In-law suites, otherwise known as mother-in-law suites, accessory dwelling units, guest houses or granny flats, have been around for many years and been used primarily as a place for relatives to stay. With the emergence of COVID-19, however, the demand for in-law suites1 is only growing.
The versatility of in-law suites is a huge draw for buyers. They offer a place for older parents to retire or for adult children to move back in with their parents. Buyers could also take on renters to supplement their income, or set up a quiet home office2 where they can take Zoom calls.
Experts are predicting that this type of living arrangement will increase in popularity3 in the years to come, especially as more people continue to work from home.
In-law suites don't have to be a fully detached structure near the main house. They could also be in a finished basement, an attached addition to the home, an apartment above the garage or a converted garage. No matter where it's constructed, here are the elements buyers expect most in-law suites to have:
1. Fully functional kitchen appliances
One of the most important features4 homeowners look for in suites are full-size kitchen appliances and the ability to cook comfortably. The kitchen doesn't have to be large in order to be functional. Whirlpool offers a suite of small space appliances that are designed to offer full-size features and premium performance in a compact package. For example, the Whirlpool® 18" Dishwasher with Stainless Steel Tub fits eight place settings, while the Whirlpool® 24" Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator provides flexible storage solutions to fit and organize foods and drinks of all sizes.
2. In-unit laundry
In-law suites should allow the inhabitants to be completely independent, which means an in-unit laundry set is essential. Stackable laundry pairs can be tucked into a closet and hidden away when not in use, while an all-in-one washer and dryer also saves space and can be stored underneath a counter to keep it out of the way of foot traffic.
3. Universal design principles
It's important to incorporate universal design elements5 that will make the space accessible for buyers of any age. For example, ensuring that laundry appliances are at eye level is ideal for older generations and will prevent them from having to bend over to pick up a heavy pile of clothes. Other universal design elements to keep in mind include:
- No-slip flooring
- Grab bars/handrails
- Wide doorways
- Open shelving
4. Private entry/exit
One of the best features of in-law suites is that they offer privacy, which has become more sought-after due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They commonly offer6 an entrance separate from the rest of the home so Inhabitants can come and go as they please without disrupting others. This is especially important if the living situation is long term and/or the person works in a job that has a high likelihood of contact with COVID-19-infected individuals.