How to extend a kitchen with an orangery

If you are considering a kitchen extension, a garden room or orangery can provide you with a light and bright space. Our guide will give you plenty of ideas and advice!

Combining a balanced design with flawless functionality, a garden room or orangery extension is the height of luxury and carries an air of sumptuous elegance. Westbury have been designing and building these glazed timber extensions for over 30 years, and a new open-plan kitchen remains the most popular type of renovation we carry out to existing homes.

Garden room extensions are a fantastic way to increase the living space in your property while bringing in floods of natural light.  Most homeowners love the idea of a bright and spacious kitchen with distinct zones for cooking, dining and relaxing. Follow our guide to make sure you properly plan for a well-designed kitchen extension, and if you would like more practical planning advice and costing information, you can contact our team of experts here.

Creating flow throughout your home

An extension provides you with an opportunity to reconsider your interiors and make changes to the layout of your home, ensuring the most effective use of the new space. Often, we act as spacial designers and help clients to both incorporate and repurpose their existing adjacent spaces into the new extension. While you can use orangeries and garden rooms to create individual, self-contained rooms, most people like to knock through walls, extend openings and create a beautiful, open-plan kitchen and dining room. Initially, focus on how the adjacent rooms are arranged throughout your main house and think about how you use the different spaces. 

Think about whether your requirements for your home might have changed in recent years; perhaps your children have grown up, or you now work from home? Maybe the kitchen could include a dedicated pantry or boot room to keep your kitchen clutter-free, or would you love to make some space for a wine cellar – because you deserve it!

Typically, a new kitchen design might include details of the kitchen cabinetry, appliance ranges, lighting schemes, worktop material options and electric outlets. Kitchen storage and cabinets will work better against solid walls, and you will need to position appliances like hobs and dishwashers to an external wall for waste pipes and extractor fans. In any kitchen layout, there should be a clear route between the hob, sink and fridge for ease of use. However, a new kitchen extension should include floor plans that reach into the adjacent rooms, illustrating how they can be changed and repurposed to enhance the new extension.

A multi-functional space is key

The kitchen is an essential part of a house; it is where people gather for everyday activities and special occasions, making it the heart of the home.  If you are thinking of creating a generously sized open plan kitchen, then you will need to consider the different zones to satisfy the multi-use requirements a kitchen naturally has. A large kitchen island can be the perfect central hub with masses of multitasking space. You can use it as a food prep zone, a breakfast bar, a social hub or cocktail mixing station.

Embracing open plan living

An open-plan layout is ideal for maximising on space, but they can sometimes look a little empty or lack definition without the help of walls. When choosing the lighting for your kitchen, its functionality and focus are paramount for everyday tasks such as meal preparation. Lighting positioning is integral to creating a warm and inviting open-plan space. Pendant lights can work very well above the island or the dining table to help define the different zones.

You can also potentially feel exposed in such a large room if the furniture and worktops are not arranged well. Islands and peninsulas create additional cooking space in the kitchen while giving you more room for extra appliances and cupboard storage. They will allow you to face everyone else in the room while you cook, rather than having your back turned as you prepare dinner. Try to position key features like sinks in the island, rather than against the wall.

Connecting to the garden and creating an indoor/outdoor link

Linking your home and garden is a hugely desirable concept, and a garden room or orangery gives you the perfect opportunity to do this. If you are planning to have a new kitchen and dining room extension, think about positioning the kitchen further back into the house with the dining room in the glazed section. Kitchen storage and cabinets will work better against solid walls, and you can enjoy the views into your garden while you eat at the table. Where their structures consist of such high proportions of glazing, they immediately improve the connection between the indoors and outdoors. 

Consider whether you would like a garden room, which has semi-glazed walls, and a roof entirely covered in tiles. A garden room is ideal if you want your extension to look like it is part of your main property, by ensuring the tiles, brickwork and other details match. An orangery consists of a higher proportion of glazing, with a roof lantern built on a flat roof and semi-glazed walls. Instead of feeling cold in the winter or stuffy in the summer, they are comfortable and inviting living spaces throughout the seasons.

Think about the kinds of doors you would like to lead out from your garden room or orangery and the width of the frames that you want, whether you want bi-fold doors or French doors for example. Imagine how you would like to open them up so you can easily access the garden from the kitchen, and feel encouraged to spend more time outside in the fresh air.

Flooring can also help encourage a clear connection between your home and garden, especially if you have a decked or paved area outside your extension that is at the same level as the flooring inside. This creates a level threshold and makes the whole area feel like one big space when the doors are open. You can also choose flooring materials that flow continuously between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Discover the Westbury Stone Floors collection, many of which you can lay both inside and out.

Does a kitchen extension need planning permission?

Some single-storey extensions come under permitted development rights, meaning that you do not need planning permission providing they adhere to specific requirements. You can find out more in our previous blog post. 

If you reside in a conservation area, green belt, World Heritage Site, national park, or an AONB, there are stricter rules, and you may need to apply for planning permission for projects that would not usually need it elsewhere. If your home is a period property, you will need to check if your building is listed. It can be more challenging to obtain planning permission for listed buildings, as you will have to adhere to very specific regulations. You can quickly go online to the government’s planning portal to check, using an interactive tool. This great resource will help you assess whether your project is allowed under permitted development rights or if you require planning permission. 

If you do need to obtain planning permission for your kitchen extension, it is highly recommended that you research your local planning policies and seek pre-application advice from a building professional. If planning permission is required, we will take on the responsibility of putting the application together and submitting it on your behalf. 

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