Adding an accessory dwelling unit with one bedroom can be an excellent way to create additional living space on a property. When designing a one-bedroom ADU floor plan, several important factors must be considered to make the most of the available square footage. This article provides expert tips on configuring and furnishing a small ADU to make it feel open and functional. 

The goal is to help homeowners design a comfortable and practical living space, whether the ADU will be used for rental income or to house a family member. With one-bedroom ADU plans ranging from 500 to 800 square feet, smart layouts and multi-functional furnishings are crucial to success. Read on for professional guidance on everything from space planning to storage solutions explicitly tailored for accessory dwelling units with just one bedroom.

What Is a One-Bedroom Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a secondary housing unit on a single-family residential lot. ADUs are independent living spaces with a kitchen, sleeping area, and bathroom. A one-bedroom ADU is a miniature version of this concept, featuring a single bedroom and other necessary living spaces.

Space and Layout

A one-bedroom ADU typically ranges from 300 to 800 square feet. At a minimum, it will include a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and small living area. Some one-bedroom designs also incorporate extra space for an office, dining area, or den. The layout often resembles a small apartment, with the rooms situated off of a central hallway or common area.

Benefits of a One-Bedroom ADU

Adding a one-bedroom ADU to an existing property benefits homeowners and renters. For homeowners, ADU can provide extra income through renting, space for family members, or a home office. For renters, one-bedroom ADUs offer an affordable housing option with the convenience of a small, low-maintenance space.

One-bedroom ADUs are ideal for single occupants or couples. They efficiently use limited square footage while still including all the necessary amenities for independent living. A one-bedroom unit is an excellent place to start for homeowners looking to ease into ADU ownership or build on a budget. With strategic design, a one-bedroom ADU can fulfill many valuable purposes.

Things to Consider When Designing Your 1 Bedroom ADU Floor Plan

Space Constraints

When designing a one-bedroom ADU, space constraints are an essential consideration. One-bedroom units are typically 500-800 square feet, so utilizing space efficiently is key. Open floor plans, multi-purpose furniture, and built-in storage can maximize limited space. Eliminating hallways and having rooms flow together creates an open, airy feel in a small home.

Natural Light

Another essential factor is incorporating natural light. Adding windows, skylights, and glass doors helps brighten a small space and creates an inviting atmosphere. Strategically placing windows for cross-ventilation and airflow is ideal for one-bedroom units. Using lighter colors, mirrors, and glass also helps reflect light and makes a space appear more open.


In a small home, storage is always at a premium. Built-in cabinetry, shelving, drawers under beds and stairs, and multi-purpose furniture are excellent options for extra storage without taking up much space. A well-designed and organized storage system also helps avoid clutter in a compact area.


When space is limited, designing rooms and furnishings that can serve multiple purposes adds flexibility. A room that functions as both a living room and home office or a table that extends to seat more people are flexible designs appropriate for one-bedroom units. Moveable room dividers or partitions also allow you to reconfigure spaces as needed.

Optimizing natural light, flexible and multi-purpose designs, efficient storage solutions, and open-concept spaces are key factors to consider when designing a well-laid-out one-bedroom ADU floor plan. Attention to these elements will create a small yet comfortable, inviting, and functional living space.

Space Planning Tips for a Small 1-Bedroom ADU

Strategic planning is key to creating a functional living space when designing a one-bedroom ADU. Careful measurements and thoughtful layouts can help maximize limited square footage.

Focus on multipurpose spaces.

In a small ADU, each room should serve more than one purpose. For example, the living room can double as a home office or dining area. A Murphy bed or sofa bed in the living room provides extra sleeping space for guests. An island can function as a dining table, workspace, and storage unit in the kitchen.

Keep the layout open.

An open floor plan makes a small space feel more spacious and connected. Minimize the number of walls and doors, using archways or wide openings instead. This allows natural light to filter through the space and gives an airy, unconfined feel. However, include some private spaces, such as a separate bedroom and bathroom.

Choose a space-efficient layout.

For a one-bedroom ADU, a galley kitchen or studio layout works well. A galley kitchen runs along one wall, maximizing counter space while conserving square footage. A studio places the living room, bedroom, and kitchen in one open space. Use room dividers, screens, and purposeful decor to delineate separate areas. A hallway wastes precious space, so opt for an open layout whenever possible.

Include multifunctional furniture.

In a small ADU, furniture should serve dual purposes. Examples include an ottoman with storage inside, a sofa table that can be used as a desk, or a drop-leaf table that expands as needed. A Murphy bed or sofa bed provides extra sleeping space but saves room when folded up. Choose furniture that is appropriately scaled for the size of the space.

Applying these space planning techniques allows a one-bedroom ADU to feel open, uncluttered, and perfectly sized. Strategic layouts and multifunctional furniture are vital to creating a small, livable accessory dwelling unit.

Must-Have Features to Include in Your 1 Bedroom ADU Floor Plan

Adequate Living Space

When designing a one-bedroom ADU, allocating enough square footage for a comfortable living space is important. The living area should be large enough to accommodate a sofa, loveseat, coffee table, and entertainment center. An open floor plan connecting the living room, kitchen, and dining area is ideal for improved functionality. An open layout gives the illusion of more space and allows for better room flow.

Efficient Kitchen

Even though the ADU is only one bedroom, the kitchen should still be fully functional. A kitchenette with a refrigerator, stovetop or range, oven, microwave, and sink are necessities. For convenience, include counter space for small appliances like a coffee maker. Opting for space-saving features such as a mini fridge, apartment-sized stove, and galley layout can maximize the kitchen space in a compact ADU. Cabinets for food and dish storage are also recommended.

Private Bedroom

The one bedroom in the ADU should provide privacy and enough space for a bed and essential furnishings. A bedroom at least 10 feet by 12 feet can accommodate a queen or full-sized bed, nightstands, and a dresser. For extra storage, include a closet in the bedroom. If square footage is limited, use space-saving closet organizers and under-bed storage.

Full Bathroom

Even though the ADU is only one bedroom, it should have its full bathroom for the convenience and privacy of guests. The bathroom should contain, at a minimum, a vanity, toilet, and shower or bathtub. For accessibility, opt for a walk-in shower without a threshold. Additional features like a bathroom exhaust fan, storage cabinet, and space for linens are valuable inclusions in a compact ADU bath.

Including these must-have features in the one-bedroom ADU floor plan will create a comfortable, self-contained living space for guests. With strategic space-saving selections, a full kitchen, living area, bedroom, and bath can be incorporated into a cozy accessory dwelling unit.

1 Bedroom ADU Floor Plan Inspiration and Examples

There are several factors to consider when designing a one-bedroom accessory dwelling unit (ADU) floor plan. Space optimization is vital for small dwellings. A compact layout with multi-purpose areas An efficient one-bedroom ADU floor plan incorporates a compact layout with multi-purpose areas that can serve more than one function. For example, a living area that also includes a workspace or a kitchenette, or a bedroom that includes extra storage space. Keeping the square footage under 500 square feet will lower permitting fees and construction costs in many areas.

A separate bedroom

A separate bedroom is ideal for privacy. A one-bedroom ADU floor plan should include a dedicated bedroom space with a door and a living area, kitchenette, and bathroom. The bedroom should be large enough to fit a queen or double bed and allow easy access on both sides. Built-in storage, shelving, and closet space help keep the small space organized and clutter-free.

An open-concept kitchen and living area

An open-concept kitchen and living area create an airy, spacious feel in a small ADU. The kitchenette should include a sink, mini-fridge, storage cabinets, and counter space for a microwave, hot plate, or other small appliances. The living area should have space for a sofa, chair and table. Large windows, skylights, light, and bright colors also help visually open the space.

A bathroom with a shower

A small yet functional bathroom is essential in a one-bedroom ADU. A bathroom with a shower, toilet, and sink is standard. Consider a corner shower, pedestal sink, and wall-mounted or space-saving toilet for maximum efficiency. Proper ventilation is also important in damp areas like the bathroom.

A well-designed one-bedroom ADU floor plan incorporates multi-purpose spaces, a separate bedroom, an open-concept living area and kitchenette, lots of natural light, and a full bathroom. Efficient use of space and built-in storage help maximize livability in a small dwelling.


In summary, designing a one-bedroom accessory dwelling unit requires careful planning and considering layout, function, and aesthetics. Keeping the unit compact yet livable is key, with creative use of space and multi-functional furnishings. Focusing on quality over quantity and opting for durable finishes will help the ADU maintain value and become a cozy, efficient home for years. With mindful design choices guided by intended lifestyle needs, a one-bedroom ADU can be an ideal flexible space and innovative housing solution. These tips will help homeowners create an ADU that maximizes livability and suits the home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key components of a 1-bedroom ADU floor plan? 

A typical 1-bedroom ADU floor plan includes a separate bedroom, a bathroom, a living area, and a kitchen. The layout is designed to maximize space efficiency while providing comfortable living quarters. Rhino Garage Conversion San Francisco can customize these floor plans to suit specific needs and preferences, ensuring that the space is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

How much space is needed for a 1-bedroom ADU? 

The required space for a 1-bedroom ADU can vary, but typically, these units range from 500 to 800 square feet. Rhino Garage Conversion San Francisco specializes in optimizing smaller spaces to create a functional and comfortable living environment, ensuring compliance with local zoning laws regarding ADU size limits.

What are some design considerations for a 1-bedroom ADU? 

When designing a 1-bedroom ADU, considerations include natural lighting, storage solutions, and the overall flow of the space. It’s essential to design for efficiency and comfort. Rhino Garage Conversion San Francisco focuses on smart design practices like incorporating multi-functional furniture and built-ins that enhance the livability of compact spaces.

Can Rhino Garage Conversion San Francisco provide customized 1-bedroom ADU designs? 

Yes, Rhino Garage Conversion San Francisco offers customized design services for 1-bedroom ADUs. They work closely with clients to tailor floor plans that reflect their lifestyle, needs, and the character of the existing property, ensuring that each ADU is unique and well-integrated with the main home.

What are the benefits of opting for a 1-bedroom ADU floor plan from Rhino Garage Conversion San Francisco? 

Opting for a 1-bedroom ADU floor plan from Rhino Garage Conversion San Francisco provides several benefits, including increased property value, potential rental income, and additional space for guests or family members. Their team ensures that each project is handled with expertise from the initial design phase to construction, focusing on quality, compliance, and customer satisfaction.

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