Does A Single-Story Home Mean Sacrificing Square Footage?

While the two-story home can be an ideal option for families, where you can gain twice the living area for half the building footprint, it is not always the best solution for everyone. With children in the house, keeping their busy play areas and sometimes untidy spaces upstairs and out of sight can afford a more relaxed household. Mom and Dad can happily entertain downstairs in communal living areas that can be kept clean and tidy for guests while the kids run riot upstairs just being kids. Not only that, but a two-story house affords a greater floor area, providing better separation of function and more space for every family member. However, where there are disabled people in your household, or elderly, more frail family members, having half your living quarters located upstairs is often not a desirable design.

 Building a Single-Story Home Versus a Two-Story Home

Owners planning to build a new home need to consider the fundamentals, including whether or not to build a double story or single story home. After deciding if the inhabitants can cope with two-story living or would be better off with a single-story house, any cost discrepancies have to be weighed up. Certainly, a two-story home will provide a living area twice the size of the concrete slab and footings. Not only that, but there is only half the amount of roof area including half the ceiling insulation, half the roof frame, and half the roofing material and guttering, and all of this represents significant savings in costs for these stages in the build.

And yet, many hidden costs blow out the price of building a two-story home compared with a single-story home. A big-ticket item scaffolding and edge protection. This is heavily regulated and adds a lot of cost to the build. All plumbing, electrical, and air conditioning have to the run up to the upper level and there is a premium for this. Also, there is considerably more framing required for external walls now, coupled with the additional floor framing and floor sheeting for the upper level. There is extra waterproofing and a special type of floor sheeting required for upstairs wet areas and often for any balconies. Add in the cost of the staircase and suddenly you have significant additional costs.

Will I have to Sacrifice Square Footage on a Single-Story Home?

While a homeowner could decide on a large, single-story home to provide the space and separation a family might need, the size of most metropolitan home building sites has shrunk to allow for higher density living. With building code restrictions on how close you can build to the property boundaries; the size of your new home may be dictated to you.

Ways to limit sq footage due to budget or lot size

In a nutshell, your single-story house design may have to be smaller than you would like. So, you need to get clever with your single-story floor plan. Do a little research to discover the space-saving ideas that maximize the function of every square foot of your single-story house

 -Assessing Your Needs Versus Wants

Do you need a full, separate laundry room, or could your needs be elegantly met with a closet laundry neatly tucked away near the kitchen or main bathroom that maximizes the smaller area with optimal function and storage? Organize your space with creative shelving and labeled baskets, and a countertop over your front-loading washer and spin dryer. Add overhead cupboards with hanging rails underneath, above the countertop. Perhaps add a pull-down ironing board that folds away compactly, for a fully functioning laundry suitable for even a large family.

 -Which spaces are essential

Is a formal dining room essential or would an eat-in kitchen be a nice family-oriented alternative that brings the family together more? The kids can grab breakfast before school while Mom is packing their lunches and they are all enjoying some quality family time. Of course, the whole family can sit down to dinner in the eat-in kitchen at night, and the cook doesn't miss out on joining the conversations while dinner is being prepared. However, for entertaining guests, have your patio open from the kitchen with a large outdoor dining setting to create an alfresco dining area. This effectively extends your living space without adding extra floor area.

single story home eat in kitchen expansion

 -How will you use each space with available sq footage

Consider bedroom size. Really, just how big do they need to be? You need room for a bed, perhaps a bureau of drawers or dressing table, a wardrobe, a bookcase, and a study desk or a chest for the child stays, depending on the child’s age. That’s all. You will need circulation space to move around the room, but the furniture and storage will be up against the wall, leaving floor space for activities. How you plan on using the rooms should directly affect how large you hope for each one to be.

If the children are very young, consider a set of bunk beds and house two little kids in a room. Sure, teenagers appreciate more privacy in their room, but growing youngsters can benefit by having a sibling sleeping in with them. It reduces feelings of isolation and provides comfort to little ones to not be all by themselves, especially at night.

Ultimately, you do not have to sacrifice square footage just because you choose to build a single-story home.

But if your family dynamic (accessibility), budget, or lot size only allows for limited square footage, there are ways to maximize the use you get out of the space you have. Before building, be sure to explore the many ways to maximize your single-story house plan to provide the ideal functional areas for all the inhabitants, without blowing out the budget or building a sprawling mansion. You will be surprised by how creative people have been and the cool ideas you can adopt to achieve a spacious result when building a single-story home.