Your Guide to Accessory Dwelling Unit Floor Plan Ideas

The perfect accessory dwelling unit starts with choosing a layout. Get inspired with these accessory dwelling unit floor plan ideas.

Designing a home can be a challenging and laborious process. This is true of your primary residence, but it also applies to an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU. 

Designed to serve as attached or detached living quarters, an ADU can be an incredible addition to your property. You can use yours to house your in-laws as they age in place, give your college-age child a place to retreat, or even earn extra side income from renters!

It all begins with the right design. Today, we’re sharing our favorite accessory dwelling unit floor plan ideas to inspire and guide you.

One-Story Floor Plan With Porch

The best ADU layout is one that checks all the boxes in terms of both form and function. While some people might not mind a two-story design, there are plenty of others who would prefer the ease and convenience of a one-story home. 

This includes senior adults and those with disabilities, for whom going up and down steps could be challenging or even impossible. An experienced ADU building team, like the ones you’ll find at, can help you design the perfect single-story space.

One feature to consider as you keep everything one level? Think about adding a back porch or patio! This element can make any type of home look more spacious, but it’s especially appealing when all of the rooms are on the same floor. 

Add a beautiful set of French doors or a sliding glass door that leads to the outdoor living space. Just be sure that the exterior threshold is even with the interior floor. Someone could trip over a step-down, even if it’s a minor one. 

Small Footprint With Vaulted Ceilings

Are you limited on space? Working with a small lot? 

Even if you have plenty of room to spread out, you may choose to keep the footprint of your ADU small to save money and conserve resources. If that’s the case, then consider adding height to your interior with vaulted ceilings!

These are more than just an eye-catching decor detail. They can also draw visitors’ eyes upward, which makes any space look instantly bigger. While these can look beautiful in any room, they’re especially appealing in a living room, kitchen, or home office. 

Create Double-Duty Spaces

When you’re working with an ADU design, you’re often required to flex your creative muscle. Many of these homes are around 1,000 square feet or fewer, so you need to squeeze as much functionality as possible into every inch. 

This is where it can help to think a little bit outside of the box.

Are you building a covered porch on the back of your ADU? If so, there’s a good chance that the space could double as a mudroom or even a home office. Could you combine the dining and eating areas in the kitchen to avoid overcrowding the living room? 

Consider the features that your family members will use the most, and let those take priority. Then, combine or eliminate other rooms as required to create the floor plan you love. 

Add a Garage

When someone comes to live in your ADU, there’s a good chance that they will bring a car along with them. Unless you have extra space in your primary one, they may wind up parking in your driveway, or along the curb.

Both of those options can quickly become inconvenient. That’s why it can help to factor a garage into your layout, even if it’s a single-car one. Many floor plans will allow for this extra space, and you can even add an awning that connects the garage to the main unit. 

Add a few patio chairs under the awning and you’ll instantly create a new hangout spot!

Don’t Forget Landscaping

What does landscaping have to do with your ADU floor plan? In a word, everything! The way that you lay out your structure can create or eliminate key areas for gardens, shrubs, and flower beds. 

For instance, front porches that jut out will create a square-shaped area beside them. This can be the perfect spot to add a small mulch bed and a few plants that are easy to grow, such as azaleas or dwarf spruces. 

Prioritize Kitchen Functionality

If you’re going to invest heavily in one specific area of your ADU, we suggest setting your sights on the kitchen. With a few tweaks and special touches, you can turn this spot into the heart of the home. 

If your loved ones enjoy cooking, then look for a good-sized range that will meet their needs. You can often find these bundled with ovens and microwaves. Other space-saving appliances include under-counter dishwashers and under-counter washer and dryers.

To make the room feel as large as possible, skip any type of partition between the kitchen and living space, and opt for an open-concept floor plan instead. These are becoming increasingly popular in primary residences, due mostly to the grandiose feel that they give any space.

Remember Small Touches

It’s easy to become overwhelmed as you brainstorm the best accessory dwelling unit floor plan. Why not take a break from fine-tuning the big things and focus on the small elements for a while?

Here’s a quick list of touches that are easy to forget in the midst of a big build:

  • Charging stations and plenty of outlets
  • Built-ins for books, art, and electronics
  • Recessed lighting
  • Light switches in the right spots
  • Under-cabinet kitchen lights

This is just a short list of the small design features that make a big impact. Here are a few more for motivation!

Create the Ideal Accessory Dwelling Unit Floor Plan

Are you ready to expand the footprint and value of your home? If so, then it’s time to design an ADU!

As you work on your accessory dwelling unit floor plan, remember to think about how you want the space to look and work. In addition, consider what your loved ones would need and appreciate in their new home. The result will be a beautiful, functional space that they’ll love to call theirs.

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