The Art of ADU Design: Making the Most of Every Square Foot

Aug 11, 2023 | ADU

As the demand for alternative housing options continues to rise, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have gained popularity as versatile living spaces. When designing an ADU, it is crucial to consider the specific requirements and needs of the intended occupants. Whether it’s for renting out or accommodating a family member, a tailored design can enhance comfort, functionality, and desirability. This article delves deeper into the key considerations for ADU design, offering valuable insights and suggestions.

Identifying the Ideal Occupants

The first step in designing an ADU is to identify the ideal occupants and their duration of stay. This could include renters, elderly family members, or even yourself. Understanding the occupants’ needs and preferences will guide the design process.

Designing for Elderly Family Members

For ADUs intended to house elderly family members, proximity to the primary residence is essential for easy access and care. Consider incorporating features like low or no thresholds to facilitate mobility, wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, and lever handles for easy operation. Installing a no-threshold shower with grab bars and considering the use of technology, such as smart home devices, can optimize their comfort and safety.

Designing for Long-Term Rentals

When designing ADUs for long-term rental purposes, prioritize features that create a sense of permanence and comfort. Adequate storage space is essential to accommodate tenants’ belongings, while durable finishes and materials ensure longevity and withstand multiple turnovers. Enhancing privacy through strategic window placement or outdoor privacy screens can also help separate the ADU from the main residence. Including desirable amenities like a washer and dryer, dishwasher, and convenient parking can increase the desirability of the rental.

Designing for Short-Term Rentals

For ADUs intended for short-term rentals, creativity in interior design plays a significant role in attracting guests. Create a vibrant and appealing space by incorporating fun colors, patterns, and furnishings that evoke a sense of vacation and relaxation. Consider outdoor spaces like cozy seating areas or captivating views, as they can be major draws for short-term tenants. Unique amenities such as a hot tub, outdoor shower, or rooftop deck can make the stay memorable for guests seeking a distinct experience.

Designing for Personal Use

If you plan to live in the ADU yourself, prioritize your personal preferences and needs. Treat it as a long-term home and incorporate elements that you’ve always dreamed of having. This could include a loft space, luxurious bathroom tiles, or a dedicated craft room. Collaborating with an ADU designer will help bring your vision to life while considering your budget and practicality.

Collaboration with ADU Designers

To ensure a successful ADU design, collaborating with experienced ADU designers like Levi Design Build can be highly beneficial. Their expertise and knowledge of local building regulations can guide you through the design process and help tailor the ADU to meet occupants’ specific requirements. Schedule a complimentary consultation to leverage their valuable guidance.


Designing an ADU requires thoughtful consideration of the occupants’ needs and preferences. Whether it’s for elderly family members, long-term or short-term rentals, or personal use, the design should optimize comfort, functionality, and appeal. By incorporating the suggestions outlined in this article and seeking professional guidance from ADU designers, you can create a tailored living space that fulfills the unique requirements of the intended occupants.

Are you ready to start your ADU design process? our team can offer valuable guidance and to tailor the design based on occupants’ requirements. You can schedule a complimentary consultation with Levi Design Build.


  • What are Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)?
    ADUs, or Accessory Dwelling Units, are versatile living spaces that have gained popularity as alternative housing options. They can be tailored to meet the specific requirements and needs of the intended occupants, be it renters, family members, or personal use.
  • Why is identifying the ideal occupants important in ADU design?
    Identifying the ideal occupants and their duration of stay is essential as it guides the design process to meet the needs and preferences of the occupants, ensuring comfort and functionality.
  • What considerations should be made when designing ADUs for elderly family members?
    For ADUs intended for elderly family members, design features should promote easy access, mobility, and safety. This includes proximity to the primary residence, low or no thresholds, wider doorways for wheelchairs, lever handles, no-threshold showers with grab bars, and the use of smart home devices.
  • How can one optimize an ADU for long-term rentals?
    For long-term rentals, prioritize features that enhance permanence and comfort, such as ample storage space, durable finishes, privacy measures, and desirable amenities like a washer, dryer, dishwasher, and convenient parking.
  • What are the design considerations for short-term ADU rentals?
    For short-term rentals, the interior design should be vibrant and appealing, with fun colors, patterns, and furnishings. Outdoor spaces and unique amenities like hot tubs, outdoor showers, or rooftop decks can enhance the rental appeal and guest experience.
  • Why is collaborating with ADU designers beneficial?
    Collaborating with experienced ADU designers, like Levi Design Build, can be advantageous due to their expertise and knowledge of local building regulations. They can guide the design process and help tailor the ADU to meet specific requirements.
  • How can I start my ADU design process?
    To begin your ADU design process, consider scheduling a complimentary consultation with professional ADU designers like Levi Design Build. They can offer valuable guidance tailored to the needs of the intended occupants.