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Creating the Ideal Merged Living Space in Your Home

Since 2007, the number of multigenerational families has increased by 10% in the United States. Motivations include financial benefit, help with childcare or aging parents, and the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we’re seeing a trend in requests for merged living spaces. No longer the cramped, dark spaces of the past, today’s multi-generational living spaces feature plenty of light, open lines, and contemporary designs. If you’re considering adding a merged living space or converting an existing area for that purpose, you’ll find plenty of inspiration below.

In-Law Suite Ideas for 2021

In-law suites are typically private spaces that include a bedroom and bathroom. They can be found attached to the main house or located on the same property. The most common options for in-law suites include converted garages, basements, and guests houses.

Before you start planning your in-law suite, check building codes. You’ll want to understand whether you can build your in-law suite as a detached building or as an addition to your home. This information will also help you determine whether you can install a full kitchen or will need to stick to a bedroom, bath, living area, and small kitchen only. Be sure to review whether you need to live on the property where the in-law suite is built, regulations regarding sewer and water, and whether you can install an additional outside entrance.

Basement In-Law Suites

Converting or finishing a basement is one of the top options for creating a multigenerational living space. Basements offer privacy and space, giving the feel of a home away from home. Because these spaces are usually already set up for electrical and plumbing, converting them into a larger living space is often more doable than doing so for an above garage space.

If you’re considering a basement in-law suite, think about accessibility and light. You’ll need a way for your loved ones to access the main part of the home. In many cases, it makes sense to build a separate entrance to the basement in-law suite. You can also reconfigure your current staircase to the rest of your home for greater lighting and safety.

Over the Garage In-Law Suites

second floor addition over a garage

Second Floor Addition Over a Garage

Over the garage, in-law suites are popular due to their size and open concept feel. This space will keep your family members close but offer them some additional privacy. The area above the garage is often referred to as “a bonus room” and can be converted to include additional amenities.

If you’re considering building an over-garage in-law suite, keep the following in mind:

  • Accessibility via stairs
  • Heating and cooling
  • Space: you’ll want a minimum of 300 square feet
  • Sources for natural lighting

Tips for Making the Most of Your In-Law Suite

First, make sure you have enough space, around 300 to 700 square feet. Due to the typical size of the suite, you’ll want to consider an open floor plan. This will help you maximize the space as much as possible. Consider multi-purpose furniture and neutral color palettes to make the suite appear more open.

Next, think about natural light. Spaces above garages are often dark and cramped as are basements. Look for ways to build in additional sources of natural light. Doing so will make your suite much more livable.

Finally, consider comfort level. Do you need to add heating and cooling into your addition? You can expand your existing system, which is generally the priciest option. With a ductless system, you can add a mini split to the room. That way, you can control the climate of the in-law suite in a more energy-efficient way.

Contact Us Today

Ready to start building your own merged living space? Owings Brothers has experience creating contemporary, inviting in-law suites. To discuss your project, request a free consultation from our design team today.