Remodeling Ranch Style Homes

by Matt Goering

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The biggest complaint about America's most popular home style is that it's boring. Ranch homes in their most basic single story form are about as straightforward as you can get: four walls and a roof with no bells or whistles. Split-level ranches don't offer much more as far as variety goes, just an extra half-story to work with. So the trick to remodeling ranch style homes is pretty obvious: find ways to make your boring ranch home stand out from the rest!

Think BIG or little
Whether you're considering a major home remodel or are just trying to get a bead on some cost effective do-it-yourself home improvement projects, here's some areas of your home to focus on to help your ranch style home stand out:

Ranch Home Exteriors
Landscaping. When it comes to ranch style home remodeling, landscaping is a biggie. Often the landscaping of ranch homes is as boring as the structure itself. Just think how it would look if you replaced that featureless lawn with flower gardens, rock gardens, stepping stone paths, and new trees and shrubs? Nothing draws attention away from your unexceptional home like an exceptional landscape. Another way to visualize your new style is to find a ranch home being built somewhere and see it before the landscaping is installed. This will give you a nice pallet to imagine your new beginnings.

Siding. When you think of ranch style homes, what image pops into your head? Chances are it's house after house covered in sensible, drab, inexpensive vinyl siding. Just changing this single design feature can make a huge difference when it comes to remodeling ranch style homes. Aluminum and concrete fiberboard siding at least give you the option of spicing up your home with a daring paint job, while cedar shingles will make it look like a different home altogether. Even small stone or brick accents for chimneys or bump-outs can add a nice texture that tricks the mind into not noticing the ranch floor plan.

Porches, Decks, and Patios. Because ranch homes are built with economy in mind, they often forgo these wonderful backyard additions. Even if they do have an outdoor recreation area, it's often as unimaginative as the house. Bring in a deck builder or contractor who specializes in these types of additions and remodels in order to add some pizazz and character to both your home and landscape. Be it a screened-in porch, a stone patio or a new redwood deck, this is an addition you're sure to enjoy.

Windows. Many homeowners underestimate what a few new windows can do for a home. Remember, bigger is generally better. Larger windows make for more light and better views. And if you can, install bay windows when/where appropriate. One of the most important things you can do when remodeling this style home is to add texture to the uniform exterior. Bay windows are a great way to do that, but also don't overlook picture windows, French doors and even different styles of windows, such as palladian or colonial. These window styles can create a completely different home vibe from both the outside and the inside.

Need a fresh look? Use this link to hire a local pro to

Install Landscaping

Totally Re-Envision Your Ranch Home
Have a little extra money saved up? When it comes to remodeling ranch style homes, there's nothing like some major construction to shake things up. Think about adding a second story if you've got a single story home, and raise the roofline regardless of how many stories you have in order to set your home off from those around it. Gabled dormers for the upstairs bedrooms add more of that exterior texture we were talking about earlier, and covered entryways add a little something extra to your front entryway as well.

Something that's important to remember is that many ranch homes are sitting in a neighborhood chocked full of other ranches. Often, depending on your neighborhood, you don't have to do much to set your home apart from those around you. What you need to do is go look at your home from the street. Either drive by your house from both directions and really notice how yours sits with the others or walk by your home on the other side of the street. The idea here is to get a feel for how your home sits on the block. Is it the brightest color? The dullest? Does it have more exterior texture? Less? Compare it to the others, and don't forget the homes on the opposite side of the street. Setting your home apart is as much about changing it's connection to the surroundings as it is changing it in a vacuum. Be sure you do this important step.

Don't Take My Word for It
Of course, this is just the short list of ways to make your ranch style home stand out from the rest of the cookie cutters in your neighborhood. Talk to a contractor or other home improvement professional about any projects you have in mind. And when you do, don't be afraid to ask them if they've got any ideas you haven't thought of. Whether it's a landscaper, general contractor, siding contractor, or deck builder, a professional will have a wealth of information and ideas to share with you that you'd be foolish not to take advantage of.

Kitchen Remodeling Project Guide
If you enjoyed this article, check out our free Kitchen Remodeling Guide, which features expert advice, design & material comparisons, and custom price estimates for your remodeling project.
Matt Goering, formerly a carpenter and house painter, is a freelance writer for the home improvement industry who has published over 600 articles.