Are you building a custom home? One of the most important decisions to make is your home’s basic layout: single or multi-level? Each option has distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Design and Curb Appeal

Multi-story homes are definitely more striking from the street. A larger façade makes a more striking impression, especially in simple styles like a classic colonial. In more modern designs, the contrast between single and multi-story portions of the home can result in dramatic, interesting roof lines. Multi-story designs also make the most of smaller lots, allowing you to double your square footage simply by building up.

But on the other hand, single-story homes more easily blend into an existing landscape. They can snake between trees or gardens, offering desirable privacy and shade. They’re also versatile; for instance, you could build on a small hill with a patio or garage at the bottom. The most obvious downside is that a single-story home needs a much larger lot.


Single-story homes are the obvious winner for disabled residents. Even if no one in your home is disabled, a single story means you never have to haul a mattress upstairs, never have to worry about clumsy kids, and makes laundry a much simpler task.

If you require a two-story home due to a small lot or other reasons, all is not lost. Careful layout planning can group related items (like bedrooms and laundry) on the same floor to minimize stair usage.


A multi-story home, even when well-designed, cannot overcome the basic laws of physics: hot air rises, cool air sinks. Your heating and cooling costs will always be higher in a multi-story home, especially if you embrace features of the design like high ceilings or a lofted area.

But as with accessibility, smart planning can definitely make things easier. A combination of multiple AC units, clever ductwork, and smart thermostats can keep your power bills from growing too high.

Privacy and Layout

Two-story homes present inherent privacy challenges both inside and out. Inside, rooms can easily leak sound if they are above each other. It’s like having your old lead-footed upstairs apartment neighbor but in your own house! Outside, rooms with windows above the tree line can be easily seen from the street.

Absolute Construction builds beautiful custom homes for customers around Chatham County and surrounding areas. We specialize in sustainable, energy efficient designs that combine luxury and engineering for home that are truly unforgettable. Contact us today to get started on your custom home building project!