How to Remodel a Ranch Style House


Ranch style homes date back to the early 1930s in California. Ranch homes became more popular elsewhere after World War II. Developers built housing tracts for World War II veterans to take advantage of the GI Bill (see reference 4). Today ranch style homes can be found in neighborhoods across the U.S. Ranch style is a one-story layout. Remodeling a ranch style house can be as simple as upgrading lighting fixtures or as detailed as adding a room.

Things You'll Need

  • Licensed contractor
  • Sketch of plans
  • Budget
  • Plan your remodel. Decide what kind of improvements you want to make to the ranch style house. Ranch homes are generally rectangular in shape. Opening up a room or adding windows to bring in more light will give your home the appearance of being larger. If you cannot complete it all at one time, create projects and set goals. Analyze the numbers and see which home improvement will increase your home's value. (See Resource 3)

  • Research home modeling ideas (see reference 2). Look at home magazines and on-line design sights to get ideas for your remodel. Older ranch style homes have tubs and sinks reminiscent of the era the house was built in. The popular color for tub and tile in the 1960's was green, pink or gold. Updating your bathroom tub, sink, and tile to a more modern look will increase value and make your ranch home more attractive..

  • Hire a licensed contractor. A licensed contractor is able to permit major remodels. Traditional ranch homes have three bedrooms. Adding another bedroom will increase the value. Permits are needed to stay in accordance with your county building codes. Contractors will be able to make suggestions you may not have considered in your remodel. You will want to keep some of the original architecture that's unique to ranch homes. Contractors can help you preserve the home's features in the remodel. You can check a contractor's license on your Secretary of State website. (See Resource 2)

  • Update heating and air conditioning systems. Original ranch style homes had a fireplace and a furnace unit that ran from oil or gas (see reference 5). Central air was not placed in these homes. Window air units were used to cool rooms in the home. Updating your system to whole house heating and air system will increase the value of your ranch home and modernize it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Start with small projects and work up to the big projects. Gain experience before you plan a major remodel.

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  • Photo Credit home sweet home image by David Dorner from
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