Building laterally onto a home is a common way to alter a floor plan and gain additional living space. Examples include expanding a living room or kitchen or adding a sunroom or other entirely new space to an existing floor plan.
According to Mike Fowler of Fowler Architects, lateral additions are very common and can be a good alternative to building an additional level in historic districts or in areas where building up is not an option. Two important considerations are having the lot space to accommodate the addition and maintaining harmony between rooms.
"You have to consider the arrangement of windows, furniture placement, and the flow from room to room," says Fowler. "You want the addition to complement the existing space, not overpower it."
The best thing about building an addition onto an existing property is that it's relatively easy to construct and it adds substantial value to a home in terms of resale. Lateral additions also offer flexibility. You are limited only by your imagination. Well, that and your local zoning commission.