Remodeling Tips For A Ranch Style House Built in the 1970's

This 1970's raised ranch home in Westport, Waunakee, Wisconsin underwent a total transformation including a sunroom addition, new front porch and back deck, and a makeover of the entire contemporary exterior.

Remodeling Options Have Made the Ranch Style House Popular Again

Ranch style homes are an iconic feature of many American cities – and the greater Madison area is no exception. A ranch style house provides many advantages, including efficient use of space, convenient single-story layouts, large lots, and affordability. But because many of these houses were built in the 1970s, they often feature dated designs that modern homeowners want to improve.

Our renovation team at Degnan Design-Build-Remodel has seen our fair share of olive-green shag carpet and orange laminate. Even if your ranch style house isn’t quite that bad, there are some great remodeling projects that can bring new polish to an old gem – adding modern atmosphere and convenience without losing the soul of an older home.

How to Lighten Up a Ranch Style House

Making a Ranch House Brighter

Several interior walls were removed from this 1970's ranch home in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin in order to make a brighter, more connected feel. While the windows are still the same size as before, now light and views are available throught the entire well-connected kithencn, dining and living area.

A common complaint about ranch style houses is that they can feel dark and claustrophobic due to their limited windows and low ceilings. A great way to start improving the atmosphere of your ranch style house is to find a way to add more light.

Add or expand windows - Although ranch style houses often have large picture windows in the living room, other areas, including the kitchen, often suffer from smaller windows that are limited in number. Adding more windows or expanding existing ones improves the interior light quality of the home while also updating the exterior look.

Replace exterior doors - Adding a glass patio door in the back of your home or a French-style door at the main entrance can improve entryways and bring light into some of the more high-traffic areas of the home.

Add skylights - For those who want to see a dramatic change in their ranch style home, skylights will counter the effect of low ceilings and add a lot of light to any room. Moreover, skylights come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, meaning you can always find the right option for your personal style and space.

Add Color and Texture

Often the interiors of ranch style houses feature dark floors and walls which do little to help with a cave-like atmosphere.

Re-paint - Removing old, dark paneling and repainting walls with a light color can do a lot to improve light and ambiance. If you don’t want to entirely remove the older style, consider keeping it as a contrast wall and add a lighter color to walls that are opposite of windows. This will help reflect daylight throughout the home.

Re-floor - Much of the flooring featured in ranch style homes is considered ugly and unstylish today. Look at replacing dark carpeting with a lighter style, or refinishing dark wood flooring in a lighter stain. For dated vinyl flooring, consider tile in a paler, more modern finish.

Re-Do the Ceilings

Many ranch style houses from the 60s and 70s feature bumpy popcorn ceilings, which in addition to appearing dated, trap dust and cause shadows. Getting rid of the popcorn finish can go a long way towards improving your home. However, be aware that some of these old ceilings contain asbestos, so it is critical to have a home inspector look at your ceilings and to bring in professional removers when necessary.

Improve the Exterior of a Ranch Style House

New Front Porch and Siding

This home underwent a total transformation. You can see that a front entry porch creates a welcoming design. The neutral color scheme is timeless, elegant and understated. 

For those looking to improve the value of a ranch style home, an exterior update is a great choice.

Lighten the color - Pale, neutral colors are popular in the luxury housing market, and redoing your ranch style home’s brick or vinyl siding in a light color can make it more modern and desirable.

Add a porch - Widening your entryways and adding a patio or porch can help your ranch style house seem less cramped and narrow from the outside. Adding landscaping to the area can improve visual interest and, with the right plantings, make the home seem taller as well.

There is much to love about the character of an older ranch style house. At Degnan Design Build Remodel, we can talk to you about your options for redesigning an older home and how to bring new life to your living space.

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 7/30/2018.


About Degnan Design Build Remodel
Since 1981 Degnan Design Build Remodel has provided home improvement and construction services to customers throughout Greater Madison, Wisconsin. Our goal is to WOW you with a "Designed For Your Life" solution using a process that will transform your home into a beautiful living space, delivered on time, and on budget. We are known for our communication, respectfulness, and a commitment to our customers and our community. Contact us to speak with one of our designers about your home improvement project.