White kitchen an a tiny house

How to Maximise Space When Building Granny Flats in Australia

Whether you’re looking to add value to your property, earn some passive income, or just keep your loved ones close, building a granny flat is a great way to do it. Granny flats are secondary dwellings or Dependent Persons Units that you can be built in your backyard. If you have the extra space to spare in your garden, a granny flat is a significant investment.

But that’s the problem with granny flats – space. When you build a second dwelling in your garden, it can often feel cramped. Some of this comes down to design, while space restrictions and legislations also play a role. For example, the maximum size for a granny flat in Queensland is 80 square metres, while other rules apply from state to state and council to council.

You may be limited in that regard, but there is no limit to the steps you can take to make a granny flat look and feel larger than it is. With the tips below, you will be able to build a self-sustained space that feels big enough to truly be someone’s home.

7 Space Enhancing Tips When Building Your Granny Flat

1. Open Up Your World with Windows

If you want to make your granny flat look bigger, the first thing you need to do is choose large windows. Thankfully, the window size is something that you have complete control over.

Large windows allow more natural light to enter your space. When a space is well lit from both natural and artificial light sources, it seems larger and more spacious.

As well as natural light, large windows give you a view of the outside world. Looking out into an open space will give your granny flat a greater sense of openness overall. Make sure you position your largest windows in such a way that they look out onto the most open and most attractive part of your yard.

Finally, windows allow you to see yourself and your room subtly reflected in the pane of glass. This is a little hack that can trick your brain into perceiving a bigger area.

 2. Focus on Storage as You Build

The presence of clutter in any space is going to make it feel smaller and more chaotic. When it comes to a granny flat, this effect is only going to be amplified. When building storage into your granny flat, think about smart storage spaces that can tuck away or are built into furniture. For example, you can get beds and couches that double as storage spaces.

The granny flat itself should also be designed with plenty of in-built storage, especially when it comes to spaces like the kitchen, laundry, and bedroom. Cabinets, cupboards, wardrobes and other storage spaces should be integrated into the design whenever possible. This ensures less space is taken up by stray items and bulky, standalone storage.

3. Don’t Forget Your Walls

The walls of your granny flat are more than just a way to hold the house up. They’re actually your secret space-saving solution (in more ways than one).

Firstly, let’s revisit the storage point and throw vertical storage into the mix. This involves adding little hooks, nooks, and shelves to your walls to store extra items. This is an easy and effective way to create extra storage – and of course extra space – but there is a catch.

You need to make sure you’re not putting too much on your walls. This can make your space feel more cluttered and cramped, so make sure you strike a balance.

Your walls are great for more than just vertical storage space. By painting your wall in light colours and using white for things like picture frames, you can also contribute to a brighter, more spacious granny flat.

4. Style and Space Can Be One in the Same

After your walls, look at the other prominent surface in your granny flat, the floor. Choosing a light colour for the floors is a smart option. Another thing to consider is maintaining the same floor colour all throughout the flat. This will create a sense of flow and a more consistent, elongated feeling.

Speaking of flow, opting for an open-plan design will allow one room to flow into the next, creating a greater sense of space. This also means fewer walls, which is another way to create more room in a granny flat.

And when it comes to furniture, opt for minimalist pieces that take up just the right amount of space.

5. Slide in Some Sliding Doors

Doors that slide open rather than having to be pushed or pulled take up less space both when open and closed. When your door slides away neatly into a cavity, you never have to worry about banging them on walls either!

6. Utilise Outdoor Areas

There are a few ways you can utilise the space around you when building a granny flat.

For starters, you can build a small verandah or decking area outside the granny flat. This creates an extra living space where residents can sit down for an alfresco meal, read a good book, or just enjoy the sunset.

Additionally, you could build a small, dedicated shed for your granny flat. That’s right – when it comes to extra storage space, you can just build it separately to the granny flat itself.

7. Insist on Custom Design

When it comes to your granny flat, you need to partner with a provider that offers custom designs. Granny flats often run into space problems because you are quite literally boxed in by a set of designs. With a custom granny flat designer on your side, you can prioritise open, spacious designs throughout every step of the process, ensuring you make the most out of your granny flat.

Get Started with a Spacious Granny Flat Today!

When it comes to building a granny flat, make sure you look for a provider who is an industry professional. As well as offering custom designs, they should be partnered and registered with bodies like the VBA in Victoria or the QBCC in Queensland. Most importantly, your granny flat builder must be receptive to your ideas and affordable.

Now that you know these seven space enhancing tips and you know what to look for in a granny flat builder, you can start designing and building your granny flat with confidence.


Roller blinds at a cafe.
Man completing DIY renovations with his puppy next to hime

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