Granny Flat Designs: 5 Steps to Design the Perfect Granny Flat

There are currently more than 333 million people living in homes across the United States. Your home provides a place of safety, security, and comfort for you and your loved ones. That said, the property that you own is a huge investment so knowing how to handle it properly is important.

Up to 6.02% of Americans own more than one property or piece of land. Making the most of the space you have can increase the value of your properties and provide passive income on the side. This is where high-quality granny flats come in.

However, knowing where to start with granny flat designs can feel overwhelming. You need to make a lot of decisions early on to maximize the potential that your space has to offer.

Not sure where you start with your granny flat design? Then you’re in the right place! Read on to find out everything you need to know about creating the perfect granny flat.

What is a Granny Flat? 

A granny flat is another name given to an additional living space or housing unit on your property. These may also be referred to as accessory dwelling units (ADUs) or secondary suites.

Traditionally, these were designed as a place for elderly relatives to move in order to maintain some independence while having nearby support. However, now granny flats offer a whole range of possibilities to homeowners. 

Some of these flats are built as an extension of a larger building. For example, you might build one above a garage or in the basement of your property. Others are constructed as stand-alone properties on the same plot of land.

One of the most important identifying features of a granny flat is that it is entirely self-sufficient. It should offer

  • Its own entrance
  • A bathroom 
  • A kitchen 
  • Bedrooms
  • A living area
  • Laundry facilities

This means that, while these spaces are only big enough for two people to live in, they offer a lot of independence.

Why Design Granny Flats for Rent? 

As we’ve already mentioned, these properties are a great way to support elderly relatives without encroaching on their independence. However, this isn’t the only reason why people invest in granny flats. 

They also offer a way to increase the value of your property. In fact, building a granny flat on your property can increase its value by up to 30%.

With these secondary suites, you don’t have to spend a penny on land acquisition if you are adding to your property. On top of this, granny flats can become a brilliant source of passive income. 43.6 million people in America rent their homes rather than owning them. So if you are looking for people to make the most of your granny flat, there are plenty of them out there! 

Leasing your granny flat can provide a steady stream of income to subsidize the cost of running your own home. This is a particularly great option if you have built a granny flat on your property that is no longer needed. 

However, if you are going to make a decent return on your investment it is important that you take the time to plan your granny flat design carefully. Not sure where to start? Then read on to find out five essential steps in planning granny flat designs. 

1. Think About Your Budget 

First and foremost it is important to think about the kind of budget you are working with. This helps you to plan a granny flat design that you can realistically afford. 

Other factors that can affect the cost of your project include: 

  • The number of electrical outlets you need
  • The type of materials you choose to use for the interiors, exteriors, and flooring
  • Your kitchen and bathroom designs (especially the fittings that you pick)
  • The number of bedrooms you want
  • Who you hire to work on your project

You want to create a design that delivers quality. So if your budget is smaller, keep things simple and do them well. Trying to do a lot but cutting corners financially will not serve you well in the long run.

2. Consider the Layout of Your Granny Flat

Once you know the size of the granny flat that you can afford, you can turn your attention to granny flat floor plans. As we’ve already mentioned, your flat will need:

  • A kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Living and dining space
  • One or two bedrooms

Most floor plans maximize space by creating an open-plan living and dining room area. Some plans may even include loft space if it is permissible by your building department, which can be used for storage or as additional sleep space.

A lot of experienced ADU companies will have a range of different floor plan templates for you to look at. However, it should be possible to personalize these in order to meet your specific needs.

For example, you might want to make your flat wheelchair friendly. Deciding exactly what you want at the planning stage will make it much easier to incorporate into your floor plan design.

So take the time to think about this before you settle on a plan and ask the company you’re working with about specific needs. You’d be surprised how much they can fit in!

3. Get Help From Experienced Tradespeople

Once you have your architectural granny flat designs in place, you’re ready to start bringing them to life. For most people, knowing how to do this is way outside of their skillset.

Fortunately, experienced tradespeople are on hand to help make your dream a reality. It’s important to get in touch with them.

Trying to do the job yourself might seem like a great way to save money. However, without the proper experience, building your own granny flat could take a long time and be extremely dangerous for you, the people that move into it, and your wallet long term.

Make sure that you research who you are working with thoroughly. Reviews from previous clients can tell you a lot about whether or not the people you are hiring will deliver on their promises.

Again, this can feel like an opportunity to cut your costs but think carefully before you do this. When it comes to skilled trades you really do get what you pay for. Paying more for a quality job and a guarantee can make a huge difference further down the line.

4. Check Out Local Building Restrictions

An ADU building company will be able to help you research local building restrictions before you start construction on your granny flat design. This is incredibly important. The last thing you want is to spend thousands of dollars on a property that you have to tear down! Something we’ve seen all too many times before.

These can vary from state to state, so make sure you check out your local ones. For example, there may be restrictions on the size of the granny flat that you’re allowed to build. Some states also only allow construction for properties that fall into specific zone regulations.

If you aren’t sure about the building restrictions in your local area, you can always ask the local council or planning permission bureau.

5. Keep Your Interior Design Plans in Mind

When creating your ideal granny flat, you should try to keep your final interior design in mind. This can help you to plan the positioning and interior layout of your building. The interior design that you’re looking for can also have a big impact on the building materials that you choose to work with.

For example, if you want something ultra-modern then you’ll probably go for light wood and metal. Darker color schemes and stonework will give your granny flat a more rustic aesthetic.

When it comes to granny flat plans it’s important to choose a design and stick with it. Chopping and changing your design throughout a building will be confusing.

If you aren’t sure how to marry all of your design ideas then an experienced property developer will be happy to discuss these with you. They’ll ensure that you can incorporate everything you’re looking for into your final design.

Want to know more about planning the interior design for your granny flat? Then here are some of our top tips!

Focus on Ventilation and Light Throughout

Natural light in your granny flat will immediately make it feel more spacious, while good ventilation keeps it feeling fresh. To maximize this, put your windows in places that will get the most sunlight (such as on south-facing walls.)

This might seem like something small but it can actually dictate the position of your entire property.

Don’t Block the Views

Long view sights in any property make it feel more spacious so try to maintain clear lines of sight throughout the property. Stairwell walls, short windows, and doorways can also shorten the line of sight, as can pieces of furniture. This is why open-plan options work well in smaller spaces.

Thinking about the positioning of all of these things will help you to create long lines of sight that make your granny flat feel bigger. So keep them in mind when putting together your floor plan.

Make the Most of the Ceiling Height

If you are working with a small space then height can make all the difference. This creates more space in a property even if you don’t really use the full height of each room. 

Vaulted ceilings will instantly make your granny flat feel bigger and shouldn’t impact on your square footage. Depending on your building design, you can incorporate a curved or slanted roof into this.

If so, try to architecturally acknowledge this in your design. Beams might not be integral for your granny flat’s structure but they are a great way of doing something interesting with a high ceiling space.

Maximize the Storage Space in Your Granny Flat 

Of course, when it comes to smaller properties, planning storage carefully is essential.

Some of this will be determined by the interior design that you choose. For example, beds and sofas with built-in storage are great for smaller properties. However, a well-organized floor plan can make it easier for the people living in your granny flat to organize and access their belongings.

Built-in closets in the hallway and bedrooms can be particularly useful. If your property has a sloping roof then you can also use this to create some loft storage for items that they don’t need regularly.

Think About Your Own Home’s Design

If you are planning to build a granny flat on the same plot of land as your home then you want the aesthetics of both buildings to work with one another.

This is not only pleasing to the eye. It also means that when you choose to sell your home, you can market both buildings in the package easily. 

If your home is extremely modern, for example, then an old-fashioned, rustic design will look out of place nearby. For real cohesion, focus on using the same color schemes and building materials in both buildings.

Get Help Creating Your Granny Flat Designs Today

As you can see, when it comes to granny flat designs there is a lot to keep in mind. Planning ahead and thinking carefully about your design will ensure that you create a stunning property that stands the test of time.

Ready to start planning your granny flat project? Then get in touch today to speak to a member of our team about how Acton ADU can help you.

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