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Updated: Aug 28

One of the most popular types of house extension carried out in the UK is the Victorian terrace side return extension. Homeowners of these beautiful period properties started to figure out about 30 years back that by extending sideways on the back addition they could transform their homes.

In fact, this type of extension has now got so popular that it is considered a must-do extension if you move into a Victorian terrace.

The traditional back addition on a Victorian terrace was originally designed to provide a small kitchen and breakfast room and if you are old enough you will remember that many of them had an outside w/c added at the back.

The back addition was always narrower than the main house to provide light to the middle room as well as providing direct access to the garden through French doors. It was a great design that we all came to love and has served us well in the past.

Of course, as with most things, we evolve, and our needs change and it is for that reason we see thousands of Victorian terrace side return extensions taking place every year throughout the UK.

The aim of using up what is commonly referred to as "dead space" is a sound one. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because it is only a small strip of garden that it isn’t worthwhile because it is from all viewpoints.


Ask anyone who has added a Victorian terrace side return extension if it was worthwhile and you will get such a huge smile as they tell you how they wished they done it years ago because they now spend most of their days in the back addition enjoying a wide range of benefits of modern living space.

Extending sideways and opening up the rear wall to the garden is one of the best ways to transform a Victorian terrace into a light and airy living space. It is considered a small extension, but it completely transforms how we live and offers various new design ideas and layout options.


Traditionally the Victorian terrace was laid out with a front room, a back room, a breakfast room, a small kitchen and an outside w/c. It amuses me the idea of having to go outside to enter the w/c because the early Victorian architects thought it unsanitary to have an indoor toilet.

The back room on a Victorian terrace tends to be the most under used room in the house. Many homeowners open up the wall between the front room and rear room to make it all open plan but because part of the wall is usually left on both sides, as are the chimney breasts and fireplaces, the overall effect is still that of two rooms rather than one large one. Hence the name tru-lounge.

The only time this type of home improvement project works really well is when you strip out all of the dividing walls, remove one chimneybreast and fireplace, and close up one of the doorways as you only need one. Now you have a large sitting room or family room.

Of course, there are other options that only a few homeowners consider because they simply don’t know they can. For example, what would happen if we opened up the middle room of the house to the back addition on a Victorian terrace?

Look at the drawings below and you will see exactly what happens when we remove a few walls to create an enlarged back addition with kitchen, dining, w/c, and family room.

Victorian Terrace Side Return Extension & Family Room Plans

How you use such a space is up to you but one thing is certain if you add the middle room of the house to the back addition you will transform how the home is used and the benefits are substantial for all members of the family.

By adding a side return extension and opening up the back wall of the house to create an open plan family room the results are staggering as we now have loads of new options that are far more in keeping with modern living.

Just look at some of the benefits:

  • · Huge kitchen and dining room

  • · Downstairs w/c

  • · Utility room / laundry room

  • · Family room which is ideal for families with younger kids. For larger kids or teens, it becomes a tv room or games room.

To view photos of how it works in real life take a good look at the gallery below as it is a rare Victorian terrace side return extension with family room added.

For some, the addition of a side extension to a Victorian terrace is much needed space for growing families, for others it is a design statement but for those in the know, the addition of a side return extension is one of the best investments you can make in terms of creating desirable new living space that all the family can enjoy.

If you have a Victorian terrace and you are considering a side return extension then get in touch with Draw Plans as we will be delighted to hear from you with a view to providing you with expert advice and a free quote for architectural services.

Draw Plans are London based Architectural Technicians Designers and Consultants that specialise in adding space and value at low cost. We provide Plans and Drawings for any type of House Extension or Loft Conversion within 7/10 days.

Prices Start from £795 Plus Vat for Single Storey House Extension Plans

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