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31 Key Points for Ranch Style Homes

Why are ranch plans so popular?

What is the appeal, and who is looking at ranch house plans anyway?

In this article we will look into these questions and answers, and help you determine if a ranch plan is right for you!

Ranch style houses are perfect for the new home owners and people looking for cost effective options.

Apart from the highly economic architecture of these houses, there are several plans available for a good ranch home. If you are a person that loves space, you could opt for open ranch style floor plans and in case you like the minimal concept, you could go for tiny little small house plans.

No matter what your preferences are, ranch home plans can be customized and tailored to a great extent to meet your style.

Let us look at EVERYTHING you need to know before deciding that ranch style home is what you need for you and your family.

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What exactly are Ranch Style Homes?

Ranch style homes or Ramblers are usually one story houses with well-built basements. They are wider than they are deep.

Ranch home plans are usually very simple and divided into two parts – living part and the sleeping part. Just like the interiors, the exteriors too are highly limited to just a handful of ornamental pieces. Ranch home plans are highly cost effective and thus make up for the best starter homes.

The most popular versions include simple open ranch floor plans, raised ranches and split-level home plans.

History of Ranch Home Plans

The post war era saw the rise of several kinds of home designs. While some of them were luxurious, most of them focused on making efficient use of land and resources available.

Ranch home plans were also a part of this boom and gained popularity because these plans focused on using the land as efficiently as possible without compromising on the comfort levels. These houses used single story house plans and easily available building material to fulfill all the requirements of the home owners. The walls were mostly constructed using bricks and plaster and the roofs were usually kept low to cut down the building cost.

The floor plans were usually U –shaped and had a courtyard in the middle. During that period these kinds of houses were common in the upcoming suburbs and by 1950, ranch home plans were the most widely used floor plans in California and neighboring regions. They were so popular that statistics show that 9 out of every 10 houses in the region were based on ranch home plans.

Polished over Time

Slowly the style got viral and spread across the whole of America.

The ability of a ranch style plan to accommodate each and every requirement of the home owners combined with simple and economical designs contributed to the popularity of the house plan. Another significant development in ranch home plans was the regional facelifts given to these plans to suit the natural climate and conditions of the region.

For example, the ranch home plans in California had a mid-west colonial feel while as the style moved away from California, this feel started diminishing and the east style started dominating the ranch home plans.

However, one thing that stayed constant was a touch of American colonial features which are still intact even in the modern ranch house plans. The ranch houses of the 1950s were rugged and by the time these houses got popular in 1960s, the houses were more polished and looked sophisticated.

Rise and Fall

Ranch style homes dominated the market for several years before seeing a decline in 1970s when home owners started moving towards formal and traditional options.

This forced the builders to cut down on the cost of building ranch home plans to keep them lucrative and in fashion; but all the attempts to keep the style alive worsened the situation as cost cutting led to simplification of designs which eventually made the ranch homes uninteresting and boring.

By 1970s, the ranch home plans were no longer the houses that people wanted and unluckily they were overshadowed by modern neo-electric houses which had a modern European taste. Another factor that contributed to the decline of ranch home plans was the rise in the price of the land. An increased price meant decrease in the average plot size and thus construction of multi-story houses which were totally against small ranch house plans was the need of the hour.

These 2 factors – lack of formal feel and decreased plot size ensured the decline of the ranch style houses in the whole of United States of America.

However, there were some regions in the country that were not so densely populated that witnessed the construction of modern ranch home plans.

Ranch Revival

Until the beginning of the 20th century, ranch home plans were unwanted and boring but last 2 decades have seen the revival of interest in these kinds of houses.

Although people have again started looking at ranch house plans as something desirable, the focus is not on constructing the new ones but reviving the already existing ones.

There are several reasons behind this surprising revival of interest in ranch home plans:

  • Due to their simple design, the young buyers find them affordable in many markets of the country.

  • Again, thanks to the simple single story design, aged people find it super-friendly and easy to navigate in.

  • Another factor contributing to the revival of ranch home plans is the American nature of it. Younger generation feels attracted to something that invokes their emotions; and these houses with all their American history and character are perfect example of an emotion invoking thing.

  • The current generation wants something more personal than formal. The simplicity and flexibility provided by ranch home plans is perfect for youngsters to experiment and give their house their personal taste and touch.

  • The young buyers looking for modern looking houses find the modernist Eichlers or Cliff May designs very attractive.

  • Many neighborhoods are now well established with decent amount of fauna around them making the houses in them an attractive investment.

  • Since the focus is on revival of the existing ranch home plans, the cost of construction is minimized and the fact that most of them were fitted with cooling and heating systems even in the 1970s ensures easy and quick upgrading of equipment required for living a safe and comfortable life.

Although the construction of new ranch homes is not in fashion, 2007/08 saw a little bit of construction of these home plans.

These homes were inspired form the 1950s versions and built on 1/4th acre of land each.

[These articles are donated for your benefit, Share Some Love]

Features of Good Ranch home Plans

Although there are various ranch house floor plans available for you to consider, there are certain key elements that are common to all the ranch home plans.

  1. Ranch home plans are usually a single story structure. This ensures lower cost of construction.

  2. Ranch homes are usually spread over a large area thus making them horizontally dominating.

  3. They are usually wider than they are deep.

  4. Ranch home plans have a well finished basement.

  5. These plans usually keep a hipped roof in order to cover the windows from the warmth of the sun.

  6. They have an inner courtyard with a L or U shaped house around them.

  7. The rooms are usually big and free flowing with no or minimal walls. The idea is to ensure as much usage of land as possible.

  8. The construction material used should be cheap yet of a good quality.

  9. Usage of ornaments to beautify the exteriors and interiors should be highly limited. High amount of ornamentation will result in higher costs which defeats the purpose of ranch home plans.

  10. The houses are equipped with a garage with a big door that is designed in a way so it does not dominate the main door.

  11. The modern ranch plans accommodate the installation of heating and cooling systems, security systems and automated systems.

  12. The house plans usually contain sliding doors to save space and achieve the minimalist feel.

  13. The windows are usually big, beautiful and have decent looking countertops.

  14. The exteriors are usually built with brick, wood and stucco.

  15. One striking feature of ranch home plans is the patio area just outside for cool patio summer evenings.

The two most basic principles of a ranch home are cost and space.

Since the first ranch homes that were built in the 1950s to the ones that are being renovated today, these two principles have always been considered while making any modification to the plan; and this is the reason that ranch home plans are still the most affordable option available to buyers.

Variations and Modernization

Ranch home plans, initially were simple structures.

They were made for people who wanted open spaces, less decoration and big comfort at an affordable price. This is why most of the plans were single story and horizontally significant. However, as the times advanced, prices of the land increased and families expanded; the need to accommodate more people in smaller houses aroused.

This led to several variations in the traditional style of ranch home plans. Out of all these variations, there were 2 versions that became popular among the people then. These were Raised Ranch and Split-Level Ranch homes.

2 Story Ranch Plans

Raised Ranch home plans are 2 story houses that have their roofs raised to accommodate the second floor.

The lower story is at the ground level or a little submerged in the ground. Stairs to the second floor are provided near the door. Although this kind of ranch house does not appeal to everyone but the objective of constructing a raised ranch house is achieved successfully.

The raised ranch houses have a hint of Neo-Mediterranean, Neo-Colonial, and other contemporary styles. The raised ranch home plans have been modified a lot to suit the customer’s taste but a few features that are common to all the raised ranch house are listed below.

  1. Raised ranches, unlike simple ranch house plans have 2 stories.

  2. They have a submerged basement.

  3. Like normal ranch homes, they have a garage, a sliding door leading to a patio, big windows and gable roof.

  4. The roof is asymmetrical in nature.

  5. Ornamentation is limited just to a few pieces on the inside as well outside to keep the house budget friendly.

Split Level Ranch Plans

Another multi-story version of the ranch floor plans that gained popularity is the split-level ranch style. A raised ranch style as we discussed earlier has 2 stories while a split level ranch style has 3 or more stories.

In this style of ranch house, the house is divided into several parts. One part of the house is raised while the other is lowered; and this is where the concept gets its name from – split level.

This version of the house was invented by Frank Lloyd Wright, who believed in separating the living room from the private parts of the house by just a few stairs rather than a big flight of stairs. Also, he wanted to create version of ranch home plans that would ‘blend’ into the landscape easily and look beautiful.

The only difference between a split level ranch home plan and a raised ranch home plan is how the stairs are placed. Other than that, everything stays the same – big windows, low roof, asymmetrical nature of the roof, low ornamentation and a patio. However, there are various sub-version of a split level plan.

Here are the most popular ones:

  1. Front door opening on a landing. Facing the landing is a staircase that goes down and a parallel set of steps lead up.

  2. The front door opens into an entry wing. To one side of the entrance, the stairs lead up and to the other, the stairs lead down.

  3. The main door opens into the living area and somewhere in the room, a small flight of stairs lead down while adjacent to that a small staircase leads up.

  4. The main entrance opens into the mud area and from here a small staircase leads up to the living area and then continues to lead up to the bedrooms.


Now that you know everything that you needed to know before investing in ranch home plans, there are a few considerations that you should make before moving into one.

The ranch homes built in the 1950-70s are somewhere around 1,000 to 1,500 square feet, excluding basements while the modern houses can easily be 3000 square feet.

Ranch homes usually have 3 bedrooms and a lot of open spaces. However, early ranch home plans are usually built in large subdivisions; which gives little scope of customization while the newer ones built as per an individual’s preferences and taste.

Once you have considered the size of your family, pocket, future and you have your preferences clear, search for ranch home plans that can fulfill all the conditions; so you do not have to settle for anything less.

[These articles are donated for your benefit, Share Some Love]

Continue reading about Ranch House Plans, and other top styles by visiting our

Style Selection Page or learn more about our previous projects, inspirations and highly affordable packages at our Home Page.

Thank you for visiting, we hope we can craft your dream home soon.

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