a bedroom with a large bed

5 Tips for Building a Mother-in-Law Suite

Conan Young in a suit

In today’s world, more and more American families are deciding to live in multigenerational homes. From changes in the way, society lives, to the cost of living being higher, and even kids wanting to remain close to their aging parents, there are plenty of reasons for having everyone in one home. However, when you’re accommodating two or more generations in a house, you each need to be able to maintain your privacy. That’s where a mother-in-law suite comes in.

A mother-in-law suite isn’t something that a homeowner installs in a day, however. There’s a lot that goes into it. It can be an independent unit or a dwelling that’s attached to your own home. A mother-in-law suite for an aging family member should give her the space she needs, yet makes it easy for the family to check in on her. Below, you can find some tips for building a mother-in-law suite the right way.

1. See if your zoning codes allow for a mother-in-law suite.


Before you begin construction or contact a contractor, you need to find out your county’s codes on adding mother-in-law suites to your property. While adding on an addition or creating the space in a basement or attic shouldn’t require permits, putting an outdoor unit on your property probably will. Every county and state is different, so make sure you find out the laws in your county that relate to homeowner renovations before starting to build.

For example, if you want to build a separate kitchen for your aging loved one to use, then you’ll probably have to have a permit in order to add it. While you’re checking out the differences between standard backsplashes and full kitchen backslashes, don’t forget to get a permit to put them in. Everything from tile backsplashes to granite countertops needs an installer and, likely, a permit. Make sure you get your paperwork in order. Then, make sure you have a contractor who you trust and can advise you on the best kitchen renovations, the cost of granite as opposed to marble, and the best tile for your kitchen backsplash.

2. Choose the perfect location.


Once you’ve decided the type of mother-in-law suite you want to build, you need to choose the right location for it. There are many options, from the basement to the attic or from the porch to the garage. If you want to build an entirely different outdoor unit for your loved one, then you’re going to have to find room on your property to do so, and of course, make sure that you have the proper permits before you begin.

When deciding on the location, your main focus should be easy access for your parents and a location that they will be comfortable in. They need easy access to a living space, bathing space, and sleeping space. If you have space, you can also build on a kitchen and dining room as well.

3. Set up your power connections separately.


When you’re setting up an addition to your home or part of your house that doesn’t have traditional AC, it’s important to keep your power connections separate. It’s also important to install a different HVAC system, heat pump, and even a different water heater if you’re having a separate outdoor unit built. The reason for keeping the power connections separate is simple. It will allow you to shut down the power to the mother-in-law suite when it isn’t being used and give you the ability to rent the space out if you choose to do so later on down the line. Plus, central air is a very popular choice because, in the long run, it will keep your mother-in-law more comfortable, and having a separate HVAC system will keep your utility bills manageable.

4. Keep your parents in mind.


When you’re setting up your mother-in-law suite, it’s important to keep your occupants in your thoughts. Remember, this is going to be their living space so it’s best to have colors and decorations they would like, not what you would like. Ask them about bathroom design and the best choice for cabinetry. They may have different colors in mind than you would have thought of.

5. Enjoy having your family close.


Once you’re gotten the mother-in-law suite built, the last thing you need to do is enjoy having your family close and make plenty of memories together. It’s great to have family close by to make memories with, whether that’s filling in the gaps of the family stories or cooking Thanksgiving dinner in the family kitchen.

These are just a few tips to help you build your mother-in-law suite to suit your loved ones. Remember, the memories are what’s important, so enjoy your family being close.