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Ranch-style home renovation guide: how to restore and enhance a ranch-style house

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ranch style home renovation guide

Picture this: you’ve got your heart set on living in a ranch-style house, but the house you want is a fixer-upper. Instead of letting it go, you can try updating it to match your family’s needs.

In this ranch-style home renovation guide, we’ll share the steps to bringing your old country home into the contemporary era. We’ll also share some useful tips on modernising the entire space.

Let’s begin!

ranch-style home with blue exterior

What to know about ranch-style home renovation

Australian ranch-style homes were inspired by the ranch-style homes in the western and southwestern parts of the USA. They feature a single-storey floor plan with an L-shape or U-shape layout. They’re also designed with an emphasis on blending indoor and outdoor living. 

Most ranch-style homes in Australia were built in the 1990s or earlier. Due to shrinking lot sizes, though, it’s become harder to find brand-new ranch-style homes.

Ranch-style home renovation projects present some unique challenges because most owners would like to modernise their homes without losing the house’s original characteristics. That’s why it pays to have a building designer or drafting expert who can come up with creative solutions to bring the 1970s-1990s-era ranch-style homes to the modern age. 

Tip: At Superdraft, we have a curated network of experienced building designers and drafting professionals all over Australia. Sign up now to connect with qualified professionals near you!

traditional ranch style house

In what order should I renovate a ranch-style house?

Step 1: Picking a house to renovate

Picking the right ranch-style home to renovate is crucial. Look past dated designs and look for a house with “good bones,” which means that it can be updated without having to knock the entire structure down. The layout should also be as close to what you’re looking for as possible so that the renovation will not be too costly.

It’s also wise to ask for a full building inspection so that you’ll know the exact condition of the home and which parts will require extensive repairs. Pay special attention to ceilings that may contain asbestos.

Aside from these, here are some of the other factors to watch out for:

  • Assess the condition of the heating and cooling system
  • Check the flow between rooms
  • Check for any water damage in the attic or ceilings
  • Check for uneven flooring

old ranch style home

Step 2: Renovate the interior of the home

When renovating a ranch-style home, deciding on what to keep and what to replace is the key. However, there are several important updates you need to make whenever you renovate a ranch-style home. Here are some of the projects you should consider:

  • Creating an open floor plan: When renovating a ranch-style house, most people aim to remove non-load-bearing walls to create an open floor plan. In particular, consider opening up the kitchen to the formal dining room and the living room.
  • Replacing appliances and lighting fixtures: Older ranch-style homes typically have outdated appliances and halogen bulbs. Make it a priority to replace these with more energy-efficient models.
  • Expanding the floor area: If your existing ranch-style home does not have enough space for your family, consider expanding the floor area by building an addition. Most designers recommend expanding horizontally rather than vertically so as to maintain the ranch house’s signature single-storey floor plan.
  • Modernising the design: Some people who renovate ranch-style homes aim to make the design feel more contemporary without letting go of the original character of the home. This includes gutting dated bathrooms, simplifying the design of the crown moulding, removing popcorn ceilings, and enlarging windows.

bright and airy modern ranch house

Step 3:  Decorate

Redecorating a ranch-style home depends on your taste and preferences, but most people like to create a combination of modern and rustic elements to make the space feel fresh without losing the ranch house’s country vibe.

Here are some ways you can redecorate your ranch-style home:

  • Most ranch-style homes will feature dark wood furniture. If you want to give these a more contemporary look, consider repainting or refinishing them into a more neutral colour like white, grey, or even black.
  • Some old ranch-style homes will have a traditional brick fireplace. Consider painting these dark fireplaces in a lighter colour or adding modern tile accents.
  • Some ranch-style homes may have wood art installations and accessories. Keep these elements in your home to retain their original feel and character. As a tip, you can try to make sure to use the same wood tone to keep the design cohesive.
  • Maintain a neutral palette throughout the house, but make it interesting by adding natural textures like a natural stone feature wall or light wood panelling. You can continue to add subtle pops of colour by adding bright throw pillows, vases, or paintings.
  • Make your ranch-style home feel cosier by adding soft textiles. Consider adding some curtains, upholstered furniture, and large rugs.

ranch-style dining room

Step 4: Redo the exterior

Renovating the exterior of a ranch-style home will create a more refreshing and inviting facade.

Older ranch-style homes typically require re-roofing or roof replacement. Make sure to factor this into your budget, as this may be a costly endeavour. 

Aside from roofing, consider repainting the exterior siding, front door, and trim work. Choose mould-resistant paint to ensure longevity.

Some ranch-style homes may also feature some dated exterior elements that you should change or remove, such as:

  • Wrought iron railings
  • Window awnings
  • Dated front door

ranch-style home renovation exterior

Step 5: Update the landscaping

Ranch homes are all about blending indoor and outdoor living. When updating your home, make sure to squeeze some room in your budget for making your outdoor space more functional and appealing. Consider adding a fire pit or a pergola.

Aside from this, note that ranch-style homes tend to have a horizontal facade because of their low, long shape and low-pitched roofs. Consider adding some vertical elements by planting bushes or tall trees.

ranch-style home renovation: landscaping

Tips on doing a ranch-style home renovation

Create a bright and airy interior

Ranch-style homes typically have wide floor plans but low ceilings. To make the interior feel brighter, airier, and more spacious, consider creating a vaulted ceiling or increasing the ceiling height. It’s also a good idea to install skylights and bifold doors to bring in as much natural light as possible.

ranch-style home renovation with bifold doors

Remove dark wood panelling

Ranch-style homes can often feel dark and dreary because of all the dark wood used throughout the house. It’s a good idea to remove dark wood panelling or repaint them with a lighter colour.

Add sustainability features

Making your home more sustainable should be one of your top priorities when renovating your home. Not only will this reduce your energy bills, but it will also be better for the environment. Consider the following options:

  • Adding insulation
  • Installing a rainwater tank
  • Replacing old appliances with energy-efficient models

Use the same flooring material for all sections

To make a ranch-style home’s design more cohesive, choose the same flooring material for all parts of the space. 

Engineered hardwood is a durable and sustainable option and is suitable for the kitchen, living, and dining areas. If you’re on a budget, laminate or vinyl are also good options. 

If your house already has hardwood floors, consider refinishing it and applying a lighter stain. This will have a dramatic effect on how bright your home feels.

ranch-style home renovation: living room

Start your ranch-style home renovation with Superdraft

Ranch-style homes are extremely popular because of their accessible single-storey layout and easy-to-maintain features. But many older ranch-style homes have dated architectural and design elements. To make them more appealing, it’s often necessary to do extensive renovations.

Start your ranch-style home renovation project with Superdraft. With our free platform, you can:

  • Connect with a skilled building designer or drafting expert with experience in renovating ranch-style homes
  • Visualise your design in 3D
  • Find a builder that can bring your design ideas to life
  • Check the progress of your project using an online project planning dashboard

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