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How to plan a two storey side extension (without getting overwhelmed!)

Planning any major work to your home is a big decision. It can be difficult to narrow down your ideas if you’re planning something small, but with a two storey side extension you’ve got even more to think about.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to think of everything before you get started with your project, we’ve put together a checklist to help you gather your ideas together first.

Identify The Main Reason for Your Extension

This is important for any type of extension, whether it’s single storey or two storey.

What will you use the new ground floor space for? Do you need extra bedrooms? Do you need another bathroom? These are useful for you to think about and for us to know so we can produce a first draft for you that reflects your ideas as accurately as possible.

Another thing to consider is whether or not your reason for extending is to add value to your home. This will help determine the size of the extension, the finishes we specify and rooms we’re putting in the extension or adding space to.

How Much Space Do You Have?

How much space you’ve got at the side of your property will determine whether a side extension is feasible at all, and whether it would be worth building a two storey extension.

If you wouldn’t gain much upstairs in comparison to how much it would cost to build, we’d always recommend looking at other ways to add extra bedrooms or space to existing bedrooms.

It's also worth considering that when we submit the design to planning, they will often ask us to show there are enough off road car parking spaces.

Have You Got Any Manholes That May Affect The Design?

Manholes are almost always never a problem.

If you have a manhole within the proposed footprint of the extension, they are usually easy to remove and add a new inspection chamber somewhere else on your property.

We have plenty of experience working with builders, building control and Yorkshire Water doing this.

Do You Want More Rooms or Larger Rooms?

If your family’s grown since you bought your home or you’re planning for it to do so, you might want to add an extra bedroom and en-suite with a two storey side extension, or you might want to make the existing bedrooms larger.

You may have an idea in mind, but once we’ve measured up we may be able to suggest a more cost effective option that would cause less disturbance for your home during the build. When you have a floor plan in front of you, it’s often easier to see the changes you’d like to make.

What Do You Need Extra Space For?

Following on from the previous question - if you’re extending rooms or creating them - what will they be used for?

Having an answer to this question will help us determine the size of the room, the type of windows to put in it and even things such as the door position. We’ll also be able to show more detail on the plans such as furniture to give you a better idea of the sizes of the rooms.

Will You Be Using The Ground Floor as a Garage?

Now we’re getting even more specific - if you’re extending just for extra bedroom space, you might want to include a garage on the ground floor in your extension.

If you’re satisfied with the amount of living space on the ground floor of your home, but would like extra storage or a garage instead of just off road parking, we can specify this in the plans too.

Do You Want To Move The Stairs?

Most of the time we don’t need to move the stairs when designing two storey side extensions as we’re able to come off the existing landing. However, you might want to move the stairs in to the extension or to a better position somewhere else in your home while you’re having building work done.

Do You Want to Use the New Loft Space?

Your two storey side extension will already need to be submitted for planning, so if you want to use the loft space in the new extension this will need to go on the application too. Even if you don’t plan on converting the loft straight away, if you plan on doing so in the future it saves having to apply again.

It is also helpful for us to know if you plan on a loft conversion as we can allow room for a staircase between the first floor and loft, and allow for it in any structural calculations that need to be done and could be affected.


Planning a two storey side extension can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. Work through our checklist to get the most out of your design meetings:

  • What is your main reason for extending?

  • How much space do you have?

  • Are there manholes where you want to build?

  • Do you want extra rooms?

  • Do you want to add space to existing rooms?

  • Will the ground floor include a garage?

  • Do the stairs need to move?

  • Do you need usable loft space?

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