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Would A Side Return Extension Work For Me?

A side return extension is one of the most common and popular building projects, especially in period properties. The idea behind this is to stretch your home into the path way that runs alongside the ground floor area of your house. This extension reclaims the small but effective space, making your internal home larger.

Side return extensions are usually fairly small, but make a massive impact to the look and feel of your house. They are a fantastic option for people looking to expand their kitchen and dining room area.

These extension projects aren't huge but can create an amazing effect, they need to be thought out properly as if done incorrectly the extension could be disappointing. For example you must be careful to not block the flow of light or disrupt your exiting space in a negative way.

If you are thinking about a side return extension, Studio 4 Architecture have created this blog to give you a overview of what the project would entail.

Do I need planning permission?

Studio4 would be able to advise you on this directly, as each extension is slightly different. As a rule, planning permission is no longer required for a ground floor side return extension as these projects are only single storey. The extension must not be taller than 4m high and not wider than half the width of your house. So your extension may fall under Permitted Development rights, which allows certain works to be carried our without having to apply for planning permission

How is the structure created?

Creating the structure of your extension is straightforward, it involves adding a new wall and roof while knocking down the existing rear room wall. Or perhaps only partially knocking down, depending on the design you go for.

What styling would I choose?

A big question when thinking about a side return extension is whether you would like to complement the existing house, or do something that contrasts the styling. There is no right or wrong answer here, it’s your house so your rules!

It’s a great idea to really think about the space you want to create, have it clear in your mind. Would you prefer a radical new look to really shake things up, for example going for a modern angular design on a traditional building. The contemporary approach usually involves minimal barriers between outside and in, glass creates a fantastic effect. Or if you would like an extension which is in keeping with your original house, you could look at products that would match the externals.

Discuss this with your architect and hear what ideas they come up with. Decide on the flow of the house you wish to create, do you want a large open space by knocking down walls or perhaps keep the general layout? The options are endless!

How much does a side return extension cost?

Knowing how much an extension costs is obviously important, and you probably wont want to hear it but unfortunately there isn’t a set figure we can give you (at this stage). There are a number of factors involved such as:

  • Design

  • Site conditions

  • Materials

  • Location

  • Labour costs

All the above can massively affect the cost of your side return extension, the best option is to have an architect professional visit your house. Studio 4 Architecture would be able to give you an estimate budget working to your brief. You may also find this blog useful.

The Studio4 Approach

A side return extension could be just the thing your property needs to give it a new lease of life, creating a larger living space will massively benefit your home both internally and externally. Like any building project it needs to be thought through and clear in your own mind.

Do you think a side return extension would work well in your property? If you’re not quite sure, Studio 4 Architecture would like to be of help. We offer completely free consultations, in which we visit your home and discuss what it is you’d like to create. Studio4 were recently chosen by Threebestrated as one of the Top Three Best Architects in Harrogate, They select businesses by checking everything from reputation, history, local reviews, satisfaction, trust, customer service, cost to general excellence.

For more information and to book your free consultation, get in touch on or 01423 226 333.

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