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What Is A Ranch Style Home? [Ranch House Guide]

What Is A Ranch Style Home? [Ranch House Guide]

A ranch-style home is a popular architectural style that originated in the United States. While you may recognize it by name, you may not be as familiar with what it is and the history behind it! So what is a ranch style home?

A ranch-style home is a single-story house with a low-pitched roof and a long, rectangular layout typically associated with the American West. First popularized in the 1950s and 1960s, ranch-style homes are characterized by their open floor plans, simple exterior design, and easy indoor-outdoor living.

The ranch-style home gained popularity in the post-World War II era when returning soldiers and their families were seeking affordable and functional homes. The style became a symbol of the American dream, with its simple and practical design that emphasized indoor-outdoor living.

Today, the ranch-style home remains a popular choice for many homeowners due to its timeless appeal and versatility.

Whether you are looking for a cozy starter home or a spacious family residence, a ranch-style home may be the perfect fit for your lifestyle and needs!

What Is A Ranch Style House?

A ranch house is a single-story home that is typically wider than it is deep, with a long, low-pitched roofline. This architectural style originated in the United States in the 1930s, and it quickly became a popular choice for homeowners due to its practicality and simplicity.

One of the defining characteristics of a ranch style home is its open floor plan.

The interior of the house is typically designed with an emphasis on function and flow, with few walls dividing the living spaces. This creates a sense of spaciousness and allows for easy movement throughout the home.

Ranch homes also often feature large windows that let in plenty of natural light!

These windows are usually positioned low on the walls, which helps to maintain privacy while still providing a connection to the outdoors.

The exterior of a ranch style house is typically clad in a mix of materials, such as stucco, wood, brick, or stone.

Other common features of a ranch include:

  • A simple, rectangular or L-shaped floor plan
  • A low-pitched roof with wide eaves
  • An attached garage
  • A covered porch or patio
  • A focus on indoor-outdoor living

Overall, a ranch-style home is designed to be functional, comfortable, and easy to live in. Its simple and practical design has made it a popular choice for homeowners for nearly a century.

History of Ranch Homes


Ranch homes date back to the 1930s and are thought to have originated in California!

Architect Cliff May is credited with designing the first ranch-style home in 1932 in San Diego.

The style quickly gained popularity throughout the 1930s and the post-World War II era.

Popularity in the 1950s and 60s

During the 1950s and 60s, ranch-style homes became the most popular style of home in the United States. The open floor plan and accessibility of the homes made them appealing to families.

Ranch homes were typically one-story homes with low-pitched roofs, attached garages, and large windows.

They were often built with simple, basic designs, but by the early 1960s, ranch-style homes began to feature more dramatic features such as varying roof lines, cathedral ceilings, sunken living rooms, and extensive landscaping and grounds.

The popularity of ranch-style homes began to decline in the 1970s as other styles of homes, such as split-level and bi-level homes, gained popularity.

However, the ranch-style home remains a classic American home style that is still popular today.

Characteristics of Ranch Style Homes

Characteristics of Ranch-Style Houses

Exterior Ranch Features

The ranch-style home is a single-story house that typically has a low-pitched roof with wide eaves, large windows, and an attached garage. The exterior of these homes usually features a simple and clean design with minimal ornamentation.

The low-pitched roofline is one of the most recognizable features of the ranch-style home. The roofline is usually parallel to the ground, and the eaves are wide and overhanging.

This design helps to create a shaded outdoor space and provides protection from the elements.

The large windows on all sides of the house are another characteristic of the ranch-style home. These windows allow for plenty of natural light to enter the home and provide a connection to the outdoors.

Interior Ranch Features

The interior of the ranch-style home is typically designed with an open floor plan, which allows for easy flow between rooms and creates a spacious feel. The main living areas, including the kitchen, dining room, and living room, are usually located in the center of the home.

The bedrooms and bathrooms are typically located on one side of the home, while the garage and utility areas are located on the other side. This design helps to create a separation between the public and private areas of the home.

The ranch-style home is also known for its functional design. The rooms are typically square or rectangular in shape, which makes them easy to furnish and decorate.

The homes are also designed to be energy-efficient, with features such as double-pane windows and insulation to help keep the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

What are some common problems or maintenance issues associated with Ranch Style Homes?

Ranch style homes are popular for their simple and functional design, but like any home, they can come with their own set of maintenance issues.

Here are some common problems that ranch style homeowners may encounter:

  • Roofing issues: Ranch style homes typically have low-pitched roofs, which can make them more susceptible to leaks and damage from heavy rain or snow. Regular inspections and maintenance can help prevent these issues.

  • Insulation problems: Without proper insulation, ranch style homes can be prone to losing heat in the winter and gaining heat in the summer, resulting in higher energy bills. Adding insulation to the attic, walls, and floors can help improve energy efficiency.

  • Foundation settling: Over time, the foundation of a ranch style home may settle or shift, causing cracks in the walls or floors. Foundation issues can also lead to structural problems, so it’s important to address them promptly.

  • Electrical and plumbing issues: Like any home, ranch style homes may experience issues with electrical wiring or plumbing. Regular inspections and maintenance can help prevent these issues and ensure that everything is up to code.

  • Landscaping challenges: Ranch style homes often have large, flat yards, which can be difficult to maintain. From mowing the lawn to trimming trees and bushes, keeping up with landscaping can be a time-consuming task.

While these issues may seem daunting, many of them can be prevented or addressed with regular maintenance and inspections.

By staying on top of repairs and upkeep, homeowners can ensure that their ranch style home remains a comfortable and functional place to live.

Which States Have the Most Ranch Style Homes

Which States Have the Most Ranch Style Homes?

Ranch style homes have been a popular architectural style in the United States since the 1930s. They are known for their single-story design, low-pitched roofs, and open floor plans.

But which states have the most ranch style homes? Here’s a quick breakdown to give you a better idea!

StatePercentage of Homes that are Ranch Style
North Carolina27%
New York19%

As you can see, Texas has the highest percentage of homes, with 41% of all homes in the state being in this style!

California comes in second with 32%, followed by Arizona with 29%. Other states with a high percentage of this style of home include North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, and New York.

It’s important to note, however, that ranch style homes are popular across the country, and can be found in many other states as well.

In fact, ranch style homes are so popular that they are often used as a template for new construction, even in states where they are not as prevalent.

Overall, the popularity of ranch style homes can be attributed to their simple, functional design, which makes them a great option for families and retirees alike.

With their open floor plans and single-story design, ranches are easy to navigate and provide ample space for living and entertaining.

Ranch-style houses have been around since the 1950s and have gone through many design changes over the years.

In 2023, some of the most popular design trends for Ranch Style Homes include:

  • Open Floor Plans: Many homeowners are opting for open floor plans that allow for more natural light and better flow throughout the home. This design trend is perfect for Ranch Style Homes, which typically have a spacious and open layout.

  • Smart Home Technology: Home automation is becoming increasingly popular, and Ranch Style Homes are no exception. From smart thermostats to automated lighting, homeowners are looking for ways to make their homes more comfortable and convenient.

  • Energy Efficiency: With rising energy costs, many homeowners are looking for ways to save money on their utility bills. In 2023, Ranch Style Homes are embracing energy-efficient design features such as solar panels, high-efficiency windows, and insulation.

  • Outdoor Living Spaces: Ranch Style Homes often have large yards or outdoor spaces, and homeowners are taking advantage of this by creating beautiful outdoor living areas. From fire pits to outdoor kitchens, these spaces are perfect for entertaining guests or relaxing with family.

  • Minimalist Design: Many homeowners are embracing a minimalist design aesthetic, which emphasizes simplicity and functionality. Ranch Style Homes are perfect for this design trend, with their clean lines and uncluttered spaces.

Overall, Ranch Style Homes are versatile and adaptable, making them a popular choice for homeowners in 2023.

Whether you prefer a traditional or modern aesthetic, there are many design trends to choose from that will make your Ranch Style Home feel like the perfect oasis.

Ranch Style Home FAQs

Ranch-style homes have been a popular choice for homeowners since their emergence in the 1930s. They are characterized by their low profile and sprawling, open floor plans.

In recent years, ranch-style homes have seen a resurgence in popularity, with many buyers attracted to their timeless design and convenient layout.

If you’re considering purchasing a ranch-style home, be sure to check out my article on are ranch style homes popular to learn more.

Why Would an Elderly Couple Want a Ranch Style Home?

For many elderly couples, a ranch style home is an attractive option due to its accessibility and ease of use. With no stairs to climb, it’s easier to navigate and reduces the risk of falls.

Additionally, many ranch style homes are designed with wide hallways and doorways, making it easy to maneuver a wheelchair or walker.

Ranch style homes also offer the advantage of being able to age in place, meaning the couple can stay in their home as they get older without having to worry about major renovations or modifications.

Overall, a ranch style home can be an excellent choice for an elderly couple looking for a comfortable and accessible home to enjoy their golden years.

To learn more on this topic, take a look at my full article on why would an elderly couple want a ranch style home.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Ranch Style Home

Ranch style homes have been popular for decades due to their single-story design, open floor plans, and easy accessibility. However, like any type of home, there are pros and cons to consider before purchasing a ranch style home.

One of the main advantages of a ranch style home is its easy accessibility. Because everything is on one level, ranch homes are perfect for people with mobility issues, such as the elderly or those in a wheelchair.

Additionally, ranch style homes often have larger yards, providing plenty of outdoor space for families to enjoy!

On the other hand, some people might find the lack of separation between living areas and bedrooms to be a disadvantage of ranch style homes.

Also, the sprawling design of the home may require more maintenance and upkeep, especially if the home is large.

For more in-depth information, take a look at my full guide on the pros and cons of living in a ranch style home.

Are Ranch Homes More Energy Efficient?

When it comes to energy efficiency, ranch style homes can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, the single-story design of the home can make it easier to heat and cool, as there are no stairs or multiple levels for air to travel through.

Additionally, because the home typically has a smaller footprint than a two-story home, there may be less space to heat and cool overall!

However, ranch style homes can also have large windows and high ceilings, which can make it more difficult to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the home.

Additionally, older ranch style homes may not have been built with energy efficiency in mind, meaning they may have drafty windows, poor insulation, or outdated HVAC systems.

To learn more about their energy efficiency, check out my full resource on are ranch homes more energy efficient.

Types of Ranch Style Homes

Ranch style homes come in a variety of different subtypes, each with their own unique features and characteristics.

Some of the most common types of ranch style homes include the California ranch, which features a low-pitched roof and a central courtyard, and the split-level ranch, which has two or more levels that are staggered in height.

Other popular types of ranch style homes include the raised ranch, which has a split-level design with a basement that is partially above ground, and the modern ranch, which features a more contemporary design with clean lines and large windows.

To learn more about the different types of ranch style homes and what makes them unique, check out my article on types of ranch style homes.

What is Modern Ranch Style?

Modern ranch style homes have evolved from the traditional design, incorporating contemporary features while maintaining the simplicity and practicality of the original ranch style.

They often feature a mix of materials such as wood, stone, and stucco, and have a minimalist interior design with an open floor plan.

If you’d like to learn more on this topic, make sure to read my article on what is modern ranch style.

How to Decorate a Ranch Style Home

Decorating a ranch style home can be a fun and creative endeavor.

One of the main features of a ranch style home is its open floor plan, which can make decorating easier since there are no walls to obstruct the flow of space.

Many people opt for rustic or country-style decor to match the home’s traditional design.
To get some inspiration and ideas for decorating, check out my page on how to decorate a ranch style home.

What Is a Raised Ranch House?

A raised ranch house, also known as a split-level home, is a type of ranch-style home where the living area is elevated above the ground level.

Typically, there is a small staircase that leads to the main living area, which is located on the second level. The lower level usually consists of a garage and a partially finished basement.

If you’re interested in learning more about raised ranch houses, including their history and design, check out our article on what is a raised ranch house and what makes them unique.

How to Update the Exterior of a Ranch Style House

If you own a ranch-style home and are looking for ways to update its exterior, we’ve got you covered.

From painting the brick to adding a front porch, there are many ways to give your ranch-style home a fresh look. Check out our article on how to update the exterior of a ranch style house for tips and inspiration.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.