The ranch house is a comfortable, conservative home design that became popular in the 1950s. It is a single story home with a low profile roof and is generally rectangular in shape. Ranch floors plans are usually open with the bedrooms grouped together on one end of the home. Many ranches are built on cement slabs, but it is not uncommon for them to have a full, finished basement for additional living space. Ranch houses often have a similar look and floor plan, but there are many ways to adapt the design. Here are four examples of how to customize a ranch floor plan

Raise the Roof

A cathedral ceiling makes any home feel more spacious. It helps to let in additional light and is a design element that never fails to draw compliments. Adding a cathedral ceiling to the entrance makes the front roof line more interesting. A living area with a cathedral ceiling makes the most of an impressive view when large windows or glass doors are added. 

Add a Porch

Include a front porch that extends from end to end for a charming look that will instantly add curb appeal. A wraparound porch makes it possible to have cover for people at the front door as well as a private area on the side or back of the home. Depending on the design, a porch can add farmhouse charm or make the home seem more like a luxurious country retreat. 

Boost the Details

Install double doors on the front along with a cathedral ceiling for a really grand entrance. Welcome in nature with a home that is low to the ground and has plenty of glass doors that open directly out to the gardens or courtyard. Include a flat roof to this design for an exciting, modern look. Ranch house designs are not that different from many Southwestern style homes. Add arched doors and windows and use colorful Spanish tile in kitchens, bathrooms and entrances. Expose the beams and include a large fireplace in the family area to enhance the "western" feel of the southwestern design. 

Change the Layout

There is no rule that these homes must have all bedrooms lined up along a single hallway. Choose ranch open floor plans that include the kitchen, dining area and living room in the center of the home with the master bedroom and bathroom on one side of the open area and the remaining bedrooms and bathroom on the other. 

The ranch became less popular as trends changed and home buyers began searching for larger homes with more elaborate designs. However, the tide has changed as shoppers are now interested in energy-efficient homes that are roomy enough for what they need without wasting space. There is a misconception that all ranch homes are exactly the same. In reality, they are as easy to custom design as any home plan.