According to Pew Research, 64 million Americans live in a multigenerational household.

If you’re interested in sharing a household with your in-laws or your own parents, you might be interested in in-law suites.

But what is an in-law suite or accessory dwelling unit? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

What is an In-Law Suite?

An in-law suite is an apartment or additional space for your in-laws or parents. But even though it’s named for in-law suites, anyone can live there!

It’s normally attached to a larger home, but sometimes it can be its own unit in the backyard. It’s designed to act as a secondary dwelling on a property where a house already exists.

Sometimes people re-do a shed or add an additional space to their extra home. Some homeowners just convert an old room into an apartment.

Basic Must-Haves

However, this living facility will also need basic amenities it. These dwelling units normally have a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. If they’re big enough they may even need a living room.

The bedroom should have enough storage space, like a walk-in closet or a large chest of drawers. You should also have enough room for a queen bed.

Most in-law suites also have enough room for a full bathroom. This means that there should be a shower, sink, toilet, and bathtub. This will make sure that the occupants can spend time in that house without having to go into the main one.

To do that, they’ll also need to have a full kitchen so that they can be fully independent.

To keep the houses separate, you may also want to incorporate a private entrance. This isn’t always required, but it can be helpful to provide privacy for both residents.

Factors to Consider Before Building

If you’re interested in adding an accessory apartment to your home, there are a few factors to think about.

For example, you’ll want to think about the area you have available, what you’re going to use it for, and how much the project will cost.


If you’re looking to buy a home with an existing suite, you might be looking for a while. They’re out there, but they’re hard to find.

Instead, expand your search to larger properties so that you can build your own building.

Other Uses

Keep in mind that you can also use this suite for any other purpose. You can house different relatives who might need care or someone else to live.

Some people also use this as a guest house for visitors. If it’s unattached from your resident you may even want to rent it out or use it as an Airbnb to make some extra income. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to meet certain requirements before you can do this.

Some people also use this as a space to live for themselves while they’re renovating their main house.


Once you’ve determined that you have enough space, you will have to figure out how much it will cost. Before you start building, you’ll need to check your local zoning code first. If you are allowed to build or expand your house, you’ll then need to decide if you want to do it yourself or hire a contractor, like Acton ADU.

The cost to create an in-law suite can range a lot. In fact, it could cost between $40,000 and $125,000 depending on what you’re building. If you’re building a standalone structure, it will cost more.

It’s normally more affordable to convert an attic, basement, garage, or unused room into a suite. There are even kits that you can buy on Amazon to help you turn a bedroom into a suite.

However, while it can be expensive, secondary living space is in high demand. If you ever want to sell your home later on, your home will be able to sell for more because of that extra space.


In addition to increasing the value of your home, you’ll also have a nice safety net for any of your loved ones. Instead of putting your parents or in-laws in an assisted living facility, you can have them move in with you and easily care for them there.

It’s also great for people who want a multigenerational household without sacrificing their privacy and independence. Even if you don’t plan to care for your parents, it can be a great place for your adult children or other relatives.

If you aren’t going to have anyone living in the space, it can also be a great home office or private space. Some people turn these into man caves or a personal studio!

After you’ve built the suite, you can earn some of that money back by renting it out. You can rent it to short or long-term guests and have some passive income. However, there may be laws in your area that prohibit having renters in an accessory dwelling unit, so make sure you check those out first.

Discover More About In-Law Suites

These are only a few things to know about in-law suites, but there are many more things to consider.

We know that doing any type of home improvement project can be stressful, especially when it comes to building a backyard house.

However, if you need more help with your projects, check out our website! We have many more articles just like this one for you to enjoy.

By Hemant Kumar

I am a zealous writer who loves learning, redesigning the information, and sharing the original content in an innovative and embellish manner. I hope you will find my work beneficial and entertaining. Happy Reading!