Single storey vs double storey: what’s right for your family

Constructing a new home is exciting. You’ll be making a lot of decisions on details like the layout of your spaces and the colours of your walls. Every little detail adds to the final property you end up with, so you’ll want to carefully consider everything when making a decision.

One of the biggest choices you’ll be making when building a new house is whether to build a single-storey or a double-storey house. It might seem like a simple decision, but your choice will impact your family’s lifestyle for years to come.

If you’re wondering which of the two is right for you and your family, we’ve listed the pros and cons of each. We’ll take you through the key considerations to help you make the right choice.

Pros and cons of single-storey houses

In Australia, home buyers tend to prefer single storey over double for a range of reasons:

  • Open design – These homes can be associated with a more open design, including open plan living areas, wider hallways, and higher ceilings.
  • Accessibility and safety – Single-storey homes can be more accessible and convenient for elderly and disabled family members. You won’t need to worry about younger kids potentially stumbling down a flight of stairs.
  • Affordability – A double-second home will cost around 30% more than a single-storey home of the same size. This is because they require lighter support and building up is more complex than building out.
  • Time – Single-storey houses are quicker to build, and you could cut your design-to-move-in time by months.
  • Design flexibility – A single-storey design offers more flexibility as you don’t need to worry about the second storey and how it all comes together when designing the ground level.
  • Natural light – Single-storey houses can be better positioned to take advantage of natural light.

However, single-story houses leave a bigger footprint on your lot, which means less space for gardens, play areas for kids and pets, and outdoor spaces like pools and patios. In addition, for the same block of land, a single-storey home is much more limited in space than a double-storey house where you can build up.

Pros and cons of double-storey houses

Many home-builders are choosing double storey for a whole host of reasons.

  • Space – A double-storey home lets you build up, giving you more living space even on a smaller block. You’ll have more space left over for the garden, a pool, and outdoor living.
  • Views – A double-storey design is an excellent option if you want to take advantage of great views.
  • Zoning and privacy – Double-storey homes are better placed for zoning and privacy, with the clear separation of living areas downstairs and bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs. You also have the added benefit of noise reduction as bedrooms are farther away from the street.
  • Presence and features – Double-storey houses can stand out as substantial, attractive properties on the street. The staircase itself can be a defining feature in the home. These factors could boost appeal and market value.

However, with a double-storey house, you’ll need to clean hard-to-reach spots like top-storey gutters and windows. You’ll also likely be paying more for heating and cooling, as temperature regulation tends to be more of a challenge in a double-storey house. You might need to invest in bigger, more complex cooling and heating systems.

Factors to consider

Both single-storey and double-storey houses have their advantages, and the decision isn’t always a matter of weighing up the pros and cons. Consider other factors relevant to your household.

1. Stage of life

Does a single-storey home or a double-storey house better grow with you as your lifestyle requirements change? If you’re having children in the near future, might a spacious double-storey home be better for your household? On the other hand, if you’re an empty-nester planning on downsizing, would a single-storey property be best for you?

2. Size of the block

As block sizes get smaller around Australia, especially in cities, double-storey designs might be the better choice if you’re seeking to maximise your living space. You’ll have more living areas, roomier bedrooms, and more outdoor space.

3. Layout of the home

Consider what’s the best layout for your family’s lifestyle priorities. A single-storey design lends itself well to open living. Double-storey properties, on the other hand, can provide more privacy and zoning with its split-level layout.

4. Value for money

Single-storey properties are cheaper to build. However, while building a double-storey home tends to cost more, you could offset this by buying a smaller block of land.

Bear in mind value for money comes down to the perceived value for you and your family. Consider what’s most important to you, whether it’s a bigger garden, more living space and a grand-looking home, or an open-design house that’s accessible for older people.

Deciding between single storey and double storey

Both single-storey and double-storey homes have their distinct advantages and potential drawbacks. It’s essential to take things like the size of your block of land, as well as the features you want in your home, into account. Consider your lifestyle priorities, preferences, and budget. Whatever your final decision, remember the opportunity to design and build your own home is a special one and you’ll want to take time to make the right choice and enjoy the process.

Interested in building your dream home with Kitome? Download our brochure featuring our 32 most popular kit homes or book in for a free consultation with one of our home renovation experts. You’ll soon see how quickly we can make your dream home a reality.