• Wednesday, October 04, 2023


Top Tips for Designing an Accessory Dwelling Unit Ideal for Your Needs

By: Eastern Eye Staff

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are a great option for homeowners seeking to extend their living space to accommodate a growing family, provide a place for seniors to live comfortably, use it as a home office, or generate rental income. However, you must plan and design it for the best form and functionality to get the maximum bang for your buck. Some useful insights:

What Is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit or ADU is a self-contained living unit on the same property as your primary residence. An ADU will typically comprise a living area, a sleeping area, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Depending on the size and layout of your house, you can either convert the garage, attic, or basement into an ADU or build an independent living unit. While ADUs are a great way of providing flexible housing options and promoting sustainable development, property owners must ensure they comply with local building and zoning codes before building an ADU.

ADU Design Basics

You should evaluate your property to understand how to place the ADU optimally and whether it should be attached or a detached unit. You will also need to consider critical factors like access to utilities, privacy, exposure to sunlight, etc. Instead of doing it yourself, you will benefit by hiring a professional ADU design firm like My ADU serving all of Portland.

Elements of a Perfect ADU Design 

Maximum space and functionality: When designing an ADU, maximizing space and functionality should be at the top of your priorities since the typical ADU is much smaller than a single-family home. You must think hard about what is essential and what you can dispense with. You may wish to combine the living area with the sleeping area and incorporate built-in furniture to create multifunctional spaces. You should pay special attention to building adequate storage space with innovative concepts. According to Forbes, a quality ADU will maximize space and minimize the environmental footprint.

Natural light and ventilation: You must pay extra attention to natural light and ventilation to prevent claustrophobia brought on by the small space in the ADU. Installing large windows and skylights can make the room feel more spacious, encourage cross ventilation and bring in natural light that lifts mood and reduces the expense of lighting and HVAC.

Privacy and soundproofing: Soundproofing and privacy are vital ADU design considerations, especially when the unit is attached to the main residence. Adding soundproof insulation to the walls and ceilings will prevent noise from leaking in and out of the unit, helping people sleep and work well. Installing doors with solid cores can also help a lot. You can ensure better privacy by incorporating a separate entrance for the ADU residents.


You should work with a professional ADU designing and building firm to get the perfect ADU. Ideally, you will want a local business because they will be more familiar with the climatic requirements and zoning and building code compliances. A professional ADU firm that undertakes the project on a turnkey basis right from the design stage to getting the permits and building it to your satisfaction.


Eastern Eye

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