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Getting Started with Building an In-Law Suite Addition

They say home is where the heart is which is why adding an in-law suite to your home will give your loved ones the personal space they deserve. However, despite the name, it doesn’t have to just be for in-laws and aging parents. It can accommodate children returning from college, or extended family, like sisters or aunts, and also offers opportunities for multigenerational living. At the end of the day, there are various reasons why people choose to build an in-law suite addition, your job is to determine why you need one and what you need to make the space your family deserves. Below we’ve detailed some tips for you to consider when building your in-law suite. Let’s take a look

Garage Addition

Where to Build Your In-Law Suite Addition

While the question of where to build your in-law suite may seem like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised by the places other homeowners, like yourself, have opted to incorporate one. Depending on your budget, and the available space, this is a good time to consult a professional. The solution may not be as straightforward as you think, but take a look at a few common places to build out an in-law suite below.


Opting for a garage renovation is a bit of an upfit project, as it will require insulation, HVAC installation, plumbing, and electric to make it a bit more habitable, but this is where an experienced contractor can help. Whether your existing garage is attached or detached, this is a great area to consider for an in-law suite. which design best fits the needs of your family to best accommodate them. With the number of garage renovation ideas, you can easily determine which design best fits the needs of your family to best accommodate them. 

Three-season and All-season Sunrooms

This may seem a little wild, but hear us out! Consider building out a three-season or all-season sunroom space for your family member. If you’ve already got a deck with a solid foundation, this option makes even more sense. The state of Pennsylvania experiences distinct seasonal shifts, so an all-season room would be the perfect addition, whereas, areas that experience less seasonal diversity may present a better opportunity for something like a three-season room. The difference between the two rooms, essentially, is that one (the all-season room), utilizes an HVAC system to keep the space comfortable no matter what the climate. Generally this is made possible through thermally engineered walls that allow for climate control. A three-season sunroom approach may be a good option for areas that stay generally mild throughout the year. You can regulate these types of rooms with space heaters and fans. This in-law suite addition option is a great way to make the best use of existing space while providing your loved ones an open and inviting living space. 

First floor 

Building an in-law suite addition on the first floor of your home is a great option. It allows you to work with your existing home structure, while also making it accommodating for aging loved ones. With this option you can opt to expand the bedrooms, bathrooms, and closet space and consider keeping one central house kitchen. There are many design options to consider when working with a first floor suite which is ultimately a part of the main house. The use of walls and additional entryways can segment the space giving your family the independence and privacy you both need and deserve. 


Finishing your basement and building an in-law suite is another option to consider. This option requires some preliminary work to make it suitable for round-the-clock living such as waterproofing, insulating, HVAC installation, flooring installation, and more. Additional soundproofing can give your family a peaceful atmosphere too so you don’t end up disrupting each other as you go about your daily lives. 


In-Law Suite Ideas & Tips

Consider the needs of your family when building out your space. Do they need more room to accommodate a wheelchair? Do they have trouble standing without support and require ADA-Compliant additions? Whatever your needs are, location of the in-law suite and code requirements all play a role in how you want your addition to work in your space. If you are building a bedroom in your Pennsylvania basement, for example, then an egress window is required. This is where hiring an experienced contractor can really come in handy. The ultimate goal is to make them feel at home while allowing them to maintain the independence they have been accustomed to for most of their lives. Take a look below at a few things to consider incorporating into your in-law suite.

Spacious bathroom 

The first thing to note is your loved ones are going to need a full bathroom, and a simple powder room won’t cut it if they wish to maintain their independence. Creating a spacious bathroom is critical if they require a wheelchair or handrails due to limited mobility. Depending on preference, include a bathtub if they often soak to alleviate arthritic pain or a walk-in shower for easy accessibility. There are various options to consider, but keeping the room spacious and open is key.

Kitchenette/ Wet Bar Area

Do your loved ones like to cook? Incorporating a kitchenette into your in-law suite is the cherry on the cake when it comes to independent living. They can cook their own meals and hosts dinners. Even the option to cook their own meals without leaving their space is a wonderful concept for independence. Keep them close, but give them that home away from home feel.

Laundry Room

Independence is valuable, that’s why you are thinking about building an in-law suite addition rather than simply paying for a retirement home. Simple features, like adding a laundry room to their space can make all the difference in the world. Also, consider the benefit of keeping your loved ones from having to venture into the main home  in order to wash their clothes. This is a particularly important factor to consider when members of your family are elderly and experiencing some mobility issues. 

Comfortable Living Room (open floor concept) 

This is a fun room to spruce up and make accommodating. Brighten the space with wall accents and art. An open floor concept will make the suite seem more spacious rather than segmenting the rooms with walls that can make your family feel isolated. French doors are a beautiful accent that brighten the room with natural light, plants can help to liven up the area as well. The goal is to make them comfortable and to feel at home. Keep your loved ones’ favorite things in mind and consider incorporating the following luxuries to optimize their comfort,

  • French door accents
  • Surround sound
  • Cozy couches and chairs
  • Entertainment center
  • Plants, art, and wall accents
Storage Space

Everybody loves a little extra storage space to tuck away items they aren’t using in the moment. For aging in-laws, its likely they’ve downsized from a larger home and will require extra storage for the stuff they've acquired over the years. Keep this in mind and work with your space to find nooks and crannies that could add valuable storage.

Work with a Renovation Expert

Tilghman Builders is a premier home remodeling contractor and renovation company serving homes like yours in Bucks County and Montgomery County for over 35 years. We look forward to creating an in-law suite addition that you and your family will love. 

In-Law Suite | Under One Roof eBook

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