America's Best House Plans

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Ranch house plans are one of the most enduring and popular house plan style categories representing an efficient and effective use of space. These homes offer an enhanced level of flexibility and convenience for those looking to build a home that features long term livability for the entire family. Popularized in the 1950’s, Ranch homes were “all the rage” with the postwar return of WWII veterans taking advantage of the GI bill. The need for stable housing, the availability of cheap land and the newly formed interstate highway system, allowing for easy access to and from work, provided incentive to families looking to move from urban cities to suburbia. These low-slung, casual homes, originating in California, and modeled after the casual style of Western ranches, were and continue to be an art form belonging to America.

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Typical Ranch homes feature a single, rambling one story floor plan that is not squared but instead features an L or U-shaped configuration. Often unadorned, but not without detail or style, these homes are highlighted with sprawling, horizontal asymmetrical exteriors and interiors which are almost always open layouts with living, dining and family rooms easily accessible, one from the other. These floor plans effortlessly blend the indoor/outdoor space and typically feature retractable sliding glass doors and large picturesque window views resulting in brightly lit interiors and easy access to the outdoor living spaces.

Although, Ranch style homes fell out of favor during the latter part of the 20th century, they have recently began to emerge as a family favorite again. An aging population looking to remain in their homes and even younger generations, who admire and appreciate the “retro” look of Ranch homes, are looking for a relaxed and casual atmosphere to either “age in place” or raise their young families.

Ranch house plans can offer an endless variety of features and floor plan layouts along with being categorized into a different number of architectural styles; however, here are some key distinguishing features represented by Ranch homes:

  • One story in nature       
  • Low pitched roofs, often hipped       
  • Asymmetrical, L or U shaped floor plans       
  • Sliding glass doors to the outdoor space       
  • Large, picturesque window views       
  • Attached, semi-detached or detached garages       
  • Earth hugging, low to the ground exteriors       
  • Wide overhanging eaves       
  • Open floor plans


A profusion of different exterior facades/house styles can be incorporated into the one story Ranch floor plan. These single story homes can be categorized into Country, Farmhouse, Craftsman and Modern; virtually every exterior façade can offer an interior floor plan that reflects these easy living, casual design principles. Livable, flexible and unpretentious, Ranch house plans are a quintessential American design idea that is so simple that it may appear to have no particular style at all, when, in fact, it is easily adaptable to practically any architectural style in the housing market.


Open floor plans continue to be relevant and desired by homeowners and Ranch house plans really deliver on this concept. Large floor plans with open common rooms allow for the easy flow of traffic and conversation while the entertaining possibilities are endless and conducive to a casual lifestyle that generally also includes seamless indoor/outdoor living spaces. Obviously, the entire premise of Ranch house plans is one level living, typically with open interiors, but the recent addition of overhead bonus space has become a popular means of adding additional living space without increasing the lot size needed for the home. Cost-effective and versatile, these bonus rooms can be utilized as an endless source of multi-purpose rooms; secondary family living spaces, playrooms for small children, teen-age lounges for older children, a study/home office or perhaps, an artist’s studio.


As a nation, we continue to have a population that is living longer, healthier lives but who for various reasons can’t, or don’t want to maintain a large home of their own. In-law suites offer an attractive addition to traditional single family housing by providing separate living quarters for parents; these suites can range from shared walls, main floor living spaces, with separate garages and entrances to complete, private suites located at the opposite end of the home, the lower level/basement foundation or completely separate, non-shared wall additions that include a kitchen, living spaces, baths and bedrooms. These in-law suites offer a high level of independence for older parents while offering peace of mind to their grown children.

Whether an addition is needed for older parents, walk-out basements are an attractive way to include additional space for any size family. Once again, there is no need to build out, the foundation is already part of the home’s structure and deciding upon its use or conversion will depend on personal preference and family needs with basements being a popular choice for challenging and/or sloped property lots as well as a means of adding space. Basements are a popular mode of transitional space as family members live in and leave the family home; young families can use the space separately from the more formal rooms of the home, older children can entertain their friends independently and/or aging parents can maintain their privacy and autonomy.


Ranch house plans typically display minimal exterior detailing, but key features can include large front room picture windows and supporting pillars/beams for porches or overhangs, along with decorative shutters. Today’s newer Ranch plans have been updated to include larger amounts of outdoor space; oftentimes, in the form of wraparound front covered porches. These additions allow for greater functionality for the way in which people live their lives in the 21st century as well as having the ability to offer several entry/exit points into the main floor living area from the outdoor area. Along with front covered wraparound porches, the vast majority of Ranch house plans also detail a rear deck, verandah or covered porch into the scheme of outdoor living space which most homeowner’s desire.


The beauty of Ranch house plans lie in the many different architectural styles they can accommodate as well as the square footage ranges. Our diversified Ranch design collection offers a varied range of affordable, efficient plans that feature just under 500 square feet to plans in excess of 6,500 square feet with the large majority falling somewhere between 1,800 to 2,300 square feet. These classic and modern Ranch home designs are generally open floor plans with fewer interior walls and minimal square footage waste resulting in an economical path to homeownership.

Today, the Ranch style house plan is enjoying a resurgence in popularity and it’s easy to see why as this favored design is highlighted with many features that appeal to today’s modern homeowners. These low profile, casual and asymmetrical home plans continue to be relevant and ubiquitous across America’s landscape and can be easily adapted to a wide variety of home styles.