Small lot house designs: tips on how to live large in a tiny space

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small lot house designs: modern home

It’s no secret that lot sizes are getting smaller in Australia, but that doesn’t mean you have to squeeze your family into a cramped space. If your house is cleverly laid out and designed, you can still have a spacious home.

In this blog, we’ll help you choose from the most popular small lot house designs. We’ll also share some clever ideas on how you can maximise the available space.

Let’s begin!

small lot house designs in historic neighbourhood

What is the average house size in Australia?

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average site area decreased by 13% over the last decade to 432 square metres. However, the average floor area only decreased by 1%, now measuring 242 square metres. 

These two trends show that Aussies have been building similar-sized houses with smaller yards. Factors causing these changes include:

  • Increasing land costs
  • Construction in urban infill locations
  • More two-storey houses are being built on smaller lots

What is considered a small lot in Australia?

In general, any lot that is less than 450 square metres is considered small. These lots typically have a frontage of 10 metres or less.

Advantages of small lot house designs

Don’t let a small site area get you down. There are plenty of advantages of buying and building on a smaller lot, such as:


Buying a smaller or irregular-shaped block of land usually translates into greater savings. You can use the money you save to purchase premium finishes or high-end appliances.

Opportunities to create unique building designs

Small, narrow, or irregularly shaped lots create unique design challenges and opportunities. By working with a skilled and experienced building designer, you can create a home that will stand out from the rest.

Greater accessibility

One of the most common reasons to buy a small plot of land is the location. Even if the land’s site area is small, if it’s close to your workplace or your extended family, then it’s something you should seriously consider.

small lot house designs: modern two-storey

Popular small lot house designs

Having a small lot doesn’t mean you have to compromise on space. With the right building design, you can still have a comfortable dwelling. Some of your options include:

Two-storey house

Building a two-storey home typically costs less per square metre compared to building an expansive bungalow. That’s partly because the foundation and the roof are being built in a small space. Plumbing and electrical wiring lines also cover less distance.

Additionally, having a two-storey house means that you get more privacy. You don’t have to worry about guests accidentally barging into your bedrooms while they’re looking for a bathroom.

Small lot house designs for two-storey homes

1. Simple modern home

This modern home has all the elements of a contemporary house: a flat roof, a neutral colour scheme, and floor-to-ceiling windows.

2. Two-storey craftsman

The classic craftsman design works well with a 2-storey layout. The example here has a pitch roof canopy below the main pitch roof, creating beautiful symmetry.

small lot house designs: two-storey craftsman

3. Traditional two-storey house

This traditional two-storey house offers plenty of space in a compact design. The verandah and picket fences also give it a unique character.

4. High pitch roof house

When building a house on a small lot, go as high up as possible. The same goes for your roof – a house with a high pitch roof provides space for an extra room or storage area.

small lot house designs: pitch roof house

Three-storey house

Building a three-storey detached house on a small lot is one of the best ways to save space. You get all the benefits of having a two-storey home, plus some additional space. You can use the third level as a master suite, a home office, an expansive storage room, or a rooftop entertainment area.

Small lot house designs for three-storey homes

1. Modern three-storey dwelling

This modern three-storey house features expansive windows on all three levels. Dark blue wall cladding also gives it a unique facade.

small lot house designs: modern three-storey house

2. Tall French manor

This three-storey French manor features classically European-style timber framing.

3. Juliet balcony house

This unique Austrian-style house features a Juliet balcony on the second and third levels, as well as the attic.

small lot house designs: symmetrical three-storey house

Narrow lot house

Narrow lots are often more affordable compared to square or rectangular lots. You’ll also get more natural lighting when you’re on the higher floors.

There’s a catch, though: if you’re building in an urban or suburban area, you usually need to follow a planning or development plan for the space. This means you’ll have less freedom to design the space according to your personal preferences.

Small lot house designs for narrow homes

1. Modern Melbourne residence

This residential area in Melbourne features rows of modern narrow homes. Each house follows a single home design to maintain uniformity.

narrow houses in Melbourne neighbourhood

2. Colourful narrow townhouses

These narrow houses have brightly coloured exterior cladding to distinguish one house from another.

3. Distinct narrow buildings

These gorgeous narrow houses each feature a distinctive window design for each floor.

Irregular lot house

Irregular lots refer to any block of land that’s not square or rectangular. These include lots with an asymmetric shape or an irregular number of sides. They pose unique opportunities for building designers and builders to create one-of-a-kind house designs.

Small lot house designs for irregular lots

1. Irregular pavement house

These houses are specifically shaped to fit into the irregular space near the pavement. They feature a skillion roof to further enhance the asymmetrical shape of the house.

2. One-of-a-kind slope house

This house rests on a gentle slope. The designer added landscaping to balance out the elevated area from the rest of the space.

small lot house designs: irregular slope house

Tips for creating small lot house designs

Living large in a small block is possible with good building design. Here are some ways you can maximise your small lot:

Check the regulations

As with any type of property, check the regulations before you start your project. Pay special attention to property setbacks, since you will want to maximise the part of the lot you can build a structure on.

You can enlist the help of a land surveyor to ensure that your house plans get approved. This will also help prevent legal disputes further down the road.

Try an open floor plan

An open floor plan refers to a large, open space that incorporates multiple rooms, such as the living room, kitchen, and dining area. Instead of walls, you can separate spaces using furniture or area rugs. This open layout creates an airy and inviting environment, while also making your house feel more spacious.

house with open floor plan

Create multi-functional rooms

When building on a small lot, you need to make your rooms as flexible and as multipurpose as possible. You can build a study room or home office that can also function as a guest room, for example. You can do this by adding a sofa bed or a pull-down Murphy bed.

small lot house designs: murphy bed

Maximise your outdoor space

Since the house has a small backyard, you need to maximise what you have. Install bifold doors to blend your indoor and outdoor living spaces and make both parts of your home feel spacious. Clerestory windows that are attached to these doors can also make your house feel bright and airy.

indoor outdoor space

Build a functional basement or loft

Maximising your lot area means building as many levels as possible. If you can’t build a three-storey or four-storey abode, you can still expand your floor area by creating a functional basement or loft. You can turn these rooms into a home gym, an extra bedroom, a playroom, or a family room.

To ensure that your basement or loft is comfortable and habitable, follow the guidelines set by the Australian Building Codes Board regarding standard ceiling heights. Sufficient ventilation and insulation are also a must.

Wondering how much your custom home will cost? Register now for a free quote.

small lot house designs with basement

Start building a custom home with Superdraft

Building a two-storey or three-storey house on a small lot can be more affordable and practical compared to building a single-storey home on an expansive lot. With a clever building design, you can still have all the space you need without having to worry about living far from your workplace, friends, or family.

Regardless of what type of custom home you’d like to build, Superdraft can help! Using our platform you can:

  • Connect with building design and drafting professionals who are experts in creating small lot house designs
  • See a 3D version of your home prior to build
  • Find a reliable builder to tender your house plans
  • Learn the steps to obtaining council approval for your home construction project
  • Monitor every step of the process using an online project planning dashboard

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