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Is Single or Double Storey Right for Your Dream Home?

If you’re fortunate enough to be building your own home, you’ll need to make one crucial decision upfront: Will it be single storey or double storey?

This is a debate that has been going since the taller brother of the single storey home first became accessible to the mainstream. The decision may not be as obvious for some as it is for others, so we have put together some points that can come into play when weighing up these two options:

Size matters

The size of the block of land and the size of the dwelling need to be balanced with each other. If you would like a larger home but the block of land is relatively small, you can achieve the target floor space by adding a second storey.

In an age where land is becoming increasingly expensive and the availability of larger blocks is becoming more and more limited, the double storey house has seen a dramatic rise in popularity, especially in the inner suburbs of metropolitan cities. However in more rural areas, single storey dwellings are still preferred for their less intrusive presence on the land.

Backyard bliss

Following on from the above, an important consideration is whether you want a backyard or a garden. If you have a small block and you opt to build a large single storey home, you will likely be doing so at the expense of garden space.

In this case, a double storey home will maximise surrounding spaces, leaving room for gardens and swimming pools, if the budget allows. If you have a lot of space, then spreading the house out can minimise the amount of landscaping maintenance that your outdoor areas require.

Cost is deceptive

A double storey house does not necessarily cost twice as much as a single storey house. In fact, adding a second storey usually adds another 15-30% to the total cost.

One thing to consider when budgeting is that for the same size (floor space) dwelling, a double storey may work out cheaper overall than its single storey counterpart. This is because the additional premium on the larger block of land required for a single storey house may exceed the additional building costs for a second storey.

Stage of life

Your stage of life can have a larger impact on this decision than you may think. Are you retired or living with a disability? You would probably benefit more from a single storey house, as it means you won’t have to worry about stairs.

Do you have young children? You might prefer everything to be on one level as it makes it easier to keep an eye on the kids, but if you have teenagers you will probably want some privacy, so the prospect of a second level is probably more appealing.

Lay it out

A double storey house may provide more options in terms of layout as there is a greater ability to separate spaces from each other. However, if you have a small household then it can be better for your family relationships to have a smaller house, to promote interaction and connectivity.

Location, location, location!

The location of your house can often determine whether you opt for a single or double storey home. As mentioned earlier, suburbs with high land costs may see a higher demand for double storey homes, as it is a more efficient and cost effective use of space.

A certain aspect

If you have the potential for views, you would likely want to build higher to maximise your views and improve your outlook. In fact, the traditional layout is being flipped on its head nowadays with more people opting for their living spaces to be on the upper level to capitalise on the aspect and enjoy the outlook.

Keeping up with the Joneses

It’s no secret that the world we live in is becoming increasingly status driven, especially as our communities and social circles extend wider and wider. Not many publications are bold enough to admit it, but sometimes decisions such as these are based on the human need to “keep up with the Joneses” – If our neighbours and friends all have double storey houses, this may ultimately lead us down the same path!

Alternatively, if you wish for your home to appear more spacious and luxurious than your neighbours, you could opt for a single storey sprawling abode that flows from one space to another. This creates an impression openness and size, and can make a home appear bigger than it is.

Personal preference

Which do you like more? Sometimes decisions are made on gut feeling and personal preference, rather than logic or reason. Ultimately, if you’re deciding between the two options and the other factors are not weighing in heavily, you might simply go with what feels right to you!


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