For those who have been self-isolating with older offspring, it might be tempting to consider introducing some more space – just in case there is another lockdown in the near future.

The number of 20-to-34-year-olds in the UK now living at home increased by a third between 1998 and 2017, according to a report by Civitas.

Experts predict that if the trend continues, another 500,000 will have to move back in with their parents in the next decade.

Perfect den: A Green Retreats 4m by 7m garden room. Inset: A games room by the company

Perfect den: A Green Retreats 4m by 7m garden room. Inset: A games room by the company

Which is where the annex comes in: maintaining privacy and independence for young people and sanity for their parents.

‘Deciding how to adapt your home when generation boomerang returns to empty nesters firstly requires a conversation about whether you want to create individual, compartmentalised, mini flats within the house or want to integrate the children back into the family,’ says Jason Orme, property expert for the Homebuilding & Renovating Show (homebuildingshow.co.uk).

Loft and basement conversions are not quick fixes, so, as a temporary measure, why not repurpose an existing room?

‘People might consider turning a home office or a spare room downstairs into a bedroom with an en-suite attached,’ Orme suggests.

‘This way the bedroom becomes a studio flat and there will have to be some flexibility required in terms of the common living space as not everyone will want to watch the same TV show.’

For a true sense of space, creating extra rooms in the garden is the best and most long-term option: ideally with self-build, pop-up spaces or pre-fabricated structures that you just slot into your garden.

‘It’s difficult to have extra people living in the same house without creating additional space. Building an annex in the garden enables the grown-up children to control their own lives,’ Orme says.

SHEPHERD’S HUTS

One stylish, and minimally invasive, option is to wheel in a shepherd’s hut. ‘We’ve seen an increase in customers buying our huts for use as temporary accommodation for their children,’ says Richard Lee, founder of hut company Plankbridge. 

‘They provide a cosy back-up option for the families whose children can’t afford to move out.

‘Instead of borrowing from the bank of Mum and Dad, they are simply living in the garden of Mum and Dad.’ 

For a full bells-and-whistles option, you can go for a double-glazed, heated and insulated garden room

For a full bells-and-whistles option, you can go for a double-glazed, heated and insulated garden room

Plus, when they do move out, it can make a glorious writer’s retreat — something former prime minister David Cameron used to write his memoirs. Plankbridge shepherd’s huts from £23,400 (plankbridge.com).

GARDEN ROOMS

For a full bells-and-whistles option, you can go for a double-glazed, heated and insulated garden room. 

‘We’ve noticed a significant increase in a customer desire for garden rooms geared towards their children or teenagers,’ says Jordan Caulfield, of the garden room company Green Retreats.

‘Teenagers and twentysomethings need their own private space, and a garden room can be the perfect solution: they provide a private space without having to extend your home or find a bigger house.’

Handily, Green Retreat products do not need planning permission and construction takes between one and five days. Starting from £12,245 (greenretreats.co.uk).

Another pop-up option is from the company Pod Space, which provides curve-shaped rooms that have a Hobbit-feel to them. Priced from £17,980 (pod-space.co.uk).

Just be careful not to make it too welcoming or they might not want to move out again.

LOG CABINS

For something really spectacular, you could always install a log cabin in the garden, complete with separate bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom.

A one-bedroom log cabin with kitchen diner and shower room starts from £30,000, including installation, or about £15,000 for a DIY kit from the Chipping Norton-based Real Wood Company (logcabinhome.co.uk).

‘Once the children are ready to move on, parents have more options as it provides a facility for guests in the garden, or even as an annex for them in later life,’ adds Keith Saye, from The Real Wood Company.

Or maybe, just the perfect place for a cup of tea away from the warring teens in the house.

What your home really needs is… a day bed 

Form and function: A day bed declares your right to relax

Form and function: A day bed declares your right to relax

The sofa is an ever-evolving piece of furniture. In ancient Egypt, they reclined on gilded benches. 

The chaise longue was the early 19th-century favourite, popular among the moneyed who wanted a rest while still striking a seductive pose.

Until recently, the sofa bed was seen as the ideal solution for overnight guests.

Yet, now it’s been shoved out of the way by the day bed. This has a lighter structure, with a metal or pale wood back, and is easier to convert into either a twin or single bed.

You may wonder why you need a day bed, but home working risks turning living spaces into 24-hour offices. 

A day bed declares your right to relax. The Heals Woud day bed in leather (£2,450, heals.com) would suit those who dream of loft living. 

The Kipster is one of the styles at Loaf (£1,195 loaf.com). And the Amelia, pictured, is from the range at Wayfair (£104.99, wayfair.co.uk).

Anne Ashworth

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