1 Bedroom Granny Flats Designs: Everything You Need To Know

 In Granny Flat Designs, Granny Flat FAQs, Granny Flat Ideas, News

Interested in building a granny flat but not sure if you’re backyard (or budget) is big enough? Having less space or savings to work with doesn’t mean you have to compromise on comfort, convenience or earning potential. With the right 1 bedroom granny flat design, you can make the most of every square foot!

Ideal for smaller blocks of land, these compact secondary dwellings cater to a variety of occupants and applications with a clever use of space. Whether you want to create a private guest house, cosy retreat or long-term rental, these simple yet sophisticated homes are a fantastic solution for cost-effective living.

With our ultimate guide to 1 bedroom granny flats, you can discover whether this size is the right fit for your needs. We’ll break down everything from costs and construction approval to floor plans and time frames. Let’s get to it!

Firstly, what is the difference between a 1 bedroom granny flat and a studio?

Let’s begin with the basics.

First things first, it’s important to understand what you’re getting when you build a 1 bedroom granny flat as opposed to a studio. Allow us to clarify this distinction.

Although separate to the primary residence, a studio is considered an extension of the main dwelling and therefore doesn’t tend to include sufficient kitchen and laundry facilities for independent living. Instead, it’s a solid option if you want to create a quiet work space, extra entertainment area or private guest room.

On the other hand, a 1 bedroom granny flat is a detached secondary dwelling with a completely separate entryway to its main residence (and that means ultimate privacy!). With this self-contained home, tenants, guests or family members can enjoy their own kitchen, bathroom, living and sleeping facilities –  a full range of features that caters to a host of potential uses.

1 bedroom granny flat ideas

Starting at a minimum size of 36m²,  1 bedroom granny flat designs are suited to:

  • Grey Nomads who only require a humble base for their travel adventures.
  • Parents needing to accommodate their adult child whilst he or she saves up for their first home.
  • Families who want to create a private luxurious guesthouse.
  • Homeowners wanting to invest in their own Airbnb venture.
  • Downsizers looking to free up some extra savings to spend on that lovely lifestyle they’ve always fantasised about.
  • Family members living with a disability who want to live as autonomously as possible whilst receiving daily care.
  • Elderly relatives who wish to live in a cosy, cost-effective home instead of an aged care facility.

Pros & cons of building a 1 bedroom granny flat

To weigh up whether this build is a smart option for your situation, check out its advantages and disadvantages below:


  • Building a granny flat is generally a more affordable alternative to purchasing a standalone investment property, helping you to get your investment portfolio off the ground without a sizeable loan.
  • Depending on your granny flat’s location and features, you could earn up to several hundred dollars in rental income each week.
  • As long as it’s legally compliant, the granny flat will likely add value to your property.
  • If you end up needing some extra accommodation for friends or family, your granny flat could save the day


  • If you’re planning to rent out the granny flat, bear in mind that this means you’ll need to share your backyard with tenants
  • Unless you receive a full turnkey quote at the outset, the expense of building a granny flat could exceed your expectations – and not in a good way!

How much does it cost to build a 1 bedroom granny flat?

Mayfield backyard granny flat exterior

Favoured for their relative affordability, granny flats are popular among savvy investors looking for lucrative ventures and smart homeowners needing extra space. And thanks to their particularly modest size, 1 bedroom granny flats are the most wallet-friendly of all.

According to a survey of nine companies located across Sydney and Newcastle, you can expect to pay a full turnkey price of $100,000 – $120,000 for a 1 bedroom granny flat. That covers all site costs, design expenses and approval fees, as well as construction and standard features.

If you come across a granny flat builder advertising a particularly cheap price (we’ve seen figures as low as $80,000!), then this deal is probably too good to be true. What starts as an apparent bargain could soon turn into cut corners and compromised quality or a mounting pile of hidden costs that blow your budget.

Our advice? Choose a company that ensures you can be confident in your total costs before signing on the dotted line.

To learn more about the cost of these backyard dwellings, head over to our Ultimate Guide to Granny Flat Prices.

What is the requirement for a 1 bedroom granny flat?

As of 2009, the Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy has been supporting the provision of economical accommodation throughout NSW (and that includes granny flats!).

The result? Instead of waiting around for months as your Development Application trudges through the standard approval process, you can submit a fast-tracked Complying Development Certificate (CDC). This speedy switch could see your plans granted in as little as 10 days!

Note that not all granny flats qualify for this rapid route, so it’s best to double check that your plans adhere to all relevant legislation. Before getting in touch with your local council to confirm your area’s specific regulations, make sure your site meets the general guidelines below: 

  • Minimum property area of 450m².
  • Residential zoning.
  • Primary residence with building line at least 12m wide.
  • Granny flat to remain 0.9m from side boundaries and 3.0m from the rear.
  • Granny flat to maintain a distance of 3.0m from any trees over 6m tall.
  • Maximum 60m² internal height within your granny flat.

To find out more more about your intended granny flat’s CDC eligibility, check out the Ultimate Guide to Granny Flat Approvals.

How long does it take to build a 1 bedroom granny flat?

One of the best parts of building a 1 bedroom granny flat? It’s quick turnaround time. These secondary dwellings don’t take near as long to construct compared to a typical house. We’re talking just 10 to 12 weeks from the first morning of construction to the excitement of move in day!

While this estimate can give you a rough idea of how long building will take, there’s no one-size-fits-all project time line. As each block of land and granny flat are unique, your particular requirements will play a key role in the duration of each step. We recommend contacting your preferred granny flat company for tailored advice on time frames.

1 bedroom granny flat designs

The right floor plan is the difference between happy living and daily annoyances. Even more so when you’re working with limited space! That’s why it’s so important to start with a design that compliments you, or your intended occupants, lifestyle and preferences.

Need some inspiration? Discover our contemporary 1 bedroom granny flat designs below.

The Seaforth

Total Size: 44m²

Bedrooms: 1

Bathrooms: 1

The Seaforth granny flat design

Sleek and sophisticated, the Seaforth 1 bedroom granny flat design is scalable from 36m² to 60m². Suited to a range of backyard sizes, this timber-panelled home is the perfect addition to any primary residence with a modern feel.

Step through the glass doors and into a bright galley-style kitchen adorned with a splash back window feature. Leading off from the open-plan dining and living space, you’ll find a large bathroom and inconspicuous laundry tucked away from view.

Finally, this small home highlights quality over quantity when it comes to sleeping arrangements. Its stylish master bedroom providing a built-in wardrobe and more than enough room for a king-sized bed!

The Bardo

Total Size: 36m²

Bedrooms: 1

Bathrooms: 1

The Bardo granny flat design

Proving that good things come in small packages, the contemporary Bardo granny flat masters minimalism both inside and out. A elegant and simple design, this 1 bedroom floor plan has been expertly designed to create a calm, clutter-free space.

Featuring an open-plan design, this compact yet bright granny flat includes a modern kitchen, dining and living area. Complete with a generous bathroom, laundry and bedroom, it’s no wonder the Bardo design is beloved throughout Newcastle and the Central Coast!

For more floor plan inspiration, check out our Ultimate Guide to Granny Flat Designs.

Ready to build your 1 bedroom granny flat?

Proof that a little goes a long way, 1 bedroom granny flats are a cost-effective solution for all types of homeowners, budgets and backyards. With clever floor plans crafted to maximise room and utility, these modest homes offer comfort and convenience with space to spare.

For more information on all things granny flat, check out our Ultimate 2021 Guide. Alternatively, get in touch with the Backyard Grannys team and we’ll be more than happy to take you through the next steps of your 1 bedroom granny flat build!

Recommended Posts