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Single-Storey vs. Double-Storey Homes: Which One to Choose?


When building a new home, one of the primary home design considerations is whether your home will be a single- or two-storey dwelling. Both could appeal to you for different reasons. Both have different costs associated with them, and both have different construction and foundation requirements.

Single-storey homes aren’t much of a home design trend anymore, as family sizes have generally increased, as has our desire for more space. However, they do have a certain appeal for single individuals or individuals with accessibility and aging-in-place concerns. Two-storey homes, however, can offer more flexibility and take up less space (as you build up and not outward), making them sometimes easier to construct on a smaller plot of land.

In any case, one of the chief design considerations for a house should be made in consultation with building professionals, architects and home planners. There are also different architectural styles to consider with each home design trend that may make building one over the other more feasible.

What Factors Can Help You Decide Which One to Choose?

You want to build the home of your dreams, no matter how many storeys it is. But when deciding which one to choose, here are a few factors that you need to consider:

How Many People Will Be Living in Your Home?

If you’re just a single person, a couple with one child, or are an elderly couple with accessibility and aging-in-place concerns, then a single-storey home could provide you with plenty of space for all of your needs. However, if you are a family of four or more, you will likely find a two-storey home more desirable.

What is Your Budget?

Is it cheaper to build one story or two? One of the most important considerations for one-storey versus two-storey homes is the price. When you decide to buy a house, you should have a detailed budget of how much you have to spend, including your mortgage expenditures, the amount delegated for power, heat, etc. Typically, the answer to the question: is it cheaper to build a two-storey home? Surprisingly, yes!

It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true. One of the benefits of two-storey houses is that they are cheaper to buy than single-storey houses. This is because of the roofing cost, foundation cost and your lot size. You can build more property on the same 2000-square-metre parcel of land if you build upwards rather than outwards.

Do You Plan to Stay in The House Till Old Age?

If you’re thinking that this home may be your last, then having a single-storey home with accessibility and aging-in-place decisions already made makes a lot more sense. Staircase vs. single-floor accessibility is a no-brainer. As you age, staircases will become more difficult to manage anyway. So, perhaps it makes sense to stick with your one-story design.

The Pros of Building a Two-Storey House

Larger Outdoor Space

If you desire an outdoor pool or other outdoor area, you can achieve this far more easily by accounting for that in your two-storey home build as part of your house and land package. Depending on your lot size, you can do far more with a two-storey home than a single-storey one.

Better Views

Although you wouldn’t dream of snooping on your neighbours, one of the advantages of two-storey homes are that they provide more opportunity for better views from the second level. Perhaps you’ve bought a plot of land in a scenic area and are looking for ways to get a better view of the scenery: build up, not out.

More Space & Privacy

For a growing family, a two-storey home will provide ample space and privacy for all involved. If you have one or more children, a two-storey home is perfect to allow the kids to have their own space and their privacy and allow you to have yours.

The Cons of Building a Two-Storey House

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for the two-storey homes in the single-storey versus double-storey battle. For those who may be apprehensive or looking the way of the one-storey vs. two-storey homes, here are some cons of building up, rather than out.

More Maintenance

More height means more maintenance to do, both inside and out. It means fighting with the vacuum cleaner to bring it upstairs and more cleaning on two levels, and it means extra painting at height – which you may need to hire someone for if you are not comfortable doing this yourself. It also means cleaning gutters and cleaning high-up windows periodically.

In general, two-storey houses are more work to maintain.

Stairs & Safety

The primary concern for everyone in the home is safety. If you’re inviting Grandma over to stay with you, then having her climb the stairs to the guest bedroom could be unsafe for her. Similarly, giving your kids an extra challenge to tackle without hurting themselves in the form of stairs may also be a concern.

If you’re building with accessibility and aging in place in mind, then a two-storey home might not make the most sense.

Climate Control Challenges

Unless you plan on spending a pile of money on an internal climate control system for each level of your home, you may find that climate control for a two-storey home is more hassle than it’s worth.

The Pros of Building a Single-Storey House

Easier Maintenance

Generally speaking, it is easier to maintain a single-level home than a split-level home. One of the advantages of one-storey homes for the elderly is that there tends to be less maintenance, which could mean less maintenance costs if you hire someone to do the work for you.

Safer to Move Around Inside

Another advantage of one-storey homes is that they’re safer to move around in. If you or your relatives have accessibility concerns or are planning to age in place, then a single-level dwelling makes much more sense. 

Open Concept Design Options

A major advantage of a one-storey home is the ability to use open-concept home design trends to your full advantage. As open-concept home design trends offer a huge amount of versatility, having a single-level house will allow you to realise your open-concept dreams fully! You’ll love the amount of options available in an open-concept home design

The Cons of Building a Single-Storey House

Giving up the Garden

Depending on the size of your lot, you may find that you’ll need to give up having much of a backyard or garden space with a single-storey house. As they’ll occupy more outward square metre, you may not have space for the garden or much backyard.

Another point off in the one versus two-storey homes battle.

Heating, Cooling and Electricity Costs

This is a rather simple statement in the battle of one-storey vs. two-storey homes, but it will cost more to heat, cool and electrify a single-storey home than it will do the same for a two-storey home. Two-storey homes can also be more energy efficient, as there is less distance for utilities to travel. For example, heating a two-storey home is much cheaper than heating a wider space like a large one-storey one because heat rises.

Lack of Privacy

Unlike a two-storey home, there’s a distinct lack of privacy in a one-storey design, as all rooms are on one level. Now, while you can build the walls as thick as you’d like, it will still feel small. And it still doesn’t change the fact that adding an en-suite bathroom as a workaround will take up more valuable land space.

Which One is Right For You?

When deciding which type of home is right for you: a simple, single-level dwelling with a spacious, open-concept design or a more private family home with a better view (and a set of stairs), that decision can be tricky to make. The right answer is whatever decision you make. Carefully consider the factors above and the rest that apply to your circumstances and make the best decision for you.

If lot space is your concern, choose a two-level home. But, if you’re concerned about the safety aspect of having a set of stairs, or you enjoy the fact that you don’t have to do much by way of outdoor maintenance, then maybe a single-level home would be best.


Whatever your choice, Provincial Homes has many one-storey and two-storey designs to choose from. Contact us today to start the consultation process on your one, or two-storey home.