Maximise the potential of your extended space with these savvy decorating ideas for beautiful - and practical - kitchens
Looking for beautiful kitchen extension ideas? Our showcase of light and bright kitchen ideas will inspire and help you create your perfect scheme, transforming a cramped layout into an inviting modern space for living, dining and entertaining.
A must-have in new properties and one of the top remodelling projects in period homes, the generous open-plan kitchen is now the epicentre for modern living. There are several ways to scale-up space, from combining adjoining rooms or adding a conservatory to building a completely new room or digging out the basement. Be under no illusions, all options require time and money but, once the dust has settled, it’s a decision few regret.
Do you need kitchen planning advice? READ: Kitchen extensions – how to design, plan and cost your dream space
Make colour the star
In an all-white or neutral kitchen, pick a standout shade for a single feature. This will simplify and streamline the scheme, particularly in a smaller extension. In this stunning space, reflective turquoise glass is the material of choice for the splashback and it has been repeated as a decorative feature on the kitchen island. The island also functions as a space divider that defines the dining area on its opposite side.
Plan your kitchen extension storage with care. If you have the space, it pays to keep cupboards to a specified area rather than have them dotted all around. In this impressive extension, base and wall units have been banked together on a single wall and long, full-width island. This not only keeps everything close to hand at the busy, business end of the space, but allows you to co-ordinate your colour scheme – in this case, a dark-grey matt paint finish.
Use a peninsula as a divider
Define the different functions of your extension with well placed units. If you have extended out into your garden from the back wall of your house, the line of the old wall will quite often make a natural dividing point for the new extension. Here, a rigid steel joist and window mark the spot. The worktop below houses a sink, a couple of cupboards and a mini breakfast bar and divides the working kitchen from the dining and sitting area overlooking the garden.
Consider glazed doors
In larger extensions with high ceilings you may feel you need more than furniture to divide up an open-plan space. These full-height sliding glazed doors are a revelation, adding smart, defined verticals to the design and marking a change of function between kitchen and living areas without screening anything from view. Low-hanging pendants and fabulously tall storage emphasise the height of this space, with cornflower blue paintwork and slate wall tiles uniting the decorative elements.
Build in, build out
Enjoy the freedom to fit out a room from scratch. Plan your new extension carefully and in a perfect world you will end up with a room that balances practicality and beauty. Every appliance and every ounce of storage will occupy its ideal spot. This kitchen uses a false wall to house built-in ovens, open shelving and upright and overhead cupboards, while the hob, sink, wine cooler and supersized drawers have been incorporated into a standalone island.
Unite a multifunctional space with wood
Use a single material throughout an extended space to keep the feel orderly, contained and open. This extension features a country kitchen with breakfast bar, a seating area and separate dining space. Decoratively, this could be a messy arrangement, but the use of wood throughout brings its own settled order. From the fitted shelves and larder unit at the back of the room, through to the impressive breakfast bar at the centre and out to the low coffee table, farmhouse dining table and mismatched chairs, the warm wood tones unite the scheme, with pops of vibrant colour on soft furnishings and ceramics to add to the fun.
Follow the light
In a kitchen extension, position a dining table where the maximum light falls. In this space, which lacks conventional windows, roof lights bring drama and atmosphere to the table. An adjustable, wall-hung pivot light adds a modern touch. Look for furniture that fits the space you have as exactly as possible. This table is the width of two place settings and no more, allows room for chairs to move in and out and is the perfect length to make full use of the room’s dimensions.
Unify with a theme
Integrate your extended space by using a single decorating scheme throughout. Pick calm, soothing and co-ordinating colours that will lift and lighten the feel. For a fresh, coastal vibe, go for a powder blue backdrop. Match woodwork and cabinetry with cream Shaker-style doors for a sense of continuity – in this space, built-in cupboard doors are painted to match the units. In a similar way, use oak for worktops, tabletops and seats and blue striped fabric for seat pads and kitchen linen.
Let architecture lead function
Consider the features of a building when designing your kitchen space. Set aside the space under a glazed roof for dining – this space also has a square bay, perfect for enjoying garden views – and keep the original space for more functional tasks, such as cooking and food preparation. Choose a cream palette to link the spaces together and warm up with oak worktops and a matching butcher’s block.
Adopt multifunction living
Plan well and a large kitchen extension has all the makings of the perfect open-plan living space. Create distinct and separate zones for cooking, dining and relaxing, but ensure continuity with a neutral shade throughout. Use a central island to divide the room and make cooking social by adding a breakfast bar. Position the dining table adjacent to patio doors to get the best view and a comfortable armchair in one corner for enjoying the new-found light.
Create a viewing room
If you have extended into your garden space, make the most of lovely views. Let the windows be the star of your decorating scheme and wherever possible place furniture where it can oversee your outdoor space. Keep a decorating scheme pared back, simple and unpatterned so the view is always foremost. Go for matching neutrals across the board with simple blinds, a reclaimed table and eclectic chairs. Use a pair of pendant fishing lights for added character at night time.
Temper the new by referencing the old
When designing and decorating a new extension, always keep the style and period of your home in mind. Pick up on any period architectural features and incorporate design elements of any adjacent rooms into your new space. In a large, multifunctional area emphasise continuity by using freestanding cupboards or sideboards as feature cabinetry. Choose finishes that reflect the mix of old and new, such as the mahogany and Shaker-style designs used here.
Reflect architecture in interior design
Whatever type of extension you choose, be sure to reflect that design in your kitchen scheme. Let the architectural style and shape inspire your choice and positioning of cabinetry and furniture – here, an impressive seven-metre-long workstation mirrors the run of roofline windows above, creating a balanced design that is also a practical solution to providing naturally lit worktops. Enhance the visual impact with a strong matt colour and the storage potential by including cupboards.
Related: Basement kitchens – how to plan, cost and convert your ideal space
Pick simple – but strong – colour schemes
The modern extension will increase the light levels in a property, so be adventurous with colour in your new kitchen. Working against a white or neutral backdrop, make a strong statement with a black gloss central island and black modern stools that create crisp, clean-lined silhouettes. Use gunmetal-finish patio door frames to tie in with stainless-steel appliances. Complement and uplift the scheme with a bright yellow splashback and matching pendant lights that draw the eye upward to impressive roof lights.
Keep your outside space in mind
Lose a wall by installing folding/sliding doors for a space that opens up completely to the garden beyond. Pick and position wall and base units by thinking about the outside space too – here the honeyed tones of cabinetry and fencing co-ordinate, while the height of the panels echoes the run of wall cupboards. A high traffic throughway will need a hardwearing floor so choose a durable dark-wood version.
Blur the boundaries
Use an extension to continue your kitchen space outside. Choose floor tiles that allow a continuous flow from kitchen to patio, giving the illusion of one large room. Use the white of your cabinets and kitchen walls on external brickwork, masonry and planters. Create an outdoor cooking area that has all the features of a kitchen rather than a barbecue, including a worktop positioned to continue the run of the kitchen version inside.
Colour code kitchen zones
Make large, open-plan spaces work by using colour to define different functions. Try white, handleless cabinetry for a practical, easy-to-maintain cooking and food preparation area. Introduce a contrast shade on a breakfast bar island to signpost the change of function, but keep the worktop white to indicate that this is a dual-function surface. For dining, go unfinished wood – in keeping with its proximity to the patio, this table and chairs could be mistaken for garden furniture. Unify the whole with timber flooring, a wooden sideboard and a row of wooden bar stools.
Will you be extending your kitchen?