Small House Extension Ideas

Matt Keane
April 10, 2023

Dreaming of adding extra space to your cosy Irish home, but overwhelmed by the constraints of a compact layout? We've been there too. With 60% of Irish houses being small or very small (Eurostat, 2017), finding creative ways to maximise usable area without straying beyond our own four walls has become a common challenge.

In this informative guide, we'll explore a variety of innovative solutions for small house extensions that add value and functionality without draining the budget. Ready for the grand tour?

Key Takeaways

  • Small house extension ideas provide innovative solutions for maximising space and functionality without breaking the budget.
  • Adding a porch, box dormer, or glass roof can increase natural light and enhance the aesthetics of your home.
  • Living room extensions, covered walkways, and side return extensions are practical options for creating more living space in small houses.
  • Lightwells, bay windows, and lean - to conservatories bring in natural light and create bright and airy atmospheres.

Types of Small House Extension Ideas

  • Adding a porch to your small house can create an inviting entrance and provide extra space for outdoor relaxation.
  • A box dormer is a clever way to add extra headroom and natural light in an attic or loft space.
  • A living room extension can expand the main gathering area of your home, giving you more space to entertain guests or relax with family.
  • A covered walkway connecting different parts of the house can enhance functionality and protect against the elements.
  • Installing a lightwell allows natural light to filter into lower levels of your home, brightening up dark spaces.
  • A bay window not only adds visual interest but also creates additional seating or storage areas inside the house.
  • Extending the side return of your small house maximises narrow spaces and creates room for a larger kitchen or dining area.
  • Glass roofing brings in ample sunlight, making any extension feel bright and airy.
  • A lean-to conservatory offers a flexible space that can be used as a sunroom,

Adding a porch

A porch can give a huge lift to your home. It's a great first sight when someone comes over. A small porch can be both nice and useful. Think about a dry, safe space for shoes or coats! Porches work well with all house types, even the smallest ones.

Using glass in the design lets light into your home, too. So go ahead, add that porch!

Box dormer

A box dormer is a type of small house extension that adds extra space and headroom to the upper floor of a home. It involves constructing a vertical box-like structure on top of the existing roof.

This extension is especially useful for homes with limited attic space, as it creates a more usable living area without altering the overall shape or footprint of the house. Box dormers are versatile and can be customised to fit various architectural styles.

They provide an opportunity to add windows, allowing for increased natural light and ventilation in the expanded space. Whether it's creating an additional bedroom or a cosy reading nook, box dormers offer practical and stylish solutions for maximising living space in small houses.

Living room extension

A living room extension can be a great option for adding more space and functionality to your small house. By extending your living room, you can create a comfortable and inviting area for relaxing and entertaining guests.

This type of extension can also increase the natural light in your home, making it feel brighter and more spacious. Whether you choose to add a bay window, a glazed extension, or even a glass roof, there are many options to suit different budgets and design preferences.

With a living room extension, you can transform your small house into a more comfortable and stylish home.

Covered walkway

A covered walkway is a great small house extension idea that can enhance both the functionality and aesthetics of your home. It provides a sheltered path connecting different areas of your property, such as the main house and a garage or an outbuilding.

Not only does it protect you from rain or snow when moving between spaces, but it also adds a stylish touch to your home's exterior. With a covered walkway, you can enjoy seamless transitions while staying dry and protected from the elements.

It's an excellent option for Irish homeowners looking to maximise their space and improve the overall design of their homes.


Adding a lightwell to your small house extension is a great way to bring in natural light and create a bright, airy space. A lightwell is an enclosed area that allows sunlight to penetrate into the interior of your home.

By adding windows or skylights to the walls or roof of the lightwell, you can maximise the amount of daylight that enters your home. This not only makes your living spaces feel more spacious and inviting but also reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day.

In addition to enhancing the aesthetics and functionality of your small house extension, a lightwell can also improve ventilation by allowing fresh air to circulate throughout your home.

Bay window

A bay window is a great option for small house extensions. It adds both space and style to your home. With a bay window, you can create a cosy nook or even a reading area with extra seating.

The additional windows bring in more natural light, making the room feel bright and inviting. Plus, it enhances the overall aesthetic appeal of your home's exterior. Whether you use it as a sunny spot to relax or as an extra dining area, a bay window is a practical and stylish solution for small house extensions that will make your home feel bigger and brighter.

Side return extension

A side-return extension is a popular choice for small house extensions. It involves extending the space at the side of your home, usually where the kitchen is located. This can help create more room in your kitchen or dining area, making it feel more spacious and open.

Side return extensions are particularly common in narrow terraced houses, as they utilise the unused space alongside the property. By extending sideways rather than outwards or upwards, you can maximise your living space without compromising your garden or outdoor areas.

Plus, with careful planning and design, a side return extension can bring in plenty of natural light and enhance the overall aesthetics of your home.

Glass roofing

Glass roofing is a great option for small house extensions because it allows natural light to flood into the space. It creates a bright and airy atmosphere, making the extension feel more spacious.

Glass roofing also adds a modern and stylish touch to the overall design of the home. With glass roofing, you can enjoy starry nights or natural sunlight during the day without sacrificing privacy or insulation.

It's a practical and beautiful choice that can enhance your small house extension.

Lean-to conservatory

A lean-to conservatory is a great small house extension idea that can provide additional space and natural light. It is a simple structure that leans against your existing home, allowing you to make the most of limited space.

A lean-to conservatory can be used as a versatile room, such as an extra living area or even a dining room with views of your garden. This type of extension is cost-effective and can add value to your home.

With its glass roofing, it allows plenty of sunlight to enter, creating a bright and airy atmosphere. A lean-to conservatory is a practical and stylish solution for homeowners looking for functional house extensions in Ireland.


An orangery is a type of small house extension that can add both functionality and beauty to your home. It is similar to a conservatory but with more solid walls, allowing for better insulation and year-round use.

An orangery is typically made with large windows or glass panels, which let in plenty of natural light and provide scenic views of the surrounding landscape. With an orangery, you can create a versatile space that can be used as a dining area, home office, or even a relaxation spot.

It adds value to your property by giving you extra square footage while enhancing the aesthetics of your home. Whether you need more space for entertaining guests or want to enjoy the beauty of nature from the comfort of your own home, an orangery can be an excellent choice for your small house extension project!

Oak frame extension

An oak frame extension is a stylish and popular choice for small house extensions. It adds character and elegance to a home while providing additional space. The use of oak frames creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, seamlessly blending with the existing design.

Oak frame extensions are versatile and can be used for various purposes, such as extending living rooms or creating an office space. They are also durable and long-lasting, making them a practical investment for homeowners.

With an oak frame extension, you can enhance your home's aesthetics while maximizing its functionality.

Glazed extension

One option for a small house extension is a glazed extension. This involves adding a glass structure to your home, such as a conservatory or orangery. A glazed extension can create a bright and airy space that seamlessly connects the indoors with the outdoors.

It allows natural light to flood into your home, making it feel more spacious and inviting. With different design options available, you can choose a style that suits your home's aesthetics and your personal preferences.

A glazed extension is an excellent way to add both functionality and visual appeal to your small house without taking up too much space.

Rear extension

A rear extension is a great way to add extra space to your small house. With this type of extension, you can extend your kitchen or living area outward, creating a larger and more functional space.

Rear extensions are popular because they make the most of the available space at the back of your home. Not only will it give you more room to move around, but it can also increase the natural light that comes into your home.

This makes your living area feel brighter and more spacious. Whether you want an open-plan kitchen or a cosy family room, a rear extension is a practical and stylish solution for Irish homeowners looking to maximise their living space.

Integral garage conversion

Converting an integral garage into extra rooms is a popular small house extension idea. It's a smart way to make use of existing space and create more living space in your home. By converting the garage, you can add additional bedrooms, a home office, or even a playroom for the kids.

This type of extension can significantly increase the functionality and value of your home. Plus, it's often a cost-effective option compared to building an entirely new extension from scratch.

So if you're looking to optimise your living space without breaking the bank, consider converting your integral garage into something more useful and valuable for your family.

Box window

A box window is a great small house extension idea that can add both functionality and aesthetic appeal to your home. It involves adding a protruding window structure to the exterior of your house, creating extra space inside while also enhancing the overall look of your property.

A box window can be used for various purposes, such as creating a cosy reading nook or showcasing decorative items. With its ability to bring in more natural light and provide a unique architectural feature, installing a box window is an excellent way to maximise space without compromising on style.

Benefits of Small House Extension Ideas

Small house extension ideas offer several benefits to homeowners. They create more space, increase natural light, improve functionality, enhance curb appeal, optimise indoor-outdoor living, and elevate the overall aesthetics of the home.

Create more space

Creating more space in a small house is a common goal for homeowners. Small house extensions offer practical solutions to maximise limited living space. By adding an extension, you can increase the size of your roomscreate additional functional areas, and optimise the layout of your home.

Whether it's a rear extension, a side return extension, or converting an existing garage into extra rooms, there are various options to choose from based on your specific needs and budget.

With clever planning and design, even small extensions can have a big impact on creating more space in your home.

Increase natural light

One way to enhance a small house extension is by increasing natural light. Adding windows or skylights can bring in more sunlight, making the space feel brighter and more spacious.

Natural light has many benefits, including improving mood, reducing energy costs, and providing a connection to the outdoors. It's important to consider the placement and size of windows to maximise the amount of sunlight that enters the room.

By incorporating natural light into a small house extension, homeowners can create a warm and inviting atmosphere while also saving on lighting expenses.

Increased functionality

Small house extensions can greatly enhance the functionality of your home. By creating additional space, you'll have room for new activities and storage solutions. Whether it's extending your living roomadding a porch, or converting an integral garage into extra rooms, these small changes can make a big impact.

You can also consider building a covered walkway or a glass roof to connect different areas of the house and optimise indoor-outdoor living. With clever design choices and innovative small house extension ideas, you can create a more functional and practical living environment without breaking the bank.

Improved kerb appeal

Improved curb appeal is a key benefit of small house extensions. It can greatly enhance the overall appearance and attractiveness of your home from the outside, creating a positive first impression.

Small extension ideas like adding a porch, bay window, or box window can instantly elevate the exterior aesthetics of your house. With improved curb appeal, you not only make your home more visually appealing but also increase its value in the eyes of potential buyers.

Optimised indoor-outdoor living

Optimising indoor-outdoor living is a great way to make the most of your small house extension. By creating a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor spaces, you can enhance the functionality and enjoyment of your home.

Consider adding bi-fold or sliding doors that open up onto a patio or garden area, allowing for easy access to fresh air and natural light. You could also incorporate an outdoor seating or dining area, complete with weather-resistant furniture and lighting fixtures.

This will create an inviting space for entertaining guests or simply relaxing outside. Maximising the connection between indoors and outdoors can truly transform your small house into a more spacious and versatile living environment.

Improved aesthetics

Improving the aesthetics of your small house extension can enhance the overall appearance and charm of your home. By selecting the right design elements and materials, you can create a stylish and visually appealing extension that seamlessly blends with the existing architecture.

Whether it's adding contemporary glass roofing or incorporating a box window, these small changes can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of your home. With careful consideration, you can achieve an improved aesthetic that complements your personal style and adds value to your property.

Tips for Choosing the Right Small House Extension Idea

Consider the existing space, identify your needs, evaluate your budget and materials, consider the existing design, and look to the future for the perfect small house extension idea.

Determine the existing space

Before considering any small house extension ideas, it's important to assess the current space available in your home. Take a look at each room and think about how you use it. Are there any areas that could be better utilised? Are there any unused or underutilised spaces that could be converted into something more functional? By understanding the existing layout and limitations of your home, you can make more informed decisions when choosing the right extension idea for your needs.

Identify the need

To choose the right small house extension idea, it's important to identify your needs. Consider what you want to achieve with the extension and how it can improve your living space.

Whether you need more room for a growing family or want to create a functional home officeunderstanding your specific requirements will help guide your decision-making process. Additionally, take into account factors like budget, existing space, and future plans.

By identifying your needs upfront, you can make an informed choice that meets your unique circumstances and enhances both the functionality and aesthetics of your home.

Consider budget

When planning a small house extension, it is important to consider your budget. You want to make sure that the cost of the extension aligns with what you can afford. Take into account not only the construction costs but also any additional expenses such as permits and hiring professionals.

It's a good idea to get quotes from different contractors and compare prices before making a decision. Keep in mind that there are extension ideas for every budget, so even if you have limited funds, you can still find options to improve your living space without breaking the bank.

Evaluate materials

When choosing materials for your small house extension, it's important to consider factors such as durabilitymaintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal. Opt for materials that are long-lasting and low-maintenance to ensure the longevity of your extension.

Evaluate different options like brick, timber, metal, or uPVC based on their suitability for your specific project. Additionally, consider how the chosen material will complement the existing design of your home and enhance its overall appearance.

By carefully evaluating materials, you can make an informed decision that meets both practical and visual needs for your small house extension.

Consider existing design

When considering small house extension ideas, it's important to take into account the existing design of your home. Look at the style and architectural features to ensure that any extension you plan will complement them.

You want the new addition to seamlessly blend with your current layout and aesthetics. Assessing the existing design will help guide your decision-making process and ensure a cohesive look for your home.

Look to the future

As you consider small house extension ideas, it's important to look to the future. Think about how your needs might change over time and choose an extension that can adapt with you.

Consider flexible designs that can be easily modified or expanded as your family grows or your lifestyle evolves. Additionally, think about sustainability and energy efficiency in your extension plans.

Investing in eco-friendly materials and technologies now can help reduce your carbon footprint and save on future energy costs. By looking to the future when planning your small house extension, you can ensure that it continues to meet your needs for years to come while adding value to your home.

Unleash Your Home's Potential: Dive into Small Extension Ideas Now!

In conclusion, small house extension ideas can transform your home into a more functional and stylish space. Adding a porch, box dormer, or glass roof can increase natural light and improve aesthetics.

Whether you're looking to create more space or enhance the overall appeal of your home, small extensions offer cost-effective and innovative solutions for homeowners in Ireland. So why wait? Start exploring these creative ideas today to make the most of your limited living space!

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