7 Reasons Multigenerational Homes are On The Rise

Updated November 18, 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.

You’ve probably heard of in-law suites, apartments, or guest houses. These are all great home additions, but one that is particularly growing in popularity is multigenerational homes.

These homes feature the same concept as the ones we mentioned above, with a separate living space, but instead of adding a separate living space onto an existing home, in this case, they’ll be designed and built to include extra space.

What are Multigenerational Homes?

In any home with children, there is already more than one generation present and living in the home. Specifically, multigenerational homes are designed to have a second set of adults living in the home and occupying their own separate sleeping and bathing area. These types of homes are perfect for aging parents or anyone looking to live a little bit closer to family.

Characteristics of a Multigenerational Home

To truly be a multigenerational home, it needs to have a separate living area as part of the home. This additional living space is separated from other parts of the house and must be able to function independently from those spaces, typically with its own front door, kitchenette or studio area, bathroom, bedroom(s), and storage areas.

This is very similar to having an apartment in the home, but it’s designed to be occupied by family and not a paying tenant.

7 Benefits of Owning and Living in Multigenerational Homes

There are pros and cons to almost any living situation. Multigenerational homes are no different. However, you’ll likely find that the benefits of these homes far outweigh the downsides.

A Place for Aging Parents to Move in with Their Children

A multigenerational home functions like a multigenerational family. If you’re looking to add on or build your own multigenerational home, it’s important that there is space for an aging parent and their children to move in together. This can be especially beneficial if the parents aren’t able to live alone anymore but want to age in place at home.

The benefits of having grandparents close spill over into so many of the other benefits associated with this type of housing. Having a place and space to move into will provide a sense of independence and help the family grow as a unit altogether.

aging parents move into multigenerational housing

Adult Children Can Move Back Home with Confidence

If your adult child needs a place to live during or after college, experiences a sudden life change such as the loss of a spouse, job, or another factor that impacts their living situation, having somewhere they can go is a huge advantage. In addition, you’ll be able to provide a sense of safety for your child and help them keep their feet under themselves.

Having adult children move back in with you can be very stressful. Having a separate living space for that adult child will make all the difference and help your family grow instead of causing tension.

A Room and Place to Accommodate a Live-In Nanny or Au Pair

Maybe you’re a single parent, or both parents work full-time and would like some extra help around the house. A live-in nanny or Au Pair, as they’re traditionally called, would be a Godsend. But, where would that person live?

A multigenerational home would allow you to have that extra help just a knock away. They’d likely even be able to hear if the kids needed anything during the night. As your kids’ age and outgrow the need for a nanny, you’ll still have that space in your home for one of these other purposes.

live in nanny

Family Members with Special Needs can Have Independence and Still Be Close

A family member with special needs will need almost constant attention. As they age and mature, the amount of attention that they need will likely lessen. Having multigenerational space will allow that family member to have their own living area and independence while still being close enough for your entire family to access.

Having privacy and independence will mean the world to your family members. Having them close to you and your home will give you peace of mind.

Extended Visits and a Place of Retreat for Family and Friends

If you live far from family or close friends, having an extra living space incorporated into your home will be the perfect thing for them. You’ll be able to host family and friends for months on end without driving you absolutely crazy.

When hosting is near and dear to your heart, having a place where you can do it to the best of your ability will be perfect. The flexibility of these spaces is a huge incentive.

extended visits

Greater Financial Stability for All Parties

When you have a family member living with you, having them pay for some of the utilities or part of the mortgage through the form of rent will provide financial stability both for you and for them. The persons living in the unit will have peace of mind and security in the place they live, and you’ll be more financially stable because of their help.

Whether or not you choose to rent out the unit or provide it to other adults will be totally up to you. Because the unit is designed to integrate into your home perfectly, you won’t need to worry about a separate payment or separate utilities.

Shared Childcare with Grandparents

Even if your multigenerational home doesn’t have a separate unit, you can still benefit from having grandparents close. Since they’re living in the same building as you and your children, it makes perfect sense for them to watch after their grandchildren when needed.

Whether that looks like daycare or just helping put them to bed if the parents need a night out of the house, there are lots of ways that grandparents can help.

This video explains some of the benefits more in-depth.

The 4 Types of Multigenerational Homes

Not all multigenerational housing units are built the same. Some may have more than one bedroom while others may feature a kitchen, a laundry room, and even a front door or separate entrance. Just like they may have different features, there are different types of these multigenerational homes.


Three-generation homes are the most popular and have been common throughout history. Typically these homes have two or more work-age adults, one or more children (who can also be adults), and either aging parents or grandchildren. This then makes up a total of three generations present, thus the name.


Homes headed by an aging individual or couple and grandchildren living under their care are increasingly more common. These homes will often look like traditional homes without the need for an extra “unit” as part of the home.

Two Adult Generations

Almost every household will have two generations present—parents and, of course, their children. But, two adult generations are much less common, thus making it multigenerational housing.


Last on our list, and often a rarity altogether, lower-income communities are sometimes forced to stretch their income and thus will live in four or five-generation households. These likely consist of great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, adult children, and their children.

Costs of Adding or Building a Multigenerational Home

large house

The costs associated with this type of project are almost always determined by how separate and how large the second space will be. Of course, if you’re building a home, then the rest of the house will also determine the cost.

Remodeling and adding a multigenerational unit to your home could cost anywhere from $50,000 – $200,000. And, building a home that’s truly multigenerational and offers privacy for both parties can push upwards of $800,000 or more. To know the exact cost, you would need to talk to a home builder. The location and city in which you’ll be building this home will also greatly affect how much you’ll need to pay for it.

If you’re interested in learning more about working with Sustainable 9, we’d love the opportunity to talk with you. We specialize in custom homes and can design something that fits your multigenerational needs perfectly. Reach out to us today for more information or check out some of the projects we’ve completed.


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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