Do you have children?
Do you like stairs?
Are separate areas, such as an office or playroom, important to you?
Do you need everything on one level?
We’ll start with the Split Level. When you walk into a split level you’ll be at a landing area with two sets of stairs in front of you. One goes upstairs to the kitchen, bedrooms, living room, etc. The other set goes downstairs to either the basement area and garage entrance.
Two Story: Near the front door, there’s usually a set of stairs leading up to all the bedrooms. Most of the time the only other room, besides bedrooms and bathrooms, you’ll find on the second story of a two story is a laundry room (if you’re lucky!) The main level holds the kitchen, living room, dining room, garage access and sometimes an office. If there’s a basement, it’ll be a set of stairs, usually behind a door.
1.5 Story: The 1.5 story is similar to the 2 story with the exception of the master bedroom/bathroom. In a 2 story, the master is upstairs with all the other bedrooms. In a 1.5 story, the master is on the main level with the living room, kitchen, etc. Many families with children prefer this plan since there’s a little more privacy/quiet with the bedrooms on different levels. Great for when those teenagers have sleepovers and stay up till 1am. Here in the Midwest, most homes have a basement, but the 1.5 story and 2 story can also come without them.
What the heck is a Reverse 1.5 Story? The reverse 1.5 is like a ‘ranch in disquise’. Another great floor plan for families, however, some of the feedback I’ve heard is filled with worry about the children’s bedrooms being downstairs with a back door out to the patio. Kids could easily sneak out!! The master, kitchen, garage entrance and living room are all on the main level and there’s usually an open set of stairs leading down to the other bedrooms in the basement. (No upstairs level on this one)
And everyone knows the Ranch, a favorite for many folks that enjoy the idea of one level living. The one feature most look for in ranches is a laundry room on the main level. Depending on the age and style of the ranch, you may find the laundry room is in the basement. If it’s incredibly important to you, check with a home remodeler about potentially turning one of the smaller bedrooms into a laundry room. Many times they can run lines up through the floor to give you exactly what you’re needing.
Front to Back & Side to Side Splits: This is what I’m currently living in and I love it. Like the split level, you walk in to a landing area with two sets of stairs, but there’s also a living room with that landing area. There’s not a ton of difference between these plans and they can often also be called a tri-level. It’s nice for entertaining because of all the open areas where folks can be in a separate space, but can still see and talk to one another. But, as far as the bedrooms are concerned, they’re all together on one side of the house…not leaving much privacy for anyone!! But, if storage is a concern, many of these splits in the Midwest come with an unfinished sub-basement—-perfect for storage.
Now, we’ve come full circle to my very favorite plan, The California Split. Loooove it!! Like the other split levels, you walk into a landing area with a living room and usually a visible kitchen/dining area up 1/2 a level. The smaller bedrooms are on this level and sometimes the laundry room. THEN, up another 1/2 level, you find the master suite. A very large area that actually sits over the garage. Most come with a finished basement, sometimes with more bedrooms and also that great storage area, the unfinished sub-basement.
I know there’s more plans and this certainly doesn’t cover all of them in detail, but these are the homes we see the most in our area. So, hopefully this helps as you’re shopping online for your new space. Think about how you live in your current space and decide on a plan from there.