Granny flats are quickly gaining popularity as an alternative dwelling option, particularly for retirees, young families and dependents. Moving into a granny flat can take some adjustment, due to how compact it is compared to the average suburban Aussie home. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to compromise on your quality of life at all. Thinking ahead can help you get the most out of your granny flat, from making the downsizing decision all the way to designing and decorating your new home.
You might worry that moving into a one or two bedroom granny flat will affect your quality of life. However, downsizing can actually be advantageous, with some finding that downsizing to a granny flat has helped them live life to the fullest.
Downsizing allows you to declutter and get rid of items that are no longer bringing you any happiness. Considering the correlation between a decluttered environment and mental relaxation, it’s clear to see why many people are making a move towards downsizing.
Living with your loved ones in a smaller home will also you to spend more time with each other, instead of having each family member locked up in their own bedroom. Of course, personal privacy is still important, which makes a two-bedroom granny flat preferable over a one-bedroom or studio.
The way a granny flat is designed has a huge effect on the overall feel of the home. A poorly designed granny flat will feel cramped and cluttered, which is the complete opposite of the serene, homely feeling that a granny flat should exude. To ensure a smart design, work with a granny flat builder who understands what it takes to create a home and can work to your custom requirements.
In the case of granny flats, an open plan design is generally favoured, as this allows the spaces to seamlessly flow into one another without any sense of restriction. Ensure the bedrooms are flooded by natural light to create a bigger, brighter space.
Integrate smart storage solutions into the design, such as robes and cabinets, to avoid having to buy bulky furniture items that will just serve to clutter your room. Design your flat so that the living room flows into a deck or backyard, creating a sense of sprawling space by drawing your eye out to the distance.
Also design with the future in mind, to ensure that your granny flat can serve you a lifetime. If you are planning to spend your retirement in your granny flat, ensure that you have future-proofed your home to accommodate any changes in mobility over the years.
This can include shower railings, levers instead of door knobs, no slip bathroom tiles and cabinets with pull-out shelves that don’t require you to reach far into the cabinet. Or, if you’re building a granny flat as a family home, is it designed in a way that will accommodate the needs of your growing family? Your toddler may love their playroom now, but find it cramped when they hit their teen growth spurt.
After designing and building your granny flat, you get to enjoy the fun part: decorating! However, there is a lot more involved in decorating granny flats than simply stocking up on cute printed pillows. The way you decorate can help you get the most out of your granny flat by creating a more open, welcoming and spacious-feeling home. Some décor tips for maximising the potential of your granny flat include:
- Opt for light colours, as this will reflect the natural light entering your home, thereby creating a brighter space.
- Choose furniture with legs, as this creates a sense of height and openness as opposed to furniture that sits plump and heavy on the floor.
- Utilise mirrors. Mirrors are not only practical for checking if you have any spinach stuck between your teeth or tidying up your hair, but can virtually double your space by reflecting your room back at you.
- Choose multifunctional furniture, whether that’s an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table or a sofa bed to turn your second bedroom into a versatile guest room or lounge.
Like the design process, choose furniture with the future in mind. For example, avoid tables with sharp corners or shaggy rugs that can easily becoming a tripping hazard.
A two-bedroom granny flat is ideal for a retired couple or small family to settle in, and can be made to feel homely yet spacious with some simple design and décor tips. Above all, make sure to work with a renowned granny flat builder who can guide you through the whole process.
Justin Jersey is a journalist, stylist and blogger. He is an aesthetician by heart who often writes about Home, Art, Fashion, decorating and DIY ideas. He loves sparking creativity and giving them ideas for their own spaces.