9 Tips for Designing a Multigenerational Home

Updated December 2, 2021

Sustainable 9

It’s not just a vision for tomorrow: Sustainable 9 Design + Build creates homes for tomorrow today, reflected in its enduring commitment to green, high performance, energy-efficient homes that are stunningly designed and custom-built.

A multi-generational house will give you flexibility and can save a lot of money between the different people that are living in the home. But, when it comes to designing these homes, there are a few different tips that you’ll want to keep in mind. 

We’re going to break down these 9 tips to help ensure that you’re getting the most out of your multi-generational home design.

  • Accessibility
  • Main Floor Living
  • Dual Purpose Rooms
  • Utilize All the Space
  • Build Separate Entrances
  • Better Bathroom Options
  • Create Private Spaces
  • Natural Light Throughout
  • Share the Kitchen

Multigenerational Home Design 101

A multigenerational home doesn’t just mean that your parents are going to move back in. It could mean that you rent a portion of your home to other friends or relatives. It might mean that your kids move back in with their kids. Or, it could just mean that you’re tired of sharing your space with another person and ready for more privacy.

When designing multigenerational homes, there are a few things to consider: accessibility and main floor living are the two biggest things. Accessibility is important for the people using the home regularly (like parents or grandparents). Main floor living means that an elderly couple would be able to cook, sleep, bathe, and do laundry, all without needing to go up or down the stairs.

Our final tip before going more in-depth is to use every inch of space you have. Multigenerational homes are typically larger than your average home, but they will likely have more people living in that home. That’s why you need to make sure that you’re using all of the space available. Dead space will really cost you.

Tips for Your Multigenerational Home

These tips might not work for everyone, but they’re definitely a good place to start if you’re thinking about building or turning your home into a multigenerational home. Consider each tip because there are many different ways to build a great multigenerational home.


First, accessibility is everything when it comes to multigenerational homes. It’s important that everyone in the home can get around easily without needing help from others. Independence and accessibility go hand in hand. Whether it needs to be accessible for younger kids or older adults, being smart about different areas of the home and keeping them accessible will make all the difference.

Areas where accessibility is especially important to include the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms. The main floor needs to be designed in a way that everyone can get around, and the chances of falls are lessened.

accessible bathroom in multigenerational home

Main Floor Living

Multigenerational homes should always have main floor living. We’ve said it once, but it really is just that important. The whole point of a multigenerational home is that the family will be sharing the home, so making sure that main floor living is included in some way for everyone will make life significantly easier and provide maximum accessibility.

main floor living in multigenerational home

Dual-Purpose Rooms

If you’re dealing with minimal space and trying to make the most of your home, creating dual-purpose rooms helps multiply your space. A room that could be used as both a living space and a bedroom will definitely help you stay organized and easily provide you with a more fully utilized room.

Other dual-purpose rooms include bedrooms and home offices or a living room and dining room. You’ll have to be creative but take your time, and you’ll definitely find perfect dual-purpose rooms.

Utilize All the Space

When you essentially have two or three families and generations living in the same home, you’re going to need all the space that you can get. Utilizing every corner of the space that you have available will help your home feel larger and not just like you’re trying to cram a bunch of people into a small space.

Build Separate Entrances

If you’re able to remodel or build a new home that will be multigenerational in nature, then a great thing to do is to add a separate entrance to your home. This allows you to offer a private entrance and a separate front door for a second family unit.

Anyone, whether parents or kids that are moving in with family, will really appreciate being able to privately enter their own portion of the home and have guests and visitors know that they can come over without having to enter through an unfamiliar family home.

multiple entrances

Better Bathroom Options

You’re going to need better bathroom options for multigenerational homes. Bathrooms are typically small and even smaller when several people are sharing them. While you might not be able to have a bathroom for each person, having large enough bathrooms that everyone can share them and feel like they get their own space is important.

Offering accessible shower and tub options are important for older adults, and kids will really love having their own bathroom drawer or cupboard to store their toothbrush in.

large bathroom

Create Private Spaces

While multigenerational homes are great for having everyone in the same house and under one roof, it’s important that you create some private spaces for each of the people that live there. Whether that’s having a separate living space altogether or just providing bedroom spaces for each person that offer some sort of privacy, it’s important that you provide this sense of privacy to everyone you can.

Natural Light Throughout

Natural light is a must. It provides warmth, and light and improves mental health. Mental health might not be at the forefront of your mind right now, but having everyone in a good headspace as often as possible will help to keep relationships thriving and everyone working together.

Share the Kitchen

If you don’t have the space or budget to put in a separate kitchen, then there’s no reason why you can’t find a way to get by with just one. If two separate family units are hoping to cook a meal for their families, then keeping everything cleaned up and being respectful of each other will make sharing the kitchen possible.

multigenerational home kitchen

If you’re looking to build a multigenerational home, Sustainable 9 is a local Minneapolis, Minnesota builder that can help you create the perfect home and space that will offer both modern style and intentional design for you and your family. Reach out to us today to learn more! Custom home building is our specialty.


A custom-built home means you don’t have to sacrifice the details that make your home one-of-a-kind. View our award-winning work and get inspired.

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Sustainable 9

It’s not just a vision for tomorrow: Sustainable 9 Design + Build creates homes for tomorrow today, reflected in its enduring commitment to green, high performance, energy-efficient homes that are stunningly designed and custom-built.

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