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Turning Your Basement Into An In-Law Suite

Years ago, when I moved out of my parents house and onto a life of independence, I worried about how my parents would possibly survive without having me at home.

Who would talk to them? Who would make them laugh and help them install their Internet Security when it expired?

It didn’t take long before they turned my bedroom into an office and started inviting friends over for dinner and poker night.

I realize now that the image I had of my parents back then was a bit naïve. They were so much younger than I actually realized, but now, years later, things have changed and they are getting older.

Today, for many of us, discussing with our parents and in-laws where they would like to live in the future has become a real conversation.

If you and your relatives decide that co-habitation works out to be the best option, consider adding the following features to your renovated in-law suite.


The highest priority should be that the new space for the live-in parent must be safe. Consider configuration for stairs, railings and possibly even stair lifts as an important feature. Building codes vary, however, there will be stringent fire safety and emergency exit requirements. Best to consult a professional designer to ensure a safe basement environment for your loved one.


Privacy is one of the most important things to consider when deciding to renovate your basement into an in-law suite. A home that creates private spaces for each generation can make the transition to a new living space much easier for everyone.

Soundproofing is a great way to maintain privacy.

As we get older, our hearing has a way of diminishing. A relative may have to turn up the volume on the television or speak louder than normal. On the same note, teenagers also like to turn up their music and television which can be disturbing for someone who is older.


It is so important for our parent’s generation to maintain as much independence as possible. Providing a comfortable space which offers not only a bedroom, but a kitchenette and dining/living area goes a long way in maintaining a supportive lifestyle for aging parents.


Bathrooms are now being built based on a concept called universal design, which offers specific features to accommodate people regardless of their age or physical abilities.

Universal design is not only adaptable for anyone with decreased mobility, but is also beautiful and elegant in it’s appeal.

A spacious, curbless walk-in shower is the safest and most accessible option and should be big enough for anyone using a mobility device.

Installation of a handshower is another great feature for an aging relative.

Choosing vanities and countertops with rounded corners reduces the possibility of injuries.


Natural light from windows and plenty of ambient lighting keeps a lower level living area bright and airy.

Proper lighting design makes reading and computer tasks much easier for anyone experiencing changes in their vision.

Having an aging relative live with you can be a great option , especially if you decide to have your basement renovated into a spectacular lower level living space to suit their needs.

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