A sprawling ranch house calls forth images of a single story white-washed house with cowboys sitting around the front porch. Today's ranch house is still a single story house, but it is missing the wranglers. The feel of a ranch house can be brought into any house. This style is invoked through a few deliberate design decisions.
Walls and Windows
Walls in a ranch house design are usually painted a light color-white, cream or Navajo white. This color should be consistent throughout the house. Wood paneling can cover walls or go only halfway up the wall. This is a drastic contrast with the light colored walls. Strip paint from wood surfaces throughout the house, such as on stair railings, door frames and ceiling beams. Stain the woodwork in the house in a color that matches the paneling. Fireplaces and other stonework areas should be made from natural stone. If using faux stones, make sure the colors mimic natural stone. Use light colored curtains and shades for the windows. Hang a few stained glass panels in the windows. These can be small panels or full widow-sized panels.
Most of the floors in the main rooms should be wood flooring. The color for this floor should be a lighter tone than the wood paneling. Rooms that are good candidates for wood floors are the kitchen, hall and dining room. Along with the wood flooring, place long throw rugs in areas of high traffic. Try to find rugs in a Navajo pattern with bold, strong colors. Use a neutral tone carpet for any rooms that needs to be carpeted.
The main furnishings in a ranch house are done in a bold style. The chairs and tables are made to be heavy and have a ponderous feel to them. Tables and chairs should be constructed out of heavy timbers. Natural wood tones should shine through high-gloss surfaces. Couches and easy chairs are leather or faux leather. Any color will work; black, white or brick are available. Group these large pieces of furniture around low tables. Suede throw pillows should accent the couches and easy chairs.
Accents can change the feel of any room. Consider using animal skin rugs and hangings to decorate around a fireplace. These do not have to be real, they can be imitation. White glassware brings a classic, country feel to the dining room. For a study or den, mount a few game animal heads or a cow skull on the wall. Large clay pots with a Native American inspired design on them can be filled with a variety of cacti and succulents. Blankets folded over chairs and the back of the couch should reflect the throw rugs used on the floors.
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