Ranch Style House: A Classic Design with Endless Possibilities

Ranch-style houses, also known as ranchers or ramblers, are single-story homes that offer a timeless architectural design. With a low-pitched roof, wide eaves, and an open floor plan, this style of house has become a...

Ranch-style houses, also known as ranchers or ramblers, are single-story homes that offer a timeless architectural design. With a low-pitched roof, wide eaves, and an open floor plan, this style of house has become a staple in the American suburban landscape. Originally popularized in California in response to the state's warm climate and desire for indoor-outdoor living, ranch-style houses have since spread across the country, offering homeowners accessibility, convenience, and a connection to the surrounding landscape.

Features of a Ranch Style House

Exterior Design

Low, Single Story Profile

One of the defining features of a ranch-style house is its low, single-story profile. This design not only enhances accessibility but also allows the house to blend harmoniously with its surroundings. Whether in a suburban or rural area, a ranch-style house seamlessly integrates with the landscape.

Open Floor Plan

Ranch-style houses typically boast an open floor plan, creating a spacious and inviting atmosphere. The central living area flows seamlessly into the dining room and kitchen, providing ample space for movement and conversation. This modern layout contrasts with the compartmentalized design of older homes.

Attached Garage

Many ranch-style houses come with an attached garage, offering additional storage and parking space. Conveniently located at the front of the house, this feature ensures easy access for homeowners.

Simple and Functional Design

Ranch-style houses are praised for their simple and functional design. The exterior is often clad in brick, stucco, or wood siding, while the roof is low-pitched and covered with asphalt shingles. This design not only requires minimal maintenance but also contributes to energy efficiency, with wide eaves providing shade in the summer and a low-pitched roof trapping heat in the winter.

Interior Design

Spacious Living Area

The central living area of a ranch-style house is usually the largest room, offering a comfortable and welcoming space for families to relax and entertain. Large windows provide abundant natural light and stunning views of the surrounding landscape, creating a bright and airy interior.

Large Windows and Natural Light

Ranch-style houses often feature large windows that maximize natural light and provide scenic views. This design element creates a connection between the interior and the outdoors, bringing the beauty of nature into the living space.

Outdoor Living Spaces

Many ranch-style houses include outdoor living spaces, such as patios, decks, or porches. These areas are perfect for relaxation and entertainment, often featuring outdoor furniture, grills, or fire pits.

Efficient Use of Space

Efficiency and practicality are at the heart of ranch-style house design. With an emphasis on functionality, these houses maximize available square footage, creating a sense of spaciousness. The open floor plan allows for easy movement and flow between rooms, fostering unity and connection throughout the house.

Types of Ranch Style Houses

California Ranch Style

The California Ranch style is one of the original and most iconic variations of ranch house design. This style emphasizes a connection to the outdoors, utilizing large windows, sliding glass doors, and outdoor living spaces like patios and courtyards. Low-pitched roofs and simple, horizontal layouts, as well as natural materials such as wood, stone, and brick, define this style.

Split-Level Ranch Style

The Split-Level Ranch style is a variation that features multiple levels within a single story. With a partial basement or lower-level garage, this design creates distinct living areas. The entryway, marked by a staircase leading to the main living area, characterizes this style.

Raised Ranch Style

Also known as Bi-Level Ranch, the Raised Ranch style features a split-level entryway with half-stairs leading up to the main living area and another half-stairs leading down to a lower-level garage or basement. This design divides the house vertically, with the upper level typically housing the living areas and bedrooms, while the lower level provides storage or additional living space. The Raised Ranch style emphasizes simplicity and efficiency.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Ranch Style House


Accessibility and Convenience

One of the primary advantages of living in a ranch-style house is its accessibility and convenience. The single-story design makes navigation easier, particularly for those with mobility issues or disabilities. The open floor plan also creates a flexible and inviting living space.

Easy Maintenance

Ranch-style houses are known for their simple and functional design, making maintenance a breeze. Their low-pitched roofs, single-story profiles, and efficient use of space contribute to a design that is relatively easy to clean, repair, and update.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a common feature of ranch-style houses. Large windows provide ample natural light and ventilation, while insulation in the walls and roof, as well as efficient heating and cooling systems, help reduce energy consumption. This design not only saves homeowners money but also contributes to a smaller environmental footprint.


Limited Living Space

One of the main disadvantages of ranch-style houses is their limited living space. The single-story design often restricts the amount of square footage available, making it more challenging for larger families or those needing additional space for work or hobbies.

Lack of Privacy

Ranch-style houses, with their large windows and open floor plans, can be challenging to create a sense of privacy within the home. This aspect may prove difficult for families seeking to separate living and sleeping areas or requiring additional privacy for work or personal reasons.

Maintenance Challenges

Although generally easy to maintain, ranch-style houses can present some maintenance challenges. For example, the low-pitched roof design may make it more difficult to access the roof for repairs or maintenance. Additionally, the open floor plan can make it more challenging to separate living areas and keep them clean and organized.

Decorating a Ranch Style House

Tips for Decorating

Emphasize the Open Floor Plan

When decorating a ranch-style house, it's essential to highlight the open floor plan by using furniture and décor that complement the flow of the space. Create a cohesive and inviting living space that showcases the expansive layout.

Focus on Comfort and Functionality

Prioritize comfort and functionality when selecting furniture and décor for a ranch-style house. Opt for pieces that prioritize usability and create a cozy atmosphere, rather than following trends or aesthetics.

Incorporate Natural Materials

To enhance the ranch-style house's inherent connection to nature, incorporate natural materials into the design. Wood, stone, and brick can be used to complement the house's architecture and create a harmonious aesthetic.

Recommended Furniture and Décor Styles

Mid-Century Modern

Ranch-style houses are closely associated with the mid-century modern style, known for clean lines, organic shapes, and a focus on functionality. Furniture and décor from this era can seamlessly blend with a ranch-style house, adding a touch of retro charm.


Rustic décor complements the inviting and natural elements of a ranch-style house. Emphasizing earthy colors, natural materials, and a cozy feel, rustic furniture and décor create a warm and welcoming living space.

Best Colors and Textures for a Ranch Style House

Earth Tones

Choosing earthy colors, such as browns, greens, and blues, enhances the connection between a ranch-style house and the natural surroundings. This color palette creates a cohesive design that complements the house's architecture.

Textured Fabrics

Consider texture when selecting fabrics for a ranch-style house. Natural fibers like cotton, wool, and linen provide a cozy and comfortable living space, adding depth and richness.

Accent Colors

While earthy colors provide a solid foundation, accent colors inject personality and visual interest. Use bold accent colors sparingly to add pops of color and character to a ranch-style house.


Ranch-style houses offer an enduring architectural style that combines accessibility, convenience, and a strong connection to nature. With their low, single-story profiles, open floor plans, and simple yet functional designs, these houses have become a beloved choice for homeowners in the United States.

From the California Ranch style to the Split-Level Ranch style and the Raised Ranch style, there are variations to suit diverse preferences. However, it's important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of living in a ranch-style house, considering personal lifestyles and design preferences.

When it comes to decorating a ranch-style house, emphasize the open floor plan, prioritize comfort and functionality, and incorporate natural materials. Mid-century modern and rustic styles are recommended for furniture and décor, while earth tones, textured fabrics, and well-chosen accent colors can enhance the overall design.

In conclusion, owning a ranch-style house offers accessibility, convenience, and a comfortable living space. With the right design and décor choices, a ranch-style house can be transformed into a beautiful and functional home that meets the needs of modern homeowners. If you enjoyed reading this article, consider exploring our other engaging content by clicking here.