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Inspired @ Home

How to Create an In-Law Suite

By: Staff Published: May 20, 2020

A century ago, multigenerational households were common. Today, they’re making a comeback, with aging parents and recent college grads moving in. It can be stressful incorporating them into your home, but we have some tips to make the transition smoother for everyone.

Find or Create a Room

The first step in preparing for a new (or returning) member of the household is deciding where to set up their room.

Ideally, you can create an in-law suite or adult child’s living space out of an existing en-suite bedroom. If you don’t have a spare guest room, converting an underused living room, basement or bonus room may offer an alternative.

When selecting the room, take into consideration a couple of location factors. A first-floor space might be the safest for aging parents. Both generations will likely appreciate having their own exterior entrance so they can maintain some independence and privacy. Bonus: You could potentially rent out this space in the future.

Install Storage Areas

Unlike a temporary guest room, your new suite will have to accommodate nearly all of the belongings of your in-law or adult child. That means finding creative solutions for adding or expanding storage.

One of the biggest challenges of using a space that was not originally a bedroom is that it probably doesn’t have a built-in closet. ClosetMaid has a few organization systems that can be built without the need for a room with an existing closet.

If you’re not the handy type, professionally installed MasterSuite could solve your issue. DIYers can choose from premium wood systems, such as SpaceCreations and SuiteSymphony, or more cost-conscious options, including Style+, available exclusively at the Home Depot.

Shop premium wood closets

SpaceCreations can be installed as a standalone closet in any room.

Even if the room you’re using does have a closet, you might need to add storage space to hold your family member’s belongings. A Closet Maximizer is a great solution because you don’t need any tools or construction skills to expand the capacity of the existing closet. You simply clip the hooks onto the hang rod.

A Closet Maximizer instantly increases your storage capacity.

The adjoining bathroom is another place where you can add organization solutions. If space is limited, hang a shelf or two on the wall or take advantage of any open floor space with a cart or drawer system.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a linen closet, adding shelving and drawers can improve its functionality for your long-term residents.

Shelving and drawers add more room in your linen closet for toiletries, towels and makeup.

Designate Living Areas

A larger bedroom, a former family room or a finished basement can allow for additional living spaces for your in-law or adult child. Ask him or her what is most important to have in the suite. It might be an office, a reading nook, a TV viewing area or even a mini kitchen.

Once you know your new household member’s preferences, you can furnish the suite accordingly. Storage furniture does double duty and it looks stylish, too. Use it for a work area or lounge space.

A versatile coffee table can serve as display and storage – and it can help define a separate living space in the suite.

If the suite has its own entrance, you might want to create a drop zone where shoes can be put on or taken off and umbrellas can be stored. A 3-cube bench doesn’t take up much room but it offers seating and storage in one.

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