Thinking of adding an in-law suite to your home? With multi-generational living on the rise, in-law suites have become a popular solution for families to create extra living space on their property. Whether you’re looking to renovate an existing room or build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), check out these 12 options for where to create an in-law suite and what features to include based on the location you choose!
A converted attic offers plenty of space for you to add an in-law suite to your home. This space works best for occupants who don’t require specific accommodations since it will only be accessible by stairs, and it’s a good idea to add a handrail to the steps. Though converted attics don’t make it possible to include a separate entryway from the outside of the home, they do provide a high level of privacy since attic apartments usually take up the entire floor. The most important attic renovations are reinforcing floor joists, soundproofing the floor, and installing HVAC to make this a comfortable living space. Although attic renovations can be fairly involved, finishing the space can add to your property value!
Lofts are usually smaller than attic spaces, as they cover a few rooms rather than take an entire floor of the house. Unlike attics, lofts are often finished with drywall, lighting, and flooring, but it’s still a good idea to add a safety railing to any open edges. Since many lofts are already intended for use as a livable area, they can be an inexpensive multi-generational living option—especially if you have just one relative moving in!
Unused bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, or other already finished spaces offer unique benefits and are a great place to create an in-law apartment. Dining rooms are typically located near the kitchen and on the first floor of most homes, so they often need to have doors added to convert them to private suites. Bedrooms often come equipped with built-in closets and bathrooms, so they’ll need very few upgrades to become a suitable in-law suite. If elderly relatives living in the space need any mobility accommodations, a main-level bedroom will offer much greater accessibility than a separate in-law suite on a different level of the property.
Create a room with a view for your guests by converting your enclosed porch into an in-law suite! These main-level summer rooms are both highly accessible and offer their own separate entry point to the home. This will help give your in-law suite’s occupants more ownership of their space, which is an important consideration when adjusting to multi-generational living. Convert your enclosed porch into a mother-in-law suite by replacing window screens with drywalls or glass windows. Other renovations, like adding an HVAC unit, will make the space more livable, as well.
Finished basements are typically spacious and provide a private bathroom, making them an ideal option for in-law quarters. Converting a separate level of your home for an in-law suite not only helps to separate space but also offers greater privacy than other multi-generational living arrangements. With the space finished basements can provide, you can install other amenities like an in-unit washer and dryer or kitchenette—your in-laws can host guests or even entertain friends!
Over the Garage
Converting the attic area of your garage will allow you to give your relatives a private, separate in-law suite on your property without sacrificing any of your main garage space. To achieve this addition, start with adding a stairwell inside your garage to provide safe access to the suite.
Garages are another good place to add an in-law suite, which allows for separate entry from the main home. Converting a garage into an in-law apartment will be a matter of adding all necessary features—such as electricity, running water, and heating—rather than rearranging existing ones. The conversion process is fairly involved, as you’ll need to add windows, insulation, flooring, and other basic features in order to make it livable. This also means you have plenty of customization options throughout the process. Involving the in-law suite’s future occupants in this conversion process may help them treat the space as their own custom build.
Building an Attachment
If you don’t have the space in your home to accommodate multi-generational living, building an attachment lets you design your new in-law suite from scratch. This means you can adjust the size, layout, and features based on your specific needs! Attached in-law suites let you keep your relatives close, while still offering them the privacy and independence of having their own living space. Unlike a general add-on, there are some zoning laws that apply to building an attachment to be used specifically as a granny flat.
Sheds aren’t just an effective space for storage—they’re also a good place for adding an in-law suite. If you have a large enough shed, you can easily convert it into a tiny house-like unit for relatives moving to your property. Though not the largest, sheds make for private, accessible, and highly customizable in-law quarters. The lack of stairs is another bonus for your in-law suite occupants!
Separate guest houses are a popular option for adding an in-law suite to your property. These long-term, multi-generational living solutions not only make it simple to separate utilities and create distinct, private living spaces, but they also add value to your property. If you have the space and resources, building an accessory dwelling unit is an extremely convenient option. Keep in mind that not all HOAs will allow you to have a guesthouse in your backyard, so be sure to check this, as well as local zoning laws, before you add one!
Got a pool house on the property you rarely use except for storing some extra supplies in the off-season? Turn it into a separate in-law suite! Many pool houses are already equipped with creature comforts like bathrooms and kitchenettes, but if yours doesn’t, this renovation will involve adding extra walls and installing the necessary fixtures to update your guest suite. Pools are also a great therapeutic exercise for older people, so having one right outside will be an added bonus for any elderly live-in relatives! For extra safety, add textured tile or another slip-resistant outdoor flooring option around the pool to help prevent falls.
Prefab In-Law Suites
If you want to build an in-law suite but don’t know where to begin, prefab homes may be the solution for you. Prefab in-law suites are one of the fastest and most convenient additions you can make to your home. These pre-made units are designed to be move-in ready, so all you’d have to do is decorate and furnish the home. If you’re adding multi-generational living space to your home in a hurry, these units are the perfect choice.
Need somewhere to store personal belongings you no longer have room for after adding an in-law suite? Extra Space Storage has convenient self storage facilities throughout the U.S. Find a storage unit near you!