How to Decorate a Ranch Home From the Late 1960s

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The history of the ranch house dates back to the 1920s, but the design really caught on during the 1960s. Known as the atomic era, the houses featured pale colors mixed with brighter shades and midcentury modern furnishings and accessories. When decorating a ranch house from the 1960s, take advantage of the existing architectural elements, including built-in bookshelves and pillars. Find ways of combining the modern style with a bygone era.

Things You'll Need

  • Primer
  • Paint roller
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • New counters
  • New appliances
  • Midcentury modern furniture
  • Midcentury modern accessories
  • Prime the walls or wood paneling in the room with primer and a paint roller. Paint the walls in lighter shades that open up the space and make the ranch home feel larger, such as cream. Even painting wood paneling white or cream gives the room a more modern feel and keeps the paneling from looking dated.

  • Replace the counters and appliances with new pieces that mimic ones from the atomic era. Pick brighter colors like orange or green and appliances in stainless steel. The new colors and finishes bring a touch of the modern era to your home.

  • Bring in pieces of mid-century modern furniture, including Heywood Wakefield and Eames pieces. Look for reproduction pieces made in more recent years that look original, but costs less. Pieces made from lighter colored wood and fiberglass pieces mesh well with the ranch layout.

  • Rearrange the furniture, creating a focal point from an original element of the house. For example, angle the living room furniture toward a built-in fireplace or fish tank. The simple movement puts the entire focus of the room on an area that came with the house.

  • Place midcentury modern accessories around the home. Display clocks from the 1960s in one room, artwork in another and a selection of lamps or ceramic pieces in another. Mix and match the vintage accessories with modern pieces you like for a more cohesive look.

Tips & Warnings

  • Decorate a 1960s ranch house as you would any other house. The shape and design of the house makes it complement a variety of styles, including Craftsman and Tuscan styles.
  • Consider decorating the outside of your house with vintage lighting, aluminum chairs or gliders and vintage planters. Paint the front door with a new coat of paint, which gives the space a new look and lets others know what to expect inside your home.

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