Extending a bungalow – an easy way to double your living space

Extending a bungalow is becoming increasingly popular with homeowners thanks to their generous spaces, large plots and ease of planning. 

This flexibility offers homeowners the chance to double the size of their home without extending the bungalow into the garden, or affecting their neighbours. 

This potential to really expand living space, their relative rarity and their suburban or semi-countrified location has seen sales boom as investment properties in recent years, especially for families or couples looking to move out of the city. 

Trends have shown that multi-generational family living is growing, with families choosing to move in with their older parents, who often have the space to provide separate accommodation for everyone. 

Dormer, single-storey or upward extensions?

Depending on the bungalow’s location, the size of the plot and the proximity of your neighbours, there are several types of extension open to you. You can extend upwards into a dormer, or add an extra storey to convert the bungalow into a house. If you’ve got a larger plot, then you may be able to extend to the back and to the side. 

Bungalows, like other houses, have Permitted Development Rights attached to them that changed last year to encourage development. At Lapworth Architects, we’ve had a growing number of people interested in investing in their current home for the usual reasons – more space, open-plan kitchen diner, accommodation for family members, better use of the layout. 

Side extensions

Thanks to their large plots and distance between their neighbours, bungalows are ideal for side extensions, and are a great way of separating the sleeping area of the bungalow from the living and social areas, or the kitchen and/or bathroom. 

In addition to simple side extensions, we’ve completed projects that have combined a garage conversion and side extension to create self-contained quarters for family members without increasing the footprint of the dwelling.

Dormer extensions

You’ll need sufficient head height within your room to be able to create a dormer loft extension, but they are efficient ways of increasing room within your bungalow without changing the footprint. 

This is ideal if you’ve on a smaller plot and often avoids issues of overlooking neighbours. Dormer extensions often fall under Permitted Development rules, and are a cost-effective and simple way to increase space in your bungalow without the extra effort of adding an extra storey. 

extending a bungalow

Upward extensions

Thanks to their large footprint, bungalows offer the potential to double your living space by adding floors on top of the existing space, giving you the opportunity to have plenty of room and retain the luxury of a large garden or plot. 

Single-storey upward extensions can be done under Permitted Development rules, but there’s nothing to stop you extending even further under a full planning application. However, there are important structural issues that need addressing when extending upward.

Permitted Development Rights for extending a bungalow

Changes to Permitted Development Rights came into effect in 2020, allowing certain homeowners to extend upwards without requiring full planning permission. This means they could get Prior Approval from their local council to easily extend their home provided their project fit within certain parameters:

  • Their home was built after 1st July 1948 but before 5th March 2018
  • Upward extensions limited to one storey
  • The roof must match the existing

Remember, that these are only the conditions to build under Permitted Development Rights, other options are open to you if you go to full planning permission route. 

To make sure you’re using your Permitted Development Rights correctly, you’ll need to submit a Prior Approval application to ensure that your designs and plans fit within the rules set out for this kind of development. 

Technical considerations of extending a bungalow

Despite their potential for creating a spacious family home, extending a bungalow often comes with complications as they were often built relatively cheaply without any structural provision for extension (such as internal load-bearing walls), and this appears to be especially true for bungalows built from the 1960s onwards. 

If you’re considering extending outwards, you may have to create an extension abutting the existing with its own foundations, and then knock through from the bungalow to the extension, as the bungalow’s own foundations may be rather shallow – testing the foundations beforehand is a wise idea

You’ll certainly need to check your foundations if you’re adding an extra storey to ensure the existing building can take the weight of the extra floor, either via building control records or getting a structural engineer in to dig some trial holes to see the condition. 

Bungalows often lack load-bearing walls internally, so you might need to install structural steels to support the weight of the floor above. Because of this, a popular way of extending a bungalow upwards it to use a timber frame rather than masonry as it often avoids the need to alter the foundations or underpin the existing structure. 

How much does extending a bungalow cost?

Our experience tells us that extending a bungalow on the ground floor will cost around £1,500 per square metre, with costs rising to around £1,750 per sqm for an upward extension, obviously depending on the standard of the finishes.  

However, extending your bungalow can provide an excellent return on your investment thanks to its development potential and relative ease in getting planning permission, making them a project well worth considering. They can be an affordable way to provide housing for larger multi-generational families without sacrificing space or privacy. 

If you’re considering extending your bungalow and want to find out where to start, drop us a line on 0121 455 0032, send us a message.

Why Lapworth Architects?


Our 20+ years of work mean great design and good relationships with planning departments across the region to give our projects the best chance of getting your planning permission and starting building.


Your budget is tailored to your needs so you’re always on top of your costs. We’re proud to offer excellent value for money for our services, from design and planning right through to build.


Our breadth of knowledge makes us an efficient and sustainable choice of local architect, and we have a real vested interest in improving our own built environment right here in the West Midlands.


At whatever stage you’re at with your project, if you’re looking for honest, quality advice from professionals, chat to us, leave us a message or call us on the number at the top of the page. Let’s talk!

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