Single-Story or Two-Story Custom Home

Choosing Between a Single-Story or Two-Story Custom Home

Deciding between a single-story home and a two-story home for you and your family is a personal decision. There are pros and cons for each option and the right choice depends on your specific needs. Your home needs to be a place where you feel comfortable and functions the way you need it to so you can thrive.

Before you can make such an important decision, you first need to know what each type of house offers and if that aligns with your lifestyle. To help, we’ve created a guide to choosing between a single-story and two-story home.

Advantages of One-Story Homes

While there are limitations to living in a one-story home, it also has its advantages, such as accessibility, the joys of one-floor living, and the opportunities it presents for design.


There is a positive side to having everything on one floor, which includes qualities like accessibility. For some people, accessibility is a need and not just a convenience.

If now or in the future, there’s a chance that an older relative might need to move in because of mobility issues, that’s something you need to consider when deciding what type of house you need. It is important when building your dream home to design and build for the future. If you’re planning on living in this house for years to come, you may need easier access to everything in your home one day.

One-Floor Living

Having fewer floors in your home comes with the perks of having fewer floors to maintain. You don’t have to go up and down the stairs carrying things like laundry, and it’s a whole floor that you don’t have to clean. In the event of a fire, you can get out of the house more quickly and safely.

There are also more possibilities for expansion if you decide to put an additional room in your home in the future. It’s a much simpler plan to build an addition to a single-story house.

Additional Read – What Makes Open Floor Plans So Popular?

Great for Open-Design Concept

If you think about living in a house with only one floor, are you imagining a small, cramped space? If so, try to imagine open spaces, high ceilings, and air freely flowing throughout the house. This reimagined single-story house could have all the space you need!

Disadvantages of a Single-Story House

Life in a single-story house is far from perfect. There are things about it that aren’t ideal: the roofing can be very expensive, you may have a larger ecological footprint, and there is less privacy. All competent custom home builders should advise against a single-story house for many reasons.

Expensive Roof Structure/Design

The wider a house is, the more roofing you need to cover it, which means spending more money on costly roofing materials. If you have creative ideas for the design of your roof, that may drive up your costs even more.

Larger Footprint

This may be surprising to some, but a single-story home has a much larger footprint than a two-story home. Building a wide one-story house covers more land and requires more excavation, foundation, water dissipation to build. This makes its footprint significantly larger and costs more money to build.

Less Privacy

If you’re a private or modest person, you should know that living in a one-story home, you would have a lot less privacy than if you had a bedroom on a higher floor. This is simply because your entire house is at eye level with everyone walking around outside.

On the second or third floor, you could even forget to close your blinds and only a limited number of people could see into your house.

If you forget to close your blinds when you’re changing in your ground-floor bedroom, you might accidentally give everyone a show. Even just a crack in your curtains might put you on display for someone passing by.

Advantages of a Two-Story House

A more traditional two-story house has its own set of advantages, such as more square footage, an elevated view, greater efficiency, and a bedroom away from common areas, where it’s more private and comfortable.

More Square Footage

A two-story home could easily have more square footage than a single-story home. If you’re allowed to use a size of land to build your house on, putting another floor on top would double the amount of space. If you require a lot of space in your home, this would be helpful when trying to determine whether you should build a single-story or two-story house.

Elevated View

When you’re upstairs in a two-story house, it’s safe to say your view is elevated above most people outside. In a house where you’re always on the ground, it’s easy to be overshadowed by every other taller building. You might not have much of a view at all.

If you’re the type of person who likes to gaze longingly out the window or if you would enjoy a balcony off of your upstairs bedroom where you can see the beauty around you, you might realize that an elevated view is an important feature for you in your house.

More Efficient

A two-story house runs more efficiently than a one-story house. It’s easy to assume that having one floor on top of another might be less efficient than if you only made use of the ground floor, but that isn’t the case.

As you know, two-story homes have smaller footprints than one-story homes, and plumbing and HVAC don’t need to work as hard or run as long. If you wanted two bathrooms in your home, Your custom home builder would set your bathrooms up on top of the other to make your plumbing as efficient as possible. That’s the efficiency you would never be able to get if you added a second bathroom to a single-story home.

Additional Read – 6 Amazing Tips to Design Energy-Efficient Homes

Bedroom Separated from Living Space

Having bedrooms that are separate from the living space adds a layer of comfort and privacy. If you have guests over but it’s bedtime for your child, having bedrooms on a separate floor would allow you to put your kid to bed, continue having a good time with your guests, and you wouldn’t have to worry about waking your little one.

It just feels better to keep your public and private rooms separate. Having a bedroom next to your living room might feel like it’s not your space if you had guests over. Separate private rooms are more comfortable for everyone.

Disadvantages of Two-Story House

While there are disadvantages to living in a two-story home, if you hire an excellent company like BrightLeaf Homes, your home builder can take steps to reduce or eliminate what could put you at a disadvantage.

Potential Stair Hazard

The stairs in a two-story home pose a danger. According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, the frequency of stair-related injuries is increasing. The highest rates of injury are among children and seniors, however, most of the emergency room visits from stair-related injuries are people between the ages of 11 and 60.

Injuries to the head and neck are among the most common, which is a cause for concern. Those who live in a one-story house don’t have to worry about these injuries.

Heating and Cooling Inconsistencies

In some two-story houses, inconsistencies in the heating and cooling throughout the house can be an issue. Inefficient insulation can contribute to this problem. Having to adjust your temperature depending on where you are in the house could end up being a huge irritant.

However, BrightLeaf’s custom two-story homes have consistent temperatures throughout all levels of the house because of their advanced insulation and their air-tight sealing during the construction process of their custom homes.

Noise Levels

The way that noise carries through a two-story house can be a problem when one person needs to focus and another person is listening to loud music, for example. But this is another disadvantage that BrightLeaf can correct before it becomes a problem. Their industry skills can help you get the house you want by mitigating common issues that may arise in a two-story home.

Cost Comparison

With the current high costs of building a home, BrightLeaf highly recommends that you build up instead of out and reduce your footprint. You can trust the expertise of BrightLeaf custom home builders to build your home just the way you want it.

Ready to Book Your Custom Home Consultation?

If you’re finally ready to build your perfect home, book an appointment for the award-winning BrightLeaf Homes experience. BrightLeaf is a 5-time Housing Innovation Award Winner. This award is only given to the top 1% of builders in the nation. Get in touch with us today!

Additional Read- Why It’s Important to Choose a Professional Home Builder

About BrightLeaf

BrightLeaf is an award-winning, custom home builder specializing in sustainable, modern energy-efficient homes as well as remodeling and renovations. We are also a  full-service real estate brokerage that can help you buy and sell in the Greater Chicagoland Area.

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