New Home Tips, Trends, and Ideas - Raleigh Custom Home Builders

Two Story Great Room Vs Adding a Bonus Room

Posted by Penny Hull on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 @ 04:09 AM

Two Ways to Organize Your Home Layout:

One of the most frequently asked questions about new home floor plans is: can I add a bonus room upstairs, instead of the two story living room?

For most floor plans, the answer is YES. See two versions of the same floor plan built in Raleigh, NC.

The first has a two story great room. The second has an upstairs bonus room. Which layout would you pick for your new home?

Great Room Floor Plan | Raleigh Custom Home Builder

Side-by-Side Photos of the same Great Room:


Great Room Layout #1: Two Story Ceilings with curved window wall


Great Room Layout #2: Bonus Room above the great room

Two Story Great Room | Raleigh Brick Homes

Bonus Above the Great Room | Raleigh Brick Homes

While each of these great rooms has a two sided fireplace that looks into the sun room, the first photo has an entry cut-out on each side of the great room.

The first version has a larger built in bookcase, wainscoting above the fireplace, and hardwoods throughout.

Transom windows give the second version more natural light and the full wall makes space for additional furniture and storage.

Great Room Layout #1: Two Story Foyer Overlook and Great Room Overlook


Great Room Layout #2: Two Story Foyer (but no overlook to the great room)

Two Story Great Room | Raleigh Brick Homes

 Bonus Room Above Great Room | Raleigh Brick Homes

A two story ceiling calls for a hallway overlook along the great room. A single story ceiling makes room for a bonus space upstairs.

Upstairs Bonus Room

By keeping the downstairs great room to a single story ceiling height, you're able to add a second story bonus room with loft style overlook. The bonus room still gives you the second curved wall of windows, just in a separate space:

Upstairs Bonus Room Plans | Raleigh Brick Homes

Upstairs Bonus Room Plans | Raleigh Brick Homes

There are pros and cons to each layout. Which version of this floor plan is your favorite, the two story great room with huge window wall OR a bonus room above, which adds tons of square footage in a usable space?

See the Cotswold Floor Plan here.


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More Side-by-Side Photos of The Cotswold:


Great Room


Master Suite

Master Bath

Sun Room


Tags: design tips, two story living room design, raleigh nc homes