Looking for Granny Flat designs? I was able to collaborate with BT + Najam Designs, who sent over designs to use freely in this article (see below).
Today, I cover a ton of important information so you know exactly:
- How to get your granny flat designed
- How much it will cost
- Who to work with
- What needs to be included
Plus… A whole lot more.
DON'T PAY A FORTUNE FOR YOUR GRANNY FLAT. Find out how to deal with council and build a granny flat for the lowest cost possible. Learn More.
This design does wonders with creating its own space from the main house
This is a huge article so you can scroll down (To help I have listed the table of contents below)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Granny Flat Design Images
- Studio Granny Flats
- 1 Bedroom Granny Flats
- 2 Bedroom Granny Flats
- 60 sqm Metre Granny Flat Designs
- Roof Designs for Granny Flats
- Granny Flat Design Ideas
- The Granny Flat Design Process
- What is a Granny Flat Design Brief?
- Recommended Granny Flat Designers in Australia
- Speed Up Approval with Council
Granny Flat Design Images
I was able to collaborate with BT + Najam Designs. Who sent over some great designs to get the creative juices flowing. Just scroll down to see if any of these layouts will work for your land.
If you are looking for just looking for Studio ideas; these designs might help:
UPDATE: Click here for even more studio granny flat designs
Simple rectangle layout with a central kitchen and bathroom
This studio granny flat includes a walk-in wardrobe
Inspiration from “the days of old” where corner fireplaces were the centerpiece
If you are looking for 1 bedroom granny flat designs these could inspire you:
UPDATE: Click here for even more 1 bedroom Granny Flat designs.
Great “L shaped layout. With an “en-suite”
This is helpful If your plumbing needs to be on the same side of the property
Simple Design with a walk-in wardrobe to free up space in the bedroom.
If you are searching for 2 bedroom granny flat designs look no further:
UPDATE: Click here for even more 2 bedroom granny flat designs.
A Study “nook” to work from home. With larger bedrooms at the expense of a smaller living space.
Extra storage space with a walk-in-closet
Keeping wardrobes next to each other provides more privacy for the bedrooms
60 Square Metre Granny Flat Designs
For many councils; 60sqm is the largest granny flat you can build. And some might think this is too small for 2 bedrooms, especially when the NSW government has stated that 70sqm is the minimum size for a 2 bedroom apartment.
My personal granny flat is a 60sqm, 2 bedroom design with an open plan kitchen. And it feels perfectly adequate to live in, especially to all our guests who have stayed in there. We rent it out on Airbnb.
My 60sqm Granny Flat with 2 bedrooms.
To share the design and layout I thought to include all the plans we have plus the final result after construction was done.
The 60sqm “construction ready” plan looked like this:
The submission ready for council approval
My 60sqm layout looks very similar to this:
The 3D Render of our 60 sqm granny flat. We tried altering a few things to see how it might look
The final result looks like this:
By connecting indoors & outdoors through the deck It feels very spacious
The granny flat kitchen opens up to the living space
However, the bathroom looks bigger, due to a second window placed as high as we could. Even though the bathroom is only 1.9m x 2.2m.
The 60sqm granny flat bathroom
Ultimately, to make any space feel bigger you need to bring in as much natural light as possible. Raise the ceiling as high as permissible with your local council. (Understand that raising the ceiling height from the minimum 2.4m will incur more costs regarding materials.)
Roof Designs for Granny Flats
Being a stand alone building (in most cases) granny flats are detached. This means you get to choose the roof design.
A Roofer can be expensive, so it it worth shopping around for quotes
And from an aesthetic angle this is very important. A roof defines how the granny flat will look from the outside and how the internal space can be used to maximise room (or at least the illusion of it).
Here are the common roof designs for a granny flat:
- Skillion roof
- Hip roof
- Pyramid roof
Here is a great article which will help you decide what will work best. If you are looking for design inspiration check out these roofs.
I personally like skillion roofs for granny flats. For these reasons:
- They are easier to get up over the granny flat frame
- Require much less material
- The simple design means less colorbond or fewer roof tiles
- Mean you can increase the internal ceiling height (on one side) with relative ease.
The Skillion works best for height restrictions as well.
A skillion roof will be used when you have height restrictions. As you will be able to use the “lower side” of the roof to place it near the boundaries which need to be lower.
Meaning if your local council says the granny flat is too high near the back neighbour, you can ensure the lower side of the roof is at that edge.
Truss roofs on the other hand are incredibly strong. Using them means you can have larger internal space without as many structural walls required. In most cases you don’t need any central support beans for a truss roof.
The benefit of an ‘open’ truss roof means you can really open up your granny flat in a different way
- Click here to see a great article on the support of truss roofs
- Click here to see a post on the various types of truss roofs to choose from
Granny Flat Design Ideas
By now you probably have decided whether your granny flat will be a studio (open layout) or contain bedrooms.
However, the details are what matters.
I hope this section helps with inspiration for design ideas when it comes to storage space, kitchens, bathrooms and for bringing in natural light.
Big windows, (floor to ceiling) create the feel of a much bigger granny flat
When you meet with a designer, architect or draftsperson, natural light will be a key point they will make with you. And they will discuss the best ways to bring natural light in.
Ideally you want a North facing granny flat. This is particularly important as facing the property North will ensure you get the most amount of sunlight into the main living space. Especially during winter. The sun is at is lowest and you want maximum sun to use passive solar and warm the home.
This granny flat sun drenched kitchen, makes the most of North facing light.
Before passing on even more ideas I wanted to cover 3 common questions I am asked:
- How much does it cost to design a granny flat?
As mentioned you have a few options when hiring a professional to design your granny flat.
- A draftsperson
- A building designer
- An Architect
A draftsperson and designer will be cheaper (in most cases) than an architect. Architects are trained for a lot longer in all aspects of design. Therefore they have the most training and generally greater skills in making the most of your land. To give you feedback, suggestions and get as close to your dream design.
I personally used a draftsperson to design my granny flat and this cost me $1,700 for plans that my certifier would accept to begin construction.
I know that architects will generally work a little differently and take payment in “lump-sums” for various stages of work; such as:
- An initial consultation and design brief
- First set of plans and drawings
- A final fee for construction ready plans
Where an architect may charge over $100+ an hour, you might be looking at a few thousand dollars for their work altogether.
- What are the best design features to add to a granny flat?
Just like any house, a granny flat should be designed with its surroundings in mind. Making the most use of passive solar. (Using the sun’s course/path during Summer and Winter to warm and cool in the best way).
North facing homes are the most popular for this reason. However, there are other ways to bring in light, such as using skylights and designing your granny flat with the right “angles”.
The optimal direction to face is North, for your primary windows and doors.
Indoor/outdoor living is very popular in Australia, so being able to create a living space that combines these spaces is a great starting point.
- What are popular granny flat design features to include?
For design inspiration, see these pictures below:
Make the most of your allowable floorspace. By reducing internal walls were possible
Going “white” makes a smaller space feel bigger. Greater surfaces to bounce light upon
The popularity of working from home. Create multi-use spaces in your living area
Smaller and lower furniture helps to make your granny flat feel larger
Create a design feature which solves the common issue of granny flat storage
The Granny Flat Design Process
When designing a granny flat you have 3 choices in who to hire:
- Building designer
In summary an architect will cost the most (but not always). As they are trained at University for 5 years to focus on design and solve problems that have to do with the environment the granny flat will be on.
There is a great article, explaining all the differences between them here.
After you have confirmation with council through a section 10.7 certificate, you then need to hire another professional:
The Land surveyor.
Their job is to survey your land, confirm your boundaries with neighbours and map the contours on which your granny flat will be built upon.
Surveying your land is a necessity before you can get to your plans
You can then, reach out to an architect, draftsperson or granny flat building designer. And follow this general process:
- They will visit you in person, on site.
- Provide design ideas in person, go over costs and explain their individual process
- Craft designs with multiple revisions until you are happy
To see the process for a draftsperson, see this article here.
Then you need to hire another professional:
An engineer is required to confirm how the building frame needs to be constructed. If built on piers with bearers and joists. The engineer will let you know the span between piers, how deep your footings need to be. If built on a concrete slab, they will let you know the strength of concrete required. Plus more that will be put together in a report for you.
To see the process an engineer of your granny flat takes, see this article.
My personal engineering plans showed me exactly how the piers would need to be built
I sat down with Daniel Testore, a qualified draftsperson to cover some important points for owner-builders. When it comes to your granny flat and approaching a designer.
In this section I wanted to cover important aspects for your Granny Flat:
Privacy is important. Daniel mentioned how important this is, as many granny flats will be amongst suburban homes surrounding it.
It is important to ask yourself:
- Is there any view offered? (You can be creative on this one, with feature pieces to look at)
- What will you be looking at? (That could simply be a privacy screening)
2. Internal Living Space
Daniel made a great point for considering your internal layout.
You want to feel a great flow amongst the living space and bedrooms.
Don’t try to stuff as much as you can into a granny flat. A granny flat should be basic in the layout of the walls. Not cluttered.
Open planned & un-cluttered is the best outcome
It might be tempting to try and stick everything into the granny flat you can imagine. However, for every internal wall you include, that is less floor space you can use for a better use of negative space.
Also, try and raise the ceiling height, (if you can based on your height restrictions). As this will give the feeling of more space. To take it one extra step further, add in windows higher up, closer to the ceiling. Daniel mentioned if the ceilings are high, that is great. But if there isn’t much natural light to fill that space, it doesn’t do the space justice.
Granny flat bedrooms are normally pretty small, to make room for the living and kitchen space. Due to this you need to really create areas for storage. Built in wardrobes work wonders as they can be fitted with mirrors, opening up the room even more.
Plus, you can use space high up (near the ceiling for more custom joinery). Having cupboards up high is a great option to store things you don’t need every day, such as linen. And keeping furniture off the ground is great way to create the feeling of more space as well.
This is a great example of custom joinery (storage) working within a specific angled space
Technically, a draftsperson and architect can design the kitchen and joinery for you. Daniel mentioned that they know all the Australian standards and your designer will be able to have the plans ready for cupboards. However kitchen companies and joinery companies can provide much greater detail. It is their business and they will also be able to advise you on the door handles, the sills, bench top choices. Plus help with the huge range of materials on offer these days. For some kitchen design inspiration, check out my post here.
4. Material Choice
A good draftsperson, architect or building designer will be able to help you with this. They will be able to help you nominate the correct timbers and the best materials for where you live. (Such as recommending double coated colorbond for your roof if you live by the ocean.)
They will help you with the finishes as well. Such as; which flooring to use, the doors, tap wear and smaller pieces.
Daniel, made a really great point about the costs for materials and the risk of letting your builder choose it for you.
“Let’s say flooring costs $30 a square meter and it’s very good, and you could get away with using it, but the builders say, “Use this $60 stuff because it’s better.” Because he’s going to make more margin from that. You’re paying more for it thinking it is better, but all you are doing is lining a builders pockets.”
The best materials for window frames are Aluminium. If you live by the sea, having the frames powder coated is highly recommended. The main issue is Aluminium will tarnish over time, having it protected well from the very beginning will ensure a longer life.
And Daniel mentioned that Cement Fibre products work very well for external cladding:
James Hardie Cement Fibre cladding worked very well for our granny flat
- It doesn’t expand and contract like wood
- It is weather resistant
- Can be transformed by painting them any colour
- Easy to install
- Far cheaper than brick veneer
During our conversation; he did mention that over the next 5 to 10 years we will see a lot more recycled plastic cladding coming onto the market. These are gaining in popularity but not quite there yet.
Granny Flat Design Brief
Once you have your granny flat design brief, which includes:
- The scope of the entire granny flat build
- Timelines for when each deliverable will be handed over
- Budget for each part of the design process, first sketch, design revisions, final plans
- Plus, everything else the architect or designer is accountable for
You might begin with something like this:
Taking into account your land is the first starting point
This is the quick draft created for our granny flat. It ensures you focus on the most important aspects when it comes to construction.
- Where is North facing?
- Where is your town water coming from?
- Does this align with your internal plumbing?
- Where does the waste water need to go?
- Where is the better entry way?
- Are you happy with the layout?
Recommended Granny Flat Designers and Architects in Australia
For in in depth look. Check out these articles I have created:
Speed Up Approval with Council
Decades ago, you may have heard of people getting plans through council in “dodgy” ways. Those days are well and truly over, and certainly for the good.
Council’s job is to ensure everything is safe, secure and nobody’s lives are at risk in a granny flat. However, they have been know to take their time approving plans. And this is the downside of getting approval.
The main hold up with plans not going through these days is your designer not knowing the rules! When you hire an architect or draftperson, you should ensure they are very familiar with your (local) councils rules for what is allowed regarding secondary dwellings.
Know all the rules. And it will be smooth sailing
There are some exceptions with councils such as this example with Brisbane council. But these are few in between, especially when building a new dwelling from scratch.
You want to ensure:
- Everything is submitted they requested. (Don’t leave anything out)
- Ensure your survey report, plans, engineering diagrams, etc… Showing boundaries are all included
- Make sure you don’t go over the floor-space ratio (land to building platform) does not exceed their rules.
- Create a plan to continually follow up with council through scheduled phones calls.
As mentioned, the only way to speed up approval is to work with a very qualified designer who knows all the rules and ensure you submit as much paperwork as possible. This is to ensure no time is held up with them asking you for more.
Then lastly, you want to ensure (once you have done your job correctly) you keep on top of them with regular contact being made. You don’t to annoy them! Just allowing them the opportunity to ask you anything incase you may have missed something out. Be proactive rather than re-active!
I hope this break down and investigation into granny flat design helps inspire you with your new project!
It is great to be armed with ideas to take to your architect or draftsperson before signing up for their services.
And if you are looking for steps to DIY your own granny flat, feel free to browse our site 🙂