Two-Bed Layouts: Should One Bedroom Be Downstairs?

Searching for a two-bedroom townhome requires not only persistence but also a clearer vision of what you want to do with each room and who will be staying in there. In some cases, you may want a townhome where the "public" area, where friends and family will be, is all downstairs, and the private areas like bedrooms are all upstairs. Or, you may want a bedroom to be on the main level because you think it will be more convenient. As you look at layouts, consider how the location of each room could affect the person using it.

Allowing for Aging in Place

If you plan to stay in the townhome for the rest of your life, a downstairs bedroom allows you to age in place, or modify your living circumstances to suit your physical abilities as you age. Some people find it harder to go up and down stairs, so having a space that you can use as a bedroom without stairs is helpful.

Plans for a Home Gym

If you were hoping to turn that second bedroom into a home gym, then you do want one of the bedrooms to be on the first floor. No one wants to lug heavy home gym equipment up flights of stairs. Even if delivery people bring the equipment inside, if it breaks later on or you decide to upgrade, moving the items out will be a drag if there are stairs.

Compare the Size of the Rooms

In a two-bedroom, the master bedroom is usually larger than the second bedroom unless you specifically look for a dual master. In a multi-level townhome, the difference in size could be pronounced if you don't look for a layout with equal room sizes. With that one upper bedroom having a floor to itself, and the downstairs bedroom sharing space with a kitchen and living room, there's the potential for the downstairs room to be tiny.

This might not matter that much to you; for example, if you're looking for a two-bedroom townhouse for you, your spouse, and your child, the size of the second room might not be that much of a concern as long as it's big enough to fit the child's furniture. But it is something to keep in mind. In any case, be aware that placing the bedrooms on separate floors may mean the lower one is much smaller.

Noise Issues

In a well-constructed townhouse, noise should not be an issue between units, and it should not be a major issue between floors. Of course, if you walk very heavily or drop something, anyone downstairs might hear you, and this is a risk anyone in the downstairs bedroom would face. But having one of the bedrooms downstairs exposes the occupant to another issue: general noise through the bedroom door from the living room and kitchen. How quiet that downstairs room will be is almost entirely dependent on the layout of the floor, because even if everyone in the townhome is as quiet as can be, a bedroom that is right off the kitchen and living room will still get noise.

However, if the bedroom is down a hallway and separated by closets, for example, then the noise may be less of an issue. If you want a downstairs bedroom, look for a townhouse where there is separation between the bedroom and the rest of the floor. Otherwise, look for a townhome where all bedrooms are upstairs.

Reach out to a local real estate agent for help finding two-bedroom townhomes.