What Are the Best Practices in Designing Real Estate for Multigenerational Living?

March 10, 2024

Over the past decade, we have seen a significant shift in the housing market, one that is bringing families closer together. The trend of multigenerational living is on the rise as more families choose to share a home with multiple generations under the same roof. This style of living has numerous benefits, but it also poses unique challenges when it comes to creating a space that meets the needs of every family member.

Now, the question is, how can we design our homes to accommodate this multigenerational lifestyle effectively? What are the key considerations and best practices in building a house for multigenerational living? In this article, we will explore several aspects of this subject, from defining the concept of multigenerational living to delving into the essentials of designing such spaces.

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Understanding Multigenerational Living

Before diving into the design aspect, it is essential to understand what multigenerational living entails. Essentially, a multigenerational household includes two or more adult generations living under one roof. This could be parents living with their adult children, grandparents living with their grandchildren, or even households where great-grandparents cohabitate with younger generations.

The trend of multigenerational living is not new; it’s a way of living that was quite common in the past. However, it has seen a resurgence in recent years due to various factors such as economic benefits, caregiving needs, and cultural preferences among others.

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The Benefits of Multigenerational Living

Multigenerational homes provide several compelling benefits, making them an appealing option for many families. The primary advantage is the ability to share costs. By living together, families can pool their resources to afford a larger, more comfortable home than they might be able to on their own. This leads to shared expenses, reducing the financial burden on each individual member.

Another significant advantage of multigenerational living is the emotional support and companionship it brings. Shared living spaces foster stronger bonds between family members, leading to a close-knit family network. Furthermore, multigenerational households often prove beneficial for childcare and elder care, with family members readily available to assist.

Privacy and Space Management in a Multigenerational Home

Despite the many benefits, multigenerational living also brings its own set of challenges. One of the main concerns is striking a balance between togetherness and privacy. With so many people sharing the same spaces, it can become difficult to create a sense of personal space for each family member.

Designing a multigenerational home requires careful planning to ensure that each member’s privacy is respected. This can be achieved through thoughtful space management and design. Each generation will need its own private space, as well as shared areas for family interaction.

Building a Multigenerational Home: Key Design Elements

To create a successful multigenerational living environment, certain key design elements must be considered. First and foremost, the home should have flexible spaces that can adapt to the changing needs of the family. Rooms should have multiple purposes and be easily convertible.

For instance, an office space can double as a guest room for visiting relatives, or a playroom for the children can transform into a study room when needed. This type of flexible design ensures the home can evolve with the family, providing the right balance of private and shared spaces.

Furthermore, accessibility is a crucial consideration when designing for multigenerational living. As family members age, mobility can become a challenge. Therefore, it is wise to incorporate universal design principles to ensure the home is accessible and safe for all.

Creating Shared Spaces in Multigenerational Homes

Shared spaces are an integral part of a multigenerational home. These are the areas where family members gather for meals, celebrations, or simply to spend time together. It’s crucial that these spaces are designed to accommodate everyone comfortably.

When designing shared spaces, keep in mind the varied needs and preferences of each generation. For instance, the living room should have enough seating for everyone, with options for both formal and casual seating. Similarly, the dining area should be spacious enough to accommodate large family meals. Outdoor spaces, such as gardens or patios, can also serve as valuable shared spaces for family members to relax and interact.

Designing a home for multigenerational living may seem like a daunting task, but with careful planning and thoughtful design, you can create a space that meets the needs of each family member while fostering a sense of togetherness. Remember, the ultimate goal is to create a home where every generation feels comfortable, respected, and included.

Home Adaptation for Multigenerational Living

When considering creating a multigenerational household, families often question whether to buy a new home or adapt their existing one. The answer lies in the specific needs of the family members and the ability of the current home to accommodate these requirements.

If the current home has potential for modification, it can be a cost-effective way to achieve multigenerational living. This could involve converting a basement into a liveable area, adding an extension, or adapting the layout of the existing space. However, it’s crucial to ensure that any home adaptation adheres to local regulations and consider hiring a professional design build company to ensure compliance and quality workmanship.

On the other hand, buying a new home that is specifically designed for multigenerational living could be a viable option. There are real estate developers who specialize in this type of housing and can provide homes with separate entrances, dual master suites, and other essential features.

Regardless of the path chosen, the key is to ensure that the home caters to the needs of each generation. The ideal multigenerational home is one that offers a combination of shared spaces and private areas, allowing for both family bonding and individual privacy.

The Future of Multigenerational Living

While the trend of multigenerational living has been on the rise for the past decade, it is expected to continue growing in the coming years. Factors such as an ageing population, increasing house prices, and cultural shifts towards family-oriented living suggest that multigenerational households will become even more commonplace in the future.

The design and real estate industries are responding to this trend by developing innovative solutions for multigenerational homes. From homes with multiple kitchens to ones with adjustable living spaces, the market is continually evolving to meet the unique needs of multigenerational families.

The future of multigenerational living looks promising. As more families embrace this lifestyle, the benefits will continue to grow. It offers a way to strengthen family bonds, share costs, and provide support to older adults and children alike. With careful planning and a thoughtful approach to design, multigenerational living can offer numerous benefits for all family members.


Multigenerational living is a growing trend that requires thoughtful design and planning to ensure a harmonious living environment for all family members. While it does pose unique challenges, such as maintaining privacy and managing shared spaces, it also offers numerous benefits like cost sharing, emotional support, and strengthened family bonds.

Whether adapting an existing home or purchasing a new one, the focus should be on ensuring the space meets the needs of each generation. This includes providing private areas for each family member, creating comfortable and functional shared spaces, and considering the needs of older adults.

As we move towards the future, multigenerational living is set to become even more popular. With the real estate industry adapting to accommodate this trend, families have a range of options to create a home where multiple generations can live together comfortably and harmoniously. In conclusion, the key to successful multigenerational living lies in a thoughtful and flexible approach to design, ensuring every family member feels valued and comfortable in their shared home.