Many people mistakenly assume that a tight budget means thier search is limited to small one story home plans. This is also coupled with the misconception two story home plans are always more costly than ranch plans. Neither is true. There's no short supply of practical and affordable home design plans in either style - perhaps more so for one story home plans, but certainly each style has its fair share of lavish and large-scale layouts as well.
If you're looking to make specific comparisons between the two styles, generally, one story homes feature more spacious open floor house plans than their two story counterparts. But one story plans also often leave a larger footprint that two story home plans, meaning they may require a larger lot.
The openness of one story home plans usually allows for air and natural light to circulate more freely throughout the house. Ranch house plans with an open layout are the most popular plan style for those seeking spaciousness and light in their home. There is also the practical concern of a home with stairs, which can prove an inconvenience for aging seniors and families with small children.
Two story home plans offer many benefits as well. Despite often having a smaller footprint than a ranch home due to the space gained from having a second floor of living space, they offer a distinct separation between general living area and sleeping quarters. Two story homes are popular for families with children as they offer more opportunity for privacy than ranch homes due to the two floors of living space in the home.
There is a solution, ala the split-level layout. With living space on multiple levels separated by short flights of stairs leading up or down, split-level designs are a great middle-of-the-road alternative to traditional one and two story home plans.