7 Small Mother in Law Suite Ideas to Create a Spacious Oasis

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Are you struggling to make the most of your small mother-in-law suite? While this extra living space can benefit extended family and multigenerational living, it often comes with limited square footage that can quickly become cramped and cluttered.

But don't worry. With these seven small mother-in-law suite ideas, you can transform your space into a more spacious oasis that feels much bigger than it really is.

This article will provide practical tips and tricks to create a functional and enjoyable living area for you or your loved ones. Don't let a small space cramp your style – get ready to transform your in-law suite to maximize its potential!

Happy older couple dancing in their new in law suite

1. Declutter to Maximize In Law Suite Space

One of the biggest challenges of a small mother-in-law suite is limited square feet. Like many areas of the home, clutter can quickly accumulate and make the living space feel tight and disorganized. That's where decluttering and organizing come in.

By getting rid of things you no longer need and organizing the things you do need, you can create a more spacious and functional living area. It's one of those projects where you only realize how impactful it can be once you actually do it.

2. Analyze Activities

Start by deciding which activities will occur in the space. Is a full kitchen needed to prepare larger meals, or will a kitchenette be adequate for snacks and light meal prep? Is an entire living room area required, or will a comfortable recliner, TV, and lamp in the corner of the room suffice?

Once you prioritize activities that will take place in the space, determine which belongings are necessary for those activities. Then, decide which items could be donated or discarded and which can be stored elsewhere, such as in the attic, garage, or storage unit.

By decluttering and organizing your small in-law apartment, you'll be amazed at how much bigger and more functional the space will feel.

Mother in law suite kitchenette

3. In Law Quarters Organization Tips

After narrowing down belongings, it's time to get organized. Create a designated space for each item you choose to keep and label storage to help prevent clutter from building up again.

Strategic and creative storage solutions are essential for good organization to maximize the limited space of an in-law suite. Look for vertical solutions to free up valuable floor space, such as wall shelves and hanging organizers, which can use vertical space and keep belongings easily accessible.

Consider investing in multi-functional furniture with built-in storage. A bed with drawers underneath or a storage ottoman can provide comfort and practicality.

Implementing these simple organizing ideas makes the rooms feel more open and less cramped. This sets the stage for creating a more flexible and multi-functional space catering to various needs and activities.

Open and closed built in storage for mother in law suite organization

4. Open Up the Mother-in-Law-Suite Floor Plan

Opening up the floor plan of your unit is a great way to create more space, improve accessibility, and make the area feel less confined. There are a variety of techniques you can use to achieve this, depending on the layout of your space.

One idea is to remove any unnecessary walls or partitions blocking the flow of movement and natural light. If you're remodeling, eliminating non-load-bearing walls may make sense, but if it doesn't, here's another idea.

Reimagine the Floor Space

A different strategy is to rethink the entire guest suite layout. Can you reorganize the room or rooms to create a better flow throughout the unit?

If there's a larger common space, does it make more sense to put the bedroom area where the living or dining room area was previously?

Considering a different layout, think about door location for convenience, flow, and a connection to nature and the outdoors.

Create Accessibility

When reconfiguring the floor plan, it is essential to consider wheelchair accessibility. The space should be accessible for individuals with limited mobility, including those who use a wheelchair, walker, or cane currently or in the future. The more barrier-free space you can create, the better for easy movement without encountering obstacles.

A bonus of an open layout is often improved natural light, which is crucial since older eyes need additional light compared to younger ones. We'll talk more about lighting ideas in another section.

Construction required to create an open floor plan in a mother in law addition

5. Connect the Indoors to the Outdoors

Another method to visually expand an in-law suite is to maximize the connection between inside and outdoors. A sightline to the outside will give the illusion of more space and take advantage of any outdoor living space or scenic views.

Consider installing a sliding glass door or French doors at a separate entrance that leads to an outdoor balcony, deck, or covered porch. This will bring in more natural light and create a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors.

Making convenient access to the outdoors will also encourage a connection to nature and allow guests to enjoy fresh air and a change of scenery. If space permits, add a comfortable table, chairs, or lounge chair to create a cozy spot to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

To further connect inside and out and reap more of nature's benefits, place some potted plants and greenery around the indoor spaces. This not only adds some natural beauty to the room but also helps to improve air quality. Plus, seeing some foliage can be calming and relaxing, ideal for creating a comfortable living space.

In law addition porch connects space to the main home

6. Furniture Arrangement and Size

Another way to open up the floor plan is by rearranging the furniture. It's essential to be strategic when arranging furniture pieces to maximize available space in a small area. Consider moving furniture away from the walls and creating different zones within the room to make it feel less cluttered.

The scale of the furniture also needs to fit the size of the room. Opt for streamlined instead of oversized furnishings if you're trying to maximize space. Furniture with a more compact design is usually more versatile so you can use it in various ways.

Multi-Functional Furniture

In addition to rearranging the furniture, incorporating multi-functional or shape-shifting furniture is another effective way to make the most of limited space. Versatile furniture that can serve multiple purposes saves space, reduces clutter, and provides more options.Transforming furniture is designed to adapt to changing needs, which is vital as individuals age and their needs evolve. For example, a sofa bed can offer a comfortable seating option during the day and turn into a cozy bed at night. A storage ottoman can provide a place to put your feet up while housing extra linens or blankets.

Consider what will best serve your guest's needs when selecting multi-purpose furniture. A lift-top coffee table could be helpful for additional storage, and a desk can double as a vanity. Maximizing space with multi-function furniture will create a more efficient and comfortable living space for your loved one.

When downsizing into a mother in law suite, current furniture may not fit the new layout.

7. Optimize In Law Unit Lighting

With a more open and versatile living area established, it's time to think about lighting. Older adults need more light to see well, so optimizing natural and artificial lighting is crucial in creating a warm and welcoming in-law suite that is functional, safe, and feels larger than its actual size.

You can maximize natural lighting by choosing window treatments, allowing ample sunlight to flow in. But be careful not to create glare, which makes it more difficult for older adults to see. Choose window treatments with adjustability to control light as needed.

Additionally, strategically placing mirrors around the room to reflect sunlight can create an illusion of a more spacious area. Skylights and additional windows are other ways to add more natural light. It's essential to layer different light sources to create depth and ambiance for artificial lighting.

Types of Lighting

Overhead lighting should be bright enough to cover the entire room but not too harsh. Installing dimmer switches to adjust brightness based on personal preference may be beneficial.

Task lighting such as table lamps or space-saving swing-arm lamps mounted to the wall can add targeted light for reading or working on crafts.

Accent lighting, such as wall sconces or picture lights, can highlight artwork or decorative elements on walls or shelves without occupying floor space.

Increase natural light in the bathroom with a glass wall connecting the master bedroom

Final Thoughts and Next Steps for Small Mother in Law Suite Ideas

Transforming your small mother-in-law suite and making the most of every inch is possible with creativity and careful planning. For step-by-step assistance, look at the Home Space Redesign workbook that will help you optimize an in-law addition or any other room. By the end, you'll have a beautifully optimized living space that feels larger than it truly is. So, get started today and transform your small space into a functional and inviting home for your loved ones.

About the Author

As a home health Physical Therapist for over 20 years, I help clients solve home dilemmas so they can live their best life.

I'm here to use that same problem-solving expertise and training as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist to help you create an optimized home that's forward-thinking and future-ready to support you and your loved ones well for a lifetime.

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