Property - Do-it-yourself

A couple looking at plans for a house extension with their architect.  PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

A couple looking at plans for a house extension with their architect. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

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An extension is a great way to make your home bigger and better, as long as you don’t make your garden too small in the process.

While building an extension won’t be cheap and will take some time, it’s often better than having to move home when your family has outgrown its current one.

Depending on your home’s layout and as long as the new layout complies with building regulations, a ground-floor extension can be turned into pretty much anything, typically a kitchen-diner, especially in a side return, but also an extra living area or den, a home office or even a bedroom and en suite, perfect as a granny or nanny annex.

If you can run to a two-storey extension, you’ll increase your living and sleeping space, or can add a dressing room or extra bathroom upstairs, whatever you need.

The problem with two-storey extensions is that they often require planning permission, whereas ground-floor extensions can often be done under your home’s permitted development rights, providing it has them - flats and maisonettes don’t and some houses have had theirs removed.

If your home doesn’t have these rights or you want to build an extension that can’t be done under permitted development, you’ll have to go through the planning process, which can be lengthy, expensive and frustrating.

Like any other big home-improvement project, an extension can easily go over budget, so keep a careful eye on the numbers and schedule and always have a contingency fund for unexpected problems.