More than 60.6 million American adults were residing with their family in 2014, and the numbers keep climbing. We aren’t just talking about boomerang kids moving back in with Mom and Dad post-college.

America is seeing an increase in three-generation households. Baby boomers are inviting their aging parents to move in, rather than sending them to nursing homes.

Welcoming an older family member into your home soon? Read on for five things to look for in mother-in-law suite floor plans.

1. The Right Location for Your Needs

Basements, garages, dens. All types of spaces have been converted into mother-in-law suites. You can even build a new addition onto your home.

Be sure to consider your unique space. A garage conversion right off the main living area can be convenient, but will noise from other family members keep your new resident up all night?

Think about daily routines, too. You won’t want your parents sleeping in a basement suite if your kids usually practice their instruments downstairs. The location of your mother-in-law suite should make sense for everyone living under your roof.

2. Permits and Building Codes for Mother-In-Law Suite Floor Plans

You’ll want to research permit needs before any work begins. Mother-in-law suites that include and a kitchen and bathroom can transform a space into an ADU (affordable dwelling unit). This almost always requires additional permits.

Permit rules are especially common for septic work. If you’re going to build or renovate a bathroom, you’ll likely need a permit.

3. Lights, Water, Heating, and Cooling

Most mother-in-law suite floor plans do include a bathroom. Some larger suites even feature small kitchens. Make sure water and electricity can be easily connected and accessed where they are needed.

Worried that your older occupant will set the thermostat too high? You may want to set up a separate heating and cooling unit for her space.

4. Design for the Occupant

Even if your mother and father are physically fit and able-bodied now, you should consider how this may change in the future. Your space shouldn’t have stairs in or around it. External doors should be safe and secure.

Be sure to design an accessible bathroom with features like non-slip surfaces. Including extra grab bars and handrails is also a good idea. Even thoughtful placement of light switches and outlets can be helpful.

You want to be sure whoever is living in the space is always safe and comfortable.

5. Leave Room for Flexibility

The mother-in-law suite floor plans you’re considering should leave room for change. The living situation won’t remain the same forever, and it’s likely you’ll want to sell your home at some point. You don’t want the space to be too obviously suited to a specific use.

Consider neutral and classic design elements. Stay away from trendy flooring, lighting, and other finishing touches. If you want to rent out this space for additional income in the future, it should appeal to different people.


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