Granny Flats: 10 Best Tips To Consider When Building

Looking to expand your living space, accommodate an elderly relative, or generate rental income? Consider building a granny flat in your yard.

A granny flat is a small, self-contained unit that can be built on the property of a single-family home. With numerous designs and ideas available online, constructing a granny flat has never been easier.

In this article, we’ll provide you with 10 essential tips to consider when building a granny flat. From design considerations to zoning regulations, we’ll guide you through the process of creating your perfect backyard abode.

What is a Granny Flat?

Granny flats, also known as accessory dwelling units (ADUs), are self-contained living areas that can be attached or detached to another dwelling.

They are becoming increasingly popular because they offer an affordable and convenient way to accommodate aging parents or provide additional rental income. The term “granny flat” became popular because it was a common way for families to accommodate elderly relatives.

These compact living spaces are often smaller and cozier, but surprisingly customizable. They offer additional space and freedom for homeowners and can even generate extra income by renting out the unit.

Learn more about granny flat in the spruce.

Granny flats
Granny flats

If you’re considering building a granny flat, there are several key factors to keep in mind to ensure a successful construction process.

Homeowners are increasingly interested in constructing granny flats for renters at affordable prices, but it’s important to remember that designing and building these living spaces can be a complex and challenging process.

Thorough research and planning are essential to ensure that you choose the right design, features, and building materials for your granny flat.

From selecting the perfect location to deciding on the right number of bedrooms, every detail matters when it comes to building a granny flat that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

Here are some tips you should consider when constructing your new granny flat

There are several key factors to consider before you start construction.

In this guide, we’ll share some of the best tips to keep in mind when building a granny flat, so you can ensure that your new space is functional, attractive, and tailored to your unique needs.

Tip 1:  Think about your property’s location

Your location plays a vital role in building your granny flat. It will have a huge impact on the construction method, council regulations, and building cost.

Every council has a set of rules which should be followed while constructing a backyard granny flat. You want to discuss these regulations with your flat developer.

Granny flats
Granny flats

Determining your route access will decide whether the construction will be done off-site or not. Such differences can affect your budget significantly. Therefore, you need to keep a financial backup plan if your location is not accessible easily.

To save up building cost, you should pick a design which is suitable according to the size of your yard.

Additional Tips:

  • Consider the terrain. The terrain of your property can also affect the construction of your granny flat. If your property is on a slope or uneven, it may require additional work and expenses to level the ground before construction can begin. Make sure to consider this when choosing a location for your granny flat.
  • Check zoning laws. In addition to council regulations, it’s also important to check the zoning laws in your area. Some areas may have restrictions on the size or type of granny flat that can be built on a property. Make sure to research this before starting any construction.
  • Think about proximity. Consider the proximity of your granny flat to your primary residence or other amenities, such as public transportation, shopping centers, or schools. This can affect the convenience and accessibility of the flat for both you and your potential renters.
  • Consider the climate. The climate in your area can also affect the construction and design of your granny flat. For example, if you live in a hot and humid area, you may want to consider installing an air conditioning system or adding ventilation to ensure comfort for your tenants.

Tip 2: Choose an open floor plan

After considering the location and house design, one needs to think about the floor plans, too. Open floor plans are standard, and they feature all the necessary amenities. Your granny flat should be more functional than sophisticated.

Open floor plans, when incorporated with granny flats, will help you to maximize your personal space. It means you can merge your kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and bathrooms as well. Your house will become more compact and useful.

However, it doesn’t mean you have to create separate zones in your granny flat. Efficient merging will help maximize the indoor space of your flat.

Also Read: The Ultimate Guide for Planning a Home Extension and Top Mistakes to Avoid

You can decorate your whole flat with pieces of furniture smartly. You primarily need to focus on making the flat look decent and well-organized with all the standard facilities.

Granny flats
Granny flats

Additional Tips:

  • Consider using furniture that can serve multiple purposes, such as a sofa bed or storage ottoman, to save on space while still providing necessary amenities.
  • Keep in mind that open floor plans can sometimes lead to less privacy. Consider incorporating room dividers or curtains to create separate zones when needed.
  • Think about the flow of foot traffic in your open floor plan. Arrange furniture in a way that creates natural pathways and avoids blocking important areas.
  • When planning an open floor plan, consider using a neutral color scheme to create a cohesive look throughout the space. This can also help to make the flat appear larger and more open.

Tip 3: Combine indoor and outdoor smartly

When constructing granny flats, you should eliminate the boundary between the backyard and the flat.

Here is one secret tip – you can install sliding glass doors to give a sophisticated look to your interiors. If you prefer privacy in your personal space, you can use sliding doors fitted with frosted glass. Try to use larger glass windows and doors in your flat.

Although it will not increase your personal space realistically, more natural light will create a sense of area filled with positive vibes in your flat.

Also, don’t forget to add screen doors to prevent bugs and insects from entering your house. Granny flats are more prone to termites and flies in the monsoon season.

Additional Tips:

  • When combining indoor and outdoor spaces, consider adding outdoor seating areas or a small patio to extend your living space and enjoy the fresh air.
  • To further enhance the indoor-outdoor connection, consider using similar materials or color schemes in both areas. For example, you could use the same flooring material indoors and outdoors or incorporate plants and greenery in both spaces.
  • Adding shading devices like pergolas or shade sails can help to protect your outdoor space from direct sunlight, making it more comfortable to spend time outside even during hot summer days.

Tip 4: Go with two or more bedrooms

A single bedroom flat is similar to studio apartments. Granny flats are smaller, but that should not stop you from making it a double bedroom apartment.

Sticking with a single bedroom is not a good idea, because you might save space, but it will not be useful in the long run. You need at least two bedrooms for guests, teenagers, or elderly family members.

Hence, when you are selecting the floor plan, consider two bedrooms in it. You can eliminate some space in the kitchen and bathroom to make some additional areas. You want to get in touch with an architect or developer, and they will assist you in finding efficient two-bedroom flat designs.

Additional Tips:

  • Consider flexible design options that allow you to convert a space into a bedroom as needed, such as a pull-out sofa or a murphy bed.
  • If you’re concerned about space, consider incorporating bunk beds or loft beds in the second bedroom to maximize the sleeping area.
  • Keep in mind the needs of your potential guests or family members when designing the second bedroom. For example, if you’re accommodating elderly relatives, consider incorporating features such as grab bars or a walk-in shower.

Tip 5: Determine your budget

Before embarking on any construction project, it’s essential to have a clear idea of your budget.

Building a granny flat can be a significant investment, and you don’t want to overspend or run out of funds halfway through the project.

Take the time to calculate your expenses, including construction costs, permits, and any additional features you want to add.

Additional Tips:

  • Consider getting quotes from multiple builders to compare prices and ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Don’t forget to factor in ongoing maintenance costs when creating your budget.

Tip 6: Prioritize safety and security

When building a granny flat, safety should always be a top priority. Make sure the flat is equipped with smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. You may also want to consider installing a security system to ensure the safety of both your tenants and property.

Additional Tips:

  • Install proper lighting. Good lighting can make a big difference in the safety and security of your granny flat. Consider installing motion-activated lights in outdoor areas to deter potential intruders. Indoors, make sure all rooms are well-lit, especially hallways and entryways. This will help prevent accidents and make it easier for tenants to navigate the space at night.

Tip 7: Consider the layout carefully

The layout of your granny flat will greatly affect its functionality and overall appeal. Take the time to consider the flow of the space, the placement of furniture, and the use of natural light.

For example, consider an open-concept design that maximizes the use of space and allows for flexibility in furniture placement.

Additional tips:

  • Consider the placement of electrical outlets and switches to ensure convenience and accessibility.
  • Choose the right type of flooring that is durable, easy to clean, and complements the overall design of your granny flat.
  • Make sure there is adequate storage space for your tenants, such as built-in closets or shelves.
  • If you’re building a two-story granny flat, consider placing the bedroom on the upper level to maximize privacy and reduce noise.

Tip 8: Think about storage

Although granny flats are often smaller than traditional homes, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice storage space.

Consider installing built-in storage solutions, such as shelves or cabinets, to maximize space while keeping the flat clutter-free.

Additional tips:

  • Don’t forget about vertical space. When it comes to maximizing storage in a small space, utilizing vertical space can be a game-changer. Consider installing tall shelves or cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling to make the most of the space available. You can also use wall-mounted hooks or racks to keep items off the floor and create more usable space.

Tip 9: Use durable materials

Granny flats are designed to be long-term living spaces, so it’s important to use durable materials that will stand up to daily wear and tear.

Consider materials that are low-maintenance, such as vinyl siding, and avoid materials that are prone to damage, such as hardwood flooring.

Additional tips:

  • Opt for materials that are both durable and sustainable. Consider using environmentally friendly materials that are also durable and low-maintenance, such as bamboo flooring, recycled glass countertops, or reclaimed wood. These materials not only last longer and require less maintenance, but they also have a lower environmental impact, making them a great choice for eco-conscious homeowners.

Tip 10: Pay attention to the details

When it comes to building a granny flat, every detail matters.

From the color scheme to the type of hardware used on doors and cabinets, paying attention to the details can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your flat.

Consider hiring an interior designer or decorator to help you make the most of your space and create a cohesive look that fits your style and preferences.

Additional tips:

  • Add decorative elements. Incorporating decorative elements, such as wall art or accent pieces, can add personality and charm to your granny flat. Consider adding decorative elements that fit your style and complement the overall design of your space.
  • Choose the right lighting. Lighting can greatly impact the ambiance and functionality of your granny flat. Consider installing a variety of light fixtures, such as overhead lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting, to create a well-lit and inviting space.
  • Optimize space with multi-functional furniture. In a small space like a granny flat, multi-functional furniture can be a game-changer. Look for furniture pieces that serve multiple purposes, such as a sofa bed or a storage ottoman.
  • Incorporate plants. Adding plants to your granny flat can bring life and freshness to the space. Choose plants that thrive indoors and fit the lighting and humidity levels of your flat.
  • Utilize mirrors. Mirrors can create the illusion of a larger space and reflect natural light, making your granny flat appear brighter and more spacious. Consider incorporating mirrors strategically throughout your space.

Final Words For Granny Flats

Building a granny flat can be a great way to provide affordable housing for family members or generate rental income.

By considering above tips, you can ensure that your granny flat is functional, comfortable, and meets all local regulations.

Nowadays, you will see more and more Australians building granny flats in their properties. You can also consider making one for your guests or to rent it out, and of course, to increase your property value.

Also Read: The Best DIY Guide for Air Conditioner Installation

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