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Design Ideas for your DADU (Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit)

The rising costs of cities means that more people are on the hunt for affordable housing, which has led to something of a renaissance in Detached Accessory Dwelling Units or DADUs. These living spaces, that are built separate from the main home, have continued to grow in both demand and design.

Here are a few ideas that can make it easier to build or transform a DADU that will delight and inspire. We’ll also explore how the right sliding (or folding) glass doors can open tiny spaces up while offering a view of your garden, water elements, or backyard landscape.

Using Your DADU

Before undertaking any major projects, homeowners should first research local laws and regulations in their area. (Also, an HOA might have something to say about your DADU.) Once you’ve gotten the thumbs-up from the powers-that-be, you’ll want to define exactly how you’re going to use it.

Here are the most common options:

  • Short-term rental (think Airbnb)
  • Long-term rental
  • Mother-in-law suite
  • Work-from-home office
  • Getaway

Keep in mind there may be some degree of overlap for these options. For instance, you rent out to short-term renters for a few months and then use it as a suite for when your daughter comes home from college for the summer. When you know who will use the space throughout the year, it can help you design something that is both comfortable and stylish enough for all who enter.

You’ll also need to research the going rates if you’re using your DADU as a source of income. Just because a neighborhood is trendy or fashionable, doesn’t mean it will attract enough short-term renters to make the DADU worth it.

Design Ideas for your DADU (Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit) S21 Panda Select

Dynamic Design

Even small DADUs can incorporate multi-use spaces for a more dynamic design. For example, a fully functional kitchen can also have a designated space to enjoy a cup of coffee or catch up on work. Or a small banquette can double for both seating and food prep.

Some designers will also employ pine panels as a way to define the lower half of the DADU. Using pale wood allows for more light movement from the windows and instantly creates a warm environment. If you have a lofted bedroom area, this is particularly recommended to separate living areas in a small space.

Natural Lighting

Sunshine can work wonders in a DADU, transforming it from isolating and cramped into a space that instantly uplifts. (And while not everyone appreciates the warmth of the sun equally, curtains or blinds will always be an option for those who want something more subdued.)

Rooflines can include large skylights and traditional walls can be swapped for unobstructed multi-slide glass doors. The latter can be custom-made to fit any space, providing pockets for doors to disappear into or Z-folds to add dimension and character to the DADU.

Owners on a budget will often allocate more for glass because it ultimately turns the space into something that people will actually look forward to using. Skylights can further enhance the space, allowing light to pour in from multiple angles. All the natural elements will prompt people to stay awhile and soak up some vitamin D from the comfort of the couch or breakfast bar.

Incorporate the Garden

Your landscaping will have a lot to do with your DADU, so it’s important to assess both what you already have and what you’ll need. For instance, a shady tree can provide a focal point, but it can also block out all your beautiful sunshine at certain times of the day.

Color-blocking, fresh herbs, and native shrubs can all be added to your yard to make for a more captivating view. It can also be a huge selling point in terms of functionality. Giving people access to fresh garden veggies or offering the option to grow their own can really take a DADU to the next level. It can inspire people to cook more and experiment with different flavors. When designing your DADU, the best features of the garden should be easy to access and see.

Design Ideas for your DADU (Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit)Panda Select-French Door--LOGO-1


Trust Your Instincts

Certain design elements will be difficult to pull off on your own. In some neighborhoods, you might not even have the option. But overall, you can conserve limited resources by trusting your own instincts, keeping it simple, and thinking outside the box.

People who live in tiny homes — even if it’s just a few days — have already embraced minimalism on some level. It’s your job to essentially exploit what’s already around you, and connect it to the unit as much as possible.

Panda Windows & Doors

If you’re looking for design ideas for tiny homes, Panda Windows & Doors has created products that bring light and life to  properties everywhere — no matter the size. Rather than churn out cookie-cutter products, each window and door is crafted as an investment for a structure that will be used for many years to come.

You can see the difference in every view, every touch of the handle, every smooth transition from the interior to the outdoors. We’re here to make your DADU an addition that you’re truly proud of. Whether you want to welcome frequent visitors, make some extra money, or just reserve it for a special alone space, the possibilities are endless. To learn more, we invite you to download our Residential Door Guide or reach out to find a Panda authorized dealer near you.