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Is a One-Story or a Two-Story Home Better for You?

Choosing between a one-story and a two-story home can be challenging. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Your decision will come down to your family and your needs.

Read on to figure out which home is best for you.

Advantages of a One-Story Home

There are both pros and cons of a one-story house. Some of the pros include:

  • More usable living space
  • More affordable to heat and cool
  • Better for aging in place
  • Safer for children & older folks
  • Easier to add square footage in the future

Living Space

One of the biggest advantages when it comes to a one-story vs two-story house is more usable living space. You won’t lose space to staircases and you can truly maximize your square footage by minimizing hallways. One-story homes also tend to feel more expansive, especially if you have an open floor plan.

Lower Heating & Cooling Bills

Because heat rises, it’s more difficult to cool the second floor of a two-story home. One-story homes tend to be less expensive to heat and cool overall.

Safety & Aging in Place

Staircases can be dangerous and difficult for both the elderly and small children. Climbing a staircase can be difficult for those who suffer from arthritis or other health issues. And even if you have no problem climbing stairs now, that may change later. A one-story home will be easier to navigate into your golden years.

For families with young children, there are a few considerations. First, stairs can be dangerous for little kids who aren’t steady on their feet. Even older kids can fall if they’re running up and down the stairs several times a day.

If the main bedroom is on the first floor and the children’s rooms are on the second floor, you’ll also want to consider that you’ll be a floor away from your kids at night. If you have a baby, you may be carrying the baby up and down the stairs several times a day.

Finally, while nobody wants to think about the possibility, single-story homes are easier to evacuate than two-story houses in the event of a fire.

Potential for Adding on

If you plan on adding square footage to your house in the future, it’s much easier to do with one story. You can just extend your roofline as much as you need. With a two-story home, it gets much more complicated and expensive.

Disadvantages of a One-Story House

Now that we know the pros, realize there are also some cons to a one-story vs a two-story house.

These include:

  • More expensive to build
  • A larger footprint and therefore a smaller yard
  • Less privacy

Higher Cost

In most cases, when it comes to the cost of a one-story vs a two-story house, it’s more expensive to build a one-story house. A home’s foundation and its roof are typically two of the more expensive line items and both of these will cost more in a one-story home versus a two-story home. Your plumbing and electrical systems will also require longer runs, which will make costs higher.

Since a one-story house has a bigger footprint, you may need a bigger lot, which will cost more as well.

Larger Footprint

While it’s easier to add on to a one-story house, you’re going to have a larger footprint. If you don’t opt for that larger, more expensive lot, you’ll have less yard space.

Less Privacy

All the windows of a one-story home are at street level, meaning that passersby can see into your home. Rooms on the upper floor of a two-story home have some measure of privacy based solely on their distance from the ground.

In a one-story home, public and private spaces are all on the same level, which may be inconvenient if you have young children and want to entertain guests after bedtime. Depending on your floor plan, you may have guests walking through bedrooms to use your bathroom which isn’t ideal.

Advantages of a Two-Story House

Two-story homes are popular. Here are a few reasons why people love two-story homes:

  • Lower building costs
  • More outdoor space and better views from inside
  • Privacy

Lower Cost

Two-story homes are typically cheaper to build. They have less foundation to pour and less pipe to run, which means you’ll most likely save on materials.

Outdoor Space & Views

Two-story homes have larger outdoor spaces. You’ll have a smaller footprint, which means a bigger yard. Two-story homes work well on narrower lots that won’t always accommodate a one-story home.

Since you have a second story, you’ll also have better views. You can often see out and appreciate the nature around you, whereas with a one-story home, you’ll be at eye-level with your neighbors’ homes.

More Privacy

If you prefer a house with separate living and entertainment spaces, a two-story may be right for you. You can have all of the bedrooms upstairs if you want privacy. This way the windows are not at street level and there’s less of a chance of someone looking in while walking or driving by.

If you have older kids or teens, you may enjoy the separation that a two-story home can offer. You can have the main bedroom on the bottom floor and put your kids rooms upstairs.

Disadvantages of a Two-Story Home

When considering the pros of a two-story house, there are also some cons to consider:

  • Safety issues
  • Less usable square footage
  • Longer build time

Safety Concerns

Stairs can pose a safety hazard, especially to the elderly or children. You may want to consider a staircase with a landing. If you have small children, you’ll need to use a gate to keep them protected.

Stairs Take Up Space

Not only are stairs dangerous, but they also take up a lot of space. If you’re working with less square footage, you may not be willing to give up some of it on stairs.

Longer Build

Two-story homes typically take longer to build. If it’s imperative that you get into your home as quickly as possible, you may want to consider one story.

Is a One- or Two-Story Home Better for You?

If it comes down to if it’s cheaper to build one-story or two-story houses, a two-story home will be less expensive to build but more expensive to maintain and expand. It’s not really the best strategy to let cost be the primary determining factor, though.

When you’re deciding between a one-story vs a two-story house, consider everything. Do you like the look of one- or two-story homes better? How long will you stay in the home? How large of a yard do you want? What are your privacy requirements? Consider how you will use your home, who will live there with you, and what features are most important to you before you decide.

A master-planned community like Lilyana by Hillwood offers both one- and two-story homes in a range of prices and styles! Plus we have a variety of amenities that homeowners love. Take a virtual tour of Lilyana and contact us today to discuss your dream home!