Some blocks of land are challenging to build a granny flat on, particularly a narrow block. So, can a narrow granny flat fit everything you need to live?
Absolutely, yes. A narrow granny flat can fit 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, living, and dining area, bathroom, laundry, storage and more.
Narrow can still be functional. As shown in this 1 bedroom design.
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Today I will discuss the best layouts for a narrow granny flat, and design ideas to make it feel wider (See below). I will also share tips on how to bring in natural light, and what furniture to use.
Narrow Granny Flat Layout Ideas
Narrow granny flats have their challenges, but allow for unparalleled designs.
One great layout idea is to have all 60sqm in a straight-line. If your land space allows, add a front deck – this will make it feel even more spacious.
Place the bedrooms at different ends of the granny flat, with built-in wardrobes in each.
Bedrooms at opposite ends can create a greater sense of privacy.
This will give tenants a level of peace, quiet, and privacy, not seen in many other designs.
Your second bedroom can have a glass sliding door for its’ own entrance into the granny flat. This will also bring in more natural light.
By moving the wardrobes to the opposite side, you can easily add in sliding doors to a deck in this design.
Between the bedrooms place an open plan kitchen, dining, and living area with glass doors opening onto the front deck. This will provide a great balance of indoor/outdoor living.
The bathroom can be a multi-functional room containing your laundry, saving space. Place this backed up against the kitchen to save on plumbing costs.
Granny Flat Solutions shows an example of this design.
Another great layout idea is for your granny flat to be “L-shaped”, such as Backyard Grannys design.
This two-bedroom granny flat also has bedrooms at opposing ends of the dwelling, both with built-in wardrobes.
The large deck opens into an L-shaped area, which makes best use of the available space. It consists of:
- An open plan kitchen, living and dining area.
- A multi-use room – there is a study nook in the living area, and
- A linen cupboard for storage.
Design Elements to Make it Feel Wider
A narrow granny flat is a slender space, so it’s important to consider elements to make it ‘feel’ wider. These include:
The building material you use for you walls can minimise your internal floor space. So, it’s vital to consider how thick the material is.
This simple design allows for side access and the layout is similar to inner city terrace homes.
For example, a granny flat made with:
Whereas, if you built with cladding, as this is not as thick, and your granny flat is measured from the external walls, you wouldn’t have lost this space.
Also, what you see in building materials is not just what you get. Many materials are substantially greater in depth – and this what gives the granny flat its’ structure and insulation.
Again, on a block that’s narrow, you must make the best of all your available room, so it’s vital you choose a material that can:
- Structurally support the granny flat, while having the slightest possible impact on size.
For example, steel, (i,e., Colorbond), may cost more than brick, but is thinner, and you can place bigger openings for windows and doors.
So, it can be worthwhile to spend a little more money on steel, as you will benefit from the additional floor space and light.
You could also consider concrete panels – either those prefabricated or poured on-site. Read the pros and cons of concrete here.
More commonly known as “open plan” design, combining rooms allows for much more space in a granny flat – internal walls take up lots of room, so think about removing those you don’t need.
You could easily remove walls from designs such as this if you don’t mind “studio” living.
For example, an open plan kitchen that flows through to the dining and living area erases 1-2 walls. You can still define the rooms with furniture.
Or, you may think about having 1 bedroom, rather than 2. Then put a “study nook” in your living room, rather than a whole room. This eliminates at least 2 more walls.
Enjoy indoor outdoor living with a deck if you have the room.
Spaces that can be used for more than 1 purpose also eliminates walls, saving space by keeping 2 areas in 1 room.
For example, you could have your laundry and bathroom in 1 room – so all your “wet” amenities are in 1 area.
By keeping the “wet areas” together, it also saves on construction costs and makes it easier for your plumber.
For these to work, they must be easily adaptable. Architectural designs explains how to best design these spaces.
If you don’t have it in floor space, make up for it in height. Meaning, bring in vertical space with higher ceilings, which can make the smallest spaces feel larger.
2.7m is a great height to aim for with your ceilings, but you can go higher if you want. Just remember that when building above 3.8m, your setbacks start increasing, so this might not be achievable on a narrow block.
A higher ceiling height can mean a raked ceiling will provide even more light in.
You can instead think about adding a void in your kitchen/dining/living area (this is an aesthetic element, creating a spot where light can come through the free space).
Don’t be afraid go bright – you don’t have to stick to white or light colours. The hint? Just keep your colour palette continuously flowing throughout.
Granny Flat Interiors has recommendations for colours that work well together.
How to Bring in Natural Light on a Narrow Block
Bringing natural light into a granny flat is very important.
If you have space to create an “L” shape you can open up the living space by moving the bathroom to the side.
How can you do this on a narrow block? You can use:
- Skylights – These are ideal, as they bring in light through the roof.
If you have Instagram, this video from Interiors Addict shows skylights being installed, and what difference they make.
- Voids – Putting a slender void down one side of the dwelling can be aesthetically appealing, and generate some lovely shadows.
- Large Windows – If you have the room, placing large windows that open to see a large internal courtyard looks pleasant, and brings in plenty of light.
Why a courtyard? The view from your windows is important.
An ideal scenery is one that connects you to the outside world, so you can see nature, feel the breeze, and hear birds’ chirp.
The last thing you want to see is a bare wall, as you will feel restricted.
- Glazed Curtain Walls – A glazed curtain wall can be made from glass, allowing the natural light to flood the granny flat.
To incorporate all of this into your design, it certainly helps to get the assistance of an architect.
Architecturally designed granny flats shows just what their talent and skill can design.
Tips on Furniture to Make the Most Use of Space
In a small space, you must think about using practical furniture in each room:
- Living area – Bean bags, or a small lounge with built-in storage.
- Kitchen – A fold-out table.
- Bedroom – Built-in wardrobes.
But think about whether you even require this.
A designated space to work makes life a lot easier.
If you have an island bench in your kitchen, you can use this as your dining table, saving a substantial amount of space.
I have a post on space-saving ideas for granny flats, which will also give you other tips.
I hope this article has given you enough inspiration to start building – if so, see how to DIY.
If you’d like more ideas, feel free to read the best design ideas for small spaces.