When we wrote about the top-ranked best sellers from our house plan subsidiary several months ago, one discriminating respondent, commenting on the relatively large size of these plans, said that given the state of home building today, it would have been more useful to review the best-selling small plans.


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So, here they are—10 of the best-selling house plans under 2,000 square feet. Once again, the selection is based on data provided by our house plan operation, the largest in the country, which provides the plans for dozens of house plan books along with the search engines BUILDER House Plans and ePlans.


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Most of these homes owe their best-seller status to a pleasing elevation that could fit into many neighborhoods, though usually not in the master planned communities in which large production builders toil. That’s because usually house plans are chosen for use on scattered lots and must be more versatile. On the inside, you will see striking similarities among these plans, most notably the prevalence of great rooms. Living rooms get left on the cutting-room floor in house plans of this size. Also, in virtually every case, the great rooms connect to kitchens and even breakfast nooks to create the impression of a bigger house.

Another common denominator? Bonus space. Most of the plans give buyers the option of using space over the garage as an attic or as finished space, but some do an ingenious job of integrating additional space into main living areas that can be converted into an extra bedroom, office, or media room. You’ll also find that at least one room in each of these plans—in addition to the bonus room—can serve several functions if family circumstances change. A playroom can become a media room can become an office can become an in-law suite, which represents an important nod by plan designers to the circle of life at home.

A surprising variety of garage configurations are present—everything from side loads to turn-ins to front-loads. And, though many architectural styles are represented, most of the homes go for the cozy charm of country or cottage looks that seem most at home in a small plan.

Boyce Thompson is editorial director of BUILDER magazine.