11 side-return kitchen extension projects

A side-return kitchen extension is a great way to add extra space to an often unused area that runs along the side of many Victorian and Edwardian properties. Who puts their bins there? Be honest, Sometimes this space houses the existing kitchen, which will often be long and narrow in shape so by extending out to the side it is possible to square this space off making it a much more useable kitchen or open plan room. Sounds better than a home for the wheelies doesn’t it?

Having taken on my own renovation project on a tiny listed cottage I am always looking for ideas to make the most of my new space. So if you have or are thinking of extending and making use of your side return take a look at my latest inspiration gallery with 10 of my favourite side-return kitchen extension projects. It was not an easy task narrowing them down to 10, I tell you!

Let me take your eyes back up for sec. The owners of this project above have created a functional family home using every bit of space available. With so much glazing the owners have really made use of natural daylight and created a fantastic indoor-outdoor feel with folding doors.
The original  kitchen was narrow and gloomy so the owners added a new side-return kitchen extension with a large skylight to create a more generously sized, light-filled space. How gorgeous is this marble island…
Navy kitchen extension with skylight

Design by Frank & Faber, Tap, for similar, try Insinkerator; worktops and splashback, Rossi Stone Works; flooring, The Concrete Flooring Contractors; dining chairs, for similar, try La Redoute; table, for similar, try Another Country. Photography: Paul Craig

A side-return kitchen extension into the largely wasted space of this Victorian house’s side return has dramatically increased the room’s width – an effect enhanced by glass doors which fold fully back.

Kitchen prices from £12,000, DeVOL

This industrial-style kitchen extension has been designed to include this fantastic walk-in larder for spices, small appliances and dry goods. More about creating your perfect larder here.

Project by Roundhouse. The walk-in larder is accessed via a single steel-framed door with reeded glass, from Fabco, which was chosen to underpin the industrial feel. Photography: Darren Chung

The structural glass roof brings in light and adds a feeling of space. The owners of this stunning shaker-style side-return kitchen extension have kept the side return a central feature in this stylish scheme. This kitchen must be drenched in natural sunlight in the mornings – dreamy. 
Shaker style side return kitchen extension

Kitchens from The Shaker Kitchen Company start from £10,000

For this project the owners used a large amount of glazing to ensure the kitchen-diner stayed as light as possible and the use of fins add drama to the scheme as well as some privacy from the neighbours.
Side return kitchen extension with fins

This project has a small garden area so the best way to create more space inside was to make use of the redundant side return

With a limited budget and limited space for extending, Material Works‘ challenge was to transform the existing dark and cramped kitchen in this Victorian terraced house in Stoke Newington, London into a bright and open space, perfect for a growing family.

To achieve the bright and airy extension, an extensive roof light was installed above the new addition and the rear wall
opened up with large sliding doors above the new window seat. Plus, HI-MACS worksurfaces were used on the kitchen island and worktops.

Teaming the reinforced exposed steel joists with bi-fold doors and glass panels highlights the scale and dimensions of this ground-floor side-return kitchen extension by UVArchitects. This project feels light and airy and a real extension of the garden.
Side return extension with steel beams

A similar glazed roof and wall panel assembly would cost from £9600 to £12,000, UVArchitects

One of the main challenges with a kitchen extension is allowing as much light in as possible. A great way to achieve this is with the use of a glass panelled roof light like this project below. This Victorian townhouse is spacious and bright whilst still maintaining its traditional character. The banquette seating adds a touch of French brasserie style and fits in perfectly with the new layout.
Traditional kitchen extension using side return

Design by Burlanes Interiors, Roof lights and French doors, from David Salisbury. Worktop, Silestone; hob, for similar, try John Lewis & Partners; ovens, Neff; stand mixer, Kitchen Aid; splashback, for similar, try CreoGlass. Photography: Adelina Iliev

The owners of this Victorian terraced house in London transformed their kitchen with a side-return extension, which allowed for enough space for both an island and dining table, while retaining the beautiful original bay window. The deep run of cupboards don’t obstruct or close off the window or view into the garden but allow for plenty of storage. I love the dark green cabinetry and glazed doors paired with the light walls for a real statement kitchen.
Dark green kitchen extension

Design by PlaceDesign Kitchens and Interiors; kitchen cabinetry, Davonport; worktop, Silestone; ceiling lights, Mr Resistor.  Photography: Darren Chung

I’ve saved my favourite for last… The homeowners of this five-bedroom Georgian house extended into their side return and transformed their previously dark and dingy kitchen into an elegant, light-filled space, complete with this fantastic picture window that perfectly blends indoors and out. To add even more light they created a long roof light above the kitchen units too. Oh my gawd! I love it.
Picture window kitchen

Kitchen, Puccini Kitchens; interior design, Imperfect Interiors; skylight and picture window; Maxlight.  Photography: Chris Snook

You may also enjoy: How to plan a kitchen: Your essential guide

Featured image: Design by Build Team, Glazing, for similar, try Maxlight; extractor fan, for similar, try Falmec. Photography: Alison Hammond

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