Posted by Ashley Thomas in Home Buying

​In 2020, 12% of homebuyers purchased a multi-generational home, according to the National Association of Realtors® 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

​If you’re looking for a way to house permanent extended family rather than temporary guests, this blog post is perfect for you.

​From the shift to daily life this involves for existing household members to the preparations to comfortably accommodate everyone in the home, there is a lot to consider if you are looking for home to accommodate additional family members!

​Let’s dive into how to turn a home with a guest room into permanent or semi-permanent quarters for your growing household.

​While you may not have a family member moving in with you right away, finding a floorplan with the flexibility to create a space for a family member is a huge added benefit to new home shoppers to be able to find a new home with this capability.

​Although some people may assume a multi-generational living situation is a parent moving in with an adult child due to age, there are many other scenarios families choose this living situation, including but not limited to the following:

  • Wanting to be close together
  • Combatting rising living costs and student loan debt
  • Going through a divorce
  • Enlisting grandparents to help with childcare

When buying a home it is important to have a good understanding of what you and your family need both now and in the future.

​Knowing what you actually need in a home will substantially help either narrow down your new home search or open you up for move possibilities and options. If a separate entrance isn’t a deal-breaker and you would love to share meals together, then with a few minor tweaks and decoration and furniture adjustments, it is easy to turn a guest room or flex space into the perfect in-law space!

What to Consider Before Creating an In-Law Suite in Your Home

​Before your extended family members move in, there are 4 things you should carefully think through in order to be prepared for this home shift:

  1. Privacy: How close in proximity is the new in-law suite to your bedroom? Your kids’ bedrooms? Rooms where noise typically flows? From getting enough rest to being able to still enjoy everyone’s own privacy, this is the first on the list for good reason.
  2. Storage: How much are your in-laws planning on bringing with them? Is your home’s built-in storage space enough to accommodate, or will a storage unit be needed? If you still want the rest of your home to remain relatively unchanged during this transition, get the best estimation you can on what space is required.
  3. Schedules: If anyone in your current household is working or going to school at home, things like doctors’ appointments, watching TV, and regular coming-and-going can become distracting and stressful if not planned for. Try to get a regular weekly schedule from your move-ins and plan accordingly by shifting work space if needed.
  4. Décor: While this one might not seem as pressing, taking note of the decorative choices of your move-in family members can go a long way in helping them to feel welcomed and right at home in their new space. When painting, buying furniture, and laying out the new living space, incorporate a few of these preferences to show that you care.

​Although many of these things might be included to an extent in an existing guest room in your home, a long-term living situation will require permanent planning for your home’s layout and your lifestyle.

How to Convert a Room in Your House to an In-Law Suite

Think of this new space as a little apartment for your family members. You want the space to feel comfortable, homey, enjoyable, and welcoming.

​Depending on what this room was used as before, you may have quite a bit of work ahead of you, such as furniture re-organizing (or new furniture altogether), painting, reflooring, redecorating, and possibly major renovations to adjoin a bathroom, etc.

​The room itself should include a few personal spaces without compromising walking or storage space. Consider things like a sitting/reading area; storage for clothes, shoes, and personal belongings; good lighting; comfortable, warm bedding; and night lighting.

​Here are a few decorative components to make sure this room includes (even if your guest room included these, it's time to buy fresh, unused versions):

  • Seating
  • Shelves
  • Dresser
  • Bed and bedding
  • Hamper
  • Mirror
  • Storage containers
  • Bath linens
  • Hangers

​If your home’s square footage and your budget allow, adding a small kitchen space, a living area, and a designated, private bathroom are also great in-law suite design choices to give as much independence, privacy, and comfort as possible.

​Even though the space should be livable and as ready as possible for your new family members, remember that you can always add or change things later once they’ve had a chance to really live in and use their new area!

Buying a Home with an In-Law Suite Built In

​If you need an in-law space sooner than later during your multi-generational home search and don’t want the responsibility of figuring out how to convert a room later on, make sure to carefully explore floorplans and design options during your home buying process.

​Even if your additional family members aren’t moving into your home right away, you should consider a home with flex space during your home search.

​What is flex space? This is a room or area in a home that has the ability to function however fits your family best! Homeowners throughout M/I Homes’ 15 markets across the country enjoy dreaming up ways to use this space, such as a home office, play room, home gym, game room, etc.

​Many M/I Homes floorplans are built with this lifestyle in mind, and our team is ready to discuss the options available in your area with you! Contact me today to find out more about our flexABILITY offered through these plans that are perfect for your unique needs.


Ashley - Austin ISM
Ashley Thomas


Ashley has 8 years of experience in the new construction industry. She enjoys helping others work through the process and achieve their goals of building a new construction home! She herself has gone through the process from start to finish, building her first two homes. She has worked all over the city of Austin and can provide great insight on different areas. When she is not assisting you, she is out enjoying the lake, traveling, and finding new places to eat.

Our Most Popular M/I Homes Floorplans in Charlotte

Our Most Popular M/I Homes Floorplans in Charlotte

Home Building Industry

Quiz: What’s Your Ideal Home Color Palette?

Quiz: What’s Your Ideal Home Color Palette?

Home Design