Choosing the Right ADU Type for Your Southern California Home

With the surging demand for housing space and the increasing interest in sustainable living options, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) have emerged as an attractive and versatile solution for homeowners in Southern California. ADUs offer additional living space, the potential for rental income, and enhanced property value, making them a sound and valuable investment. But with several types of ADUs available, selecting the right one to fit your home and lifestyle can be challenging.

Turnkey ADU, a leading one-stop ADU partner in Southern California, provides expert guidance to homeowners navigating the array of ADU options. Our extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of ADUs ensure we deliver innovative, functional, and visually appealing designs tailored to the unique requirements of our clients and their properties. This article aims to provide a thorough overview of the various types of ADUs available for Southern California homeowners, offering insights to help you make an informed decision when selecting the perfect ADU for your property.

Selecting the appropriate ADU type for your Southern California home is critical for ensuring your investment enhances the value of your property while satisfying your evolving lifestyle needs. With Turnkey ADU’s support, you can embark on a successful, stress-free ADU project, delivering a high-quality and personalised living solution that truly complements your property and elevates your living experience.

Detached ADUs

Detached ADUs, or standalone or freestanding ADUs, are separate structures built on the same lot as the primary residence. Homeowners can choose from various sizes and designs, depending on the available space and desired functionality. Some advantages of detached ADUs include:

  1. Privacy: A separate structure allows for greater privacy for the ADU occupants and the main household.
  2. Flexibility: With numerous customisation options in design, layout, and materials, detached ADUs can be tailored to suit your unique needs and preferences.
  3. Value Addition: A well-designed and constructed detached ADU can significantly boost your property’s value.

However, detached ADUs might require more significant time and financial investments than other options due to land preparation, utility connections, and potential zoning restrictions.

Attached ADUs

Attached ADUs are built as an extension to the primary residence, either by expanding the existing structure or adding a new construction. Some benefits of attached ADUs include:

  1. Space Utilisation: Attached ADUs leverage the available space in your property while integrating with the existing design and layout.
  2. Cost Efficiency: Generally, attached ADUs are less expensive than detached ones, as they share existing infrastructure and utilities with the primary dwelling.
  3. Enhanced Accessibility: For those looking to accommodate elderly family members or individuals with limited mobility, an attached ADU allows easy access to shared amenities and communal spaces.

Despite these benefits, attached ADUs may not offer as much privacy as detached ones, and their construction may temporarily disrupt the main household.

Garage Conversions

Converting an existing garage into an ADU is a practical option for homeowners with limited outdoor space or those looking for a faster and more affordable solution. Key benefits of garage conversions include:

  1. Cost-effectiveness: Garage conversions typically have lower construction costs as they repurpose the existing space and foundation.
  2. Speed of Construction: Since the basic structure is already in place, transforming a garage into a living space can be significantly quicker than building a new structure.
  3. Versatility: Garage conversions can accommodate various functional needs, from compact studios to spacious two-bedroom apartments.

However, homeowners should consider potential parking and storage implications and ensure the garage conversion meets local building codes and regulations.

Junior ADUs (JADUs)

Junior ADUs are smaller living units created by converting a portion of the existing main residence. JADUs typically consist of a bedroom, kitchenette, and separate entrance, with a maximum size of 500 square feet. Benefits of JADUs include:

  1. Space Optimisation: JADUs are ideal for homeowners with limited lot space, as they repurpose existing rooms to create an independent living unit.
  2. Affordability: Since JADUs utilise the existing structure and share utilities, construction costs are lower than other ADU options.
  3. Permitting: In California, regulations entitle homeowners to create JADUs on their property, streamlining the permitting process and reducing bureaucratic hurdles.

Remember that JADUs share some living spaces (e.g., a bathroom) with the primary dwelling, which may impact privacy and functionality.


The choice of ADU type for your Southern California home will depend on various factors, including your property size, budget, design preferences, and intended functionality. Regardless of which type you choose, a well-planned and executed ADU project can bring immense value to your property and lifestyle.

Partnering with an experienced ADU specialist like Turnkey ADU ensures you receive expert guidance through the entire process, from selecting the best ADU type to navigating regulations and delivering a top-quality living space tailored to your unique needs. Explore the possibilities of ADUs in Southern California and elevate your property with a customised, practical, and visually appealing addition that truly enhances your living experience.

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