How to Maximise Light in a Kitchen Extension

In the domain of home design, few elements are as coveted as light. Its ability to transform the look, feel and function of a space is unparalleled – and your dream kitchen is no exception.

Thoughtful lighting can not only improve functionality but help create an inviting atmosphere and elevate the overall ambiance of the kitchen. This is why we always place a special focus on light when spearheading kitchen extension projects.

Want to learn more about why maximising light should be a top priority? Read on as explore a variety of strategies to help you harness the power of light and pull off a radiant kitchen extension.

The power of natural light

Unless you live in an especially unique building, it’s safe to assume that most kitchens have windows or at least some source of natural light. Beyond function, sunlight has myriad benefits that make it worth prioritising when designing your kitchen extension. Let’s take a closer look:

Mood-boosting properties

Natural light has incredible mood-boosting properties and the power to improve your mental health and well-being. Exposure to sunlight has been shown to increase serotonin (the happy hormone) levels, promote Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) synthesis. It also helps to regulate the circadian rhythm, the natural cycle that dictates your sleep/wake patterns.

A valuable design tool

From a design perspective, natural light can make a kitchen feel larger and more spacious. In a kitchen extension, where space may be at a premium, inviting natural light to flood the room can help create a more enjoyable environment for cooking, dining, entertaining or simply relaxing with a cup of coffee and the morning newspaper.

How to maximise natural light in your kitchen extension

Now that you know more about natural light's transformative power, let's get more specific with design strategies. Here are six ways to maximise light in your kitchen extension:

1. Strategic placement of windows and skylights

The placement of windows and skylights can make a world of difference when maximising natural light in your kitchen extension. Ideally, you'll want to position these portals to capture as much sunlight as possible throughout the day. Decisions will generally be driven by the orientation of your home and the sun’s path.

If you’re lucky enough to have a south-facing kitchen, capturing natural light should be easy. For kitchens on the house's north side, consider installing skylights to allow indirect sunlight to pour into the room. Solar tubes, cylindrical skylights that capture sunlight and funnel it indoors, can be a clever way to bypass roof or attic spaces and direct natural light into your home.

Along with size and placement, the style of your windows can impact the amount of light in your kitchen. For example, floor-to-ceiling windows can create a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor spaces.

2. Use reflective surfaces

Windows and skylights aren’t the only way to maximise light in a kitchen extension. Clever design strategies like the incorporation of reflective surfaces can help amplify light.

Materials like glass, granite, stainless steel and glossy tile can bounce light around the room, making it feel brighter and more spacious. Similarly, incorporating glass-fronted cabinets or open shelving can not only create visual interest but allow light to penetrate deeper into the space.

One material we’ve embraced over recent years is polished concrete. Ideal for floors and countertops, polished concrete has a high-gloss surface that reflects light around the kitchen. As well as brightening the space and creating a modern aesthetic, polished concrete wins serious points in the durability department.

The industrial-inspired material is perfect for high-traffic spaces like the kitchen and requires minimal maintenance. Plus, it has excellent thermal mass properties and can help regulate the temperature of your space. If you want to bring a sustainable edge to your kitchen extension, polished concrete can be a clever way to enhance energy efficiency.

3. Get clever with colour

As a general rule, choose light-coloured finishes for walls, ceilings, countertops and cabinetry. All have large surface areas, meaning colour can dramatically impact the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Soft whites, creams and light pastel shades are excellent paint choices for kitchen walls. The same goes for flooring, with options like pale wood or light-coloured tiles helping to reflect light upwards and create an airier feel.

4. Optimise layout and functionality

Consider how light will affect the layout and functionality of your kitchen during the design process. For example, positioning workstations like sinks and prep areas near windows or under skylights can help capitalise on natural light. Likewise, opt for sleek cabinetry and furnishings that won't impede light flow throughout the room or obstruct views.

5. Trim outdoor foliage

Strategies to maximise light in your extension can extend beyond the kitchen itself. Consider trimming trees, shrubs and other foliage outside your kitchen windows that may block natural light or cast shadows.

6. Enlist the help of a professional architecture firm

Hiring a professional architecture firm to oversee your kitchen extension is one of the most effective ways to maximise light. They take the guesswork out of design and use specialised techniques like sun shadow studies to visualise how natural light interacts with your space. Assessing sun angles, exposure and shadows can help enormously when it comes to the strategic placement of windows, skylights and reflective surfaces to optimise light distribution.

Illuminate your kitchen extension with CODA Bespoke

Kitchens are more than just functional spaces. They serve as the heart of the home and provide a space to socialise, entertain and come together as a family. For some homeowners, kitchens are creative outlets for self-expression. Others rely on kitchens as hubs for health and wellness, or as spaces to simply relax and unwind. And of course, from a property perspective a thoughtful kitchen extension can significantly impact the resale value of your home.

Whatever your motivation, at CODA Bespoke we’re committed to offering tailored kitchen extension solutions that will make your space shine. We collaborate closely with every client to integrate personal preferences with architectural principles and out-of-the-box thinking. The result? Beautiful, light-filled kitchens that merge form and function.

Tell us about your project today to take the first step towards your dream kitchen extension.

From luxury home renovations to innovative new builds, bringing your architectural vision to life is always exciting. Preparation is the key to success, which is why it’s so important to put in the groundwork before starting your project. This is where planning permission comes in.

Regardless of size or scale, planning permission is generally the backbone of any construction project. It helps streamline the overall construction process, minimise delays and ensure the finished product is 100% legal and above-board.

Wondering whether you need planning permission? In this hands-on guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about planning permission. This includes a definition of the term and breakdown of the application process. Our goal? To empower you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate your construction project with confidence.

What is planning permission?

Dreaming of converting a centuries-old farmhouse in the Yorkshire countryside into a high-end home? Maybe you want to breathe new life into an existing property with an extension that champions light, space and open-plan living? Whatever your project, there’s a high chance you’ll need planning permission.

What is planning permission exactly? Granted by local authorities, planning permission is formal consent for certain types of development or changes to a property. Also called planning consent, it ensures that proposed construction projects comply with local policies and regulations, with a goal to safeguard the interests of both the property owner and the wider community.

Do I need planning permission if I own the property outright? Yes, even if you own your property, you’ll still need a permit to proceed with most major development plans.

The Federation of Master Builders defines planning permission as “the approval given by the local authority under the power given to it by the 1948 Town and Country Planning Act to allow the building of, or changes to, a building.”

Planning permission is typically required for:

  • New build developments
  • Property extensions
  • Significant alterations or renovations to an existing property
  • Change of use or rezoning of a property (for example, from residential to commercial)
  • Development in designated areas, for example National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Some demolitions

Why planning permission matters

If you proceed with a construction project that requires planning permission but fail to secure approval, you may be forced to demolish work or make significant changes. Needless to say, this can be an extremely costly venture.

Do I need planning permission if I plan to sell the property down the line? Absolutely. Properties that have been illegally developed may also be ineligible for a mortgage. This can create major issues when it comes to selling your property or using it as collateral.

When is planning permission needed?

Determining whether you need planning permission for your project depends on several factors. These include the size and nature of the proposed development.

In general, you’ll need planning permission in the following scenarios:

Major construction work

You’ll almost always need planning permission for new builds, as well as large property extensions and conversions that exceed certain size limits. Planning permission is also required for major alterations that change the appearance or function of the property.

Changes to listed buildings

Do I need planning permission for heritage buildings? Yes, you’ll need to request Listed Building Consent before making changes to a building with historic or architectural interest. This includes extensions and alterations that affect the character and appearance of the building. If the property is heritage listed, you might also need planning permission to modify outbuildings. The Historic England search tool is a terrific resource to check the listing status of a building.

Development within designated areas

While possible, development within National Parks, Conservation Areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty comes with unique challenges. Development is more restricted for buildings located in these types of areas, and often planning permission is required for minor work that would usually be exempt.

Alterations to the exterior of a property

Any modifications to the exterior of a property, such as adding or removing windows, installing new doors or altering the roofline, may require planning permission.

Changes of property use

Do I need planning permission for conversions? If you're converting a property for a different use, it’s highly likely you’ll need planning permission to ensure compliance with local zoning regulations. Our award-winning Corn Yard development is a prime example, which saw a 200-year-old industrial corn mill transformed into a pair of luxury, energy-efficient homes.

Exemptions for planning permission

Do I need planning permission for smaller projects? While planning permission is required for most construction projects, certain developments may be exempt and eligible for permitted development rights.

For reference, the government defines ‘permitted development rights’ as “the improvement or extension of homes without the need to apply for planning permission, where that would be out of proportion with the impact of the works carried out.”

Examples that may fall under permitted development rights include:

Minor property alterations

Small-scale changes or extensions that fall within specified size limits and don’t significantly alter the external appearance of the property.

Loft conversions

Converting an existing loft space into habitable accommodation may be permitted under certain conditions. These may include maintaining the existing roofline and not exceeding specified size limits.

Certain types of outbuildings

The construction of sheds, garages and other outbuildings may be permitted provided they meet size and placement criteria outlined in local planning regulations.

Secure planning permission with CODA Bespoke

Navigating the planning process can be daunting, but you don't have to go it alone. At CODA Bespoke, our experienced team of architects and planners are here to guide you through every step of the process, including obtaining planning permission. Here's how we can help:

Initial consultation: We'll start by discussing your project goals, ideas and any concerns you may have. Our team will assess the viability of your proposal and provide expert advice on planning requirements and potential challenges.

Design development: Once we have a clear understanding of your vision, we'll work closely with you to develop detailed design concepts.

Planning application: Our experienced team will prepare and submit a comprehensive planning permission application on your behalf. This includes gathering all the necessary documents and information to support your proposal. Why does this matter? A polished planning permission application can have a big impact on your project timeline and drastically reduce delays.

Negotiation and resolution: In the event of objections raised by authorities or local residents, we'll represent your interests and negotiate on your behalf to secure planning permission.

Construction oversight: Once planning permission is secured, our team will coordinate the construction phase of your project. We oversee every stage with acute attention to detail to ensure your vision is faithfully executed and the finished product exceeds expectations.

Ready to explore the possibilities for your construction project? Contact CODA Bespoke today to schedule a consultation and bring your vision to life.

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