If you’ve been seeing a lot of advertisements for ADUs lately it’s probably piqued your interest but also brought up a ton of questions. One important question that is commonly asked is, “What customizations are available when building a prefab ADU?” We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how you can customize your prefab ADU to compliment your current home style and what options are available for the inside finishes. 

First of all, let’s start by explaining what a prefab ADU is. It’s a small backyard home that is built on a property with an existing home. As a prefab home, there are usually four to five floor plans that you can choose from and include a studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, or extended one bedroom (same footprint as a two bedroom but uses that extra footage to extend the common living space). The prefab ADU is built in pieces in a factory and then assembled onsite. Much like a new build home, there are limited options provided by the builder to keep costs down. You’ll likely be able to pick from three price points: the base material which is included in the proposal price, a middle grade, and a more expensive option. Within these three price points are the basic neutral colors that appeal to a broad audience. So now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s dig into the actual customization options.

The Exterior

The exterior of a prefab ADU usually comes in several different options that can match the existing home. Shiplap tends to give off a cozy, traditional look while cement panels have a crisp, modern vibe. Stone accents give off a rustic feel and siding may be better for harsher climates. These exteriors (also called elevations) come in styles like Modern, Craftsman, Mission, and other common architectural designs. Usually the ADU company will have several paint samples that you can choose from or you can customize your paint color to coordinate with your existing home.

On a side note, you may want your exterior to have a cement slab patio or decorative planter boxes. While this isn’t part of the prefab ADU, you’ll likely need a contractor or landscaper who can customize your exterior beyond just the ADU as part of your overall project.


Prefab ADUs often have three colors of cabinetry: white, medium wood, and dark wood. You may have a choice of hardware that includes matte black pulls or a silver/steel/chrome palette. 


Technology has come a long way when it comes to flooring. A prefab ADU tends to come with luxury vinyl flooring that looks like hardwood floors. Like the cabinetry, it might come in light, medium, and dark wood tones. This is a great durable flooring that is affordable and perfect if you’re renting the unit out or using it as a workspace that will get a lot of usage. As an upgrade, you’ll probably have a real hardwood flooring option. Ceramic tiles are also popular and you may have a choice of tiles that look like wood (which also are incredibly durable) or perhaps have a few designs or neutral palettes to choose from.


With a prefab ADU, you’ll have a couple of options for your countertops. Think crisp white countertops that are granite or quartz with minimal pattern or veining. 


White or black subway tiles tend to be standard options for kitchen backsplashes and bathroom shower surrounds. 


Windows may be added on some elevations.

So what are some things that you likely can’t customize? 


With a prefab ADU, appliances are smaller since the home is smaller and the prefab cabinets are designed to fit like a puzzle in the space. The appliances are likely stainless steel.


The lighting in an ADU tends to be can lighting so you won’t need to pick out chandeliers or hanging pendant lights. You may need to upgrade to add outdoor lighting to your front door depending on what the ADU company provides.

Wall Color

Walls usually come in a few shades of white, tan, or cream. If you want that deep gray accent wall or a vibrant green in the bathroom, you’ll likely have to do that in the end yourself.


Again, these are prefab cabinets set to fit like a puzzle and they’re made en masse. You may dream of a cute, tiny farmhouse or porcelain sink but it may not fit in the premade countertop and cabinet.

Please note that these are all generalizations. Each ADU company is different and has various options that they provide at a wide range of price points. When you meet with an ADU company to determine if they are the one for your project, ask what is included in the base price, what their finishes include, and ask to see a sample board of the products. You may also want to inquire if you can add some other options (like adding electrical above the kitchen table to add a nice light fixture or ask if you can put carpet in the bedroom). They may say no because it could cause shipping delays, they may not have worked with a product and aren’t comfortable with the brand, or it may throw off their timeline, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. You may also choose to go with the product that’s included in the price and down the road replace it with your desired option (I’ve had neighbors do this in our new build community). It’s also important to note that these finishes are just the frame of your home; the art, knick knacks, furniture, and personal touches are what will bring your ADU to life! 

Are you thinking about building a prefab ADU in your backyard? Call ADU Warehouse today! We’ll be happy to share with you what the process looks like, our custom floorplans, and what finishes we proudly provide. We also partner with insurance brokers, lenders, real estate agents, contractors, landscapers, designers, and more to help you every step of the way to make the best decision for you. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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