adu design ideas

ADU Design Ideas: How To Transform the Interior of Your Home

Are you tired of scouring the internet for ways to decorate a small home? You’re not alone. 

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) can be difficult to decorate because they need to meet so many requirements. You need to maximize storage, natural light, and floor space while making the space look and feel good. 

Luckily, limited floor space and storage don’t have to stop you from designing a beautiful and welcoming home. With some creativity and clever planning, you can easily transform the interior into something cozy, organized, and stunning. 

Whether you’re building an ADU to create a source of passive income, or you’re living in an ADU yourself, here are 8 ADU design ideas you can use to make your home beautiful.

1. Accent Wall 

Adding an accent wall to a room in your ADU is a great way to add visual interest and beautify your ADU. Most accent wall ideas are budget-friendly and simple, even though they pack a huge design punch. To make your own accent wall, paint one wall in the room a different color, or you can paint a simple geometric design on it. 

If you want to do more than a simple painted wall, here are some fun accent wall ideas for your interior design style:

  • Wainscotting for Hampton design 
  • Colorful painted patterns for Eclectic design 
  • Textured neutral wallpaper for Minimalistic design 
  • Wooden paneling for Biophilic design  
  • Face brick for Industrial design 

Typically, the accent wall is the one you see first when you walk into the room or the wall that has the most functionality. For example, the accent wall in a living room will be the wall where the TV is mounted. In a bedroom, the accent wall will be at the head of the bed. 

2. Layered Lighting 

Many ADUs make use of open-plan floor plans and multi-functional rooms. To create a separation of each area from the others, it’s important to add subtle visual barriers.

Lighting pieces are a great way to demarcate where one “room” ends and the other begins. In addition to the standard overhead lighting, make use of table lamps and floor lamps to individually light up different sections of a shared space. This layered lighting creates a visual divide between one area and the next. 

For example, you can use a bright table lamp to light up your work-from-home desk setup, and a gentle warm-toned floor lamp to light up your relaxing living room area. The best part about using movable lighting fixtures is that your design is completely flexible. Your ADU can easily adapt to your changing needs, remaining beautiful and functional. 

3. Multi-functional Furniture 

One of the quickest ways to downgrade a room’s aesthetic is to have unorganized clutter–especially in a smaller space! To keep your ADU looking organized and welcoming, invest in furniture that has storage space. 

Storage is priceless in an ADU. It ensures there’s enough room for all your stuff, all while preserving the limited floor space. Look for furniture that gives you additional storage options, such as:

  • Couches with fold-up seats (storage in the base)
  • Beds with slide-out drawers in the base
  • TV stands with cabinets and drawers 
  • Bedside tables with drawers 
  • Coffee tables with drawers or open storage compartments 

Choosing furniture that doubles as storage space is the best way to keep your ADU home tidy and spacious. 

4. Textured Decor 

When choosing decor for your ADU, you want to incorporate as much texture as possible. Without texture, your home can feel boring and flat. But textured furniture can overpower the space and cause it to feel busy and cluttered. 

Textured decor is the perfect medium. It adds depth and interest to your home without overpowering any space. If your ADU home feels bland or uninteresting, try incorporating texture with the following items:

  • Throw pillows 
  • Throw blankets 
  • Storage baskets 
  • Vases 
  • Bookends 
  • Wall art
  • Lighting fixtures 

If you’re worried that different decor pieces won’t match each other, look for items in the same range of colors. The result is cohesive, fun, and beautiful. 

5. Vertical Garden 

Adding greenery to your home keeps the air clean and makes the space feel fresh and full of life. When you’re working in a smaller space, you might not have room for many pots. 

A vertical garden adds a lot of greenery without using much floor space–perfect for your ADU! You can make a DIY vertical planter for decorative plants or for herbs and vegetables if you’re a cooking enthusiast. 

6. Floating Shelves 

As we’ve established, storage is a huge priority in smaller spaces such as ADUs. Adding wall shelving is an easy way to increase your storage options without taking up floor space. You can use wall shelves for books, plants, skin care products, spices, pots and pans, or anything else that you can’t find a good spot for. 

Choose shelves that match the existing interior design style of your ADU home. For sleek and modern ADUs, you can use simple floating shelves that match the color of the wall. For an organic, plant-filled home, use raw edge wooden shelves to add subtle texture and playfulness.

7. Mirrors

You want to maximize the natural light in your ADU to make it feel spacious. Without enough light, the space can feel small and cramped. 

One of the best ADU interior design ideas is to hang a large mirror on the wall opposite the window. This gives the mirror the best chance of reflecting light, and it helps to open up each room. If you can’t get your hands on one large mirror, consider creating a gallery wall of smaller mirrors in beautiful frames. The result is eye-catching, stylish, and brightening. 

8. Window Treatments 

As we’ve mentioned, natural light is really important if you want your ADU to feel bright and welcoming. Using the right window treatment is the best way to maximize natural light during the day and to keep out artificial light at night.

Blackout roller blinds are easy to install and ensure you can have a completely dark room when you need it. They are also much easier to keep clean than regular blinds that quickly get dusty. 

Once you have blackout roller blinds up, use sheer curtains to soften the room’s aesthetic. Sheer curtains give you the best of both worlds, allowing ample daylight through your windows while ensuring privacy.  

Transform Your Interiors with ADU Design Ideas

By now, you should see how decorating an ADU isn’t impossible. These ADU design ideas are simple to implement but make an enormous difference in the look and feel of your ADU home. 

If you found this post interesting or helpful, be sure to check out our blog for more ADU home improvement ideas and ADU home projects. Here at Acton ADU, we pride ourselves on building beautiful ADUs to meet your unique requirements. With 30 years of experience building granny flats and mother-in-law suites, we know exactly how to make you happy. If you’re ready to get started building an ADU in your yard, contact us to make your vision a reality.

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