Feeling apprehensive about having the entire family round this Christmas? You’re not alone.

Working out the logistics of accommodating for multiple generations can be a struggle. Who is going to sleep where? Can Mum manage the stairs? Will the kids be able to find a quiet space to get their revision done for exams in the new year?

For some families, these questions are not just being asked as the Christmas lights go up. The UK is seeing a rise in multigenerational living, with the housing crisis causing more young adults  to stay with their parents after struggling to get onto the property ladder.

This means that in some cases, three generations of a family are living under the same roof.

As architects, our adaptive and dynamic nature means that we are always responding to changes and trying to design houses and property to accommodate for the needs of everyone in the best possible way.

At Living Space Architect’s, we focus on properties for later living, sustainability and contemporary design which makes this housing trend an exciting opportunity to develop houses that cater to a variety of subjects.

Multigenerational living situations can vary immensely in size and budget, but the nature of projects mean that whatever the scale, innovative design is key in order to make the most of space and resources.

Some important things to think about is using the space as efficiently as possible. Often multigenerational households need areas that are able to accommodate the whole family comfortably, with room to entertain, as well as opportunities for privacy and separation when required.

Here are some ways that houses can be designed to accommodate multiple generations:

  • Flexible spaces with sliding doors

These can separate areas and section off parts of the house while maintaining accessibility and flow.

  • Separate quiet snug spaces

These don’t have to be huge, but it is amazing the difference it can make having somewhere to go when you need to get away from it all and escape.

  • Extensions separated by link spaces

Bridge-like connecting infrastructure can be implemented between aspects of the building, joining separate units in an accessible manner while maintaining the flow of the house.

  • Room for a lift

Leaving room for a lift is a good way to plan ahead and think realistically about what requirements might be needed in the future of a multigenerational household. Having the space means that the option is there should the need arise to add a lift to the unit.

  • Large covered outdoor spaces like verandas or terraces

These help make best use of space, opening up the house and using the outside as an extension for leisure and entertainment. They also provide a means for the family to come together in a communal space, and can link otherwise separated spaces.

  • Annexes that share some facilities with the main house

This can be a perfect option if the tenant requires more privacy and want to feel as though they have their own space, while still having access to the rest of the house. Facilities such as the kitchen and living area might be shared, but the annex can provide a separate sleeping area or leisure room to accommodate different living patterns and interests.

  • Ground floor bedrooms

These enable more people to live under the same roof, and make use of the space in the house. They can also help create separate areas for living and privacy as required. For example, young adults may prefer a ground floor room so that they can come and go at later hours without disturbing the rest of the house.

  • Large utility spaces with boot room and shower facilities

Large utility rooms can be used as communal storage spaces for the family, and extra shower facilities in these areas are a helpful back up if there is an overflow of people in the rest of the house. These rooms also offer the possibility of future conversion into a ground floor bedroom, keeping options open and making best use of space.

  • Multiple entrance doors

At least two separate entrances enable degrees of privacy within the household and give the sense of a larger space and more units.

  • Level access from parking areas

This helps facilitate for those who might be less mobile and means less distance to carry the weekly food shop!