When you decide you want to renovate your home, add an extension or simply to do it up, your first thought maybe I’ll have to employ an architect.  However, employing an architect is not always necessary and here’s why:

Firstly, let me state architects are highly trained professionals and are mre than capable of designing and planning for your new extension. However, as most of us are not looking to replicate the latest Dermot Bannon masterpiece, there are other options than architects.  We are just looking for a home extension,  that works for our family, improves our lifestyle and most importantly is not going to break the bank.

So, what are the other alternatives?

1. Package Companies

There are many other alternatives to choose from rather than an architect. One stop shop building package companies have become popular, mainly with first time experienced home owners. The concept is they take the stress out of it all, ie they take control of the project, from design to construction. However, the snag is as they own the design, and in order for you to go ahead with it you would also be required to sign up to their particular materials package and this is where they make their money.

2. Go It On Your Own

You could have a go of it yourself? It is possible. There are many free 3D software packages available such as google sketch up and you tube tutorials. I believe with enough interest and passion you could definitely do it for yourself. However, sometimes an opinion and passion are not always enough, where self designers fall down are on experience and knowledge. The space may have been designed but the aesthetics of the room may not have been considered, certain structural support may have been overlooked or misunderstood. In this case, it is more about what you don’t know than what you know and all of which can cost you time and money.

3. A Designer

Designers can have many titles, marriage counselor’s, therapist, mind readers, even miracle workers. I was once called ‘a little ray of sunshine’. I’ll take that! Our professionally titles can be Interior Designers, Space Planners or Spatial Interior Designers. In hindsight, it actually doesn’t matter what we are called, it’s actually what we do that is far more important and that is designing a layout for your home that best suits your family’s needs. Designing the flow and function of your home that enriches your lifestyle ultimately change the way you live and you don’t need an architect for that. A designer can produce scaled plans and 3D visuals that your builder can easily work from and project manage the build. This way you have control of the decision making as you have a better understanding of your project, You can choose the materials you like and can afford.  Sounds very stress free and inexpensive to me?


For the majority of extensions planning permission is not always required, Generally, you will not need planning permission to build an extension to the rear of the house which does not increase the original floor area of the house by more than 40 square metres and is not higher than the existing house. You can also check with your local authority. This is why and where having a spatial interior designer to design your layout has many advantages, particularly those doing modest kitchen extensions or interior alteration work on a budget.


Ultimately, the design person or persons you choose to design for your home is based on the level of service you require. For more complex designs where planning permission is required then hire an architect. Where the concentration of design is more about the flow and function of your home rather than the style of roofing then I would be recommending a designer.  If you are looking to reconfigure your existing space, or to add a four-sided extension, a designer can do just a good job as an architect and the bonus being they would be a fraction of the cost.

The aim, to always find somebody who is on the same wavelength as you, who speaks the same language and understands what you are looking for. The good news is, that person doesn’t need a multi of letters after their name, experience, knowledge, desire, passion and understanding are the words that I would describe some of the best designers.


The choice is yours.


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