A rising trend in additions and remodels over the last few decades is the in-law or “granny” suite. These additions can range from grand and sprawling to cute and efficient. If you’re thinking about adding an in-law suite or remodeling part of your home to include an in-law suite, we’re here to help with ideas and information!
In-Law Suite Design Ideas
More and more Americans are living in multigenerational households. In fact, a recent Pew Research Study showed that about 20% of American households include at least one member of a preceding generation.
Many Americans are choosing this option for several reasons, including cost-effectiveness, the need of aging loved ones for a primary caregiver, a loved one not being quite ready for assisted living, or even just the joy of having beloved family close by.
Fortunately, as the need for in-law suites has arisen, homeowners and design-build firms are getting smarter with how they add these additions to the home. With a good design and a great design strategy, you can give your loved one a fully functioning home that supports and honors their independence for as long as possible, while giving each of you the privacy you need.
Here are a few of our favorite in-law suite design ideas.
Add an in-law suite to the basement
One of the most popular ways to add an in-law suite to the home is by converting or finishing the basement. Basements are particularly well-suited to in-law suites because they tend to be spacious and afford a sense of privacy. Plus, they’re usually roughed in for electrical and plumbing, so adding a kitchen or extra bathroom isn’t as big of an undertaking as, say, adding a suite over a detached garage.
A great design-build firm can add a private entrance to the in-law suite and build in a number of amenities to make your loved one feel at home. Some home lots even have room for a smaller, separate driveway so your loved one can come and go as they please.
The minor downside to adding an in-law suite to the basement is the need for stairs to access the main part of the home, which can be a hazard for your loved one. But with some careful planning, you can help make the space accessible and safe for your loved one for years to come.
Add an in-law suite over the garage
One of the most popular in-law suite additions is to build up over the garage. These rooms are typically a manageable size and lend themselves well to “open concept.” Plus, since the garage feels like a separate space in the home, your loved one can feel like they’re living nearby, but not in your existing space. Also, if you plan in advance, you can rent the space out or use it as a rec room or studio until your loved one is ready to move in.
Like basements, over-the-garage in-law suites will likely require stair access, so you’ll want to keep this in mind as you plan your space and make it as safe as possible for your loved one.
Convert the garage to an in-law suite
For families with ample garage space, they may consider converting the garage into an in-law suite. It may mean you lose parking space or storage, but many families find suitable solutions with covered parking or tool sheds.
The advantage of converting a garage to an in-law suite is that it’s easy to welcome your family member into the home, but still give them a sense of their own space. It also makes use of your current square footage, meaning you won’t need to build out on your lot.
Convert the attic to an in-law suite
Attics can make gorgeous in-law suites while taking the most advantage of the space you already have in your home. Many homes have plenty of room in the attic to fit a nice sized living space, kitchenette, bathroom and bedroom.
Attics can also provide coziness and charm if you take advantage of sloped ceilings and angles. For the in-law who doesn’t want to maintain a lot of space, but still wants a space with personality, an attic in-law suite conversion can be the perfect answer. Finished attic spaces can also add a ton of home value or later act as a small apartment or guest suite.
Add an in-law suite addition to your home
If you want to provide your in-law with a full sense of home, you can add an in-law suite addition to your home. In-law suite additions can range from quaint to palatial, depending on the size of your lot and the needs of your loved one. Many homeowners have added a new wing to their home that not only increases square footage, but helps their loved ones have a true sense of their own space.
This strategy can be smart for the in-law or eldergly loved one who may have many years of independent living ahead of them, but isn’t quite ready for assisted living or full-time care. It also gives lots of opportunity for easily accessible entrances and smooth transitions from one part of the home to the other.
For some homeowners, however, an in-law suite addition of this magnitude simply isn’t possible, depending on their lot size or neighborhood or city restrictions.
Add an in-law suite using existing square footage
One of the best ways to add an in-law suite is to use your home’s existing square footage. Underused formal dining rooms and living rooms typically have enough room to be transformed into a cozy space with a bedroom and kitchenette. You might also find that rearranging an awkward room cluster or second floor layout can yield enough square footage for a nice sized room for your loved one. Depending on the location in your home, you may even be able to add their own private entrance.
Tips for adding an in-law suite to your home
We highly recommend planning for your in-law suite addition as far in advance as possible. Talk to your loved ones well before there’s a “need” for an in-law suite so you can all agree on what the space needs and how you picture the living arrangement to work.
Design with Your Loved One
The ultimate design decisions should rest with you as the homeowner, but try to include your loved one in on some of the design process. It’s important that they feel at home in their space, and they might have some great ideas or a perspective you hadn’t considered.
You may also be surprised that something you think is a priority (e.g. a larger kitchen and dining area) isn’t as big of a deal for your loved one. You could end up saving time and money if you’re on the same page before the project begins.
Think about Accessibility
Remember that some of the things you take for granted in your younger age might be difficult to maneuver or handle for your aging loved one. Stairs, skinny hallways and cramped bathrooms can be tricky (or impossible) to adapt to as one ages. A reputable design-build firm should have experience in this area and can help you design a space that looks beautiful and accommodates the changing needs of your loved one. We’ve even added elevators into our clients’ homes so their loved ones can easily access their spaces long after stairs become difficult or dangerous.
In-law Suites and Additions in Columbus, Ohio
Dave Fox is an employee owned company who makes our clients our number one priority. We design and build in-law suites and additions for our clients in Central Ohio and deliver the best value through exceptional craftsmanship, excellent materials and ethical business practices. Contact us today to learn more!