The right architectural ideas for homes can be transformative, and while small additions and simple re-adjustments might be all a house needs to reach its full potential, sometimes a project calls for something a little more dramatic.
The best examples don’t just provide a pretty facade for a property, they improve the interiors, and how people inhabit the space, too.
Whether you’re planning on constructing or renovating your home next year, or are just in the market for some architectural inspiration, take a look at these interesting architectural and home extension ideas, as some of the world’s top architects share selected projects.
Aditi is a homes writer and editor with several years of experience. Her articles, backed by expert insights, offer suggestions aimed at helping readers make the best home design choices. For this article, she reached out to top architects from the world for fresh, new architectural ideas for homes.
9 exciting architectural ideas that will set your home apart from all others
1. The pitched roof
One among the extension types that add the most value to your property relates to the roof. It’s interesting to consider that pitched roofs with gable ends are considered modern elements, as seen in the works of Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and others, yet this concept is inherently rooted in vernacular design.
To open up your home to more light, air, and a feeling of breeziness, consider this dramatic extension, which also helps define outdoor spaces. ‘The home was conceptualized as a contemporary gabled structure to compliment yet contrast the existing heritage weatherboard home, with context to the coastal environment,’ says Adam Kane, founder of Adam Kane Architects (opens in new tab).
2. The interesting material
A great way to add to your home’s curb appeal is to add stunning new exterior cladding, that immediately grabs the attention of passersby. Be it steel or wood, these materials will provide your home extra support and security.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to paint the exteriors in eye-catching hues.
‘With both clients working in the creative industries they were clear that any rooftop intervention must offer a unique, yet contextual addition to the generic ‘loft company conversion’ and integrate internally with the reinforced concrete structure of the original property,’ says Grant Straghan, director at DeDraft (opens in new tab). ‘We set about detailing the faceted cladding with an experienced metalworker to eliminate all visible fixings to avoid any irregular or concentrated weathering. Each steel panel was folded, installed, and adjusted to achieve tight, sharp joints before being finally reinstalled and bonded to a lightweight timber sub-frame.’
‘Upon initial installation, the cladding was raw, natural steel and with increasing exposure to the elements has already weathered to a darker more burnished appearance as the months’ progress will further darken enabling the new dormer to blend in against the red concrete tiles and deep red brickwork, complementing the aesthetic of the original property,’ says Grant.
3. The glass house
Consider a front or rear extension with an orangery or greenhouse. These have been around since the end of the Renaissance era, and still find relevance in today’s architecture. Consider adding one in your home, for a beautiful, sunny spot to host tea parties, soirees, and more.
‘The conservatory was placed at the heart of the house bringing the garden into the central circulation with habitual spaces positioned around it,’ says architect Nadine Engelbrecht (opens in new tab). ‘The combination of glass and steel is set off by understated local brickwork.’
4. The sculptural skylight
Want to draw the eyes upwards in your home, creating an internal well of light? A good single-story addition is that of a skylight.
Skylights offer the potential to improve any house, as they bring natural light to rooms that might otherwise be dark, frame views of the sky and clouds, and add architectural value to a home.
Consider one, in a unique oval shape to draw the eyes upwards, making the height and depth of the home more pronounced. Keep in mind, that you choose a self-cleaning glass for your skylights, that comes equipped with a special coating that breaks down surface dirt, leaving it free to be washed away by the rain.
5. The modern bay window
Heard of glass box extensions? Give your dining room a special dose of design love with a curving extension with a glass window niche. This will create a cozy vibe, making this space the focal point of the room, and with the endless views, offer a whimsical moment in the daily hubbub.
‘The atmosphere of the dining room is influenced by the great Victorian glasshouses and sun parlors of Richard Turner, and the curved glass form creates a welcoming snug for sitting in,’ says Declan Scullion MRIAI, director SCULLION ARCHITECTS (opens in new tab).
6. The extended vestibule
As a small addition to your home, consider extending a room to establish a seamless connection between the inside and outside.
‘The key idea was to properly connect the lower ground floor with the rear garden – previously the house’s rear basement window was tiny and looked onto a drain,’ says Dominic McKenzie, founder of Dominic McKenzie Architects (opens in new tab)(DMA). ‘The rear garden was excavated and terraced with planters to connect with the lower ground. The main body of the extension was designed as a freestanding tower with a lower, lighter-weight infill part to the side.’
7. The terrace garden
Take your love for gardening to the next level – literally. While undertaking an extension that connects different areas of the home, remember to add a touch of beauty and aesthetics to maintain the appeal of your home. There’s nothing better than a terrace garden.
‘The terrace defines a datum separating old and new, whilst maintaining green yard space displaced by the extension,’ says Nicholas Harvey, founder of Nicholas Harvey Architect (opens in new tab).
8. The modern dormer
Add more functionality to your existing home with a dormer room, that can double as an attic bedroom, a library, or simply a space you come to switch off.
If it’s a reading room you’re interested in creating, consider an eye-catching bookshelf built into the walls, that can also be used for storage. Illuminate them with recessed spots. Don’t forget to add comfortable seating to cozy up the space.
9. The eye-catching façade
Open extensions, filled with natural light, and beautifully compliment its location are ones to take note of. Consider Blackbutt timber and Colorbond Diversaclad (a visually beautiful design option for exterior façades) for an eye-catching exterior addition.
While this seems more like a wonderful architectural feature than just a pure extension, there are lessons to take from the wood casing if you’re adding bi-fold doors.