Thinking about building a Teenage Retreat? Here’s some great ideas to get you started

If you’re an Aussie parent, you know how much teenagers enjoy they’re own privacy, especially when they hit those teen-years. Now, imagine providing your maturing kids with their ‘own place’ whilst still having them close by? A teenager retreat is a small granny flat carefully designed and placed in your own backyard, which can house one or two people quite comfortably, yet doesn’t need to cost the Earth. We’ve listed some ideas below, which can help with the deign and construction of such a structure so that it’s affordable, ergonomic and still adds value to your property.


A teenager-retreat needn’t be large or expensive to build. Most of the space will be an open-space living, kitchen and dining area- say around 16 square metres. A bedroom of around 3m x 3m is plenty, with the bathroom being around 4 square metres at most. This amounts to a teenage retreat of around 30 square metres. The State Legislation for granny flats allows 60 square metres maximum size, so this size (30 sq m) is well within the regulations. You may wish to sell your property one day, so it pays to design and site the structure to add value for future sales potential.


Kitchenette: You won’t need a large kitchen at all. Just a single line of benches or a ‘galley style’ kitchen will do. A sink is essential but a  stove/oven is optional. Teenagers are microwave-oven savvy these days so certainly space for this is essential. A bar-fridge is quite cheap and easy to install as well.

Lounge: This is where your kids will spend most of their time, entertaining themselves and their friends. You’ll want this to be an open-space design with enough area for lounge seats, bean-bags and a small table for their nick-knacks. An area for a study-desk will also help if your teenagers are at school or college.

Bedroom: You have a few options here. You can either have the bed integrated into the lounge room, or for the price of a door and some internal walls you can design the retreat to include a separate bedroom. Teenage girls would probably prefer this, with a flat-pack wardrobe behind the door providing much needed storage space for their clothes and shoes.

Bathroom: A small toilet, basin and a shower is all you’ll need for the bathroom. There’s no need to splurge here. Just make the design efficient and fully tiled to allow for easier cleaning.

Laundry: We suggest you leave this out. Teenagers hate laundry and will of course try and deposit their clothes into the main house’s laundry duty, so perhaps just leave a space in the bathroom for a washing machine should the situation change in the future.

Sound-Proofing: There are many sound-proofing plasterboard and insulation products available which aren’t too expensive, which you can use to acoustically shield the teenager-retreat from the main house. Below, we talk about locating the structure, so depending on location, you may or may not need extra sound proofing for those midnight teenager parties we all love so much!

Location of your Teenage Retreat

A new detached teenager retreat can be located so that it’s far enough away to allow for privacy and separation from the main dwelling and still be accessible.Depending on your yard length and geometry the location can be adjusted to fit and to allow for easy connection to Drainage, Sewer, Electricity/Gas, Phone/Internet and Water supply.


The build price for a Teenager-Retreat also needn’t be huge. We have some designs here which start at around $60,000 for a fully-built 36 square meter structure with all of the inclusions listed above.

Decisions, Decisions

Teenagers can get a real feel for independence without having to pay out massive rents and still getting a bit of mum’s help with cooking and laundry, to name a few of the areas where teenagers need guidance. In designing the new retreat, get your teenager involved. They can certainly look at a floor plan and provide their input on how they’d like it to be laid out. A new teenage retreat can allow your children to pass the tenancy on from one to the other as they grow older, so get the 12 year old involved as well!  Let them enjoy the experience by all means but be sure that they understand you’re working within a budget.

If you consider Sydney rents and the growing need for affordable rental housing, building a Teenage Retreat can certainly be a very wise financial investment, which will add value to your property and provide much needed accommodation for our growing population. We hope this helps you to consider the design and costs associated with building a new teenage retreat in your Aussie backyard!

Warm Regards,

Serge Panayi – Granny Flats Sydney