Multigenerational living is on the rise worldwide as housing costs soar and populations age. In Ireland, it’s no exception, with families embracing the trend to find new ways of sharing homes, resources, and care responsibilities. Whether you’re exploring multigenerational living to save money, support family members, or enjoy closer bonds, it requires careful planning and a well-designed home that caters to everyone’s needs. Here’s a look at some of the benefits of multigenerational living and some tips for creating a functional, harmonious living arrangement that ensures privacy and comfort for all generations.
Help to get a foot on the property ladder.
Buying a home in Ireland can feel like an insurmountable challenge for many young people. With high rents consuming a significant portion of their income, high property prices, a lack of affordable housing and stricter lending criteria, it’s no surprise that the average age of Ireland’s first-time buyer has risen to 36, according to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
But multigenerational living offers a solution that could help young people get a foot on the property ladder while also supporting their ageing parents. By creating a separate dwelling, such as a granny flat or annexe, within the same property, parents can downsize while still remaining close to their adult children. This allows the younger generation to buy their parents’ larger home, while the parents move into the smaller dwelling. This arrangement not only helps young people get on the property ladder but also offers a mutually beneficial living situation for all involved.
Benefits of multigenerational living.
Multigenerational living offers a variety of benefits from different perspectives. For grandparents, it can be an excellent opportunity to be more involved in the lives of their grandchildren and feel fulfilled by helping their adult children with household responsibilities. Living with family can also reduce loneliness and increase a sense of security.
For adult children, multigenerational living can provide a way to care for their ageing parents while reducing financial burdens. They may feel comforted by having their parents nearby and well-cared for.
Children in multigenerational households also benefit greatly. They can develop closer relationships with their grandparents and learn valuable life lessons from them. Having more family members around can also provide stability and support.
Is your home suitable?
According to research conducted by the Bank of Ireland, 40% of Irish adults believe multigenerational living will become more common in the future. However, despite the growing interest in this type of living arrangement, only 17% of those surveyed said their current home would be suitable.
Not every home is ideal for multigenerational living. Suitability largely depends on the size and versatility of the property. When searching for a new home or planning to convert an existing one, finding the right size of property is crucial. You need enough space to meet the privacy needs of each generation while still having enough communal areas to enjoy each other’s company.
When looking for a home, consider factors such as separate living spaces, accessibility, and safety features to ensure it can accommodate everyone’s needs.
Extending your home
Adapting your home to accommodate different generations can be challenging, but done correctly, it can also be incredibly rewarding.
Creating private or semi-private spaces is the key to success, as it allows everyone to live together without feeling like they are constantly in each other’s way.
Attic conversions are a popular way to add extra living space to your home, particularly for families with grown-up children who may need their own private space. This type of conversion can provide an additional bedroom or living area. However, it’s essential to consider the structural requirements and ensure the space meets the necessary building regulations for safety and comfort.
Building a basement can provide additional living space and be an excellent option for multigenerational living. This type of conversion is common in many other countries but less so in Ireland. A basement can be used as an additional living area, extra bedrooms, or even a home office.
Ground floor extensions or garage conversions are also popular ways to create more living space. They are excellent options for families with young children who need more space or for those caring for ageing parents who may need a ground-floor bedroom. When planning an extension, it’s important to consider the local planning regulations and the cost and practicalities of the project.
Reconfiguring your home.
If you don’t have space to extend, there are still ways to make the most of your space. One option is to create distinct spaces for each person in the house to accommodate the different generations’ varying needs and routines. Multiple rooms with en-suite bathrooms, wardrobes, and small living spaces are ideal. By treating bedrooms more like hotel rooms, with their own seating areas, TVs, and small desks, they can become more of a living space than just a bedroom, making them ideal for personal retreats. Incorporating features such as a small kitchen area or tea and coffee-making facilities into new bedrooms can also help new house guests feel more independent and take pressure off the main kitchen in the house.
Multiple reception areas are a great way to create separate spaces for reading, listening to music, watching television, or conversing with guests. Pocket doors are another great idea as they allow areas to be sectioned off or opened up depending on who uses the space, which can be especially helpful in open-plan spaces.
Finally, a successful multigenerational home comes down to good storage solutions that work for every family member. Built-in furniture and storage can maximise space even in the smallest rooms. With the right design and planning, multigenerational living can provide a harmonious and happy home for families of all sizes and generations, regardless of whether you have space to extend or not.
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