The 5 Must Haves in a Multi-generation Household

Can a debt-saddled millennial return home? Or can boomers take in their aging parents to keep them close in hand? Can they cohabitate all under the same roof? Yes, as long as the home is developed with today’s multi-generational housing needs in mind.

Multi-generational housing has made a comeback and show no sign of slowing down. In 1940, nearly 25 percent of the country lived in a home that included more than two generations. Those numbers hit an all-time low in the 1980s. A 2014 study by Pew Research Center revealed that number has risen since the Great Recession to 19 percent - estimates place this number at 60.6 million Americans living in a multi-generational living situation.


Today’s multi-generational living requires the right mix of creativity, adaptability and code consciousness. From our experience working with this growing, increasingly multicultural market, we have found that design is the number one differentiator if all is equal in terms of square footage, location and price points.

To keep everyone together but comfortably apart, here are five key elements multi-family developers and homebuilders should keep top of mind:

Open Access: One of the most important considerations when designing a multi-generational home is ensuring access for all, particularly for those family members who might be in a wheelchair or walker or just need more space to get through doors and hallways. Just as the family may need to “baby proof” a kitchen to keep it safe for the younger generation, you need to make at least one floor completely barrier free to keep the oldest generation safe as well. A easy access shower without a dam so you can roll in a wheelchair, for example.

Multiple Masters: While a returning millennial might be content to come back home to a childhood bedroom, the arrival of an aging parent often requires a second master suite with its own bathroom. This design allows the older generation to have easier access and more privacy.

Suite Additions: Create an “in-law” style suites that function as distinct mini-apartments—often with separate entrances and kitchenettes. This gives older parents the opportunity to feel like they have their own spaces – even in shared homes.

 Privacy Factors: When multiple generations share the same living space, creating opportunities for privacy is critical. In addition to private master suites, versatile living areas with the right amenities can go a long way to keeping harmony among the generations.

Flex Potential: A multi-generational home needs to support a family as it grows and changes. For this reason, no room should be customized to the point where it is no longer adaptable. Keep elements simple and flexible so it is easy to adapt spaces as a family’s wants and needs evolve.


If you find yourself in this situation and need more space, a more functional home or to improve living areas, DreamBuilders Design & Construction can help you. Our expert architects and designers will listen to your wants and needs and will design a functional space, within your budget, to improve your home. Our unique method will take you from planning to completion and save you thousands of dollars. Plus you’ll be in complete control of your renovation, with our expert advice every step of the way.To learn more on how our system can help you to plan your multi-generational home and save you thousands, please contact us today to schedule your free consultation.