Ranch Floor Plans

Simple, Straight Forward and Totally American 

Ranch floor plans are the most common single floor house plans built in America.  In fact, they are an American design that began around 1920 but became popular in the 1940’s through the ’70’s.  They’re often associated with the development of the suburbs and tract housing of that time.

The original and modern day ranch floor plans are similar in several key ways.  Both are single story buildings with long, low roof lines. Both have attached garages and usually incorporate sliding glass patio doors on the backside of the home leading out to a patio.

Many are rectangles while others are U or L-shaped. A hip roof with large overhanging eaves is common and exteriors without adornment is typical.

Some plans include an open front porch running the length of the home or a very deep overhang to create the illusion or effect of an open front porch. Many include non-functional shutters flanking the windows, particularly on the front of the home. Large windows are also the norm. Wood, siding, brick, or stucco exteriors are all common.

Interiors are simple and open. Most of the home’s main rooms—living room, kitchen, and dining area—are open to each other. There may be high or vaulted ceilings in these areas.  Bedrooms and bathrooms tend to be together on one end of the home directly off of a simple hallway.

Originally these homes had a bit more character, despite being simple in design.  But from about the 1960’s to the 1980’s, ranch homes started to be mass produced. Modular homes that could be constructed most of the way in a factory and then finalized on the home site were developed.  Many of these homes gave a “bad name” to ranch style homes because they no longer contained the same quality construction as in years past.  In addition, many were nearly identical and lacked personality.  They became known in some areas as the low-income house alternative. A stigma which lasted for many, many years.

However, homes being constructed today are now reemerging with more stylish elements. Variations on these one floor house plans often include split level homes with the basement having walk-out patio doors as well, and the ranch home is often built into a slope.

In these cases, the lower level of the home or basement is also frequently completely finished as living space, thus actually creating a two floor house plan with a “walk out” basement on the lower back side.

Ranch floor plans often make maximum use of living space. Finishing the basement is one way to take advantage of every square inch.

The fact that the kitchen, dining, and living room areas are open onto one another in a large airy space also maximizes the living space.

Instead of having a large mostly unused dining room, many ranch floor plans have a smaller eating space more conducive to the idea of “family” daily living. The openness of this type of floor plan enables homeowners to extend entertaining space into the living room. Gatherings, parties and family dinners with relatives are more open and, at the same time, more intimate.

Likewise, having all of the bedrooms in one area helps maximize the space available. Bedrooms and bathrooms are located in one convenient area for optimum efficiency. There is very little “extra” space. Ranch floor plans are very economical homes. Just like us Americans these days.

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Updated: September 26, 2013 — 10:01 am

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