The trend of multigenerational living, where families with multiple generations share a single roof, is on the rise in Canada. While this approach offers numerous benefits like shared expenses, emotional support, and creating lasting memories, designing a space that accommodates diverse needs and age groups can be a challenge. Here are some design tips to create a harmonious and functional home for your multigenerational family:

Embrace the Power of Zoning

  • Dedicated Spaces: Respect individual privacy by creating designated spaces for each generation. This includes bedrooms, bathrooms (ideally one per household unit), and potentially even separate living areas if space allows.
  • Shared Spaces: While personal areas are crucial, fostering connection is important too. Designate inviting shared spaces like a spacious living room, dining area, or a recreation room for family gatherings and activities.

Prioritize Accessibility for All Ages

  • Universal Design Principles: Incorporate universal design principles to ensure accessibility for all residents, regardless of age or physical ability. Wider doorways, lever-style handles, and grab bars in bathrooms are some examples.
  • Future-Proofing: Consider potential future needs. Install features like stair lifts or accessible showers to ensure the home remains functional as family members age.

Flexibility is Key

  • Multifunctional Furniture: Invest in furniture that serves multiple purposes. Opt for sleeper sofas, folding tables, or ottomans with storage to maximize space and cater to different activities.
  • Movable Partitions: Consider installing movable partitions or room dividers to create flexible spaces. This can allow for a dedicated workspace during the day and an open entertaining area in the evening.

Embrace Natural Light and Connection to Nature

  • Sunlight and Fresh Air: Ample natural light and ventilation are essential for everyone’s well-being. Large windows, skylights, or balconies promote a sense of spaciousness and connection to the outdoors.
  • Biophilic Design: Incorporate elements of nature indoors. Plants, natural materials like wood or stone, and calming color schemes can create a peaceful and restorative atmosphere.

Storage Solutions for Everyone

  • Declutter and Organize: Encourage everyone to declutter and minimize personal belongings. Efficient storage solutions are key to maintaining a clutter-free environment.
  • Designated Storage: Allocate designated storage spaces for each generation, ensuring everyone has adequate space for personal belongings. Consider built-in shelves, cabinets, or under-bed storage solutions.

Safety Considerations

  • Childproofing: If young children are part of the household, prioritize safety measures like childproof doorknobs, cabinet locks, and electrical outlet covers.
  • Non-Slip Flooring: Use non-slip flooring materials in bathrooms and high-traffic areas to minimize the risk of falls, particularly for seniors.

Communication and Collaboration

  • Respectful Dialogue: Open communication is vital to a harmonious multigenerational living arrangement. Discuss design preferences and needs openly and collaboratively to reach solutions that work for everyone.
  • Shared Responsibility: Establish clear expectations regarding household chores and maintenance. Involving everyone in creating a shared space fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Celebrating Individuality Through Design

  • Personalized Touches: While creating a cohesive overall design is important, allow space for individual expression. Let family members personalize their bedrooms or designated areas with artwork, furniture pieces, or decorative accents that reflect their tastes.


Multigenerational living can be an enriching and rewarding experience. By incorporating these design tips, you can create a comfortable, functional, and stylish home that caters to the needs of all generations under one roof. Remember, clear communication, respect for individual preferences, and a collaborative approach are key to fostering harmony and creating a true haven for your multigenerational family.