Your in-laws are coming to visit…again. And while you love them, perhaps their two-week long stay is a bit much. But you have a great space above your garage that you’re only using to store an excessive collection of Christmas decorations.

Converting attic space or part of your basement into a “mother-in-law” suite, or small apartment suite has numerous benefits — it will add value to your home and allow you to stay sane during those long visits. Mother-in-law suites can also be completely detached from the main residence and are also called secondary or accessory suites.

Read on to learn more about creating a guest suite in your home and how Elite Custom Builders can jump-start your home renovation project.

In-law suites can range from simple to luxurious


Before contacting a contractor or beginning the renovation, it’s important to start with a list of needs and wants. While the space may need a private a bathroom, a kitchenette may be less necessary.

To determine needs and wants, you need to think about the ways your family and guests will use the space. When guests aren’t staying, will the space be a quiet work space? A playroom for kids? And when guests do stay, how many people does the space need to comfortably accommodate?

Other considerations include private entry (which may give you the option to rent the space), municipal occupancy laws (zoning), parking and accessibility (wider hall ways, handrails, etc.).

Consider if this space will be for guest or if family members will permanently be living in the space — each city has specific guidelines.


The goal of the guest space is to allow your family and your parents or in-laws to stay/live together while maintaining privacy. Privacy is often an oversight when planning the space — while you may be close with your family, you still need to have your own space.

You can increase privacy by making sure guests don’t have to walk through your entire home to get to the space. If it’s possible (and zoning laws allow), you could have a completely private entry to the space.

If you’re renovating an attic space, consider if the main area of the guest suite will be over a bedroom or quiet area. Likewise, if it’s in a basement, will the bedroom be under the area of the house where children play?

It’s also important to set clear boundaries and expectations if this is a long stay or long-term agreement.


If you’re ready to move forward with the project, it’s time to set a budget for your home additions. How much are you able to put in to the renovation? Will you be taking out a construction loan? Will you hire a contractor for the entire renovation or do some of the more simple tasks (like painting) yourself?

Be honest about your budget — your contractor will need to know so they can accurately assess the scope of work. Depending on what needs to be done, you may have the funds to complete the entire project or may need to reassess the “wants” section of your initial list.


If there’s a chance your parents or in-laws will be staying in the space for an extended period of time, we recommend having a discussion with them about the things they would like to see in the space.

Most people want to provide the highest level of independence they can afford in the space, meaning that those staying or living in it can meet the majority of their needs without using the main residence.

We recommend prioritizing a private bathroom and a sitting area. While a full kitchen is a luxury, even a small kitchenette with a mini-fridge and microwave will be appreciated.

While storage would be nice, the living space is usually the priority. If there is only room for small storage areas, infrequently used personal belongings can be stored elsewhere in the main residence.

If your parents or in-laws are moving in, they may be more comfortable bringing their own furniture — if this is the case, consider neutral flooring and paint colors so their furniture works in the space.


While the space may be designed as a personal space during long visits, there’s always a chance it may become a permanent residence as your parents or in-laws age. For this reason, we think it’s good to keep an open mind about accessibility.

Wider hallways and door frames, lower cabinets and handrails in the bathroom are just a few things to consider. And with modern options, accessible options look elegant — handrails don’t have to make the space feel like a hospital.

It’s also important to consider the flooring — select an option that isn’t slippery. And finally, talk to your contractor about making things easy to reach, reducing the need to reach for items and preventing falls.

At ECB, we understand that it’s difficult to think about these options. That’s why we always work with you to make the best decision for your entire family.


Already feeling overwhelmed with the scope of this project? Consider hiring a professional contractor like ECB.

Professional contractors will help you maximize your budget and your space, allowing you to get the most “bang for your buck”. Your contractor will also be familiar with local zoning laws and will take care of getting the applicable permits for the project, taking stress off of your shoulders.

Elite Custom Builders | Residential Contractor | Bridgeport, WV | Surrounding Areas

As baby boomers age, the percentage of the U.S. population age 65 or older is rapidly growing. At ECB, we’ve seen a drastic increase in the number of spaces being converted for parents and in-laws.

If you’re ready to start your project, get in touch today.

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