Multigenerational living - design trend or necessity?

Multigenerational living describes living circumstances where more than one generation lives under the same roof.

These could be either three or four-generation families or grandfamilies where one or more grandparents raise growing children.

As family circumstances shift to adjust to socio-economic environments, we explore whether multigenerational living is on trend or a need.

Multigenerational living is part of a global culture

Throughout the 19th century, it was not uncommon in English-speaking countries for elderly parents to live with their adult children. This changed in the mid-20th century when young adults deliberately left home to set up their own homes.

In some countries, however, multigenerational living is still very much part of the culture. Families from Asia, the Middle East, southern Europe and a large part of Africa still live in multigenerational setups.

And people from these parts of the world now residing in Australia have been instrumental in making this living arrangement very much the norm. Could this be the necessary influence multigenerational living has had on the resurgence of this living trend in Australia…? Or could it be…

Reasons to jump on the multigenerational living trend

Multigenerational living may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are compelling reasons why this, perhaps necessary move based on cultural, cost or personal circumstances, is becoming trendy.

Attractive tax exemption: Granny flats and buildings built on properties intended to house elderly family members are granted an exemption on a property’s Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

House prices: Although prices are slowly decreasing, the emphasis is on the word ‘slowly’. This, coupled with rising inflation and cost of living, has meant that families choosing to live together to save costs proves incredibly economical.

Aged care: Improving aged care and senior living environments has been on the political agenda for years. Families who choose to cohabit will save on aged care or retirement home costs and be able to help elderly family members by offering physical and healthcare support.

Childcare: Although the government has recently offered another incentive to help with exorbitant childcare fees, these remain incredibly high. Some families must even weigh up a second income vs childcare as the cost savings simply don’t balance.

Shared expenses: As we said, the cost of living is increasing and international factors are affecting the delivery of raw materials to serve Australian communities with basic infrastructure, like heating.

This only forces the price upward, putting additional pressure on families. Sharing these costs is a great way to save money and motivate multigenerational living. Sharing expenses also becomes particularly attractive when discussing and planning budgets for your multigenerational dream home.

Multigenerational design considerations

When designing a multigenerational living space, it is crucial to partner with architecture experts to create a space that will work for the dynamics of the multigenerational family.

Here are some considerations to make when designing your multigenerational home or renovation:

Duplex design

These homes are also called dual living and have become considerably popular and on-trend. Their design offers two separate living spaces with independent amenities under the same roof.

Often these are multi-storey buildings. These multi-story homes are popular on the Northern Beaches and North Shore, especially those looking onto the water.

Granny flats

As the name suggests, these are separate units from the primary residence.

They offer separate amenities and access from the main house or via an independent entrance.


Be sure to be considerate of your privacy requirements when planning a home intended to work for varying age groups and lifestyles.

Sharing a living space shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy, so be sure to design a home that offers each generation their own space.


The reality of senior living is that design modifications must be made to support older generations.

These include wider passages for wheelchair or walker access, grab rails in bathrooms, wider showers for seating, and a single-level design for easy mobility.


Modern? Traditional? Minimalist?

When planning a multigenerational home, be conscious of the style you decide to make sure that it works for the home’s future resale. Discuss architectural preferences, sustainability features and interior options from the start of the design process.

Ready to create your multigenerational home? Contact us and find out more about what we do to help ensure your home is functional and remains on-trend.

“Recent legislation changes have further limited, and effectively eliminated, the creation of senior housing in residential zoned areas. The previous Seniors Housing Policy allowed small homes, low-rise (2-storey) units and in some circumstances, townhouses within residential areas that were close to bus stops, shops and other local amenities; however, the new policy greatly restricts this. With fewer options and available housing choices for elderly people available, the multigenerational living concept is becoming stronger across a wider variety of families.”

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