Home Decor Help
- Samar Bolis

Easy Tips To Update Split Level Homes

Contemporary Living Room Split Level Interior Home Designs by MW Architects
Contemporary Living Room Split Level Interior Home Designs by MW Architects

As the name implies, split-level homes are houses with at least three split or staggered floors. The levels are usually connected by a set of short stairs. Typically, a split-level house will have a set of stairs leading to the bedroom area right by the front door with another leading to the basement area. These homes were first seen in America in the 1950s with many accepting them with open arms. However, their popularity started fizzling out by the 1960s but they are still quite popular nowadays. Typical split-level homes usually have three levels with the living room, dining room, and kitchen on the main level which is accessed directly from the front door.

Split-level homes were initially designed to cater to growing and large families who needed more rooms on the little lot sizes allocated during the Baby Boom. Many families needed a minimum of three-bedroom flats to accommodate the family members but plot sizes were only about 50-70ft wide and 100-150ft deep at the time. With the split-level designs, floors were staggered thereby creating space for more rooms and living space for the families. This way, the plot sizes were fully optimized and there was even enough space for a recreational backyard.

Styles of split-level homes

As explained earlier, split-level homes have at least three staggered levels. Some designs have up to six floors depending on the owner’s preference. There are also various types and styles which give the design a more unique look. The most common split-level home designs are:

Sidesplit design is a split-level home design where all levels of the house can be viewed from the curb. Usually, with the sidesplit, the house seems divided into two sections- the garage and the floor containing the bedroom on one side while the main living area, the level below the bedroom level and the level above the garage is on the other side. Here, the rooms can be separated from the living area with a short staircase.


Backsplit design is also a split-level design where the levels of the house can only be viewed from the side while just a level is visible from the curb.

Bi-level split design comes in two levels with a short staircase in between. Right from the front door, there is a landing with a staircase leading to the top floor and another leading to the basement. Here, the top floor houses the kitchen, living room, dining room, bedrooms, and bathrooms so the lower floor leads to the garage.

Stacked split design is designed with up to six levels with up to five sets of stairs connecting them. This design is common in townhouses.

How much will it cost to build a split-level home

cost to build a split level home

Generally, prices of real estate vary by location, condition of the property, and availability. Split-level homes are cheaper to build due to various factors. For example, the design is usually built on rugged terrains, sloppy areas, and hillside where land is cheaper. Also, the vertical design helps cut costs. On average, building a split-level home could cost from $60000-$100000 depending on the location.

A split-level home can also be bought and they are often cheaper than other designs as they tend to take time before getting sold which might cause the realtor to reduce the price after a waiting period. They can cost between $115000-$200000 depending on the location and condition of the home.

Pros of split-level homes

Larger houses with lesser space


As explained earlier, with split-level homes, plot sizes are fully optimized to provide more living space. A house could have a garage, three bedrooms as well as a backyard on the same plot of land. With the split-level design, you get more value for money.

Great options for steep and sloping terrains

With the design of a split-level home, a house can be built on a hill or rugged terrain without excavating the rock. In fact, it remains the best design for the terrain. Once completed, the house blends into the hill expertly.

More affordable when compared with other houses


Due to the lower demand for this design, prices of split-level homes usually fall below what would be asked for more in-demand designs with the same size and age. This makes it a good investment as money is being saved when buying the house. However, if the house is to be sold again, the price might still be lower.

Offers more privacy

Due to the different levels in this home, there is an efficient separation of space. Also, noise travel between the rooms is greatly minimized thereby offering more privacy and lesser disturbance.



A lot of climbing is needed to move around the house


In split-level homes, the rooms are usually on a higher floor as the main floor only houses the living room, dining room and kitchen only. So, occupants have to climb the stairs to access other areas of the house. This shouldn’t be a problem for most people but for families with the elderly, this could be a problem as mobility could be affected. This makes the design more suitable for young families.

Remodeling options are limited

The initial staggered design of split-level homes makes it difficult to make changes to the house’s layout as each level had been constructed with a specific purpose in mind. This is in contrast to single-floor houses where parts of the house can be switched for another.


Difficulty in selling them

Due to the vintage look, this design has, a lot of people prefer going for modern-looking designs when buying a house. Also, split-level homes do not have a lot of natural light due to the staggered level. These factors make the design less desirable thereby making it difficult to sell split-level homes.

Designing Ideas for Split-level homes

Split-level homes are unique and the levels provide an efficient way of optimizing space. They are beautiful and the short staircases and elevated levels make the design look cozier and more welcoming. Also, the proximity of the floors to each other creates a form of closeness between all areas of the house. There are several designing ideas that can even make the house more beautiful and exquisite. Some of them include:


Blended Living-Dining Room

Here, the living room and dining area are only separated by a few short steps to give both rooms a blended look. This concept encourages family-time as well as creating a cozier atmosphere in the home.

Adding More Lights

The traditional design of split-level homes does not really have built-in windows for letting in natural light. Windows can be added on the ends to lighten up the levels. If the existing windows are smaller, they can be replaced with larger ones that will let in more natural light. Thereby making the house less stuffy and more beautiful. Artificial lights can also be installed in the interior space to brighten the home more. The interior walls can be painted in a light color to enable more reflection of the natural and artificial lights.


Refurbish the Exterior

Split-level homes have been around for quite some time with a lot of the homes already losing their outer appeal. The house can be redesigned by changing the exterior look with simple renovations. This can start from repainting the exterior completely. There are several modern colors that can be applied to beautify the house. Additionally, the roof color can also be changed to something trendier and more modern. A better option is to go for a color that contrasts the house paint. New exterior fittings like garage doors can also be added for more beautification.

Work on the Entryway

The entryway can be revamped by changing the present front door to a glass front door. This gives it a more modern look while allowing more light into the home. A small porch can also be added to the entryway to create an elevated and modern look.


Remove a Few Walls

A modern and open floor plan helps make the house less stuffy as well as adding more beauty and enhancing traffic flow within. This can be achieved by knocking down a few excess walls partitioning the living area from each other. Two small rooms can also be knocked together to create a modern bedroom. The kitchen can also be made roomier by removing part of the walls and installing a kitchen island with built-in storage.

Arranging Furniture in Split-level homes

Arranging Furniture in Split-level homes

There are several furniture arrangement ideas that come to mind when decorating a split-level home’s living area due to the many styles these homes could have. If the living room and dining room have a blended design, then the TV, couch, armchairs, and media stand should be arranged in such a way that conversations between those in the living room and dining room would flow well. Also, the dining area should have a long table with an adequate number of chairs for extra seating space.


Also, in a split-level home where the dining area is at a higher level than the living room, then the furniture arrangement should center on providing entertainment. A round table with a proportional number of chairs is great for the dining room while a bookcase can be mounted on the wall of the living room to provide vertical storage. This open layout allows the family to relax comfortably and maximizes space as well.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy
%d bloggers like this: