Ranch-style homes are ideal candidates for custom home additions. More flexible than split-level or two-story homes, the ranch offers many opportunities for increasing space, as well as transforming the look and functionality of the original structure.

Ranch houses can be small shoeboxes or large ramblers. They can be rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shaped, but they are, by definition, single-story homes. While there are two general options for expanding a ranch home—up or out—the design ideas are practically limitless.

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Moving Up
For ranch-style homes on smaller lots, adding vertical space is often the best bet. Raising the roof to add a second story literally doubles the amount of living space without increasing your home’s footprint.

A raised second-story addition allows for more bedrooms and baths, and even new office or family space. By moving all the bedrooms to the second floor, the original first floor plan can also be reconfigured, expanding the area available for common use, such as the kitchen, dining room, living room, and/or family room.

Another way to create vertical space in a ranch home is by adding dormers and finishing an existing attic. Dormers bring in essential natural light and add height to the pitched ceilings of an attic.

Raising the roof or adding dormers will change the look and feel of your home inside and out, adding architectural interest and details. Stylistic possibilities for your new two-story home run the gamut from traditional colonial to avant garde.

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Moving Out
Ranch-style homes are also perfect for single story additions, provided you have room on your property. A ranch home can be bumped out in virtually every direction. Small renovations, such as adding a front or back porch, can make a big difference. Larger additions, like a new master suite, family room, or kitchen are also possible by:

  • Expanding on either side (or both sides) horizontally
  • Bumping out the back or front of the house
  • Constructing an L- or U-shaped addition
  • Enclosing a carport

Basement Possibilities
Many ranch homes boast large basements, so don’t forget this area when considering expansion options. Old rec-room style basements have huge potential for adding comfortable, even luxurious living space.

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A Few Things to Consider
While budget is always a factor, there are a few other things to keep in mind when planning a ranch-style home addition:

  • For second-story or dormer additions, will the existing foundation and structure support the new load?
  • What are the local codes that may affect your renovation plans, such as minimum set backs, maximum square footage, and footprint or height restrictions?
  • What style do you want your reinvented ranch to project and will it fit well into your neighborhood?

A ranch-style home addition is not limited to the either/or choices available to most other architectural styles. A qualified design professional can combine vertical and horizontal additions to your ranch home, recreating your space to suit all your needs, and careful planning will ensure that the changes made produce a cohesive whole.


If you would like to learn more about finishing your attic space and how it could work in your home, contact Airoom to schedule a complimentary designer consultation. Or browse the remodeling galleries at Airoom.com.