After decades of loyal service to your firm, running your own business or running a household filled with growing children, you’ve finally found yourself at the cusp of retirement. That means it’s time to ease into a new phase of your life, filled with travel, new hobbies, or just spending time with your loved ones. But what does that mean for your home?
Many retirees find that their former family homes are too big for them, now that the kids are grown and off to college or starting their own families. More so, those large homes can present a bevy of issues for aging homeowners – namely with regard to the stairs. Walking up and down dozens of stairs every day can be difficult – or impossible – for many retired homeowners due to joint pain or other injuries, leaving them unable to gain access to certain areas of their own homes.
Rather than live confined to a single space, you might consider transitioning into a smaller, single-level home to make things easier in the long run. Read on to learn about the many benefits and advantages of one story house plans under 2,000 square feet and see what kind of difference it could make.
Stairs in Retirement? No Thanks!
Hands down the hardest aspect of living in a two-story home for those at and beyond the retirement age is the strain it places on the body. Whether it’s because of larger health issues like arthritic joints or the result of a knee replacement or long-ago sports injury, constantly bending the legs to go up and down multiple flights of stairs simply isn’t possible for many people. Rather than constantly struggling to gain access to the upper levels of your home – or resigning yourself to living in only a handful of rooms – turning to a single-story house plan that’s less than 2,000 square feet in living space can give aging homeowners freedom and mobility without limiting the scope and style of the home.
During the retirement years, stairs can become a huge issue for anyone with joint or back pain. Living in a home with all the rooms on one floor eliminates the unnecessary strain that comes from walking on stairs to access a bedroom or bathroom. This European home plan with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms is a good example of single-floor living. (House Plan #141-1259).
Single-level house plans are designed to keep all the rooms of the home within easy access of each other, meaning that a homeowner with bad knees can reasonably access the kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom without putting undue strain on their joints. Styles such as the country ranch home are great for anyone with any kind of mobility issues since there is no need to struggle with stairs or other features that would make it hard to move around the space. It’s also a smart move for retirees who anticipate – or are planning for the possibility of – using a walker or cane later on in life.
Easy-Access Laundry Room
While no one typically enjoys doing the laundry, it can be a difficult action for many retirees and older homeowners, especially in a home with stairs. That’s why a single-story house plan under 2,000 square feet is an ideal solution, as these homes normally place the laundry room in an easy to access location within the home. Carrying a heavy basket of laundry up-and-down stairs is challenging for anyone and can quickly turn into a safety hazard as you get older. With the laundry room on the same floor as the rest of the home, there is no need to risk carrying the clothing up or down the stairs and potentially getting hurt.
With the laundry room on the main floor of this luxury Craftsman-style home plan with 4 bedrooms, 4 full bathrooms, and 2 half baths, there is no risk of injury or strain from carrying clothing up and down stairs constantly (House Plan #163-1027).
In many single-level homes, such as Ranch style homes, the laundry room is tucked into a space near the kitchen, sometimes on a back porch or in a dedicated room. These styles are ideal for owners that want to keep doing their own laundry for as long as possible, as they present the least amount of difficulty to access. Some homes may also place the laundry hookups in the garage, which can be less ideal depending on the access to the garage and the physical capabilities of the owners. Fortunately, many single-level homes feature an attached garage, which means you can access the space directly from the home without having to go outside.
Convenient Bedroom on the Main Level
Most two-story homes place the bedrooms on the upper floors, which can be very helpful for large families or owners who want a bigger entertaining space on the main level. However, during the retirement years, upstairs bedrooms are usually more of a nuisance than a convenience. Walking up-and-down stairs early in the morning or late at night can increase the chance of injury, due to stiff joints at the start of the day or general tiredness at the end.
Having easy access to the bedroom – and the master bathroom – is a major benefit of single-level house plans like this French style home plan with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms because there are no stairs getting in the way (House Plan #141-1259).
Also, in case of an emergency, getting down the stairs to leave the home can quickly become a new challenge or source of injury. Not to mention the fact that anyone responding to an emergency could have a harder time getting up the stairs to offer aid. Focusing on a single-story home with the bedrooms all on the same floor is the best way to avoid stress and struggle during retirement. Also, many retirees enjoy having the bedrooms near the main living areas when they have a family visit, as it allows for a greater sense of camaraderie and togetherness.
Easy Cleaning and Maintenance
Similarly, maintaining and cleaning a single-level house is drastically easier than with a two-story home. Many retirees enjoy taking care of their homes, but age and physical limitations can get in the way of that. Not being able to properly clean and care for their homes can lead many older homeowners to feel less confident and capable, which is why a single-story home is such a smart choice.
With the easy and open access offered by single-level house plans, the amount of time and effort needed to clean is greatly reduced. This means more time for hobbies like gardening or restoring a classic car (House Plan #117-1092).
The smaller size means fewer rooms to clean and less overall space that needs to be cared for on a regular basis. No more lugging a heavy vacuum up the stairs or having to repeatedly clean rooms that are going unused. It also ensures that the owners are able to keep an eye on the interior ceilings in order to identify leaky roofs or other issues.
Special Needs? These Plans are Perfect
It’s hard to foresee the types of health issues that might arise in the future, especially as you are just entering your retirement years. However, a single-level house plan under 2,000 square feet allows owners to plan for unforeseen issues by focusing on a home that allows for any kind of special renovations or modifications that might come up in the future. This could be as simple as installing a wheelchair ramp at the front of the home, or more complex, such as making space for special furniture and medical equipment. Whatever the needs are, a single-level home gives you the most options and flexibility.
Adding elements such as a wheelchair ramp will have a greater benefit in a single-level home plan, if the need ever arises down the line, as they don’t require much additional work to keep the home as accessible as possible (House Plan #142-1082).
Planning construction on the second floor of any home is usually costly, time-consuming, and difficult to plan, especially when the work involved accommodating someone with mobility or health limitations. Rather than being forced to restrict access to a portion of the home, or install costly tools like stairway elevators, a single-level home keeps your options open while also giving you a wonderful place to spend your golden years.