Ranch Style House Plans From the 1950s

Image of a family of four holding hands while standing in a line with their backs to the camera, facing a ranch-style house in a suburban development. A sale sign is posted in the front yard of the house.

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Ranch-style architecture can be found everywhere in the United States, from California to New England. By the time of the 1950s building boom, ranch homes symbolized America's frontier spirit and new growth as a modern country.

The ranch was developed for mid-twentieth-century America. This style was one of the most popular housing types built in the US.

During the 1950s, real estate developers were eager to sell dreams of family and homeownership to GI soldiers returning from WWII. As you look through these plans, consider the ways ranch-style housing remains a popular and practical choice. With no stairs to a second floor, a ranch home—new or old—can be an ideal choice for homeowners who want to age in place.

  • 01 of 08

    The Ranchero, a Rambling Ranch Design

    1950s floor plan and rendering of ranch-style house aptly named Ranchero

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    The Ranchero design describes the intent of the architect. The living area is 1,342 square feet. Add to that 379 square feet of porch area—not to mention the 225-square foot garage.

    Why Is This a Ranch Style?

    • One story
    • Low-pitched, gable roof
    • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
    • Asymmetric facade (off-center front door)
    • A horizontal, rambling layout that's visually low to the ground
    • Contrasting siding
    • Large, irregular windows
    • Brick or stone fireplace
    • Integrated garage
    • Patios and porches with sliding glass doors
    • Open, airy design

    Marketing This House Plan

    The importance of the garage is pronounced by placing it at the front of the home, with the dining room and kitchen behind. A small porch off the eating area, in addition to two larger porches, makes the Ranchero seem like an upscale camp. Integrated garages were very common to mid-century ranch houses.

  • 02 of 08

    The Starlight, Architecture for Sweeping Views

    1950s floor plan and rendering of ranch-style house called Starlight with attached garage

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    The curved window wall on the facade of this 902-square foot ranch house is clearly visible by looking at the floor plan. This modern detail creates an "outside-in" sense of space. Note also the size of the garage at 264 square feet, which is nearly a third the size of the house.

    Why Is This a Ranch Style?

    • One story
    • Low-pitched, gable roof roof
    • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
    • Asymmetric facade
    • A horizontal, rambling layout that's visually low to the ground
    • Contrasting siding
    • Large, irregular windows
    • Brick or stone working fireplace with a built-in wood box
    • Attached garage (as opposed to the integrated garage of the Ranchero plan)
    • Open, airy design

    Marketing This House Plan

    The name Starlight conjures images of open-air wagon trains, campfires, and shooting stars. For a population moving to live near urban work areas, marketing big sky country life was a real "Bonanza."

  • 03 of 08

    Tranquility, a Home With a Wall of Windows

    1950s floor plan and rendering of ranch-style house called Tranquility
    The Tranquility plan was designed with a wall of windows for the living/dining area.

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    At 1,112 square feet of living space, Tranquility is a bit larger than other ranch plans in this series of small houses. The floor plan allows you to visualize the outdoor porch and terraces for outdoor living.

    Why Is This a Ranch Style?

    • One story
    • Low-pitched, hipped roof with one small front cross gable (compare with the Gable design plan)
    • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang over the front porch
    • Asymmetric facade
    • Large window wall facade, similar to the Starlight plan
    • Prominent chimney and fireplace at the rear of the house
    • Porch and terraces
    • Open, airy design

    Marketing This House Plan

    During the faced-paced 1950s, designers marketed homes that could provide "tranquility" to their owners. As a rural population became urbanized, developers packaged their homes "for casual indoor-outdoor living." The goal of mass-production—even in architecture—is to appeal to everyone.

  • 04 of 08

    Gables, a Hip Style

    Hip and gable roof modifications to a traditional ranch-style house plan.
    Gable and hip roof construction make this 1950s ranch-style house live up to its name: Gables.

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    At 863 square feet, this very small, two-bedroom home appears to be mainly roof when the 234-square foot garage is added. The garage roof creates one side gable, and the dining alcove creates another gable.

    Why Is This a Ranch Style?

    • One story
    • Low-pitched combination hip and gable roof
    • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
    • Asymmetric facade
    • Contrasting siding
    • Irregular large and small windows
    • Brick or stone fireplace with built-in bookshelves
    • Horizontal layout with wide, attached garage
    • Small front porch
    • Open, airy design with corner windows

    Marketing This House Plan

    This plan is one of the few in this architectural series of postwar houses that has a kitchen and dining alcove in the front of the house. Along with the unusual roof, this house may have appealed to people who wanted something a little different—but something still basically the same as every other house in the development.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Glory, a Ranch Home for a Narrow Lot

    1950s floor plan and rendering of ranch-style house called Glory

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    The option of no basement allows the designers of this house plan to add a utility room between the kitchen and garage. In the northeast, this may be called a "mudroom," a welcome space for children to strip off dirty clothes and put them directly into the washing machine. The Modette design also has a plan with a utility room.

    Why Is This a Ranch Style?

    • One story
    • Low-pitched, gable roof
    • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
    • Asymmetric facade
    • Horizontal, L-shaped layout that's visually low to the ground
    • Contrasting siding
    • Picture windows and irregular windows
    • Fireplace
    • Integrated garage
    • Patios and porches

    Marketing This House Plan

    Integrated garages were popular architectural features in mid-century ranch houses like the Modette.

  • 06 of 08

    Level III, Mid-Century Split-Level Living

    1950s floor plan and rendering of ranch-style house with two levels and a basement, a wide front chimney in stone, and stone front siding that surrounds a bright red front door
    Level III was designed with two aboveground levels and a basement.

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    The 1,011 square feet of living space in this plan seems to be on two levels, with the basement creating the third level of this "three-level contemporary" home. It's a beautiful example of mid-century modern split-level design.

    Why Is This a Ranch Style?

    • Low-pitched, hipped roof
    • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
    • Asymmetric facade
    • Contrasting siding
    • Large windows, modernized with glass block corners
    • Prominent chimney
    • Patios with sliding glass doors
    • Corner windows and split levels that create a sense of openness

    Marketing This House Plan

    The architecture of this hip-roofed, split-level ranch is attractive inside and outside. The few steps up to the bedroom separate the children's bedroom from the large, comfortable living areas. The huge chimney demands attention from passersby. What's not to like?

  • 07 of 08

    Modette, the Modern Ranch House

    Floor plan for the Modette, a ranch home with a front chimney and a basement
    Even without a horizontal floor plan, the prominent chimney makes this house seem like a ranch home.

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    The wide front gable of this design gives the illusion of great horizontal width that cannot be interrupted by the massive chimney. The option of no basement allows designers to include a utility room in the floor plan. The Glory design has a similar option.

    Why Is This a Ranch Style?

    • One story
    • Low-pitched, gable roof
    • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
    • Asymmetric facade
    • Visually low to the ground
    • Contrasting siding
    • Large, irregular windows
    • Prominent chimney
    • Corner windows and a sense of airiness

    Marketing This House Plan

    This home design is not only a modern ranch, but it is also a flexibly-designed ranch. Alternate plans let the homeowner select the placement of the bathroom and utility room. The dining room could easily be converted into another bedroom, den, or home office. Dreams and possibilities are always marketable.

  • 08 of 08

    Grandette, a Minimal and Traditional Bungalow Look

    Floor plan and rendering of ranch-style house described as a western bungalow
    Grandette is described as a western bungalow, perhaps because of the central roof overhang.

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    The central hall of this small 901-square foot house makes this design similar to midcentury Cape Cod architecture. The roof overhang in front of the house makes the design more like an American bungalow. But it also looks a bit like the 1940s minimal traditional plans. Perhaps it is this mix of styles that makes this house design Grandette.

    Characteristics That Describe This Ranch Style

    • Single story
    • Low-pitched, gable roof
    • Deep-set eaves with a wide overhang
    • Asymmetric facade
    • Visually low to the ground
    • Picture windows and a variety of window shapes
    • Prominent chimney
    • Open, airy design

    Marketing This 1950s House Plan

    Although designers call Grandette a "typical western bungalow," this design was also marketed as having "sunlight and ventilation in abundance." Developers often appeal to a broad range of tastes and styles within one design—perhaps to confuse future real estate agents!