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How to Make an Addition to your House

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St John's Wood Town House Modern houses by DDWH Architects Modern
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Like Rome, homes aren’t built in a day. You start out with the basic bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and living spaces. As your family grows, chances are so will the number of rooms you need. This is the time you need to start planning an extension to your house. There are a number of ways to add an extension to your home.  Extensions can be built so as to be connected to the house or as standalone structures. These extensions can serve as playrooms, home offices, garages, gyms or even extra dining space.

Building a home extension can be a catch 22 situation. The space you gain on the inside is the space you lose in your outdoors. Building a home extension also takes almost as much effort as building a home. You may want to design it extension yourself but you will still need to consult a registered architect or professional engineer on structural and loading issues. When designing an extension keep in mind the existing structure and match the style of the extension to that of the main house. It is also important for the extension to not obstruct the path of natural light for the main house and hence, many architects and designers suggest keeping the roof of the extension at a lower height than that of the main house.

What to consider before construction

​Aluminium orangery with bi fold doors Modern conservatory by ROCOCO Modern

​Aluminium orangery with bi fold doors


The first step to building a home extension is to determine the purpose of the proposed room. Next, take stock of your finances to see what kind of construction you can afford. Take a look at your plot and see where you would like to place this extension and what it would do to your landscape. Make a note of features like water bodies or trees that need to be protected.  If your home extension will need plumbing and sewage lines, you will need to plan these in accordance with existing water and sewage lines. When hiring an architect to draw out your plans, ask to see his portfolio before you decide on whom you will be working with to see how well their style matches yours.

How to get a building permit

New life for a 1920s home - extension and full renovation, Thames Ditton, Surrey Classic style living room by TOTUS Classic

New life for a 1920s home—extension and full renovation, Thames Ditton, Surrey


Not all home additions are required to be approved by the Building and Construction Authority in Singapore. If the area of your home extension does not exceed 10 square meters and is single-storeyed, you do not need a permit to start construction. For larger additions, a building plan made by a registered architect or structural engineer needs to be submitted to the Building and Construction Authority for approval. This must be accompanied by an application form, a certificate from the professional that the existing structure can withstand the additional load, clearances from relevant technical agencies and a fee determined by the type of home extension. Construction can begin only after the application is approved which can take up to 14 working days.

What determines the form of an extension

Rear Extension Modern houses by DDWH Architects Modern
DDWH Architects

Rear Extension

DDWH Architects

Additions in the form of house extensions can be made in a number of ways. Single storey house extensions are usually built at the back or to one side of the house.  Two storey house extensions are a common type of home addition but face a number of challenges in terms of property type, design and scale. Extending the roof and closing it in is another way of building a home extension. Home extensions can also be built over garages or in basements.

Feature walls that connect extensions to the main house

Pivot door and Side Return Glass Box Extrensin Modern windows & doors by Maxlight Modern

Pivot door and Side Return Glass Box Extrensin


Feature walls are a great way to connect the existing house to the extensions. They command attention and add drama to a room. The easiest way to define a feature wall is to paint it a different colour from the other walls. Other ways of treating a feature wall are through wallpaper, stone tiles, wood paneling and murals. In a double storey house extension r basement extension, consider accenting the wall along the staircase. For same level extensions, any wall can be accented to create a feature wall.

Basement extensions

basement creation and 3 storey house extension Minimalist houses by Ar'Chic Minimalist

basement creation and 3 storey house extension


The increasing premium on space has made basements a popular type of home extension. Building a basement does not affect the external look of your house and can be a way of doubling your carpet area. Basements are also energy efficient. The biggest challenge with designing a basement extension is to include natural light and ventilation. A lack of these elements can make the basement feel gloomy. A basement also needs a direct exit to the outdoors as a safety precaution. Basement extensions can be used as home offices, playrooms, guest bedrooms, gyms etc.

Checkout the awesome creativity showcased by London-based architects Ar'Chic.


Barnes, London: Culmax Glass Box Extension Modern conservatory by Maxlight Modern

Barnes, London: Culmax Glass Box Extension


If your house faces a spectacular view, a conservatory might be a good addition to your house. Conservatories are glass-walled rooms that may or may not have a glass roof as well. What makes conservatories lust worthy is the view they provide and the natural light and warmth they are bathed in. Conservatories were originally designed to be greenhouses but can also be used as a tea room or breakfast room or even as an extension to the kitchen. The only downside to having a conservatory is that it allows people to look into your home from the outside. To counter this, blinds or curtains are a conservatory must have.

Brick outbuildings

House extensions can be built using a number of materials including bricks, timber frames, insulated panels, steel frames and even glass. Home extensions that are disconnected from the main house and constructed using bricks are known as brick outbuildings. Building a brick and mortar home extension is usually budget friendly and the material is easily available. It has good insulation properties and can be treated to match the existing structure. Brick outbuildings are generally used as game rooms, offices or storage spaces.

Home extensions can be of many other types: sheds, summer rooms, porches etc. Building a home extension not only makes your daily life more comfortable but also increases the value of your house.

You may read An inspiring home extension for more information.

Which idea from here inspired you the most? Let us know in the comments!
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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