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What to Build if You Have a Large or Multigenerational Family

A Home for Families of All Sizes


Whether you have a home full of kiddos, decided to move Grandma and Grandpa in with the rest of the family, or have a grown child who has decided to come back home, you may be considering building a home with extra space or privacy.

More than 50 million Americans live in multigenerational homes or are residing with at least three generations of family members under one roof. Following the challenges that came with the 2007–2009 recession after the housing crash, some of the ways families approach their living situations have changed drastically over the past decade.

Sprawling homestead ideal for a multigenerational family (House Plan #161-1076)

A sprawling homestead like this 4531-sq.-ft., Texas-style luxury home plan makes it easy for a large multigenerational family to live together under one roof (Plan #161-1076). 



Popularity of Multigenerational Homes

The multigenerational home began to gain traction as families were looking for alternatives to their previous approach to home life. Many Americans struggled to make ends meet when job loss was prevalent and expenses couldn’t be met. And luckily, developers answered the call.

Popular home developers that can be found in many of the new developments around the country began incorporating multigenerational home plans, or large family floor plans, into their offerings, but the ultimate customization to accommodate your own situation can be met with the many options offered through The Plan Collection floorplans.

Large European style house plan #194-1012

Unlike the "McMansions" of the 1980s and 90s, more recent large homes like this 4590-sq.ft. European or Tuscan style luxury home – almost in the style of a small castle – is likely to be built by the pooled resources of a multigenerational family so they can live together more affordably (Plan #194-1012).



Cost Savings

According to the Pew Research Center, the poverty rate of those in multigenerational homes was less than those in single-family homes in 2009. And one of the major reasons for moving multiple generations under one roof is to save money.

Sometimes it means cost savings on child care with the support of a grandparent in the home – or eliminating the need for elderly care by having children or grandchildren care for an older relative under one roof instead of expensive retirement communities or nursing homes. Multiple generations sharing one home also means that the budget for a home can be increased by pooling the smaller individual budgets of family members who would have to purchase their own home.

Ultimately, a multigenerational home or a larger home with many family members living under one roof can mean significant cost savings and a sharing of the family duties for a more manageable life.

Southern Country Home with 3437 Sq Ft, 6-Bed Including In-Law Suite

In a home like this 3437-sq.-ft. country-style residence, which has 6 bedrooms, including an impressive in-law suite, different members of a multigenerational family can have their own private areas – and contribute to the expense of building and maintaining the house (Plan #193-1017).



Privacy and Functionality

Some of the best multigenerational, or 4500 to 5000 square foot, floor plans keep versatility, privacy, and functionality in mind. Because there are various ages and family members with different special needs living under one roof, a floorplan must consider all the possible scenarios for a large or growing family. Because these homes typically stand the test of time, it’s also critical that the right floor plan remains versatile as the family dynamic changes.

For instance, the in-laws might be active and healthy right now, but if they move into your multigenerational or 4500 square foot home for the long haul, their future mobility and health should be considered. Building the in-law suite on a first level – or with access to an elevator – will be important as stairs become an issue for an older family member. And kitchens, bathrooms, and doorways should be designed with wheelchairs or walkers in mind. Some family members may even decide to build their in-law suites equipped with emergency alert buttons in the event an ill relative needs quick assistance from a family member in the main house.

Shingle style home for a large family (House Plan #168-1132)

This large Shingle-style home has a bedroom suite on the main floor for resident in-laws as well as a large bonus area above the garage, perhaps for grown children who have returned home (Plan 168-1132).


On the opposite side of the spectrum, many grown children with debilitating student loan debt and few job prospects may move back in with Mom or Dad to save a little money of their own. But having a 20-something coming home at all hours of the night or inviting buddies over for video-game marathons may be more than the parents want to put up with. Many multigenerational homes or house plans for 5000 square feet are designed with living quarters completely separate from the main home, even with private entrances. If you never want to see a pile of laundry or empty pizza boxes left around your home by your 22-year-old child, you may consider a suite or apartment-style section of your home to accommodate your Millennial family members.

Luxury Country style home that has a bonus area with private entrance over the garage (House Plan #153-1021)

This 4827-sq.-ft. Country style home with 3-car garage has a large bonus area upstairs (with dormers) with a private entrance from the 2-car garage area behind the tree on the left side of the house (Plan #153-1021).



What’s Right for My Family?

Floor plans designed to accommodate large families or multiple generations living under one roof offer plenty of options for almost any situation.

Some homes have a first-floor in-law suite connected to a three-car garage that would be perfect for active grandparents who want their own space. Many times, in-law suite homes in the 5000-square-foot range have a private entrance, fully equipped kitchen, and their own washer and dryer, leaving this area of the home completely independent from the rest of the house.

Another option is a separate living quarters for someone not challenged by stairs, like a 20-something or 30-something child who has moved back home, would be a 4500 to 5000 square foot floor plan with bonus space in either the basement or above the garage. Many are designed with separate entrances, and for the apartment above a completely separate garage, the space wouldn’t even be connected to the main house. This could be the ideal situation for a child who wants to have guests over for late-night poker games.

6-bedroom home large enough for a multigenerational family (House Plan #115-1042)

With 6 bedrooms, a large bonus area above the garage, over 1700 sq. ft. of "public" space on the main floor, and a large recreational area in the basement, this 4634-sq.-ft. Craftsman/Arts & Crafts style home has plenty of room for a large or multigenerational family to configure to their needs (Plan #115-1042).



The House That Continues to Give

The latent beauty of building a multigenerational home with a separate studio or apartment space – especially with a completely isolated entrance disconnected from the main house – is the versatility that it offers the homeowner down the road.

Perhaps your grown child finds a partner or a great job and wants to buy his or her own home, or an elderly parent eventually needs more specialized care in a retirement facility. Homeowners won’t be left with a gaping hole in their home design that would force them to move to a smaller property. A garage apartment or basement suite with its own entrance could easily be rented out when it’s not in use. As a homeowner, you could benefit from ongoing rental income for your in-law apartment until you have a use for it again. So you are not only saving money by putting multiple family members under one roof but also creating the option for future passive rental income.

Multigenerational, or 4500 to 5000 square foot, home floor plans may be foreign to many families looking to build their next dream home, but they offer the versatility and cost savings that so many modern families are looking for in their next place. And The Plan Collection can help you find the floor plan that will accommodate all your family’s dwellers.



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