Guest Houses Are Making A Comeback — And They’re More Functional Than Ever

Having a guest house can make your life easier. Your mind will be at ease knowing you have extra space for guests, aging family members, grown children, or even renters.

Guest houses are usually around 600 to 1,500 square feet and built on your property, often separate from your home. Guest houses go by a lot of names, like Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), granny flats, and secondary suites. Tiny homes can also be used as guest houses. No matter what you want to call your guest house, it can serve the purpose of providing extra space for you or housing people. 

Unlike a guest room, guest houses give visitors — or whoever is staying in the space — privacy and independence. They’re sustainable, functional, and surely won’t ever be sitting empty without being put to some kind of use. 


ELDERLY PARENTS: If you have elderly parents who you want to be close to while still offering them autonomy and privacy, having them live in your guest house is a perfect solution. 

Guest houses can be built with this use in mind, making them more functional for aging parents than your average home. You can design a guest house that doesn’t have stairs; has an open floor plan that’s easy to navigate; incorporates shelves that are easy to reach; is wheelchair accessible; and has slip-resistant surfaces.

Having an aging family member living in your guest house makes it easier for you to help them with day-to-day tasks and allows you to spend more time together. It’s common for older people to live alone in the United States, which can be isolating. A guest house for aging parents gives your family peace of mind about being close together. 

YOUNG ADULTS/COLLEGE STUDENTS: More than half of all young adults relocated to live with their parents during the pandemic. Though that trend may be declining, it’s still nice to have a dedicated space for your children as they get older.  

If you have children who are in college, a guest house lets them have their own place to stay when they visit home (that isn’t their childhood bedroom). Having your college student stay in your guest house when they come home lets them maintain their newfound independence. If your college student is still living at home while attending college nearby or online, having them stay in the guest house could be a good way to get them used to the responsibilities of having their own place. 

RENTERS: Having a guest house is also a great way to make some income. You could rent your guest house out long-term or use an online service like Airbnb to rent it out for shorter amounts of time. When people visit the area for things like work, sporting events, or to visit their children in college, it’s likely that they’ll seek out a one-of-a-kind place to stay. With the increase in popularity of Airbnb, many people opt for a unique place to stay over a uniform hotel experience.

An added benefit is that if you rent your guest house out, you’ll earn some money back to help pay the costs of constructing your guest house. Airbnb hosts make $9,600 a year on average. 


The functions of guest houses fluctuate just like your life circumstances. You can build a guest house that is used for different purposes depending on your stage of life — maybe your parents won’t live in it for another few years, but your current college student will enjoy the space until graduation. Or, if you have family members stay in the guest house over the holidays, you can still rent it out the rest of the year. 

After putting in the work of designing and building a guest house, you likely will want to admire the finished product. You can always have a staycation in your guest house, use it as a home office or a space to workout, or whatever else fits your lifestyle. 


In some places, ADUs can be built on city property next to an existing home, but check local zoning ordinances and regulations before beginning construction. Once you know you’re in the clear and want a guest house, you can get to the fun part — designing it. 

At New Energy Homes, our designs are focused on energy efficiency, which is good for the Earth and your wallet. We will work with you to design a guest house that meets the needs of you, your family, and other potential guests. Our designs concentrate on being affordable, sustainable, and renewable. 
If you’re ready to design a high-performance guest house, contact us today to talk to one of our team members.