Defining A House Style: What Is A Ranch House Style?

Ranch House Style Guides

The ranch house style is a type of residential architecture that originated in the United States. It is characterized by a single-story, open floor plan with minimal exterior and interior decoration. Ranch-style homes became popular in the 1950s and remain one of the country's most common types of homes. Although they are sometimes criticized for being boring or cookie-cutter, ranch houses can be cozy and comfortable places to call home. In this article, I will explain defining a house style: what is a ranch house style?

History of the Ranch House Style

As mentioned in the introductory section of this article, the Ranch house or Rambler made its first appearance in America in early 1920. Still, it became a popular sight after World War II. In terms of its history, the Ranch house style can be traced back to North American Spanish Colonial architecture.

But just like typical ranches, the early ranchers, or ramblers, as it was referred to back then, featured a single story with low rooflines and wide eaves. Most early ranch house owners decided to build a single-story due to the hot southwestern climate. By 1920, a definite ranch house style came into existence.

However, the widespread acceptance and popularity of the ranch house style started after the conclusion of World War II by returning soldiers who were after a building style that was easy to construct and customize. By the end of 1950, the craze for the ranch architectural style reached its peak. In fact, by 1950, the ranch style accounted for about 9 out of 10 home designs in the US. By 1970, there were several variations of the ranch house style, with some featuring two-story designs and the use of several other types of materials and floor plan designs.

Types of Ranch Houses

Due to the popularity of the ranch style, 1970 gave rise to several types of a ranch-style homes. Below are some of the popular types of ranch homes.

California Ranch

The California ranch style was designed by popular San Diego-based Architect Cliff May for his personal use. One of the unique characteristics of the California ranch style was its sprawling nature meant to blend with the California landscape. Influenced by the rise of the Arts and Craft movement, the California ranch house typically features a U or L shape with a dedicated courtyard in the middle.

Suburban Ranch

The Suburban ranch-style houses were the version of the ranch style that became popular during the post-World War II. They were typically small in size and more of a simplified version of the California ranch house style. Suburban ranch house foundations were typically made of concrete slabs and tract material. However, like other ranch house styles, they still featured an open floor plan.

Split Level Ranch

The split-level ranch house style is more of a traditional Suburban ranch house. Most Split level ranch houses feature three levels of living with two half staircases on each side of the homes leading to the bedroom and other living areas.

Raised Ranch

Closely related to the split-level ranch house style, the raised ranch style is also referred to as split-entry houses. This is due to the ability of homeowners to walk into their home living spaces by walking up or downstairs. In most raised ranch houses, spaces like garages are situated directly below the main living and bedroom areas.

Storybook Ranch

As the name implies, the storybook ranch house style tells a unique story with its exterior and interior design. Unlike the typical simple exterior of ranch houses across the country, the storybook ranch features exposed rafters with diamond-shaped windows and lovely ornamental finishing.

Noticeable Features of the Ranch House Style

Like any other architectural style, ranch houses feature certain characteristics that are only peculiar to them. While there may differ across ranch styles, there are certain features common to ranch houses.

For the Exterior Areas

  • Long, low-pitch roofline
  • A mix of natural materials on the exterior. Using stucco, wood, brick, or stone is common on its exterior.
  • Cross-gabled, side-gabled, or hip roof
  • Deep, overhanging eaves
  • Large windows
  • Sliding glass doors
  • Attached garages
  • Back patio

For the Interior Areas

  • Single-story living
  • Open-concept living area, dining room, and kitchen
  • Separated bedrooms (usually three)
  • Full basement
  • Simple adornments and architectural details

Like most popular architectural designs, the ranch house plan has evolved to accommodate the changes in the architectural industry and individual tastes. So, it is common for homeowners to combine the features of ranch house style guides with the features of other popular house styles like the craftsman and modern designs.

Is the Ranch Style House Right for You?

You may wonder what makes the ranch house style special and desired across generations. Here are some reasons why people all over the country love the ranch house style.

Ease of Navigation

Since most ranch house does not have a second floor, navigating through it is easy and doesn’t put you and your family member at risk of a stair accident. For this reason, a ranch house plan is a great choice for elderly individuals or people with mobility issues.

Easier to Clean and Maintain

With just a single floor and a low-pitched roofline, the exterior of ranch houses is quite easy to clean and maintain. Cleaning the gutters and windows and painting your ranch home is less likely to require the need for a ladder. And since most ranch houses do not feature stairs, cleaning your home with a vacuum cleaner is less stressful.

Open and Inviting Floor Plan

Even though the idea of open floor plans became popular in recent times, ranch houses in 1920 featured what is now referred to as open floor plans. An open floor plan makes it easier to have your entire living area, kitchen, and dining room in one space. You can easily transition from one room to the other easily. More importantly, it allows for easy inflow of natural light to all house parts.

How Much Does Cottage House Style Cost?

On average, a Ranch house plan can cost around $500 to $3,000. However, custom plans and blueprints may cost around 5-10 percent of the total home building cost. The average cost to build a ranch house style in the US is around $200,000 to over $400,000, depending on your home location and square footage.

Find the Perfect Ranch Floor Plan Today

The first step to constructing a Ranch house is to get a comprehensive architectural drawing set. This gives you an insight into the type of materials to be used, accurate dimensions of the floor plans, the location of the elements, sections, and other construction-related information.

If you are looking for a comprehensive yet affordable Ranch house blueprint or a customizable floor plan, then we at Archimple are here to serve you. We have several Ranch house design collections and floor plans. You can check out our ranch home design collection to find out how we can help you achieve your dream home.

Final Touch

The ranch house style is a great choice for those looking for a comfortable and stylish home. With its simple design and spacious layout, the ranch house is perfect for families of all sizes. Whether you're looking for a starter home or a forever home, the ranch house style will suit your needs.

Frequently Asked Question


What is Ranch house style? 
The ranch house style is a type of home typically one story and has a simple layout. Ranch houses often have open floor plans and attached garages.

Where did the Ranch house style originate? 
The Ranch house style originated in the United States in the 1920s and became popular in the post-World War II era.

What are some common features of Ranch house style homes? 
Some common features of Ranch house style homes include low-pitched roofs, large windows, and patios or porches.

How can I add my personal touch to a Ranch style home? 
There are many ways you can add your personal touch to a Ranch style home. Contact with archimple. Archimple solves your query.

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Last Updated: Oct 30, 2022

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