What to Consider when considering an in-law suite

As more and more seniors are opting to stay at home or live with relatives as they age, in-law suites have risen in popularity. Offering a great way to provide a sense of independence and privacy while living with relatives or easy living at home, in-law suites can be a great solution often created within existing space in the home.

Data compiled by AARP, the advocacy group for people 50 and over, shows an increase in multi-generational households from 5 million, or 4.8 percent of all U.S. households, in 2000 to 6.2 million, or 5.3 percent of all households, in 2008. And, about 24 percent of baby boomers anticipate that their parents will move in with them.

There’s no strict definition of an in-law suite, but generally it should have a private, full bathroom and a door that separates it from the rest of the home. Some suggest that, if possible, it should also have a separate entrance and kitchen, especially if the living situation will be long-term. It’s also important to consider its accessibility. A first floor is ideal for an in-law suite but adding an elevator or chairlift is another option to make all floors more accessible. Oftentimes a garage or porch area can be transformed into living space. Basements can also be a great option. Or, if appropriate, an addition can be built to accommodate a new master suite.

It’s important when planning an in-law suite to remember that the occupants of the suite may change, so keep the basic design attractive for any future occupants. Your designer can work with you to assess your needs and space and offer creative solutions to an often not so simple situation.