What is a Split Level House? 6 Types of Split Level Architecture & Their Common Features

What Are the Common Characteristics of Split-Level Homes?

The distinctive architecture of split-level homes has made a significant mark on the housing landscape, offering a unique blend of style and functionality. Characterized by staggered floor levels that create a multi-dimensional living space, split-level homes have gained popularity for their versatility and aesthetic appeal. Let's explore the common characteristics of split-level architecture, shedding light on the architectural elements that make these homes stand out.

What Is a Split-Level House?

A split-level house is a type of home with multiple floors connected by short flights of stairs, often featuring low-pitched roofs, integrated garages, large living areas, and double-hung windows. 

This unique architecture offers classic appeal with distinct areas for different activities within the house. They tend to have open floor plans, provide lots of space, and may even offer multiple attics for storage. Plus, their minimalistic decor incorporating natural materials adds to their charm. For those looking for a classic style and extra privacy, split-level homes offer advantages worth exploring further.

Types of Split-Level Homes

Split-level architecture is a unique and creative style of home with several different variations. 

  • Standard split-level homes have three sections, with the lower section a garage or den 
  • Split-foyer houses have two levels, with two sets of stairs connecting them
  • Split-entry homes feature three to four levels
  • Stacked-split homes have four to five floors for ample space
  • Side-split homes have bedrooms in a separate section from the main quarters.

Standard Split

Split-Level Homes Have Plenty of Living Space

You'll find that standard splits have low-pitched roofs, integrated garages, large living areas, and multiple attics for storage. This classic style of split-level architecture uses minimal decorations and natural materials to give it a timeless look. With the perfect balance between form and function, this type of house is sure to appeal to homebuyers who appreciate its unique features and who want to implement classic split-level home decor ideas.

The layout provides distinct areas for different activities while offering plenty of space for residents. Double-hung windows are often seen in standard split houses, flanking a large picture window to bring in light and life. These homes sometimes offer extra attic storage spaces—making organizing easy. 


Ideal for larger households, the split foyer has two separate entrances, one to the main living area and one to the lower level. The upper level holds bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room, while the lower level offers additional bedrooms or home office space.

This style offers ample space to live comfortably while also providing privacy and separation between areas of use. 

The split-foyer layout creates an inviting atmosphere where everyone can join together or retreat into their own private oasis. With natural materials and open floor plans, a split-foyer layout is a classic look sure to add style and comfort to any home.

Stacked Split

Stacked split houses offer a unique style of split-level architecture, featuring two or three stories connected by short flights of stairs. This type of home is distinctive for its double-hung windows, low-pitched roof, and large picture windows. Inside, you’ll often find attic storage space and spacious living areas. Natural materials showcased throughout the home create an inviting atmosphere.

The stacked-split layout provides distinct areas for different activities while maintaining a classic look that appeals to many homebuyers. A stacked-split home may also present drawbacks like limited natural light and more complex remodelling projects due to staircase location.

Side Split

Side-split homes are a great way to get the most out of your living space, with their distinct areas for different activities and overall classic style. These homes feature low-pitched roofs, integrated garages, large living rooms, multiple attics for storage, and double-hung windows with a large picture window. 

They offer an inviting atmosphere, perfect for larger gatherings. Side-split houses also provide more outdoor space due to their multiple levels. With their unique layout and design, side splits can be ideal for those seeking something special in a home. Their classic look provides a sense of belonging and comfort that will make you feel right at home. 


Backsplit houses offer a unique layout that offers distinct areas for different activities while providing an opportunity for convenient outdoor space. Backsplit homes feature low-pitched roofs, integrated garages, and large living areas with a classic look and natural materials. The layout is spacious yet intimate at the same time, allowing residents and guests to enjoy privacy as well as communal gathering spaces.

Common Features of Split-Level Homes

Generally speaking, the style of a split-level home is known for its simplicity and minimal decoration. Popular features of split-level homes include large exterior windows that allow plenty of natural light to enter the home. These windows are often double-hung or casement styles, creating an expansive view of the outdoors; they’re a popular option for those trying to maximize waterfront home views.

Additionally, these homes have integrated garage spaces and in some cases, separate entrances to each level. The separation between different levels allows residents more privacy within their own living areas while still feeling connected and part of one unit. 

Split-Level vs. Bi-Level Homes

While many might confuse split-level and bi-level homes, there is a difference. Also known as a “raised ranch,” bi-level homes offer two separate levels with an entrance between them. The upper level of raised ranch homes typically consists of the main living area, including a living room, kitchen, dining, and bedrooms. Meanwhile, the lower level is usually half underground and has space for bedrooms or laundry rooms. This style of architecture provides plenty of privacy and ample space for residents to enjoy.

The Enduring Appeal of Split-Level Homes

Split-level architecture continues to captivate homeowners and designers alike with its innovative approach to space utilization and aesthetic allure. This architectural style offers a dynamic living experience that seamlessly integrates form and function. From its spacious living areas to its efficient use of land, split-level homes exemplify adaptability and creativity in the realm of residential design.

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