Renovation Ideas to Steal from Updated Ranch House Exteriors

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Sunset Magazine)

In today’s real estate market, affordable ranch homes are proving their potential. When they aren’t dismissed, torn down, and then replaced by larger McMansion-style homes, they get snapped up by eager buyers happy for the large lots, large windows and friendly layouts. These exterior renovations show you don’t have to compromise your style, and that there are so many ways to customize and modernize an ‘outdated’ home’s appearance.

When architect Eric Olsen updated his California ranch home, he used rustic materials to add warmth and interest. Above, from Sunset Magazine, you can see the sliding shutter and fence are both clean and modern, but use reclaimed wood, which wears nicely and is low maintenance. He also added a number of French doors, which connect the home’s inside with the outdoors.

Want to think about the inside renovation of these ranch houses?

Take the above renovation from Southern Living, which started out as a typical brick 1950s ranch in Birmingham, Alabama. For the exterior, local architect Anna Evans added a front patio, changed the exterior color palette and expanded the entryway. Though the expansion certainly made this ranch feel more up-to-date, the biggest change arguably came from just painting the brick.

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

If you prefer a more authentic mid-century look, then this Rhode Island ranch is for you. Originally build in 1958, homeowners Andrea Castañeda and Chris Amirault spent six years turning it into the gem it is today. Though the exterior remains faithful to the home’s original style, the couple added the smallest of updates: The new front door paint color and the Neutra house numbers from Design Within Reach. It’s proof that you often don’t need to do much to make a vintage ranch look amazing.

(Image credit: Allen Construction)

Okay, so this landscaped ranch by Allen Construction is definitely ‘more’ than the others, but we had to feature it as proof that this style can be luxurious without turning into a mansion. The beige and white exterior fits in to the current trend towards neutrals on the luxury market, while also harmoniously working with the incredible landscape design by Bennitt Design Group. Even a more modest front yard would be nicely set off by this exterior color palette.

(Image credit: Rill Architects)

Or you can go simple and all-white, like this seaside ranch transformed by Rill Architects. This unexpectedly bold look shifts the focus to the form of the home, while also making the trim color a bit more powerful.

(Image credit: Hagan Architects)

Instead of color contrast, consider adding contrast with texture. In this very impressive suburban ranch renovation by Hagan Architects, one of the many changes to exterior spaces was the addition of a wood surround and steps off the sliding patio doors.

(Image credit: Renewal Design + Build)

Renewal Design + Build used glass to contrast the typical brick and stone facade that many mid-century ranches have. The entryway also breaks up the straight roofline to dramatic effect.

(Image credit: HGTV)

Above, one of the many fixer uppers from Chip and Joanna Gaines. To transform this exterior, they changed the house’s lines by raising part of the roof. Cedar columns flanking the entrance add an additional decorative element. And then, a little bit of landscaping goes a long way.