Before we get into the designs below; a common question I am asked about large granny flats is – can you build a granny flat over 60sqm?
The answer is yes, although it does depend upon your block size, the state/territory in which you live, and your Councils’ regulations. If you can comply with all of these, it is possible to build a granny flat up to as much as 100sqm.
Bigger granny flats can shock people with how imaginative they can look.
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Today I will cover exactly when and where can you build these bigger granny flats. I will also talk about the benefits of building a granny flat that is bigger than 60sqm, then 80sqm, all the way right up to 100sqm.
Most people don’t realise you can expand the use of ‘livable’ space. Outdoor deck areas, do NOT count within your common 60sqm footprint. So with a little creative thought you can craft a bigger space to live within.
Granny Flat Designs Over 60sqm
60sqm is a common size for a granny flat. Why? Well, in some states in Australia, such as Victoria, SA, and Tasmania, this is the maximum size granny flat that your Council will allow you to build.
Though, it’s important to note that this does differ between Councils, so if you do live in one of these states, I do recommend that you contact yours for their regulations.
Starting with this design – You can even create a large one-bedroom granny flat with a large living/work from home space.
But there is nothing bad about the size 60sqm – in 60sqm you can still fit two bedrooms, one with an ensuite, or two bedrooms, both with their own bathrooms.
So then, what are the benefits of building a granny flat bigger than this, and where can you?
In WA, the maximum floor space is 70sqm – although, the Councils’ in rural areas are generally more flexible, and will allow you to build bigger than this.
Before thinking about expanding past 60sqm, consider increasing your ceiling height for a much bigger feel indoors.
In Queensland, you are allowed up to 80sqm. Though, to give you an example of how the regulations change between Councils, in Brisbane you are only allowed 70sqm, and only two bedrooms.
Again, I suggest that you speak to your local Council if you want to go above this floor space, as their regulations might be different than what will be approved by Complying Development.
The Northern Territory is quite strict – in the metropolitan area that is the city of Darwin, you are restricted to 50sqm. But in a rural area, your Council may be more lenient, allowing you up to 80sqm.
The added benefit of going over 60sqm, is that a design like this feels more like a larger house
If I have not yet mentioned your state, you are one of the lucky ones, as you will be allowed more than 80sqm, so look to one of the sub-heading below, and you will find yourself there.
Anyway, back to 60sqm. 60sqm can also fit three bedrooms, but all the bedrooms will be a little bit on the small side.
The advantage of having three bedrooms in a granny flat is that up to six adults can live in there in comfort.
Better yet, if your floor space can be over 60sqm, this additional room will allow the tenants to have more privacy.
A 70sqm, three-bedroom granny flat can be seen at Granny Flat Approvals. The extra space means that each bedroom has its’ own built-in wardrobe and bathroom.
Something you could consider changing is where the built-in wardrobes are in the two bedrooms at the top of the floor plan. If you move them, so they are instead backed-up against the combining wall, this would offer some soundproofing between these two bedrooms. The hallway already offers a great acoustic barrier between the third bedroom.
There’s a reason why this is called “The Student” – it’s ideal to rent out for student accommodation. Though more than a million students start university each year, this is a competitive housing market.
Huge bedrooms like this design feel spacious. You could shrink the dimensions down or you could add another bedroom where the front door is, and move the main entrance as well.
It has almost everything this market wants, such as:
- 3 (or more) bedrooms, all with built-in robes, and their very own bathrooms.
The only thing that would make it better is a study nook. I will talk about how this can be integrated into a design under the next sub-heading.
But, if your property is in a prime location, such as close to the campus or public transport, and your granny flat is designed appropriately for the tenants, this design still has great potential.
You could possibly get up to $250 a week from each student living in your three-bedroom granny flat – yes, you read that right, that is a total of $750 each week!
Granny Flat Designs Over 80sqm
If you live in the ACT, you are allowed the biggest floor size for your granny flat – up to 90sqm.
As mentioned above, in regards to student housing, the one thing that the three-bedroom granny flat was missing was a study nook.
The extra 20 square metres that is available between a 60sqm and 80sqm granny flat will allow you space to integrate this study nook into your design.
Extra storage space with a walk in closet or home office/study nook with some small alterations.
There is enough room for the study nook to be a whole fourth room.
Or, instead, it can be designed as a multifunctional room, similar to this home office. This gives you more space to play with, to make the bedrooms and bathrooms a bit bigger each.
Multi-use spaces can be difficult to design, so you can also read architecturally designed spaces for inspiration, and hire an architect, who will help you to create a multi-use space that will work properly.
Now, if you are not planning on renting out your granny flat to students, another great design idea is to think about adding more spaces for storage.
Crafting better-use-of-space means storage doesn’t have to be a problem for larger granny flats
In a small space, utilising absolutely every single available spot that you can for storage is highly important. So, if there is enough room for any sort of cupboard, install one.
Just think about everything that you would take into a granny flat if you were moving into one, and that would need a space to be kept away.
When you start to think about it, there a quite a lot of things, and quite a lot of storage spaces you could build, such as:
- For your books, build a bookshelf.
- For your food, build a pantry and overhead cabinets.
- For your utensils, build drawers and some more overhead cabinets.
- For your cleaning products, build a cupboard. This may need to be big, as some of your equipment is large, such as your mop and bucket, and vacuum cleaner.
- All your linen products, such as towels, bedsheets, spare pillows and blankets, and more, will need a linen cupboard.
- In this day and age, most people have a collection of electrical goods, and their cords, for our smartphones and Bluetooth technology, which will need a cabinet of their own, and
- Our heating and cooling appliances will also need a spot for storage.
Here is a great article in the States which shows examples to incorporate storage solutions where more people are living in a granny flat.
Essentially, you need to keep all of these items off the floor and out of site. So, these storage spots will help your secondary dwelling feel much more spacious and free from clutter.
Another great option, if you have the available land space, is to extend your granny flat upwards. A loft is a lovely, calming area that can be used as another room (if the ceiling is at least 2.2m high), or simply for storage.
For design ideas and regulations, see my post, “Granny Flats with a Loft”.
Or, a two-storey granny flat has all the same regulations as a single-storey granny flat, but you can fit a fourth bedroom.
Granny Flat Designs Over 100sqm
To be approved by Complying Development (CDC) in NSW, you are allowed only 60sqm. But if you submit a Development Application (DA), you might be approved for up to 100sqm, IF:
- Your property is large enough.
- Your local Council is feeling lenient at the time of the DA submission.
Though, at 100sqm, it will be hard to have the secondary dwelling classified as a granny flat. As an example there are many 3 bedroom single family homes which are close to 100sqm
Though, if you have the land space, you can think outside of the granny flat, and add more landscaped areas.
As well as being aesthetically appealing, this will:
- Add more privacy between the secondary dwelling and primary dwelling, and
- Allow for a better balance of indoor/outdoor living.
There are also ways you can legally increase the size of your granny flat above and beyond 100sqm.
Areas that the Council does not classify as a “habitable space” include:
Council won’t deduct any of these areas from the maximum floor space you’re allowed, so you can add them without losing any of your internal floor space.
Open plan granny flats work well for both small and larger designs such as this one.
An example of a good design is Banksia (A) at Granny Flats Australia. The floor plan shows a porch, which can be extended further if you have the land space, and a one car garage that spans the entire width of the granny flat.
Parking the Bed in one corner of the granny flat means more room to use as you wish, especially in this huge studio design
Depending on your location and land size, it may be possible to build a granny flat bigger than 60sqm.
The benefits of doing so include using the space for:
- More or bigger rooms, offering more privacy.
- More storage, keeping things cleaner, or
- More outdoor areas, for a better balance of indoor/outdoor living.
If you want to begin building, see how to DIY and save money.