Ranch Home Vs Two-Story: Which is Better?

Every step must be right when building a custom home, especially when deciding between a ranch home and a two-story house. Each option has benefits and risks, and choosing one can be more challenging than you might initially think. 

Today’s blog will delve into the various aspects of ranch-style and two-story houses so that when you eventually start working with Idaho Impact Homes, you have all the information to make informed decisions. 

Let’s take the first step toward a home that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences, shall we?

Making a Choice Might Be Harder Than You Think

Selecting the ideal home design involves carefully considering various factors encompassing your family’s needs, any plans you may have, such as starting a family, and personal preferences. 

While aesthetics counts, functionality, convenience, safety, and practicality are equally important in making a home livable. See it this way: You don’t need a two-story house if you’re a family of three, but you may need it if you’re a family of four or more.

On that note, let’s explore the differences between ranch-style and two-story homes.

Benefits of a One-Story Design

Single-story homes encompass all architectural designs. They range from simple to luxurious, contemporary to cottage-style, minimalist to mansion, and what have you. 

There’s a lot more to this home design than meets the eye.

Living Space

One of the most standout benefits you don’t quite see when viewing the exterior of one-story homes is the efficient utilization of the living space. Since single stories all but take staircases out of the equation, they allow homeowners to enjoy a seamless flow from room to room.

There’s also something to be said about the accessibility these homes provide for those with mobility issues—not to mention the enhanced child-friendliness of a house with little-to-no obstacles, sharp corners, and doorless stairs. 

A Spacious Open-plan Living Area Leading Off to a Kitchen and Other Rooms


A one-story home has fewer doors and partitions than one with two or more levels. Thus, it offers a sense of simplicity and easy navigation even when it’s larger than a two-story house. 

The simplicity also translates to daily activities: You don’t have to take the stairs for certain errands because everything is a room or two away.


According to the National Safety Council, fall injuries range in the millions. Over one in four adults fall from stair-related incidents in their homes, but only half report or seek treatment. 

Despite the underreporting, three million older adults end up in emergency wards with fall injuries. At the same time, over 800,000 patients across different age ranges are hospitalized for the same circumstances.

Head wounds and hip fractures are the most common fall injuries sustained at home, and they predominantly target seniors and young children. This risk is significantly reduced, if not eliminated, with all living space on one level.


A one-story home is an accessible home by design. It doesn’t have the ramps-for-staircases usually associated with accessible homes because it does not need them. 

Cost-effectiveness is yet another compelling feature that renders this home design ideal for those planning to age in place or address mobility concerns. With single-story layouts, only one story would need smart home gadgets installation, adjustments like low closet rods, lever-style door handles, and various other accessibility enhancements.

In short, you have room to move around without moving up in an open-plan one-story living space.

A View of an Ranch Home Layout and Bright Living Area from the Foyer


Did you know that many homeowners with two-story houses avoid cleaning their staircases? They do so due to the following reasons:

  • Lack of a nearby power outlet for the vacuum cleaner.
  • Tight corners and awkward angles make them physically difficult to clean. 
  • Lack of the tools required to clean corners.

Cleaning and maintenance are more convenient for one-story homes, for they don’t involve climbing stairs, cleaning a second level, changing as many light bulbs, and the general upkeep piled on top of your first level. 

Energy Efficiency

Ventilating a single-story home is more manageable than heating and cooling a double-story home. The air is better distributed throughout a single-storied space. 

Moreover, depending on the efficiency of your HVAC system, there’s more air to go around. When your HVAC doesn’t have to work extra hard to heat or cool your home, it consumes less energy, resulting in lower utility bills. 

Drawbacks of a One-Story Design

For all the good one-story designs do, they often include a couple of drawbacks that may or may not be cause for concern.


When you all live on one level, there are fewer places inside the houses to retreat for some privacy. If your living space isn’t all that wide, you may have to settle for fewer rooms, meaning eschewing non-essential rooms, such as studies, studios, mudrooms, and extra restrooms. 

Unless you go for a luxurious single-story home, such as those available for customization at Idaho Impact Homes.

A Secluded Home Office, Alluding to the Privacy of Two-Story Houses


Doors and windows are the most common access points for intruders. Approximately 34% of burglars use the front door, 22% prefer the back door, and 23% take the first-floor windows. 

All three access points have one thing in common: they are located on the first floor.

However, working with a custom home builder, such as Idaho Impact Homes, can have the added benefit of an integrated security system. Thus, having all bedrooms and living spaces on a single level isn’t as high a risk or concern. 

Benefits of a Two-Story Design

Despite the benefits of one-story designs, their two-story counterparts are equally popular for the following reasons.


Staircases are portrayed as a drawback in single-story designs, but they aren’t all bad. Two-story houses can contribute to a healthier lifestyle because of staircases. 

Climbing the stairs is a low-impact exercise with the following benefits:

  • Burn more calories than running.
  • Reduce the risk of stroke.
  • Improve cardiovascular health.
  • Strengthen the muscles.

Design Options

If there’s one thing two-story homes do better than single-story ones, it’s segregating sleeping and living spaces. Single-story homes often have open-plan multifunctional spaces, meaning less privacy.

You can avoid this in two-story houses, where you have more closed-off spaces. Thus, drawing a line between entertainment and private rooms becomes easier.


If your property has a view, you can make the most of it through your upper level. You can position your living spaces, windows, and french/patio doors so that the beautiful landscapes appear in all their glory right where you can see them.

Defined Spaces

Two-story residences excel in one particular aspect over their single-story counterparts: the ability to distinctly separate sleeping and living areas. This advantage is especially evident in the design of two-story homes, where the first floor typically hosts communal spaces like the living room, dining area, and kitchen. In contrast, the second floor is primarily reserved for bedrooms and private spaces. 

This clear separation enhances privacy and allows for more efficient utilization of space, ensuring that each area serves its intended purpose without infringing on the other.

A Detached Dining Room, Alluding to the Defined Space Aspect of Two-Story Houses

Drawbacks of a Two-Story Design

There are limitations to any floor plan, as you have previously seen in the preceding sections about one-story designs. 

When deciding to work with Idaho Impact Homes to create a two-story home, carefully consider the following factors.


You know how detrimental staircases can be to the safety of senior adults and young children. Individuals with mobility issues must make further investments to install ramps instead of stairs after opting for multiple-story homes. 

On the other hand, those who can’t afford to install ramps have significantly less space to move around and difficulty maintaining, cleaning, and occupying the upper level.


Two-story houses are less energy-efficient in most cases. Homeowners must settle for temperature stratification and/or high utility bills unless they install a high-efficiency HVAC system—whether that be two HVACs or a mini-split between the upstairs and downstairs. 

An HVAC system that has to expend more energy to combat hot/cold air would also need more maintenance and repairs and be replaced sooner rather than later.


Noise can travel from one level to another and across walls. Soundproofing, or lack thereof, affects single- and two-story homes. 

While you can tackle this by moving to the other side of a single-story house, you may have difficulty getting some privacy in a double-story home, where the sound may travel every which way. That, and you have to put up with impact noise.

Are you a family where some or all members keep different schedules? Are you someone who prioritizes quieter living spaces? Consider investing in good soundproofing or single-story homes.


The ceilings of two-story homes are lower than those of single-level homes, making maintenance of ceiling fixtures much trickier in the latter. 

Lower ceilings might make changing a lightbulb, for example, easier in two-story homes. However, they also create a lack of grandeur and variety, leaving fewer rooms for a skylight. 

Build Ranch Homes and Two-Story Houses Like Never Before in Idaho

You now have all the knowledge of the benefits and risks associated with one-story and two-story houses from an experienced and passionate homebuilder. 

Ready to work with Idaho Impact Homes? Since opening their doors—and creativity—to Idahoans in 2018, this family-owned business by Dustin and Krishina Riggs has built homes that offer convenience, accessibility, energy efficiency, and more in a picture-perfect package. 

Check out their work over the years, and build a one- or two-story house in five simple steps.

Get in touch for inquiries and concerns. 


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