If the idea of multi-generational living excites you, you’ll want to ensure your home can support it. Based on the number of adults and children you’re looking to accommodate, you’ll need to review and revise the build of your home, its design elements, and the house’s collective features. All towards the expressed goal of ensuring your home environment fosters a healthy and happy multi-generational living arrangement.
Multi-generational Home Build Types
When it comes to building, there are a plethora of choices to accommodate a multi-generational lifestyle, including single-storey, two-storey, dual occupancy, duplex, granny flats, and extensions. Let’s look at how each type of building can be used as a multi-generational home.
- Single-storey. A single house that has one floor, containing all of the bedrooms and living areas, is called a single-storey house. If you prefer a single-storey house, to make it multi-generational, include multiple living areas and bedrooms with en-suites.
- Double-storey. A double-storey house is a residential building that has two floors. A double-storey home can cater to multi-generational living as you have the option of one master suite upstairs and one downstairs, for example. You could even create completely separate living areas and a kitchen on both levels.
- Duplex. This design offers the option of having two dwellings, connected by a wall or roof, on one block of land. Whether they are subdivided (two separate titles), a duplex means you can have two dedicated homes on the same block of land and still enjoy the benefits of multi-generational living.
- Granny flat. Whether freestanding or attached to the main house, granny flats are a secondary dwelling that typically comes with its own entrance, features essential amenities such as a kitchen, bedroom, living area, and bathroom, and is more or less designed to be self-contained. Granny flats are a great way to create separate living spaces that provide more privacy and autonomy from the main household.
When considering multi-generational living, building a custom-designed home is the ultimate way to create your ideal space, ensuring a comfortable and rewarding home life for you and your family. See below a number of example projects from Forme Homes, that are perfect for multi-generational living.
Multi-generational Home Design Elements
Designing a purpose-built home is a great way to create the ideal foundation for multi-generational living. Whether under the same roof or in separate dwellings on the same block, each choice you make will impact the experience of living with your extended family. Here are important elements to consider when designing a multi-generational dream home.
- Flexibility. Design flexible spaces to allow for the evolving needs of the family. Make sure these spaces can be used for multiple functions and by multiple people. Don’t custom design a room to the point where it can’t be altered or used for other purposes. As children grow up, you might want a bedroom to become a study, or a playroom to become a media room. Plan internal framing and things like plumbing and electrics with this flexibility in mind.
- Privacy. Privacy is going to be a key factor in the success of a multi-generational lifestyle. Consider both indoor and outdoor separate and communal areas for all members of the family. Remember, teenagers need their independent time as much as adults, so perhaps a teenager’s retreat or rumpus room might work. For adults, a retreat or separate living room can work. For those building a large home, consider separate zoned areas for each generation, and make sure bedrooms are far away from each other.
- Safety and accessibility. Take into account designs that will be safe and accessible for all ages in the home. For those with elderly grandparents, consider a design with fewer stairs, or make sure their bedroom is on the ground floor if you are building a double-storey home.
- Diversity. While you cannot accommodate the whole family’s style preferences, consider using different decor for some rooms. This can be achieved by designing semi-open plan rooms, different ceiling heights, lighting, floor, and wall decor.
Individual comfort. Consider features like zoned heating and cooling to ensure the comfort of all the family individually. A grandparent might require a warmer room than the rest of the household, and this allows you to set different temperatures in different zones.
- Connectivity. With a larger home and more people in it, it is important to factor in a strong internet network that is equipped to handle multiple devices. Modern homes require constant connectivity for entertainment, virtual learning, and communication.
Multi-generational Home Features
Now that we understand the importance of creating a home that is both functional and efficient, whilst also fostering togetherness and respecting privacy, let’s look at some practical design tips to achieve that.
- Multiple living areas. Take into account the need for privacy by creating separate living spaces for each generation that will be living in the home. Children could have a rumpus room, parents a lounge, and grandparents a retreat.
- Communal living area. Design the communal living area to accommodate every member of the household at once. This will mean making sure there is ample seating both in the lounge and dining area or the kitchen has enough bench space for everyone. Don’t underestimate the amount of space you will need.
- Bedroom placement. Ideally, bedrooms should be in separate wings. If under one roof, parents and small children could have their bedrooms in one zone, and grandparents or other adult children at the other end of the home, with a central communal living and kitchen area.
- Flexible multipurpose spaces. Include flexible spaces that are multipurpose, such as a reading room, homework room for kids, or office for working from home. These can also change as the family’s needs evolve.
- Storage. Believe it or not, savvy storage will make a big difference to the comfort of each family member. With a place for everything, the home will be more organised. Innovative storage ideas can include bookcases, cupboards, built-in furniture with storage, ceiling-to-floor shelving, storage under the staircase, etc.
- Ample bathrooms. Having plenty of bathrooms is a priority, so think about the number of family members who will be using the bathrooms. Consider en-suites to the main adult’s bedrooms and a shared bathroom for the children, for instance.
- Outdoor spaces. Consider the possibility of creating a couple of different outdoor spaces for both communal and separate enjoyment. You could have an outdoor deck where the family can enjoy time together, as well as a separate patio or screened porch for some time away.
- Separate entrances. A great way to ensure privacy is multiple entrances. With several generations living in the home, they are sure to have different schedules. Multiple entrances will ensure the freedom to come and go without interrupting the rest of the family. Obviously, a dual occupancy or duplex will have a separate entrance, but why not consider separate entrances if possible when living under one roof?
- Garage and driveway. Think of how many cars you will have and where they will need to be parked. You could also consider separate driveways and garages if the block is large enough.
- Hallways and entrance halls. Make hallways and entrance halls wider to accommodate the number of people in the home. If living with elderly family members, consider wider halls for wheelchair access or mobility scooters.