Published on July 9, 2021

blue laundry roomPin It
Photography by Bethany Nauert; Styling by Scott Horne

Family always matters. But these days, extended family really does, particularly when you’re in the market for a house. The pandemic elevated our relationship with our loved ones—grandparents, in-laws, cousins, you name it. As a result, flex spaces, additions, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are at the top of every home buyer’s must-have list. Per Kitchen & Bath Design News, according to a recent survey conducted by Realtor.com, 65 percent of people are house hunting with hosting extended family long-term in mind. 

Carving out a dedicated space for your family doesn’t have to mean sacrificing an entire wing. As we learned from our latest cover star, Oh Joy! founder and creative director Joy Cho, who built her Los Angeles guesthouse-slash-studio with her East Coast parents in mind, it’s the little things like having a laundry space adjacent to their bedroom that make all the difference. Here are a few more ways to welcome them for their short- (or long-) term stay. 

Convert the Garage

neutral living roomPin It
Photography by Charlotte Lea

If your cars sit out in the driveway anyway, take advantage of the unused square footage, which can easily be made livable with some extra insulation, a faux fireplace, modular furniture, and vinyl flooring.  

Embrace the Murphy Bed

texrture dmurphy bed doorsPin It
Photography by Anita Yokota

When guests aren’t in town, this fold-out–style bed lets you still use the room as an office, play area, craft space—whatever you want. Take a page out of Anita Yokota’s book and clad the shell in thin wood slats so it looks like a custom cabinet when closed. 

Don’t Skimp on the Jack and Jill

pink bath looking into blu roomPin It
Photography by Virtually Here Studios

So the kids and grandparents have to share a bathroom—that doesn’t mean you have to go childish with the design. In the monochrome space, above, by Prairie Interiors, playfulness and durability are balanced out by an offcut of pink marble. 

Divide and Conquer

old cottage sliding doorsPin It
Photography by Zio and Sons Creative

Anything tall and easy to move can turn one tiny space into two. Anthony D’Argenzio thought outside of the typical folding screen and went with 100-year-old library doors to make his small cottage all the more versatile. If you’re feeling generous, close off your zone and give your family open access to the main living space. Sharing is caring. 

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