Asked on Dec 19, 2015

Cost of converting a bedroom to an efficiency apartment

Judy H
by Judy H
I am considering converting a ground floor bedroom into an efficiency apartment. It would likely include adding an outside access door where the window is, and would have to include a tiny bathroom. I'm looking for ideas for how to do it as inexpensively as possible. The current bedroom is about 10 ft x 9ft not including a wall closet. Room is currently being used by a messy son ;)
  12 answers
  • Cheryl Troutman Burkett Cheryl Troutman Burkett on Dec 19, 2015
    My daughter and I do a lot of renovations. Lowes is the place we go to price and usually buy our toilets, vanities, flooring and some paints. Sherwin Williams is good on paints also. We like the hardwood floor look, so we get the snap and lock. Makes the place look larger and you can use a variety of rugs to accent.
    • Judy H Judy H on Dec 20, 2015
      @Cheryl Troutman Burkett Thanks, Cheryl. Any hard flooring is my preference also - area rugs are so much easier to clean and replace when needed. Have you ever put a bathroom where there wasn't one? I'm curious about costs. I probably can't do most of it myself.
  • Limbo Forest Limbo Forest on Dec 20, 2015
    I did that. I added a sink and apt size frig in closet. Luckily I picked the bedroom that backed up to a bathrm. So plumbing was a snap. I cut an exterior door and a door to bathrm. I sealed off door to bathrm from hallway. To make it private to apt. I sealed off hallway door to bedrm by sheet-rocking in hallway, leaving enough space for new closet. The project cost me $800 in labor. Sink and cabinet $20 at yard sale (nice too) faucet and pipes $(rounded off) $200 at Home Depot, small frig $250 t Lowes, sheetrock, paint etc (already had. exterior door from recycled store $50 (had knob with it which I had re-keyed for $50. step for exterior door just labor and leftover wood.
    • Judy H Judy H on Dec 26, 2015
      @Limbo Forest Great info, thanks. This bedroom does have a bathroom on the other side of the closet.
    • Judy H Judy H on Dec 26, 2015
      @Joan Mustard Amazing what people have done with small spaces! I remember building loft beds in college.
  • L.D L.D on Dec 20, 2015
    A 10x9 apt? Yikes!
    • Judy H Judy H on Dec 26, 2015
      @L.D I know, but this would be for an adult kid who has returned back to the nest but wants some autonomy, or for someone who can't afford rent.
  • Diane Charles Diane Charles on Dec 20, 2015
    Better check county ordinances. If you're going to rent it out there may be laws against it; if you're in a residential R2 neighborhood. If it's for family, you may be ok.
    • Judy H Judy H on Dec 26, 2015
      @Diane Charles Agreed. I don't think it would be so much a rental as a convenience for someone who can't afford rent.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Dec 20, 2015
    I think you are dreaming if you think you can DIY this project, especially a bathroom where there is no plumbing. Get a couple contractors in and find out how they would do it. (you make no investment or commitment to get an estimate but a lot of information as to what will or not work) Look at mini home and mini-trailer designs. But in that space...;( you may need a wake up call.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Dec 20, 2015
    I also would say, for such a small space, unless, and even, if it is extremely well done, you are not going to make much money off the space and do you really want a stranger who can only afford a 'closet' living that close to your space and family?
  • Bonnie Bonnie on Dec 20, 2015
    Judy, check with a local hardware store to view prices on doors they have in stock. I would go with a coated steel door for safety. They have a list of carpenters who will do installation, you can ask what their fees for installing the new door in place of the window. I wouldn't add a toilet in a 10x9 living/sleeping area. Too cramped, not hygienic. You will have a tight space having to add a desk/counter top for a microwave or hotplate and tiny sink. with apt. fridge, and what about clothing storage.... Not an ideal situation for an efficiency.. The first thing you need to do is check your city/county ordinances, tho, to make sure you won't be in violation of any codes..
  • Pat Pat on Dec 20, 2015
    I did this with a very large storage room. Your biggest expense is going to be plumbing. I had to put in a new drain field for the septic tank, in order to accommodate a new bathroom. A bathroom must have either a swing door or a "pocket" door, which is made to slide into a frame. You must supply running water in both the bathroom and kitchen sink. The cheapest way to lay this out is to have the bath and kitchen share a wall, so as to minimize piping, or have them both very close to where you plan to hook up the water.. If you're really in San Diego (as opposed to Ramona or somewhere "country,") I'm afraid you'd have to jump through so many legal hoops, it might not be feasible. I remodeled a home in both Mission Hills and La Mesa about 35 years ago. Kept my mouth shut and made no changes that could be seen from the street. I never had a problem, but now I don't know.
    • See 2 previous
    • Judy H Judy H on Dec 26, 2015
      @Nancy Wow, thanks, great information! Very helpful, thanks. Probably useful for everyone, to keep track of what has been done in their home and when :)
  • Darla Darla on Dec 20, 2015
    You will probably have a hard time fitting a bathroom into a room that small. Even with a tiny shower, it will have to be at least 4 by 6 feet, unless you put the sink out in the room. You might be better off renting the room and having the person share a house bathroom.
    • Judy H Judy H on Dec 25, 2015
      @Darla You are most likely right. It is a pretty small room. I would have to push out in some direction, and in that room it would involve an outside room of the house. Not good.
  • Carol Carol on Dec 21, 2015
    first check the local building codes for minimum space required for a rentable space and what that space must included (for example a bedroom must have a closet to be considered a bedroom). Next visit a RV center to see how they use the space in a 9' X 10' trailer. Check on the costs for what you plan to do. How long will it take for payback on the renovation before you start making money. Consider also the cost of built-ins requires to make the space work. And last but not least, consider if anyone will be looking for a 90 sq. ft. apartment. That is tiny space. Can you add a bathroom, kitchenette and still provide a closet and room for doors to open and close and everything else needed to qualify the space as a rentable apartment or room.
    • Judy H Judy H on Dec 21, 2015
      @Carol Great advice all the way around. It may end up being for a family member, who would get it with nearly free rent, but I will find out how large a rentable space needs to be. I love your idea about looking at how space is used in an RV. Thanks much.
  • Judy H Judy H on Dec 25, 2015
    I didn't get an actualy cost, but I did get some great ideas both for how to design the room and what obstacles I will run into.