Should You Build A Ranch Or Two Story Home?2023-08-07T01:32:34+00:00

Should You Build A Ranch Or Two Story Home?

This Great Debate is one that many homeowners are divided on. Which is better: A ranch or a two-story home?

Should I build a ranch or a two-story?

There are unique benefits to each, and you may feel differently about which is better depending on what stage you are at in life.

At Harpe Development, we don’t take sides: we just give you the information so you can choose what’s best for you and your family! Let’s run down the benefits of each of these types of layouts, so you can decide what’s important to you and what isn’t.

Ranch Home Benefits

No stairs.

Forget lugging laundry, furniture, toys, or anything else up and down the stairs; with a ranch-style home, everything is on one level, which simplifies things for busy families–especially with young kids–and also makes things easier for older individuals and empty-nesters.


You won’t have to contend with pounding feet from upstairs while hanging out in your living room in a ranch-style home!

More customization flexibility.

When you only have one story, you don’t have to worry about bearing walls and support walls. This makes it easier to customize and make alterations during the design phase, such as incorporating more open spaces and custom window changes.  You will also have more ceiling detail options like vaulted ceilings or tray ceilings because you do not have to worry about the floor system above.

Perfect for larger lots.

If you have a large piece of land to build on, a sprawling ranch is ideal and will use more of your available land than a more compact two-story would.

A home that ages with you.

If you are looking to build your one-and-only home, a single-level floor plan will suit both your current life and your life as you get older.

Larger basements.

A ranch home is going to have a larger basement which will give you more basement finishing options. You will have less things in the way impeding your space like steel beams and ductwork.

By building up, you can take your new home to the next level (literally). And if adding another story isn’t quite what you have in mind, it is still a great solution for adding additional living space above one-story wings, like a garage.

Two-Story Home Benefits


Sometimes separation between the owner suite and the secondary bedrooms can be a good thing. A very good thing. Sleepovers and loud music don’t have to keep tired parents awake at night.

More space, small footprint.

For a smaller lot, you can fit more house in a two-story home without taking up any more precious lawn space.  You are going to have more options when picking your lot because of the smaller footprint. Some lots may not fit a 2000 sf ranch but would definitely fit a 2000 sf two-story.


Building up is always the least expensive option for increasing your home’s square-footage because it requires less material and labor. For example, if you have 1,000 sq. feet on the main level and want to add 1,000 sq. feet as a second floor, all you have to do is add more wood and framing labor. On the other hand, if you build out, you’ll have to add more foundation, concrete for the basement floor, larger roof system/shingles, more soffit/facia/gutters and more excavation cost/trucking cost.

Take in the view.

The higher you go, the better the view. Having a two-story home might allow you to build a deck or balcony that makes the most of a mountain or water view that’s hidden on the ground level. And all sunsets look better from up high.

More yard space.

Since you’re not expanding the footprint of the house to achieve your desired square footage that footprint savings converts directly to a larger yard.

We can help you get started, no matter where you are in the planning process.