A Guide to ADU Design Types Choosing the Right One for Your Needs


If you’re looking to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on your property, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is what type of design best suits your needs. With so many different options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most popular ADU design types and what considerations you should keep in mind when making your decision.

Detached ADUs

A detached ADU is a separate structure that sits on its own on your property, apart from your main house. This type of ADU allows for maximum privacy and can come in a variety of sizes and styles. Detached ADUs are often thought of as guest homes or rental units, but they can also be used as a home office, art studio, or any other type of space you need. The downside to detached ADUs is that they can be more expensive to build than other types of ADUs, and they often require separate utility connections.

Attached ADUs

An attached ADU is connected to your main house and shares walls or rooflines with it. This type of ADU can be more affordable than a detached ADU since it utilizes existing structures. However, you’ll need to make sure the attached ADU has its own entrance and separate living space to give you and your tenants privacy. Attached ADUs are often used as in-law suites or for rental income purposes.

Garage Conversions

A garage conversion ADU is built by converting an existing garage into a living space. This type of ADU can be an affordable option since much of the structure is already in place. Garage conversions can be attached or detached, but they typically require more work to make them habitable. Since garages are often colder and less insulated than other living spaces, you’ll need to invest in insulation, heating, and cooling systems to keep the space comfortable.

Basement ADUs

Basement ADUs are built by finishing out existing basements into living spaces. Like garage conversions, they can be a cost-effective option since the structure already exists. However, converting a basement into a livable space can be complicated. You’ll need to ensure that the space is up to code for safety and habitability, which may require significant renovations.

Tiny Homes

Tiny homes are a popular trend these days, and they can also function as ADUs. These small, self-contained homes are often built on trailers so they can be moved to different locations. While tiny homes can be a fun and unique option for ADUs, they can be expensive to build and may not provide as much living space as other options.