Selecting the Right ADU House Plans - Which Floor Plan is Best For You

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Looking for an ADU floor plan? Explore which factors are the most important for small 1-2 bedroom ADU plans, garage apartments, or cottages. See the best adu home plan designs.


Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are blowing up right now. More homeowners are adding these versatile spaces to their properties. But here’s the thing, picking the right ADU floor plan can make or break your project.

Let’s dive into the world of ADU home plans and figure out which one’s perfect for you.

What is an ADU and Why Consider One?

An ADU, or Accessory Dwelling Unit, is a term for a secondary house on your property. A secondary house or apartment can be attached to your main house, built over a garage, or stand alone in your backyard.

Why should you care? Well, ADUs are game-changers:

  • Extra income from renting it out.
  • Space for family members to live nearby.
  • Boost your property value.
  • Flexible space for a home office or guest house.

ADU vs. Suite: Key Differences

You might be wondering, “How’s an ADU different from an in-law suite?”

Here’s the deal:

Whether detached or an attached ADU, these are fully independent living spaces. They’ve got their own entrance, kitchen, bathroom – the works.

In-law suites? They’re usually part of the main house and might not have a full kitchen.

The big win with ADUs? More privacy and flexibility. You can rent them out, use them as a guest house, or even move in yourself and rent out the main house.

Popular ADU Floor Plan Options

Let’s break down some popular ADU floor plans and designs you might want to consider:

One Bedroom ADU Plans

1 bedroom ADUs are compact powerhouses. They’re perfect for:

  • Single tenants or couples
  • Maximizing rental income
  • Smaller lots with limited space

These plans usually pack in a bedroom, bathroom, living area, and kitchen in about 400-800 sq ft.

Imagine a cozy 600 sq ft accessory dwelling unit floor or cottage with an open-plan kitchen and living area, a separate bedroom, and a full bathroom. That’s a one-bedroom ADU for you.

Two-Bedroom ADU House Plans

Need more space? A Two-bedroom accessory dwelling unit floor plan has you covered. They’re great for:

  • Small families / extended family
  • Hosting multiple guests
  • Long-term living arrangements

These plans typically range from 600-1,200 square feet. Picture an 800 sq ft unit with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a spacious living area. That’s plenty of room for comfort and privacy.

Garage Conversion ADUs: Maximizing Existing Space

Got a garage you barely use? Turn it into an ADU! Here’s why garage conversions rock:

  • Cost-effective (you’re working with an existing structure)
  • No need for new construction
  • Great use of underutilized space

When converting a garage, think about:

  • Where it’s located in relation to the primary house (attached or detached)
  • Adding windows for natural light
  • Insulating walls and floors
  • Upgrading electrical and plumbing systems

A typical garage conversion ADU might be around 500 sq ft, with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette.

Carriage House ADUs: Combining Style and Functionality

Carriage house ADUs are like the cool kids of the ADU world. They’re usually built above a garage, combining practicality with a touch of classic charm.

Why consider a carriage house ADU?

  • Maximize vertical space
  • Separate living areas from parking
  • Add architectural interest to your property

A typical carriage house ADU might be 700 sq ft, with two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom above a two-car garage.

Creating a Custom ADU Plan

Sometimes, the pre-made plans and designs just don’t cut it. That’s where custom ADU plans come in.

Here’s why going custom might be your best bet:

  • Work with an in-house design team to tailor the design to your specific needs
  • Maximize your property’s unique features
  • Create a truly one-of-a-kind living space

When customizing your ADU, consider:

  • Your long-term goals for the space
  • The natural features of your property
  • Your budget and timeline

Tailoring Your ADU to Your Specific Needs

The beauty of a custom ADU is that it’s all about you.

Think about:

  • Who will be living in the ADU?
  • What activities will take place there?
  • How might your needs change in the future?

Incorporate flexible floor plan designs like:

  • Movable partitions
  • Multi-purpose rooms
  • Built-in storage solutions

This way, your ADU can adapt as your needs evolve.

Factors To Consider When Choosing an ADU Floor Plan

Picking the right ADU floor plan isn’t just about what looks good.

You’ve got to think about:

  • Local zoning laws and building codes
  • Your property’s size and layout
  • Your budget (both for construction and long-term maintenance)
  • How you plan to use the ADU

Don’t forget to check with your local planning department and consult a reputable builder. They’ll have the scoop on size limits, setback requirements, and other regulations.

Balancing Function and Aesthetics in Your ADU Design

Your ADU should work well and look good.

Here’s how to nail both:

  • Maximize natural light with strategically placed windows
  • Use open floor plans to make small spaces feel bigger
  • Choose high quality finishes that are both durable and attractive
  • Incorporate built-in storage to reduce clutter

Remember, a well-designed ADU isn’t just functional – it’s a joy to live in.

Seamlessly Bleeding Your ADU Your Main Residence

You want your detached ADU to look like it belongs, not like it was plopped down from outer space.

Here’s how to make it fit:

  • Match the architectural style of your main house
  • Use similar exterior materials and colors
  • Consider the roof pitch and window styles in relation to the building lot of a larger property.

The goal? An accessory dwelling unit house with a cohesive look that enhances your property’s overall appeal.

Landscaping and Exterior Design Tips for ADU Integration

Good landscaping can make your ADU feel like it’s always been there.

Try these tricks:

  • Use similar plants around both structures
  • Create connecting pathways
  • Use outdoor lighting to tie the spaces together

And don’t forget about privacy. Strategic plantings can create natural screens between the ADU and main house.

Determining the Ideal Size for Your ADU

Size matters when it comes to ADUs.

Here’s what to think about:

  • Local regulations (many areas have maximum size limits)
  • Your property’s available space
  • The ADU’s intended use
  • Your budget (bigger usually means more expensive)

A good rule of thumb? Most ADUs fall between 400-1,200 sq ft. But the perfect size for you depends on your specific situation.

Maximizing Space in Smaller ADUs

Working with limited square footage? No problem.

Try these space-saving strategies:

  • Use multi-functional furniture (like a Murphy bed or fold-down table)
  • Install floor-to-ceiling storage
  • Choose compact appliances
  • Use light colors to make spaces feel bigger

Remember, a well-designed small space can feel just as comfortable as a larger one.


Choosing the right accessory dwelling unit plans is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Consider your needs, your property, and your local regulations. Whether you go for a pre-made plan or custom design, ADU house plans offer the perfect solution waiting for you.

Ready to explore your ADU project options? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Your perfect fit ADU might be just a floor plan away!


Yes, most areas have specific rules for ADUs. Check with your local planning department for details on size limits, setback requirements, and other regulations.

Most ADUs range from 400-1,200 sq ft. The ideal size depends on your needs, property size, and local regulations.

ADUs can be used as rental units, guest houses, home offices, or living spaces for family members.

Research local regulations, assess your property’s suitability, consider your budget, and think about how you’ll use the space long-term.

Consider your needs, property constraints, budget, and local regulations. Decide whether a pre-made or custom plan is best for you.

Usually not. Most areas require ADUs to be smaller than the main house. Check your local regulations for specific size limits.

This varies by location, but many areas require bedrooms to be at least 70-80 sq ft. Always check your local building codes for specific requirements.


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