New Home Construction: Deciding Whether to Build Up or Build Out


Building a house requires you to invest a considerable amount of money. This is why it’s important that you take the time to consider the design as well as the features you want to have in your own house.

Affordable ranch house plan

This stunning one-story House Plan 5086 is compact yet functional, with an attached garage and 1,528 square feet of living space.

One of the considerations you need to make when it comes to choosing a design is whether to build a single-story or two-story house. Which one will suit your needs best? This is the most crucial question you need to ask yourself to determine which option to choose. However, the answer will depend on a large number of factors.

two-story craftsman house plan

This gorgeous two-level House Plan 2325 allows you to make use of the garden area for outdoor living.

Things to consider


Many people might immediately think that building a two-story house would be more expensive than a single-story. This may not always be the case. Deciding on building a two-level home allows you to build your dream home on a smaller lot, which can be more affordable. A two-story design allows you to add considerable square footage to your home without the additional costs of roofing and foundation. Choosing to go with a single-story home can mean that you’ll need a considerably sized lot if you are planning to build a large home. Consider how much money you have in the bank and how much you are willing to borrow when deciding which floor plan to go for.

small ranch kitchen floor plan

affordable floor plan

This small affordable ranch house plan offers an open floor plan and functional kitchen with access to the covered patio.


When deciding on the design of your future home, you’ll need to take note of the rooms and features you want included. If you were anticipating living with your elderly parents or in-laws, a single-level home without stairs would be more functional for the whole family. Having all rooms on the same floor also means gives everyone easy access to everything. If you want more flexibility, a two-level home would be perfect. Consider having the master bedroom on the first floor planning on spending your golden years in the same house. Extra bedrooms and flexible space on the second floor will give everyone some privacy.

Accessing Your Family’s Needs

Your lifestyle should be one of the considerations you need to make when choosing between a single-story or two-story house plan. This also includes the size of your family as well as your children’s ages. For example, families with small kids usually want to have their bedrooms and bathrooms in one area of the house, while those with teenagers want to have separate rooms.

If your family likes to entertain, a single level home with a wide foyer leading to open living space would be perfect.

To recap, here are the advantages and disadvantages of two-story and single-story homes:


  1. Great for people with small children.
  2. Perfect for aging couples or families living with older in-laws where stairs can be challenging.
  3. An open floor plan provides easy access to all rooms.
  4. A one-story home has high resale value.


  1. You can easily double or triple your square footage with a second level and basement floor plan.
  2. Allows you to separate living and sleeping areas.
  3. Is great for building in urban areas or waterfront areas where narrow lots are plentiful.










Product Highlights from IBS


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We just returned from the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas and we saw a lot of new and innovative products that we could not wait to share with you. Here are seven of our favorite new products from IBS this year.

1. Lumber Liquidators® Bellawood Hardwood Flooring Collection

Best from the International Builders' Show -- Lumber Liquidators Bellawood Hues Gunstock Oak

This year, Lumber Liquidators® expanded their Bellawood Hardwood Flooring Collection to include 140 new colors, including the Gunstock Oak pictured above.

2. SnapPower Guidelights

Best from the International Builders' Show -- Snap Power Guidelights

We love the new SnapPower Guidelights! They took Best in Show and Best of Indoor Living Product this year at IBS and rightfully so. They aren’t just beautiful but they also they also provide great accent and safety lighting. This year they also introduced the SnapPower Charger which will be available on the market in March 2015.

3. Schlage® Sense™ Automatic Door Lock

Best from the International Builders' Show -- Schlage Schlage Sense Bluetooth-Enabled Lock
We love Schlage’s® smart door locks! This year they introduced Schalge Sense™, their first Bluetooth-enabled lock that is easy to use and install with no-monthly fees. Just like their other smart locks, this lock is also able to store up to 30 unique codes but has the added benefit of being compatible with your favorite Apple® device.

4. GAF® Roofing Sienna® Lifetime Designer Shingles

Best from the International Builders' Show -- GAF Roofing Sienna Lifetime Designer Shingles

GAF® Roofing brought their Sienna® Lifetime Designer Shingles to the show this year. These shingles feature affordable luxury and sophisticated design. A unique, specially designed color palette accentuates the shingle’s natural appeal and Diamond Cut™ granules add dimension and depth.

5. Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet™ Outdoor Dishwasher

Best from the International Builders' Show -- Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Outdoor Dishwasher

Love to barbecue? Does your dream home feature an outdoor kitchen? You can now cut ties with your indoor kitchen with the help of the industry’s first Outdoor Dishwasher from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet™. With an extra-large capacity and a system designed specifically for cleaning outdoor dishes this will be a welcome addition to any outdoor kitchen.

6. LAMPS PLUS® Possini Euro Strada Red Art Glass LED Mini Pendant Light

Best from the International Builders' Show -- LAMPS PLUS Possini Euro Strada Red Art Glass LED Mini Pendant LightWe love the Possini Euro Strada Red Art Glass LED Mini Pendant Light from LAMPS PLUS®. The red art glass combined with a beautiful chrome hardware are perfect for adding a dash of color and a contemporary statement to your kitchen design.

7. Wellborn® ColorInspire Cabinets

Best from the International Builders' Show -- Wellborn ColorInspire Estate Collection

Want to inject a little bit of color into your kitchen, bathroom, or built-in cabinetry? Then take a look at Wellborn’s® ColorInspire program! Choose your favorite color from a collection of Benjamin Moore®, Sherwin-Williams®, and Valspar® paint chips to get cabinetry that expresses your own unique style.

This is just a sampling of our favorite products from this year’s show. Sign up for our Home Ideas newsletter to see more of our favorite products.

5 Best-selling Small Home Designs


Do your plans for 2015 involve building a new home? Do you want to find the perfect small house design for your dream home? We have five of our best-selling small house plans that clock in at under 2,000 square feet. Take a look and see if your dream home is among them.

Vita Encantata

Best-selling Small House Plans - Vita Encantata

The Vita  Encantata house plan is a scaled down version of our L’attesa di Vita house plan. Instead of media room and study option, the Vita Encantata house plan features a workshop space and the same great entertaining space inside or outside. Add three bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1,848 square feet of living space and you should have plenty of space for entertaining.

The Sutherlin Small House Plan

Best-selling House Plan - Sutherlin Small Ranch

The Sutherlin Small House Plan is a beautiful country style home with front and back porches for relaxing on warm summer nights.  With 1,492 square feet, this is one of the best-selling house plans.  Insider there is a versatile Great Room where you can host your family and friends in comfort. The master suite has a deluxe private bath with dual vanities and a garden bathtub.

Merveille Vivante Small House Plan

Best-selling House Plan - Merveille Vivante Small House Plan

Love the look of a storybook cottage? Then consider giving the Mervielle Vivante Small house plan a shot.  With 1,412 square feet of living space, this house plan uses its floor plan efficiently with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. With an open space that encompasses a dining room, living area, and an island kitchen this living room feels spacious. Plus, split bedrooms give the homeowners plenty of privacy.

Espresso House Plan

Best-selling House Plan - Espresso House Plan

The Espresso house plan gives you the best of both worlds. The well-detailed exterior gives you the charm of a mountain lodge but a floor plan for an urban setting. A foyer leads to a generous great room with a raised ceiling. A large window means that this house plan is great for picturesque views. The kitchen has a large island and a walk-in pantry.  The master suite is steeped in luxury itself with a large walk-in closet and double vanities.  Two additional bedrooms round out this 1, 529 square foot house plan.


Vida de la Confianza

Best-selling Small House Design - Vida de la Confianza House Plan

This popular design has plenty of charm. The Vida de la Confianza house plan features dormers, shutters, and Craftsman details to give it plenty of curb appeal. Inside you will find lots of features in this home’s 1,698 square feet floor plan. This plan is designed to entertain guests both indoors and outdoors and a private master suite is the perfect retreat at the end of a long day. If your family is still growing then you can rest easy knowing that upstairs provides plenty of space for future expansion.

Which of our best-selling small house plans is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below and take a look at our collection of small house plans and see if you can find your dream house plan.

New Home Designs Trending this 2015


As the economy continues to move in the right direction, more and more people are expected to fulfill their dream of building their own home in 2015. The House Designers remains committed to helping consumers and builders find the perfect house plan at an affordable price.

Our architects and designers have been very busy creating new, innovative and energy efficient house plans for the New Year. Many of these new house plans were originally custom designs, allowing us to share beautiful photography to help you visualize each home.

This Luxury European Cottage home combines stucco and stone with rich earth tones for the shutters, roof and doors to create a breathtaking exterior. The floor plans and additional photographs to build this home are available by clicking here.

The gourmet kitchen in House Plan 4912 is simply divine and overlooks the living room. To view 40 photographs of this luxury French Country home, click here.

craftsman house plans, cottage house plans

Charming 3-bedroom cottage house plan features a wraparound porch and the master suite on the first floor. View all the details of House Plan 8529.

The House Designers’ is also pleased to present the work of several new architects and designers, who recently partnered with America’s leading house plan provider to share and showcase their best-selling house plans.

This luxury contemporary house plan features 3,217 square feet of living space including a second story with two flexible spaces. Browse additional photographs and floor plans of House Plan 9044.

craftsman house plans, mountain house plans

Brand new luxury mountain house plan features 3,738 square feet in an open two-story design with an added bonus space of 200 square feet. If you have a beautiful view, you’ll want to check out House Plan 9046.

You’ll find plenty of ranch house plans from this designer, many with finished basements. View additional photographs and the floor plans of House Plan 9075.

Look for a big increase in multifamily homes, primarily townhouses and apartments.  Our new collection of 4, 5, 6, 7, 8-plexes is in response to a growing need from our builders to provide developments and growing neighborhoods with affordable, housing.

4-unit townhouses

A new collection of 4-plexes have been added to The House Designers’ multifamily house plans, including this Traditional 4-Unit Townhouse 9029.

We invite you to visit our collection of New House Plans as well as to sign up for our FREE weekly newsletter which showcases the newest designs as they are added to our website.


Small House Plan with Big Possibilities


If you’re looking to start out with a small house plan, but want to have a design that has lots of room to grow then you’ll want to check out House Plan 2259 from The House Designers. This versatile home is one of our best-sellers and with great reason – it offers beautiful curb appeal and plenty of possibilities.

The main floor offers 1,421 square feet of living space including 3 bedrooms, an open kitchen/living space and beautiful covered lanai. There’s 504 square feet of bonus space on the second floor that you can enjoy now or at a later date. A finished basement floor plan  featuring 988 square feet is also available so that you can enjoy additional living space. For a small footprint, which makes it affordable to build you can have a maximum size home of  2,480 square feet. A large covered lanai with fireplace is accessed through the family room and kitchen making outdoor entertaining easy.

small house plans, best selling house plans, craftsman house plans, cottage house plans

The House Designers best-selling small house plan is House Plan 2259, which includes a small footprint with lots of room to grow.

small house plans, best selling house plans

House Plan 2259 includes a detached two-car garage or the option to have it attached.

small house plans

A beautiful covered lanai with fireplace are the highlight of House Plan 2259.

small house plans

House Plan 2259 offers you the flexibility based on the size of your lot to place the detached two car where ever you need it.

small house plans

The first floor of House Plan 2259 features 1,421 square feet of living space.

small house plans

A second floor bonus is perfect for extra space now or if you need it down the road.

small house plans

A finished basement floor plan for House Plan 2259 is ideal for needed space down the road.

5 Small House Plans With Lots of Style


Do you think that building a house plan at 2,500 square feet means that you have to sacrifice style? Think again. Here are several small house plans that pack lots of style into a small footprint.  These house plans include numerous bedrooms, ideal for a small family, functional layouts, and exquisite styling and curb appeal. Take a look at these small house plans and see if you can find one that captures your heart.

1. The Inverness House Plan

Small House Plans - Inverness House Plan


The Inverness house plan is a delightful two story house plan that comes in at 2,562 square feet. Inside this beautiful traditional home is a large floor plan with a beautiful island kitchen, dining room, and breakfast nook. The master suite features a large dressing area and a master bath with a double vanity sink and a separate tub and shower. The basement floor plan features three more bedrooms, an exercise room, and a rec room.

2. The Lexington Avenue House Plan

Small House Plans - The Lexington Avenue

The Lexington Avenue house plan features Craftsman style with lots of upscale features. Front and rear covered porches make for usable outdoor living space and the large kitchen features a spacious island with an eating bar. The master bedroom is equipped with dual lavatories, a corner tub, and a walk-in closet. This small house plan also features a shop area off the garage for projects and storage, and a future space upstairs that could be a playroom, extra bedroom, or storage space. The basement could also be used as flex space.

3. 1st Place 2012 ENERGY STAR® House Plan

Small House Plans - 1st Place 2012 ENERGY STAR

This beautiful small house plan is designed for use in a narrow lot. The 1st Place 2012 ENERGY STAR® house plan is a beautiful plan that comes in at 1,768 square feet. Entryways to this home are located at an angle and give off a feeling of spaciousness. This home uses Therma-Tru® doors to make sure the entryway is energy efficient. The interior of this small house plan has plenty of amenities as well including a dining room and fireplace. The master bathroom also features a corner soaking tub, large shower, and a separate toilet chamber. The master suite and a larger secondary bedroom share the covered patio.

4. The Brumley House Plan

Small House Plans - The Brumley House Plan


The Brumley house plan has all the charm of an English cottage. At 1,988 square feet it is ideal for a young family. This small house plan features three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms but it also strikes a cord with professionals who work from home because it also features an office with double doors and a built-in desk just off the entry. The master suite features transom walls that flood the bedroom with plenty of daylight. The master bathroom features compartments at each end for a toilet and shower.

5. The San Saba House Plan

Small House Plans - The San Saba

This San Saba house plan is a three bedroom house plan with intricate details that give this home lots of style. San Saba features plenty of space for indoor and outdoor entertaining. Covered front and rear porches add to outdoor entertainment space. Inside you will find open living spaces so that guests can move about freely. This small house plan also features a see-thru fireplace shared by the Great Room and dining area.

Which of these five house plans is your favorite? Tell us which one you would build in the comments below.

America’s Top 5 Favorite Small House Plans


Small house plans are on the rise and they are here to stay.  But small homes don’t all have to look alike. Here are a few of our favorite small house plans, all under 2,000 square feet and loaded with features. Here are five of our best-selling small house plans.

1. The Merveille Vivante House Plan

Small House Plans - Merveille Vivante

The Merveille Vivante Small House Plan is a 1,421 square foot home that showcases many features. This small house plan has plenty of curb appeal with its welcoming fairytale front porch which makes visitors feel welcome immediately. Inside is an island kitchen that introduces a spacious family room and a fireplace that demands attention.

2. The Vida de la Confianza Small House Plans - Vida de la Confianza

The Vida de la Confianza is another plan with stunning exterior details. At 1,698 square feet it home with a modest footprint that includes lots of features. With substantial indoor and outdoor space for entertaining, a private master suite to relax in, and future expansion space that can become anything you wish, the Vida de la Confianza is a small house plan that you will love for years to come.

3. Vita EncantataSmall House Plans - Vita Encantata

A scaled down version of our L’Atessa di Vita house plan, the Vita Encantata is a small cottage house plan that gives you a workshop space and the same great space for entertaining inside and out all in 1,848 square feet.

4. The Sutherlin Small Ranch House Plan

Small House Plans - Sutherlin Small Ranch

The Sutherlin Small Ranch house plan features front and back porches that are ideal for relaxing afternoons with a cold beverage. At 1,492 square feet, this is one of our best-selling house plans. Inside, a large Great Room is the perfect spot to host friend and family and a master suite features a deluxe private bath with dual vanities and a refreshing garden tub.

5. The Espresso House PlanSmall House Plans - Espresso

The Espresso house plan gives you the charm of a mountain lodge in 1,529 square feet. This best-selling house plan has amazing curb appeal, achieved by a well-detailed exterior. This small house plan is also affordable and energy efficient. The inside features amenities such as a large island kitchen, walk-in pantry, and an outdoor living room. The master suite is also loaded with features including a double vanity and walk-in closet, attributes not normally seen in a house of this size.

These house plans are just some of the small house plans that have taken America by storm. Comment below and tell us which of these small house plans is your favorite!

House Plans Designed with Fabulous Kitchens


If you’ve ever dreamed of building a home, I’m sure a key ingredient to selecting your floor plan is the layout and amenities featured in the kitchen. We’ve selected some of our favorite kitchens based on use of space, functionality and appeal. The kitchens we’ve chosen have it all – a bounty of cabinets and countertops, high-end appliances and the latest in fancy faucet and sink fixtures. You don’t need a large home to have a luxurious, restaurant-style kitchen.

contemporary kitchen design

This contemporary kitchen features plenty of cabinets and multiple workspaces to easily create your favorite dishes. A large walk-in pantry and center island with storage make it easy to always have plenty of supplies and cooking tools at your fingertips. View a dozen more photographs and the floor plan to the Ontario House Plan 9038, a contemporary two-story home perfect for a narrow lot.

award-winning kitchen design

You don’t need to worry about having enough storage space with this wall of cabinets and oversized pantry that flank an L-shaped kitchen floor plan with a center island and cozy breakfast nook. A full wall of windows provides this space with extra lighting for prepping and cleaning. This kitchen was a recent winner at the Best in American Living Awards (BALA), a yearly competition presented by the National Association of Home Builders. It spotlights the most creative and innovative builders, remodelers, architects, developers, land planners and interior designers in the country.

small luxury kitchen design

Luxury doesn’t have to come in a large footprint. House Plan 4446 features a well-designed floor plan that maximizes every available space to create a functional kitchen with lots of extras. Just under 1,800 square feet, this home plan is perfect for a first time homeowner or couple looking to downsize

luxury rustic kitchen house plan

This luxury rustic kitchen has everything you need for entertaining. Extra countertop space makes it easy for you to share cooking tasks with your family. You can also put out a nice holiday spread on the second island and still have plenty of room for kitchen seating with an island with seating for six, a cozy nook and open access to the dining room. View 30 photographs of this classic craftsman design, perfect for a sloping lot.

luxury kitchen floor plan

The kitchen featured in House Plan 9067 has it all, including a great prep station. Luxury appliances like a dual fuel range by Dacor will ensure all your creations are delicious. A row of large windows maximizes natural light to make it easy to see what you’re crafting. Explore additional photographs of this restaurant-style kitchen.

Affordable Home Plans for Veterans


Happy Veterans Day! We would like to thank all of our veterans who have served in our armed forces, especially those that gave their lives to protect us.

A famed quote by one of our most famous veterans:

“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.” – Abraham Lincoln

If you are a veteran who has returned from service or you’ve been retired from the armed forces and you’re looking to settle down and build your dream home, we have some affordable house plans we think you will love.

Historically, ranch house plans became popular in the years following World War II after returning vets with new families started looking for affordable housing.

The Shadow Lane House Plan

The Shadow Lane house plan is a charming ranch with classic styling and an affordable master suite.

The Shadow Lane house plan is a great example of the kind of ranch homes that would have been popular after World War II. The Shadow Lane house plan has some classic charm with a gorgeous master suite and a large garage with plenty of space to store your lawn mower, 4-wheeler, and of course your car.

The Berkshire House Plan

The Berkshire house plan is one and a half stories with an open floor plan and unfinished space for future renovation.

The Berkshire house plan is a modern take on a classic design and is built for modern families with busy lifestyles. It features an open floor plan and unfinished space to accommodate the growing needs of a young family.

The Pleasant View House Plan

The Pleasant View house plan is a ranch house plan with Colonial influence.

The colonial style was also popular.  The Pleasant View house plan features colonial style with an open floor plan and a large back porch.  Three bedrooms and two baths make it the perfect home for a growing family.

This is a small taste of affordable home plans that The House Designers has to offer. If you are a veteran looking to build a new home we invite you to take advantage of our military promo code: VETERANS2014.

If you need assistance finding a home plan because you have special needs or lot restrictions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 866-214-2242.

Ontario-inspired Narrow House Plan


As land close to urban areas becomes scarcer, homeowners and builders are exploring the benefits of narrow lots. The best way to overcome the challenges of a narrow lot is to find a house plan designed specifically for this type of lot. Designers and architects from The House Designers know how to make efficient use of every available space without sacrificing style and amenities and have created house plans specifically to handle a narrow configuration. In order to maximize the space, most of these homes are two-story and feature rear-loading garages and front porches. Some have traditional front garages or no garages at all. Our well-designed narrow lot house plans provide you with plenty of options to ensure you have everything you need to build your dream home. Enjoying browsing our collection of Ontario-inspired Narrow House Plan.

narrow lot house plans, two-story bungalow homes

This brand new design combines a classic bungalow exterior with a contemporary interior. A large master suite with a roof deck, two additional bedrooms and a large bonus/media room round out the second floor. View over 24 photographs and the floor plans of this urban delight by clicking here.

contemporary house plans, 3-story house plans, narrow lot house plans, sloping lot house plans

Looking for a contemporary 3-story design, perfect for a narrow and sloping lot. This 3,000 square foot home features 3 well-crafted, amenity filled floor plans. Check out all the interior photographs and floor plans of this modern house plan.




narrow lot house plans, European house plans, two-story house plans

This two-story European house plan is perfect for a narrow lot. It’s 40′ wide and 78′ deep with 3,407 square feet of luxury living including a large 1st story master suite and 3 car garage. View other great features of this new narrow lot house plan.

narrow lot house plans, southern house plans, colonial house plans

Looking for a southern design that needs to fit on a lot 40′ wide or less, then you’ll want to explore the Columbia House Plan. This two story gem features two beautiful floors of covered porches and large windows. Highlights of this 2,400 square foot home are 4 bedrooms, a bonus/flexible space, a front study or office and an open kitchen/living room with a cozy breakfast space.







narrow lot floor plans, narrow lot  house plans

Looking for a long but narrow floor plan? This new floor plan is only 28′ wide, but boosts a length of 94′ to ensure you have ample size rooms and a two car garage, which if you needed a third bedroom or extra space could easily be converted into a new living space. Learn more about this unique one story home.

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