As accessory dwelling units (ADUs) become more popular, you might be ready to build your own. And whether it’s due to local regulations, or personal preference, you’ve decided to build an attached ADU. But you want it to feel separate from your main house.

From a unique interior door to a fully stocked kitchen, here’s what your attached ADU needs to feel like its own space.

A Defined Barrier

What makes an attached ADU different from just another section of your home? It’s a defined barrier that separates the two. Something that makes you feel like you’re walking into a new building and not just a different room.

There are a lot of different ways to do this.

Start with the interior door. Get one that matches the design of the ADU and not the rest of your house. From the moment somebody sees it, they’ll know there’s much more behind that door.

Then, build an entry that makes it feel extra significant. Maybe a short staircase with stair treads different from the ones in your home. Or paint the wall shared with the ADU a different color. Even the interior of the ADU should feel like a new space compared to the rooms in the rest of your home.

A Separate and Fully Functional Kitchen

For an ADU to be usable as a completely independent living space, it needs to have a fully outfitted kitchen. Whether your ADU is a short-term rental for tourists or a living area for your kid who just graduated, a kitchen gives them independence and a feeling of being in their home.

Check off all the boxes: an oven, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, and a few cabinets for personal kitchen gadgets. That way, it’s more than just an extra living room and bedroom. It’s an entirely new home that happens to be attached to yours.

An Exterior Door That Leads Directly to the ADU

While an interior door needs to attach your ADU to the main body of your home, an exterior door makes it feel like its own unit, especially to the people living in it. It saves them the awkwardness of walking through the entire house to get to their own and gives you all the space you need to feel relaxed.

The exterior doors don’t have to be mismatched like the ADU interior door does. Instead, choose the same one as your front door or one with a similar design, so the exterior décor still flows. Build a walkway to the ADU door to give it that separated feeling—a path with a separate flower bed off to the side and maybe even an extra parking pad nearby.

A Good Selection of Storage Solutions

This step can be easy to look over but is just as important as all the rest.

Attached ADUs aren’t particularly big, with most falling around 500 square feet. But in cases where they are meant for long-term living, storage is essential.

This starts with avoiding cluttering furniture and decorations but extends to storage solutions. These could be storage cubes and cabinets, shoe racks, versatile shelf brackets, medicine cabinets, and linen cabinets. All of this helps occupants keep their possessions organized and the space clean. Now you’ve built an ADU that everyone can enjoy.

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