Multi-generational homes are becoming more and more popular (especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of assisted living costs that can be unaffordable). Converting your basement into an in-law suite is a great option! That is, as long as you keep some important design elements in mind before and during your renovation process. Here are our team’s top 7 tips for adding the perfect basement in-law suite to your home.
Tip #1: Open Concept
The best way to battle the common feeling that basements are dark and small spaces is to opt for an open concept floor plan. This layout option will help make sure that everything flows together without feeling constricted. Don’t design your space to have boxed-in rooms as this will make your in-law suite feel tighter and less comfortable. An open concept will not only make your space feel larger and brighter for your in-laws, but it will also add resale value to your home and double as entertainment space when you need it. Essentially, you want to fight back against the dark, dreary, and closed-in basement feeling as much as possible.
Tip #2: Full Kitchen and Bath
If you want your in-laws to truly feel at home and have a sense of independence, then including a full kitchen and bath in your basement renovation is a must. You might be tempted to save the expense and share your main floor kitchen and bathroom, but there are many downsides to this temptation. Adding a full kitchen and bath will drastically increase your home’s value, add a sense of privacy and convenience for everyone, and save your potential ageing parents from having to walk up and down the stairs as frequently. You want your immediate family and parents to feel comfortable at home, but installing a full kitchen and bath also means separate utilities from the main house. This means you can switch them off if your space if your in-laws go on a long trip and, if you do end up renting out the space to other occupants, you can easily split utility bills.
Tip #3: Sufficient Headroom
Make sure you know what your area’s building codes are in terms of minimum headspace. If your space does not meet code and you are set on a basement in-law suite, we can either raise the house or lower the basement floor. Remember we can also add suites to your garage, attic, and porch, or do a home addition if doing so makes more sense for your space and needs. However, if we decide that a basement in-law suite is the way forward, there are some design tips we can implement to make your space feel elongated. We recommend adding floor-to-ceiling cupboards in the kitchen space and opting for crown moulding for a polished feel. The goal is to draw eyes upward to create a feeling of height so we can also add shelves near the ceiling.
Tip #4: Natural Light
Again, you should be doing everything you can to combat the dark feeling of your basement. Some basements will have very limited natural lighting but there are ways you can utilize as much of it as possible. If you have a walk-out basement, go for a glass sliding door to let in more light. We also recommend adding window wells so that you can install taller and larger windows that will go a long way towards brightening the space. If these are both not options, we can also try some interior solutions like installing light tubes to your roof. Your choice of artificial lighting will matter to so opt for warm bulbs or dimmable lighting that can add more natural hues to your basement.
Tip #5: Separate Entrance
Speaking of a walk-out basement, you should always include a separate entrance if you can. Some homeowners do not have this option so if you do, we recommend moving forward with that decision. Having a formal entryway will help make sharing space feel less intimidating because your in-laws or parents will be able to come and go as they please without interfering with your family on the main floor. It will add a sense of independence and make your basement truly feel like a second home that has the added benefit of being renter-friendly in the future.
Tip #6: Design for the Future
We recommend our clients design for their future needs with every renovation we do, but it is perhaps even more important with an in-law suite. If you plan on having your guests live in your basement full-time for an extended period of time, then it is worth considering how their needs could change as they age. If you want to plan ahead, then make sure your in-law suite is accessible. This includes being wheelchair or walker-friendly and incorporating bathroom grab bars, pull-out drawers, shower seats, or adjustable sinks.
Tip #7: Trust CHART with Your Basement Renovation
Don’t leave your basement in-law suite to an uncertified contractor. Undertaking a basement renovation is no small task or DIY job. We will always provide expert advice, quality craftsmanship, design support, and seamless communication every step of the way. We hope this blog helps guide how you will go about designing and planning for your basement in-law suite!
Here at CHART, our team will always walk you through all of your options and suggest design ideas based on our expertise. You can trust CHART to keep your best interests in mind and always recommend the best projects, materials, styles, layouts, and more that will stand the test of time. Whether you’re at the very beginning concept phase or already have some designs in mind, we’re here to get the job done for you with top-notch quality and craftsmanship. When beginning your home renovation projects, trust the Canadian Home and Renovation Team to make the right choices and help guide you through the process.
CHART is proud to be celebrating 40 years as one of the most prestigious renovators in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph area. Contact us to begin preparing your home for renovations, home addition, or to get your custom home project started!