it, and lacked the open plan kitchen they were looking for.
The new rear extension is clad in painted steel sheet – a stark contrast to the classic front façade – and brings a fresh modern look to the property. Sliding doors create a link between the indoors and outdoors.
Read our comprehensive guide to extending a Victorian house to get yours right.
5. A seamless stone extension
This charming 19th-century home was restored before being doubled in size with the addition of a large extension.
When its owners took it on, the formerly dilapidated boxy cottage had cement render covering the stonework.This was removed and the house fully renovated alongside the extension work. Clad in stone to match the existing structure, the new addition is the heart of the home, containing a kitchen and living room downstairs and bedrooms upstairs.
Find out how to renovate a house in our step-by-step guide.
6. Maximise natural light with a glazed gable end
Abandoned in the 1930s, this 17th-century thatched flint cottage had slowly deteriorated before its new owners renovated and extended it.
The two-storey oak frame extension houses a kitchen and master bedroom. A glazed gable end ensures the new spaces are filled with light, while the front of the cottage appears as it would have done when first built.
Want to maximise light in your extension? Have a read of out guide to designing a light-filled extension.
7. A traditional Sussex house extension
Typical of the area’s style, this 1930's Sussex house had tile-hung gables above a weatherboarded ground floor, but was cramped inside.
An in-keeping extension was added at the rear, housing a living room and sunroom on the ground floor, and two bedrooms upstairs. Lots of glazing maximises views across an unspoilt valley.
8. Design an Art Deco extension
A single-storey side extension housing an open plan kitchen breathed new life into this Art Deco home.
Upstairs, the new master suite is contained in a curved drum section. The existing house has been fully renovated, and the 1970s windows replaced.
Find out more about planning, costing and building a single-storey extension in our guide.
9. Achieve an industrial feel with a copper finish extension
This late-Victorian five-bedroom house had only a small galley kitchen when its owners moved in, so they soon set about planning an extension that would give them the spacious family kitchen they craved.
The addition also contains a living room, while a wall has been removed to make the dining room open plan to the space. A copper roof tops off the design, while minimalist sliding doors provide the perfect link between indoors and outdoors.
Find out how to plan and design the perfect kitchen extension in our guide.
10. Opt for a low profile design if your property is listed
A clever, low-impact sloping design joined to the house via a glazed section, was the solution for this Grade II-listed late 18th Century house, which enjoys an isolated position in the middle of a common.
The extension creates an open plan kitchen with views through sliding doors. Inside, the original exterior wall remains intact to minimise impact on the structure, while the house has been renovated.
11. Update a historic cottage
Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this cosy cottage has been extended with a design that is modern while respecting the original building through use of natural cladding materials.
The front elevation maintains the look of the original cottage, as all the work is to the rear. A glazed hallway provides the link between old and new.
Have a read of our guide to adding a glazed extension to a period property for advice on achieving a similar look.