With rising home prices, increased living costs and changing family values, multigenerational homes are becoming more popular in countries worldwide including Australia. But beyond the general idea of several generations in the same home, what’s involved with designing a home for multigenerational families? Gather around as we talk about multigenerational home designs & house plans.
What are multigenerational living spaces?
Multi-generational homes are houses designed to accommodate family members from multiple generations under the same roof. It’s like turning a family home into an extended family home. Though not necessarily the norm in Australia, in many countries and cultures, intergenerational living is quite common, especially in places like parts of Europe, Asia and the middle east. Some quick examples of living combinations include grandparents living with their adult children and grandchildren or adult siblings living with their families under one roof. Due to housing affordability, the pandemic and other factors, the popularity of multigenerational homes has risen significantly among home buyers.
Adult children are living with their parents longer, often into their thirties, and people are reluctant to place their parents in an aged care facility.
How does a multigenerational home differ from other home designs?
There are a few design choices that define multigenerational home designs from other Aussie households.
Common features of multigenerational home designs include:
- Multiple living areas and sitting areas.
- Two master bedrooms and a master suite.
- The ground floor tends to be for the older family members (grandparents, etc).
- Dual occupancy home designs.
- Granny Flat is included as part of the design.
House affordability: Even if land prices weren’t so high, constructing one house is simply cheaper than trying to build two. Upkeep, bills and general maintenance on one dwelling are going to be less expensive than with multiple houses.
Easier to get approval for finances: The more income and bank balances you have, the more security your lender will see. This increases your chances of getting approval for a loan.
Create Stronger Family Bonds: Multigenerational housing provides the chance for enhanced connection among family members. Grandparents can spend more time with their grandchildren and the little ones can learn from their elders.
Reduce Loneliness: Research shows people tend to experience loneliness and isolation most during their teen and young adult years and during their senior years. These are both big transitional periods, so it makes sense that there would be a connection.
Futureproofs your home: Planning children down the line or unsure what will happen when your parents reach a certain age? Building a multi-generational living space means you’ll be more ready for whatever the future holds.
Could potentially increase the value of your home: With multigenerational living spaces becoming more popular and land becoming more scarce, there’s a strong chance these types of homes will age well in the real estate market.
Less Privacy: This can particularly be an issue in houses not quite big enough where people end up living on top of each other.
More housework: Even if everyone pitches in, chances are the house will get messier faster, which means more vacuuming, washing dishes and cleaning. Features of your house will be used more often, meaning more breakage as well.
More Noise: More people will mean more activity which will naturally lead to a noisier environment. This is where careful house design will make a big difference. Consider where rooms are placed. If you’re building a double-storey house, the buffer zones can be used to your advantage.
Why are multi-generational homes becoming more popular?
There are a few reasons why multigenerational households are becoming more popular. For older relatives who don’t need full-time care, it’s a way for them to downgrade from a larger house to their home without sacrificing independence. An added bonus is they get to spend their time around family.
For young adults, rental prices are very high in city areas, even for those with work or government support. More adults are living with their parents well into their twenties and thirties as a means of saving money during study or until they can afford their own home.
How changes to the National Construction Code
By 1 October 2023, it will be a requirement to meet the new changes made to the National Construction Code. For instance, it will be mandatory for new homes to be more accessible. Some of the major changes being made to affect accessibility include:
- The ground floor of a new house design must have a bathroom.
- At least the entrance to the house must be accessible without stairs.
- Walls around the toilet and bathroom area must be capable of having rails and support installed.
While the above will be a legal requirement, it will actually have benefits for you and your family. Unfortunately, the effects of age can vary wildly from person to person, and it’s difficult to guess when a relative will need some assistance. Something as simple as having a downstairs bathroom with rails could make a world of difference to those who need it.
Multi-generational home design considerations
A well-designed multi-generational home needs to find the balance of creating a communal environment while still allowing everyone their own separate space.
Three Golden Rules:
- Make sure your home has a bedroom on the ground floor (preferably with an ensuite) so any elderly family members won’t have to climb the stairs.
- Choose floorplans with at least two living areas
- Consider all your options, including Dual Occupancy, a granny flat and other floorplans.
Our tips for building multi-generational homes
- The most common mistake we see with multigenerational living spaces is people underestimate how much room they’ll need.
- Consider a floorplan with “zones”. For example, part of the house will have the kid’s bedrooms, living space and play area, while another with have the master bedroom for the grandparents and their own private space. There would be communal, open-plan living spaces where everyone can hang out.
- If your large family is about to become a larger family will need to account for not just the family members who are currently here. You don’t want to have to kick grandma out to make room for the baby!
- While it’s nice when family live together, everyone needs their own space sometimes. Ensure your design has enough bathrooms, bedrooms, storage space and powder rooms.
- Would you like separate living quarters or one connected home? Dual occupancy home has the benefit of separate homes as does a granny flat.
- Consider whether this is a good idea. It’s possible to love someone without actually wanting to live with them and not everyone’s living habits are compatible.
Who are the top multi-generational home builders
Due to the rising demand for house designs for multiple generations, most builders will have some sort of floor design to meet your needs. Here are just some of the builders we’d recommend.
G.J Gardner Homes
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