It may be small, but that’s no reason to hold back on fixing it up to become a truly functional living space.
The granny flat has enjoyed a resurgence across Australian states, and with good reason — any homeowner with a garage or extra outdoor space in their property can convert it into a granny flat that can serve as a residence for extended family or tenants, or a place to provide ample storage or space for hobbies and other activities.
If you have a granny flat and you plan to rent it out to singles or couples, you can also make a nice rental income that will sure be put to good use.
It’s best to keep in mind, however, that being secondary dwellings, laws only allow granny flats to be built to a maximum size of 60 square metres — that would include all the internal areas which can fit the bedrooms, living spaces, bathroom and laundry areas. But you can also add external touches like a porch, deck or a carport.
Making the most of your limited space
Planning on living in a granny flat yourself? You need to look beyond the fact that these spaces are small and begin to see the different possibilities that you can work with when fixing one up to suit your specific living needs. You can get creative with your furnishings and your manner of arranging them to come up with a charming, well-decorated and fully functional little place that you can call home.
Ready to take on the challenge of maximising granny flats? Sydney locals offer the following space-saving ideas:
- Be smart about storage. Use odd corners (like the spaces beside doors that aren’t usually visible) to hang things like brooms and cleaning supplies. The spots beneath chairs, staircases, and beds can be built to accommodate drawers, which can hold any number of things depending on their size. Attach racks to the insides of closets so you can have additional hanging storage instead of clumping everything on the bottom surface. And have you seen pictures of homes with narrow corners where you can have a sliding pantry built in? These are all ideal tips for granny flats.
- Consider putting in a loft bedroom. A loft design can double the floor area of the room — the space up top houses the bedroom, so the space below is left free (and considerably bigger) for the living room, home workspace or kitchen and dining room.
- Take your shelvings higher. Putting in sturdy bookshelves higher up the walls provides a surprisingly large space to store books, magazines, toys, record collections, sporting equipment, and other items that need not be accessed on a daily basis. This way, surfaces in the high-traffic living areas are kept free of clutter.
- Invest in expandable or collapsible furnishings. Living in a granny flat gives you an opportunity to explore the world of furniture and other home features that can be modified to enable you to adjust your space as needed. Think about getting tables that can be folded up when there are only one or two people using it, and expanded to accommodate more folks when needed. Try a sofa that can be pulled out to provide extra seating. Or consider having tables attached to walls that can be folded up and kept out of view and out of the way when not in use.
- Let go of possessions that will only become clutter. Living in a granny flat will cause you to take a good, long look at your belongings and begin sorting them into two piles: those that you can accommodate in your space because they are necessary or because they make you happy, and things that will have to go. By keeping only the things you need, you can lead a more stress-free life because everything in your space has a purpose and their own special spot, and you won’t have to constantly worry about where to place things that you don’t even care for.