Whether you need a secluded spot to work from home, need a place for visiting family to stay, or want to start Airbnb hosting, mother-in-law suite ideas are for everyone! You don’t need a live-in relative to start building a mother-in-law suite.

However, building the perfect suite takes some time and thought. After all, if you’re going to put in the time and money, you might as well make something gorgeous.

It can become your new backyard hideaway, whether you just need some space or want a studio when the creative urge strikes you. No matter what you plan on using it for, we’ve assembled 10 great mother-in-law suite ideas for you!

  1. Make It Accessible and Cute 

When it comes to building a detached mother-in-law suite, consider what you plan to use it for. This will have a major impact on your building plans and the accommodations you need to install.

Whether it’s for your aging parents or Airbnb visitors, make sure it’s accessible! Accessibility is important for disabled or aging visitors, and it’s a great way to make sure everyone can enjoy the suite.

This includes eliminating stairs from the design, adding anti-slip mats and railings in the shower, putting a railing near the toilet, and adding anything else that could make their lives easier.

Railings, mats, ramps, and other accessibility accommodations are a great chance to insert a pop of color or texture into your designs, too. Just because it’s practical doesn’t mean that it has to be boring!

It’s also important to add a curbless shower. Falls getting in and out of the shower are a primary source of injuries for the elderly. By eliminating a potential hazard, you’ll be able to keep your family safer.

This also makes things easier if a disabled person comes to visit. With the right accommodations, you’ve just made their life a lot easier!

  1. Accessorize 

Whether it’s for family or a staycation, add some accessories to your mother-in-law suite plans. For starters, nostalgia is everything.

Depending on who is living there, you can dedicate an entire accent wall to family pictures. It can serve as a scrapbook with photos from holidays, reunions, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, and more.

Or, that wall can be dedicated to the history of the region. For instance, if you live near the ocean, black-and-white pictures of sailboats, old piers, and other marine memorabilia serve as a perfect pop of local flavor.

  1. Separating Utilities 

If family members are moving in, consider what their current needs are and how those might increase in the future. Your aging parents or in-laws might want a little space from the main house. Or, they may not mind if the place is attached to the main building.

However, if you go with a detached mother-in-law suite, make sure that utilities are set up separately. That way, you can switch them off if the place remains unoccupied.

This can help you stay safe and lower your utility bills. You won’t be paying for services that you actually aren’t using.

  1. Find the Right Contractor 

When building a mother-in-law suite, you may not have the experience necessary to pull it off. Building an entire detached building isn’t the sort of project you can DIY from Youtube videos.

You need solid foundations, a supported roof, and safe electrical wiring. This requires a diverse skill set that many DIYers don’t actually have. It’s important to ensure that your building is safe for its inhabitants, can withstand inclement weather, and will still be standing in a few years.

  1. Check Building Codes 

Your backyard mother-in-law suite plans will need to be cleared with the city first. There are usually some requirements that must be fulfilled.

These mother-in-law suites are usually referred to as an accessory dwelling unit, which is often referred to as an ADU. These dwelling units often must have an outside entrance.

This is mandatory for fire safety and in case of emergency. Off-street parking is important, too, to keep from blocking others from having a space. This means a garage or other location where a car can be safely parked.

You also must reside full-time on the property. You can’t live part-time on a property where you have an accessory dwelling unit.

All of this information is why it’s so important to have the right contractor. They will know all of the information about city codes and how to make sure that you’re in compliance. For instance, in some cities, a detached unit is illegal, while an addition is not.

Knowing this type of information can help save you lots of money and trouble with the city. If you want to read up more, check out Acton ADU.

  1. Add a Personal Touch 

Finding the perfect mother-in-law suite for sale is rare. Instead, you’ll need to put your own unique touch on the place in order to make it right for your needs and interior design aesthetic.

There are two ways a personal touch can work. Firstly, go for the themes you’ve always desired. Maybe making an entire home nautical-themed is too much, but it would be perfect for a backyard suite!

Embracing your personal sense of style can be particularly lucrative for Airbnbs. People love to stay in cute, quirky little nooks!

It’s also important to follow your personal sense of safety and trust your gut. Of course, you should never invade anyone’s privacy. But placing cameras at entrances or providing family members with alert bracelets can make all the difference for security.

Mother-in-Law Suite Ideas

Depending on what mother-in-law suite ideas you have, there are so many options for you to embrace a new aesthetic and flex your creative design muscles. As long as you cover your practical bases, the world is your playground!

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