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1 Bedroom Granny Flats – The “Must-Read” Guide Before Building

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one bedroom granny flats

As more and more people are starting to build granny flats, and you are limited for space you may find yourself wondering – “what can I fit in a one bedroom granny flat?”


This is what most 1-bedroom granny flats contain:


  • An open plan kitchen, living and dining area.
  • A bedroom with a built-in wardrobe and en-suite.
  • A study nook, and
  • Several solutions for storage.


Today I will cover:

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  • What does it cost to build a one-bedroom granny flat?
  • Designs to maximise the feeling of space in a one-bedroom.
  • Study nook in a one-bedroom granny flat.
  • Optimal living space on a small footprint.
  • How big should the bedroom be?
  • Room for a wardrobe – storage and cupboards?
  • Can two people comfortably live in one?
  • Common one-bedroom granny flat dimensions.
  • One-bedroom granny flat ideas/layouts, and
  • One-bedroom granny flat kit homes


What Does It Cost to Build a One-Bedroom Granny Flat?


This price can vary a lot.


I’ll start with the cheapest – a very basic DIY option, a flatpack (kit) home, can cost as little as $10,000. Though, this will not include the price of labour to connect your services, which can add another $10,000 to the total cost of the project.


But if the thought of what is still an inexpensive option excites you, see the sub-heading “One-Bedroom Granny Flat Kit Homes” below, where I’ll expand on this further.


I was amazed at how great design can open any space up


A custom-designed one-bedroom granny flat, on the other hand, will usually range upwards of $75,000. Common inclusions that a builder will tend to offer for this price are:




  • Wall and ceiling linings.
  • A range of cornice choices (EXCLUDING straight edged).
  • A built-in wardrobe in the bedroom (with no mirrors).
  • Flooring.
  • Skirting and architraves.
  • Painting (both internal and external).
  • A washing machine with a tiled splashback at the back of the tub, and taps (hot and cold).
  • A (bottled, gas) hot water system.
  • A full kitchen, including an electric built-in oven with stove-top, exhaust fan (slide-out Rangehood), splashback (tiled), sink, and bench-tops (typically laminate, you may be able to choose stone but there may be an extra charge for these).
  • A bathroom with a shower that has a glass screen, skirting tiles, a vanity unit, ceramic toilet, towel rail, toilet roll holder and a 2-in-1 light and fan.
  • A hard wired smoke detector.
  • 1 x interior distribution board.
  • 10 x double power points.
  • 1 x exterior sensor light.
  • Oyster lights throughout.
  • 1 x connection point for telephone.
  • 1 x television connection point and aerial.




  • Structural frame.
  • Wall cladding.
  • Wall ceiling (to a height of 2.44m) and roof coverings (typically, your choice of concrete tiles or Colorbond).
  • Termite treatments.
  • Insulation.
  • Waterproofing.
  • Roofing, gutters, eaves, fascia, and downpipes.
  • Connection to services – Water, Gas, Sewer, Stormwater, Electricity and Telephone (up to a certain length from the primary dwelling only).
  • Windows.
  • Sliding doors (glass).


Generally, this price does not include:



  • Electrical work – $5000+ or thereabouts.
  • The necessities for plumbings – $5000+ depending on the materials needed
  • Metering systems – If any of the water, electrical, and gas metering are unable to be connected from your primary dwelling, they will have to be independently fed from your street. So, the installation of metering systems will be required.

A level 2 electrician must do this, so this will be more expensive.

  • Privacy items – Particularly if you intend on renting out the granny flat, you might want to pay more for privacy (i.e. landscaping or fencing). This could cost another $3000 plus.
  • Other fees – It’s important to remember Council fees, i.e. Certificationsinspections, and contributions.

After all, the contributions you may be asked to pay to your Council can be several thousands of dollars, as is guided by the “Granny Flat Section 94 Contributions“.


Cutting down on labour costs can save you a small fortune


If you want to reduce what it costs to build a one-bedroom granny flat, you can always choose to do some of the work yourself as an “owner-builder”.


Designs to Maximise the Feeling of Space in a One-Bedroom


There are many options to make a one-bedroom granny flat ‘feel’ bigger. I will list these below, along with some great examples of designs.


Start Thinking About What You Really Need. 


For example, if you do not feel the need for a full kitchen, you can reduce the amount of space this takes up by having a kitchenette instead. Or, if the tenants can share the laundry in the main dwelling, eliminate this room altogether.


Bring the Outdoors In.


If you have no room for an outdoor area, such as a verandah, you can still bring life to the indoor area by adding a nice selection of indoor plants. This will make it a calm, welcoming space. Options include hanging baskets, which will create a feeling similar to a verandah.


By adding a few indoor plants, you can easily transform your interior, getting all the benefit of the outdoors.


Have Only One Bathroom – An En-suite.


If you are designing the granny flat for only one person, only one bathroom is needed. That bathroom can be an en-suite, as shown in this design, The Bachelor.


Meaning, you can consult a designer to find a way of linking the bathroom to the bedroom, in an effort to free up more living space as well.


Open Plan Living.


If you are designing the granny flat with more than one tenant in mind, open plan living areas are ideal. With a bathroom that can be accessed through the open plan kitchen, dining and living area, this design, The Cabin, still has plenty of space for a large bedroom.


Get Inspired by Tiny Homes.


Tiny Homes are also smaller than a traditional granny flat – up to 50sqm at most. They are increasing in popularity, so you can learn a lot from these small but lovable dwellings.


But Wait – There’s More!


For more suggestions, you can also read “Granny Flat Space Saving Ideas – 7 Tips to Maximise Storage“.


I also come across this great article, which also has some fantastic design ideas for small spaces.


Study Nook in a One Bedroom Granny Flat


A “study nook” can be added into any small space.


There are several tricks to successfully incorporating this into your design, which are:


  • Consider carefully how you plan to use the space, and make sure the area you choose is big enough for your needs. An example is, to make sure the desk is big enough for you to work in comfort with your computer and printer, and close enough to power-points.


This will help to keep the space tidy and free from clutter.

  • Storage is necessary – baskets, drawers, etc., so everything has a home, so again the space is easy to keep tidy. Think creatively as well – floating shelves are a great storage solution.
  • Lighting will help make the space easier to work in.
  • You could use an unused space, like if you had free area beneath a set of stairs. This may be a little harder in a one-bedroom granny flat, so multi-use a space. For example, you could add a study nook to the living area, which you could also use as a space to entertain visitors.


So, if you thought your one-bedroom granny flat did not have enough room for a study nook, think again!


Feel free to view more information about how best to multi-use spaces.


It may also help to recruit an architect who will design you a multi-use space that will work effectively.


Optimal Living Space on a Small Footprint


Just how much living space does one person need?


Well, according to the engineering toolbox, the standard person only needs roughly 100-400 square feet (that is, 9.29 – 37 square metres) of space to feel comfortable inside a home. Admittedly, it does depend upon on the person – some need more space than others to feel ‘normal’ and ‘okay’, others can live in very little space.


But the great news is that through all my research I found – the average size of a one-bedroom granny flat starts from 40 square metres. As such, it is above what is considered enough space for every person to feel at ease.


Though some designs are slightly smaller at 35 square metres, these tend to be used for studio apartments, a separate home office, guest accommodation, or teens retreat.


How Big Should the One-Bedroom Be?


The smallest a bedroom should be is about 3m x 3m – or, 9 square metres.


This allows enough room for a bed, and a set of drawers (if a built-in wardrobe is not in your design). If a room becomes smaller than this, they start to lack space, which is highly obvious to the tenant.


They will not be able to comfortably enter and exit the room, and a common questions they will ask are:


  • “How will I get my furniture in?”
  • “Will I feel claustrophobic?”
  • “How am I going to be able to walk around the room once I have put my things in place?”


Room for a Wardrobe – Storage and Cupboards?


Most one-bedroom granny flat designs come with a built-in wardrobe in the bedroom. This is an effective way to make use of the space, as then the tenant does not need to add a chest of drawers to what may be a smaller room.


As a one-bedroom granny flat is a small space, I recommend that you make use of every available space for storage – including these in your design.


Effective storage solutions are:



Granny Flat Space Saving Ideas will give you further hints about furniture to use, areas that can be used for storage, and more.


Can Two People Comfortably Live in One?


A one-bedroom granny flat is best suits either a single occupant, or a couple. You see, sharing a small space with your significant other will be much easier than trying to share it with a friend, for many reasons:


  • You will only need one bed.
  • You are probably more used to, and thus more comfortable with, being closer to, and intimate with each other.


I come across this article, which has some great tips on how to make the situation a little more comfortable for a couple; when living together in a one-bedroom granny flat.


Common One-Bedroom Granny Flat Dimensions


The common size for a one-bedroom granny flat starts from around 40 square metres, and extends up to roughly 55 square metres.


So, if you find that you are limited by size – that is, your property is:



Then, you can consider a smaller, one-bedroom granny flat.


One-Bedroom Granny Flat Ideas / Layouts


A great layout for a one-bedroom granny flat is to have a porch (if you have the space), with a sliding door that opens up into your open plan kitchen, dining and living area at the front of the dwelling.


At the back of the dwelling is the bedroom, which has a built-in wardrobe, and en-suite bathroom.


An example of a design can be seen at Rescon Builders.


You can also consider speaking with a designer, who will help you design your very own plans for an architecturally designed granny flat. This will make sure that you:


  • Use your property to its’ very best potential.
  • Do not feel limited by the smaller floor space, as you will use the best of natural light, open plan designs, and multi-purpose spaces.


One Bedroom Granny Flat Kit Homes


The least expensive way to build a one-bedroom granny flat is choosing a flatpack (kit) home. These are becoming more popular in one-bedroom designs, due to their low price.


They come prefabricated (manufactured off-site), so you will build them yourself as an “owner-builder”, which will save you thousands of dollars.


In total, they can be fully constructed for less than $20,000. Unfortunately, kit homes do not come without their problems. When delivered to your site, ready to be constructed, they come with almost everything that you need to install them.


The fact they only arrive with “almost everything” you require is one of the biggest, but least known, issues to do with kit homes.


If you have clued yourself up on all the advantages and disadvantages of kit homes, then let me show you the companies that manufacture one-bedroom kit homes. They include:





One bedroom granny flats have become ever more popular in the recent years.


If you think about it, it really is easy to appreciate why – they are ideal for those with limited room, who cannot fit a bigger granny flat on their property. They also offer a low maintenance lifestyle yet have all the advantages of a full house.


You also do not need to feel restricted by the floor space of a one bedroom granny flat.


Yes, they can only fit one tenant, or at most, a couple.


But, designed well, you are still able to have:


  • Access to natural light, making the space ‘feel’ bigger.
  • A functional design, with the inclusions of open plan living and multi-use spaces.
  • Room for a built-in wardrobe, and other storage solutions, so you can keep the space free from clutter and store away your necessary goods.
  • A study nook.


All of this can be fit within a space of 40 – 55 square metres.


Generally, a custom-designed one bedroom granny flat, with a builder, will cost you $75,000 or more. But you have many different options that allow you to reduce this price. You can always choose:



As always, you can read exactly what I spent when I built my two-bedroom granny flat – To give you an idea of the costs involved.