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Essentials When Designing the Multigenerational Home

According to Pew Research, a whopping 64 million Americans live in multigenerational homes. Grandparents, parents, and kids all living under the same room has gained traction over the past few years, thanks to rising housing and healthcare costs.

While packing more people into one house might seem less than ideal, it does have its perks. Whether it’s saving money or offering care, there’s something to be said for living with family. Of course, that’s not to say there won’t be any discomfort along the way. The trick to multigenerational homes is designing spaces that work for you. When a home is geared toward comfort, privacy and accessibility, living with family can be comfortable and convenient. Therefore a home that is specifically designed with more than one generation in mind creates compatibility for all of its occupants.

Think accessibility

Glickman|Design Remodel Build is the regions leader in accessibility design because we know that Multigenerational homes must include comprehensive accessibility features. Even if Grandma and Grandpa can get around easily now, thinking ahead can save growing pains in the future. Creating spaces that are wheelchair accessible means older residents will always feel welcome. Open concept layouts are great for getting around. And, configuring bedrooms so that everyone can reach their private living spaces easily (think putting older residents on the main floor) means everyone can remain as independent as possible.

Multigenerational Homes
Multigenerational Homes

Choose main floor bedrooms

When given the choice between the main and second-floor bedrooms in multigenerational homes, choose the main floor. Not only will they remain the most accessible as your family ages, but having one or two bedrooms on the main floor can create a natural separation between generations. While it might feel natural to put all of the bedrooms on the second-floor level, putting a few on the main floor offers extra privacy and some breathing room to keep everyone sane.

Multigenerational Home rebuild

Design for Flex Space/Create rooms that pull double duty.

Remember this rule of thumb: it’s easy to convert a bedroom into another space, but it’s not always possible to convert a space into a bedroom. Bedrooms usually require windows and a closet, so design your multigenerational home with this factor in mind. If you think of all your spaces as dual purpose, you’ll have more flexibility along the way. Instead of having activity-specific rooms like an office or an exercise room, it’s best to design as many bedrooms as possible and convert them when necessary. That way, you always have plenty of bedrooms that can double as other rooms.

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Give enough space

When there’s more than one generation living under the same roof, you’ll need to offer enough space and privacy for everyone. How do you ensure that no one feels totally suffocated? Make sure that for each generation in a home, there is at least one dedicated living space. Say your parents live with you and your children. Multigenerational homes that include a family room, a den and a playroom means everyone has a little breathing room and a place to relax.

multigenerational homes

Utilize every inch

With several generations living in the same home, every square foot comes at a premium. Get creative with all the spaces in the home and you’ll be a lot more comfortable. Think about converting some of the less-utilized areas of the home, such as the attic, the basement, or over the garage. Rethink each room’s purpose and convert storage spaces into comfy living spaces instead. You can always find other places to store your things and everyone will be happier when they can spread out.

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home renovation contractor
home renovation contractor

Enjoy the suite life

We encourage you to ask Glickman to help you configure suites for each generation. Sharing bathrooms can be a major pain point in multigenerational homes and you can easily reduce those quibbles before they even begin. A private bedroom and bathroom suite for grandparents and parents, and a jack-and-jill bathroom for kids can reduce some of the pressure on the busiest rooms in the home.

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Offer separate entrances/Separate entrances offer additional privacy

Another design consideration to make in multigenerational homes is how each generation will actually enter the home. If there’s not a lot of overlap in schedules (early risers leaving for school versus night owls coming in late), it might be best to design separate entrances. Not only will this reduce traffic and chaos throughout the day, but it can provide your family with a sense of autonomy. Sure, living together ensures plenty of quality time. But being able to separate some of the coming and going can help each generation feel more independent.

Accessibility Design

Customize and adapt

Living in a multigenerational home means customizing as much as possible and remembering to adapt when necessary. What works for other families might not work for you and you might even find that something you designed doesn’t actually translate to real life. Multigenerational homes are a reality for more and more families in the DMV each year and by considering needs, privacy, and accessibility, your multigenerational home will be one full of love.

If you’re considering converting your existing home to a “generational” one, we encourage you to use this time to “ideate” about your own family and how you would design your home for ease, comfort, safety and livability. Then, contact Glickman|Design Remodel Build. We’ve been working with homeowners just like yourself for over 40years and we’re ready to help you create your home for “Everyones” life.

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