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Single storey or double-storey: The pros and cons

Contemplating designs and floor plans that perfectly suit you and your family’s needs

If you’re in the market for a new established home, chances are you’re contemplating designs and floor plans that perfectly suit you and your family’s needs, for both now and in the future. From taste preferences and lifestyle requirements to the size of the block and budget, there are many aspects that need to be taken into account.

So, the big question is, single or double-storey?

A single-storey layout might be well within your budget, but would a double-storey home better support your growing family? Conversely, would you prefer a single-storey house with a passive home design, rather than spend more on gas and electricity bills with a larger house? There are pros and cons to both options, so let’s break it down even further.

SINGLE-STOREY

PRO – Climate control

Controlling the internal climate of a single-storey home is much easier compared to a house with two storeys. It is able to take advantage of the sun’s natural light – depending on the orientation of where the home is built – meaning not only do you save on lighting costs, but you’ll be able to heat your home naturally during winter.

When you take other design factors into account, you can even utilise the natural flow of air through the house which will save on cooling costs during Australia’s warm summer months.

CON – Not as much space

It goes without saying that a single-storey home won’t offer as much space as a double-storey, depending of course on the size of land. A smaller block will limit the size of the home’s footprint and that means the only way to have a bigger home is to build up. That means in a single storey you may have to accept more compact bedroom sizes, smaller living and kitchen spaces, and only one or two bathrooms instead of multiple.

Because of limited space, privacy can be a bit tricky with living areas being so close to bedrooms.

Also, when compared to a double-storey home, more land can be used, posing the issue of having less room to fit extra outdoor living areas and amenities such as a pool or entertainment area.

PRO – Less expensive

Single-storey houses mean fewer materials were used in the build, most likely less time spent on the project, cheaper overall costs, which means the sale price for an established home will almost always be cheaper than a double-storey. Bigger homes will generally mean more bedrooms, more bathrooms and possibly more living spaces, adding to the overall cost. It goes without saying, the overall land size and location can also affect the price.

CON – Sacrifice outdoor space

Because you’ll want to maximise the amount of space your home has according to the size of the land, it may mean giving up the luxuries of greenery in exchange for bigger rooms. While a double-storey home allows you to use ‘upward’ space, a single-storey property may mean a much smaller backyard or no garden at all in order to accommodate your indoor living needs.

DOUBLE-STOREY

PRO – More space

Whether it’s to accommodate your growing family or your love for entertaining, a double-storey home means you have much more freedom to pick and choose how the space will be best utilised.

From extra bedrooms to large living spaces, outdoor entertainment areas and even dedicated storage rooms, with a double-storey home you’ll be able to maximise your floor space rather than try to find extra room by reducing your yard or garden size.

CON – Utility bills

In addition to extra cleaning and maintenance duties, a double-storey takes more time to cool and heat than a single-level property. So, during those freezing winters and hot summers, you might be surprised by how much higher your gas and electricity bills will be.

PRO – Greater privacy

A single-storey home means all bedrooms and living spaces are on the one level. But by considering a double level home, you will achieve greater privacy by having all your bedrooms, for example, on the top floor. While a bigger home may be more costly, the investment may be worth it for the security and peace of mind.

CON – Noise

It’s possible noise coming from movement on the second level can be quite loud for the lower level. Floorplans and high traffic areas should be considered. However, for the newer established homes, measures are taken to minimise this.