Are You Considering Multi-Generational Living?

Are You Considering Multi-Generational Living?

Current research indicates that over 64 million Americans live in multigenerational homes. Rising housing and healthcare costs have made it more advantageous to have grandparents, parents, and children living under the same roof. Perks can include cost consolidation, and ease of offering care for both elders and children. Challenges include designing spaces that make sense and offer communal places and private areas of refuge. Multigenerational homes need to be geared toward privacy, comfort, accessibility, and convenience. If you are considering a multigenerational home, you may need to look at purchasing a home that offers opportunities to make it work, or you may simply need to make minor adjustments to your current home. We have gathered some points to consider.

Think Accessibility | Even if your parents can get around easily today, thinking ahead can save you growing pains in the future. How can you create spaces that allow for wheelchair accessibility to make sure that the home is always welcoming? Open concept layouts work best of course. Are the bedrooms configured to accommodate easy access to private living spaces? Maintaining a lifestyle to allow everyone to remain independent is a goal. 

Ground Floor Bedrooms | Having bedroom options on the first floor is highly desirable in multigenerational home design. Bedrooms on both the first and second floor will also allow for natural separation between generations. Privacy and breathing room become very important. 

Dual Purpose Design | Remember that it is far easier to convert a bedroom into another space, than to convert a space into a bedroom. Bedrooms require windows and a closet. If you have designed the home to have these dual purpose spaces, it will afford you the most flexibility over the years. It is suggested to initially design all ancillary rooms as bedrooms versus an office or exercise room. You can always have bedrooms serve double duty as other rooms if needed. 

Don’t Skimp On Space | When you have multiple generations living under the same room it is very important to offer enough space for privacy for all. Make sure that you have at least one dedicated living space for each generation. For example, if your parents live with you and your children, include a family room, a den, and a playroom. This allows everyone to have breathing room and a place to relax when needed.   

Use All Your Space | Every square foot counts in a multigenerational home. Be creative with all your spaces. Think about the less utilized space like your attic, basement, or garage. Can they be converted to comfy living spaces? Rethink each room’s purpose, you can always find other spaces to store things… or better yet… declutter. 

The Suite Life | If you can design the home from scratch, lucky you! Ask to configure suites for each generation. Sharing bathrooms is a major pain point in multigenerational homes. Private bedroom and bathroom suites for parents and grandparents, and a jack-and-jill bathroom for the kids can reduce lots of stressors and pressure on the busiest rooms of your home.

A Separate Entrance | A major design consideration should be a separate entrance. Since each generation may have an overlap in daily schedules (think early risers for school and night owls). This also reduces traffic and chaos throughout the day, and provides a sense of autonomy. Living together is great, and provides a lot of quality time, but being able to separate some of your coming and going provides each generation with independence. 

Customize & Adapt | There will be no perfect solution, so you must remember to “design for the best and adapt for the rest”. Something you design may not really translate to real life. Learn to communicate and stay open to change. This attitude will make everyone feel welcome and comfortable. 

Living with family can definitely come with challenges, but if you plan ahead for issues and design your home (and lifestyle) accordingly, you can minimize conflict before it begins. When you consider everyone’s needs, accessibility, and privacy, your multigenerational home will be filled with love. Questions? Contact us to be connected with a REALTOR® with experience in multigenerational living needs.

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