Why ADUs Are the Most Asked for Construction Project of the Year

Outdoor Additions
Additions and Remodels
Small Projects and Repairs
By Contractors.com Team May 11, 2021

Despite covering a whopping 420,000 square kilometers in size, with an average population density of 252 people per square mile, California is also home to one of the country’s biggest housing crises. With a large number of people moving closer to Silicon Valley and other areas of the state with greater job opportunities, it has become quite clear that residents need to find practical solutions for optimizing their living spaces. And this is not just the case for Californians — recent lifestyle changes have made everyone bigger homebodies than ever before.

Enter the accessory dwelling unit or ADU. These seemingly small additions can turn a modest property into one that offers enough room for everyone in the family without the need to expand the property. Add to that how there are some very creative ADU design ideas out there that can turn any old shed or basement into an artisanal craft room or a serene yoga chamber, and you have a perfect DIY project at your hands.

Why Accessory Dwelling Units Are All the Rave

Why Accessory Dwelling Units Are All the Rave

The sheer number of possibilities with ADUs has gotten many homeowners super excited to get started on their own. A number of construction specialists on Contractors.com have seen a surge in people looking for professionals to help them convert their ADUs into full living spaces or to build one from the ground up. Recently passed government regulations and laws which allow for the construction and conversion of ADUs have made homeowners more excited about them than ever before.

What Is An ADU?

Before getting into accessory dwelling unit ideas and designs, let's take a look at the different types of ADUs for you to choose from. 

Attached ADUs

The Oh-So Many Benefits of Building An ADU

The Oh-So Many Benefits of Building An ADU

These ADUs are, as their name suggests, attached to the primary dwelling unit, aka your house. These can be converted from a garage, a small storage unit, basement, or attic, as long as the room is located inside or attached to the house in some way. These are convenient options for those who want easy access to their quick escapes, or so that guests or returning college students are not too far away from all the action in the main house.

Detached ADUs

The Benefits of Having a Detached ADU

The Benefits of Having a Detached ADU

Unlike attached ADUs, the detached ADU is entirely separate from the primary dwelling unit and is usually converted from sheds, garages, or storage rooms. They can also be built from the ground up. This is perfect if you want to give yourself, your guests, or the aforementioned visiting college students some privacy. 

Junior ADUs

The Many Features You Can Achieve With a Junior ADU

The Many Features You Can Achieve With a Junior ADU

Junior accessory dwelling units are generally small additions that can be made to existing rooms. Good examples of junior ADUs are small kitchenettes for the basement or an added small bathroom to an existing bedroom. 

With the various types of ADUs down, now it’s time to look at all the fun ADU options that can make your life seem more complete.

Repurposed Sheds

If you have an outdoor shed that is barely used, this can make a great detached unit for a wide range of uses. Put on your hard hat because there are some great ways to repurpose a shed.

From Shed to Office

Fun and Practical Ways to Repurpose Your Shed

Fun and Practical Ways to Repurpose Your Shed

This shed-turned-office looks a little empty now, but that only helps to emphasize just how much room for personalization there can be in your own detached workspace. When the racket of your home won’t let you concentrate, you can always stroll into the backyard and enjoy a little privacy while you work. 

Relaxing Sunroom

Blissful Shed Transformation Ideas

Blissful Shed Transformation Ideas

Reading a book outside and catching a few rays is one of those activities we all want to be able to enjoy in the privacy of our own homes. This sunroom that was molded out from a shed is the perfect example of making the best use of what you have. By raising the roof and adding tall window panes, this ADU was converted into a modern sunroom, complete with outdoor furniture, stone half-walls, and a tall A-shaped ceiling made of rich brown wood. 

Greenhouse for the Green Thumbs

Shed Transformation Ideas

Shed Transformation Ideas

Have a knack for gardening? This simple, yet very elegant Victorian-style greenhouse may be what the gardener within you is looking for. Luckily, you do not need to be a glazier to create a beautiful greenhouse of your own. 

Cozy Guesthouses 

One of the best uses for an ADU is turning it into a guesthouse. Many homeowners find themselves having to move couches around or emptying out children’s rooms to make space for guests who are staying over. There is no reason you should go through all this hassle when there is a much easier solution with a gorgeous guest house. Depending on the kind of ADU you are working with and the size of the project, creating a guest room will cost you anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000.

A Forest Cabin in Your Backyard

Turn Your Backyard Shed Into a Cozy Guesthouse

Turn Your Backyard Shed Into a Cozy Guesthouse

This detached ADU turned a small shed into a cozy biophilic design for its dweller. Surround it with some raised garden beds, get a landscaping contractor to fix up the backyard, and turn your shed into a backyard cottage. After sleeping in this guest house your visitors will be staying over a lot more often.

One With Your Microclimate

How To Create a Theme for Your ADU Guesthouse

How To Create a Theme for Your ADU Guesthouse

Another great example of detached guest house ideas is this backyard shed, which was transformed into a spacious corner for guests to stay in and appreciate the surroundings. By weaving in some tropical or desert landscaping and your guests will have a perfect little getaway that fits your arid, dessert, or tropical microclimate.

Decked Out Guest House

Main House Guest Room Ideas

Main House Guest Room Ideas

This attached guest house ADU turns a boring old attic into a beautiful space for the guests. The door leads to a spacious deck that has all the amenities for outdoor relaxation, like a comfortable corner sofa, coffee table, and decor to boast. This is a lovely setting to make your guests feel welcome and give them their space as well.

Lodging for the Student in Your Family

A Home Away From Home In Your Home

A Home Away From Home In Your Home

If you have a college student in the family who is looking for the “living with family, but not exactly” experience, convert the shed into a little apartment for them. This two-story guest shed, for example, offers the perfect amount of space for a college student to feel like they have their own home. It is also a DADU, so it is entirely separate from the primary dwelling unit. This gives them the privacy they need without having to drive across town to do their laundry. If you don’t have a shed, a seasoned contractor can make this a swimmingly easy project to accomplish in about a month even if you start from ground zero.

Home Fitness Rooms

Going to the gym is a regular part of the day for many people, but say you don’t want to drive to one after work, sit in a stuffy changing room, or wait for your turn on the equipment. With an ADU gym in your backyard, you can do all your exercise and training in the comfort and privacy of your home. While it may seem costly to create one at first, home gyms can actually be budget-friendly too. You can create a gym with all its requisites and basic equipment with a budget of $500 to $2,000.

Garage Workout

Give Your Extra Space Purpose by Building an ADU Gym

Give Your Extra Space Purpose by Building an ADU Gym

Home gyms are not at all a new concept and while many homeowners set theirs up in the basement, you can have yours in the garage. The garage is a perfect ADU for a home gym as they tend to be quite spacious, with concrete or stone flooring, and offer plenty of headroom for the taller equipment. 

ADU Yoga Space

Ways to Make Your Accessory Dwelling Unit Fun

Ways to Make Your Accessory Dwelling Unit Fun

Nothing is more relaxing in the morning than a yoga or meditation session. It’s a healthy way to start the day and a great method of strengthening mental and physical health. The house, with how busy it can get, is not always an atmosphere serene enough for you to do yoga in. But an ADU, like the sunroom in this photo, is perfect, as it is just detached enough from the rest of the house to give you enough peace and quiet to meditate in peace.

An ADU for Entertainment

While it is always great to have an ADU function as an office, relaxation spot, or fitness center, what about having a little fun? Rec rooms and man caves are a luxury when you need a little help unwinding from your day-to-day. There’s no better reason to fix up an old shed, basement, or garage into something a little more exciting.

Treehouse

ADU Ideas for the Kids

ADU Ideas for the Kids

If there is a strong tree in your backyard, a treehouse is a great ADU that is fun for the kids and even the adults. Treehouses are every childhood’s dream, where the younger members of the family can have a little space of their own to play, study, or exercise the muscles of imagination. It also gives the kids plenty of fresh air without being exposed to the scorching heat of the summer sun. 

The Adult Getaway

Design Ideas for An Attached ADU

Design Ideas for An Attached ADU

Adults like to have fun just as much as children do. Convert the old basement into an ADU where you and your friends can spend some time acting like children. This basement was converted into a modern man cave with a very classy sofa and armchair combo, and a rustic chest turned coffee table. Add to that a stone fireplace, a little kitchenette, and a TV, and you have yourself the perfect after-work sanctuary. 

The Other Kind of Pool Room

Why Accessory Dwelling Units Are the Most Asked For Construction Project of the Year

Why Accessory Dwelling Units Are the Most Asked For Construction Project of the Year

What goes even better with a pool other than the good company is the shed that has been transformed into a gorgeous pool house. Pool houses are useful as they provide guests with a little privacy to change or dry up after taking a dip. There’s also the added bonus of no wet feet trails making their way into the house This sleek, modern pool house also makes for a great hang-out spot for anyone looking to get away from the sunlight and water, but still enjoy the breeze. Find a licensed contractor and a landscape designer to work with your backyard and make the perfect pool house to complement its surroundings.

A Little Room for Imagination

A Painter Needs a Studio

Why You Should Turn Your ADU Into an Art Studio

Why You Should Turn Your ADU Into an Art Studio

If you have a painter in the house or at least someone who likes to put paint on surfaces as a way to unwind, your attached ADU could serve as the perfect art studio. A few comfortable chairs, an easel, canvas, a floating desk or shelves, and storage solutions for lots of craft supplies are all you need to turn four walls (or even a container house) into an ADU escape to unwind and develop your hobby. 

Musician's Studio

Create a Jam Room for Your and Your Friends

Create a Jam Room for Your and Your Friends

Whether you like to jam with your band or play for yourself, a great way to give your garage purpose is to convert it into an attached ADU music studio. Put some hooks and hangers on the walls for your instruments, give the walls some soulful colors, or handpick some decor that speaks to your musical tastes and you have yourself your own music room. It is really easy to make and has a very low resource requirement. Unless you are planning to bring in some professional equipment, you can convert your garage into a studio for around $500. 

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team