One of the biggest trends in housing today is multiple generations of adults living under one roof. Many college students are coming to live at home for a year or two after they graduate to save on rent and get themselves in a comfortable financial situation. Additionally, older adults are moving in with their children for a number of reasons, such as needing a little extra help around the house.
However, there isn’t always enough room around the house for another adult. Alure Home Improvements’ design expert Dennis Manak explained that there are plenty of ways that homeowners can alter or add on to their homes to make space for everyone to coexist comfortably.
Pick your location
Manak said that there are three main places that can be redesigned to house an extra adult: the garage, the basement and an addition. Make sure you understand what each of these three options would entail.
- Garage – Redoing a garage is a popular option for returning college graduates. Manak explained that when they move in, the space won’t look anything like the place where you used to park the car and lawnmower. Your construction team will build up the floor a bit and add insulation throughout to make the garage more comfortable and efficient. There’s room for plumbing and electrical work to be done as well, giving your recent grad a kitchenette, bathroom or better lighting. But, Manak explained that many of these features vary by municipality based on building code regulations.
- Basement – For young or old adults, a newly finished basement can quickly become a spacious living area. Whether you want to create a simple bedroom in the basement or an apartment complete with a kitchenette and living area, basements can provide a great blank canvas to work off of. Manak said that when your designer is refinishing a basement he or she has to pay attention to code requirements for how high or low the ceiling can be, watch for potential water issues and make sure there are safety exits in case of emergency.
- An addition – Whether to provide a more customized space or to keep a parent on the first floor, many opt to install an addition onto the side of their home. An addition involves everything from pouring a foundation to putting the walls up. It allows you to have total control over the new space. You can include customized storage, a new bathroom, and place doors or windows wherever you want. Manak noted that the only complication to adding a new room may be that you’d have to change your property’s waste capacity.
Important features to older adults
In addition to creating a comfortable living space, when you renovate, refinish or add on to your home, you have the chance to include specialty features. Manak explained that there are a few aspects that older adults frequently look for:
- Temperature control – Manak said that many older adults like to have the ability to make their living quarters as hot or cold as they want, separately from the rest of the house.
- Special lighting – Whether it’s a light switch that seniors can reach from their bed that illuminates the path to the bathroom or just well-placed higher wattage bulbs to make reading easier, lighting can enhance a living space.
- Extra storage – Talk to your designer about how to include space for everything in long- and short-term storage.
- Safety features – Most people like to keep seniors on the first floor to avoid annoying stairs. Additionally, talk to your designer about bathroom safety features, such as porcelain tile with grip and walk-in showers.
- Sound insulation – Older adults may have a different sleep schedule or more sensitive ears, so sound insulation can be a useful feature. This is the most important for basement renovations.
- Private entrances – Adding additional egresses is an important aspect of building a new living area, but a second door can also add to the feeling of privacy and freedom for both parties in an addition.
“Talk to a design expert to customize your new space.”
Important features to college kids
Manak said that the list for college graduates or students is much shorter. While storage and privacy are also key, the main focus for younger adults is outlets and electronics. Whether standard grounded outlets, Ethernet ports or USB outlets, custom electric work is popular for students who are looking to plug in while at home.
Advice for building a new living space
If you’re considering redoing your basement as your recent grad returns home or it’s time to bring your parent or parent-in-law home with you, Manak advised homeowners to decide on the best location option then talk to a design expert to figure out the details. You can use his or her expertise to follow the trends while adding your own custom touches.
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