What is a duplex house? All you need to know

[] Let us find about duplex house and how it is different from two-storey homes

Duplex House

Although duplex house have become quite common in Indian real estate, a lot of confusion still persists, with regard to duplex house meaning. As duplex house are often confused with two-storey home, let us find out what are duplex houses and how are they different from two-storey homes.

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What is duplex house?

A duplex house is a residential building constructed on two floors. It has a single dining room and a single kitchen. Duplex house design has a common central wall and consists of two living units, either side-by-side or on two floors, with separate entries. While there are two floors in duplex houses, it is sold together and owned by an individual. It may have separate entry points for both floors.

In India, a duplex house design generally has kitchen, hall and bedrooms on the lower floor while the upper floor houses the master bedroom. Meaning of duplex house is a house that always has two floors and never three or four floors, in which case it would be called a multiplex. While in Hindi duplex house or flat meaning is Dohara manzil, it is commonly known as duplex house.

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All about duplex houses

In western countries, duplex house may even house two families, where each floor is a separate dwelling altogether. Duplex houses can provide healthy rental returns, because the owner family can always rent out one section of their property to tenants. In such cases, the entrance will be separate and a common wall will divide the large house into two.

All about duplex houses

All about duplex houses

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Duplex house types

Duplex house design can comprise of living units side-by-side or as two floors. Usually, types of duplex houses include:

  • Standard duplex house: Duplex house designed as a two-storey house, where one floor is connected to the second floor by stairs. In a duplex flat, the lower floor comprises the living room and the kitchen while the upper floors include bedrooms and the kids’ rooms.
  • Ground duplex house: Duplex house designed such that they are built on the ground floors of apartments, wherein the lower floors face a garden and include the bedrooms. The upper floor of the duplex apartment comprises the living room and kitchen. These types of duplex houses are suited for home owners who prefer gardens and have pets.
  • Low-rise duplex: This duplex house design includes spacious balconies and an attic on the second floor. Usually, duplex houses are built over a smaller area, as compared to other types of duplex houses and making these small duplex house designs and pictures require much deliberation by the architects.

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Factors affecting the rooms in duplex houses

The number of rooms in a duplex house depends on several factors.

  • Location of the property: Generally, types of duplex houses located in cosmopolitan cities are smaller in size than the ones located in the outskirts of the city. The smaller the size of a duplex house, the lesser will be the number of rooms.
  • Layout of the duplex: Generally, duplex house design follows a uniform layout with bedrooms, kitchen, dining room and a living room in one floor and a master bedroom in the other. However, individuals can choose a different duplex house design layout where the number of rooms is greater with each room having a smaller area.

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Duplex house advantages

A duplex house has several benefits and here are some reasons why you should choose it as your first home:

  • A duplex house provides individuals with tax benefits and fetches added revenue. Owners can buy a duplex house, live in one side and rent the other. This increases the owner’s returns from the investment they made on the property.
  • Both, the buyers and tenants of a duplex house, enjoy greater mortgage facilities in a duplex house. The owner can recoup some of the interest paid on the mortgage, if he rents a portion of it, rather than owning the entire property on his own.
  • A duplex house design can serve many purposes. In case you want to set up an office, you can simply set it up on one floor and have a home-office. As duplex house are huge and spacious, one gets access to privacy in such apartments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when work from home became the norm, spaces in duplex house served as place for office, school, etc., among other work.
  • Duplex house is an ideal solution for a joint family where families want to stay together but also like to have their privacy.

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Duplex house disadvantages

  • Common walls in a duplex houses may lead to transmission of noise. This might cause disturbance for the residents.
  • Duplex houses are not common in India. So, of you are looking for one, you might not find many options.
  • If you plan to rent out a part of your property, sharing the duplex house could be a tricky situation, because of the commonality of the space involved.  It is also true that you would find it hard to get a tenant for a duplex house.
  • A duplex house is often an aspirational lifestyle choice but if you are looking to reap returns from it, you must be careful. Duplex houses in India are more common in places where there is considerable land bank. Most Indian cities have now given way to high-rises due to limited land bank.
  • If you are looking to construct or invest in a duplex house, you may have to look at the suburbs and peripheries. The risk sets in if you are looking to earn a handsome rent out of it, which may not be possible in the peripheral areas. Note that southern cities, most noticeably, parts of Kerala, Hyderabad and Bangalore, still have duplex houses

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What is duplex house design and construction cost in India? 

The duplex house cost is one of top factors to consider before investment.

Depending on the exact location and city, a duplex house design and construction may cost anywhere above Rs 1,500 per sq ft if you go in for basic finishing materials. Check out duplex house in your city only on

This brings us to an interesting question on can you convert a duplex home into a single home? There is a lot of planning required, before altering the structure of a house and making a duplex house design. Redesigning the layout of a house is easier, if it involves just the removal of internal walls. This is especially true considering the duplex house construction cost that is usually higher. However, when renovating a duplex house, it is essential to determine and plan the new layout. Consider if each floor has space for a kitchen, a living room and minimum of one bathroom. Find out if some plumbing and electrical works will be required, when removing the non-load bearing walls. It is advisable to consult a structural engineer or an architect, before remodelling your house.

Is it easy to find buyers for a duplex house? 

Most property buyers who opt for duplex houses, prefer to invest in it for end-use. For some reason, if they wish to resell the unit, finding the right buyer may be tough. The exact location, demand for such homes, pricing and the city, also matter. However, this does not mean that selling a duplex house in the secondary market is impossible. There are many buyers looking for properties other than apartments.

One of the common concerns about the purchase of duplex houses is the safety factor. Unless it is within a gated community, you should take some efforts to ensure safety in and around your property.

Duplex house comparisons

Duplex houses versus two-storey house

Duplex house meaning translates to always a two-storeyed structure but all two-storeyed buildings may not be categorised as duplex houses. While types of duplex houses are many, in duplex house design, the floors are connected through a staircase, while two-storeyed properties may be independent of each other and may or may not be connected.

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Duplex house versus villa

A villa may or may not be a two-storeyed property and is usually larger than a duplex house. Both are used for residential purposes but a villa is considered as a plush purchase, when compared to a duplex. A villa is generally the first choice for those who want total privacy. In fact, the villa concept dates back to the Roman era, when the rich and the famous moved to the countryside during the summers. Today, villas may be independently owned homes in a plot of land but yet are within a gated community. Villas also offer amenities such as a clubhouse, gym, pool, etc., unlike a duplex.

All about duplex houses

Duplex house versus townhouse

A townhouse can have more living spaces but a duplex house typically has only two. Further, a duplex house is first purchased by an owner and then rented by a tenant. This is not the case for a town house as individuals directly own the property. Thus, owners of a townhouse can bring about changes in the property but a tenant in a duplex house cannot do so without the permission of the owner. So, the property owner should will be responsible for the duplex house construction cost and renovation cost.

All about duplex houses

Duplex house versus penthouse 

Unlike a duplex house whose meaning is a two-storeyed property, a penthouse is always located in the top floor of a multi-storey building or apartment. These units are expensive, as they offer a good view and are generally the only unit on that particular floor design. All the units that were supposed to be on this floor, are consolidated into one.

All about duplex houses

All about duplex houses

Duplex house versus independent house 

The term ‘independent home’ is used interchangeably to refer to villas, duplex houses and the like. An independent house may have as many floors as desired but a duplex house design essentially has two floors.

Duplex house versus flat 

While both kinds of properties have their own pros and cons, a duplex house will come with more responsibilities than a flat. The duplex house would need more maintenance and upkeep and this means more expenses. For flats, while the maintenance would be less and there will be fewer responsibilities, the experience would be limited to the space inside, as open spaces will have to be shared with other society members. Nevertheless, liquidating an apartment property would be easier than selling a duplex house.


What is the difference between apartment and duplex house?

Apartment units are usually part of a high-rise, unlike a duplex house which is essentially a two-storeyed structure, which may have two living units and two different entry points, as well.

What is the difference between a two-storey house and a duplex house?

A duplex house is always a two-storeyed structure but all two-storeyed buildings may not be categorised as duplex houses. In duplex houses, the floors are connected through a staircase while two-storeyed properties may be independent of each other and may or may not be connected.

(With inputs from Sneha Sharon Mammen)

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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