Ranch-style homes exploded in popularity during the 1950s and 1960s. Unlike traditional styles of the past, like Colonial and Victorian, these homes were focused on straightforward, livable designs rather than ornate architecture.
If you’re planning to modernize your ranch-style home, your windows are an excellent place to start. Learn more about the features of ranch houses, so you can find the perfect windows to match this popular mid-century modern style.
Hallmark Features of Ranch-Style Homes
The ranch-style home, also known as the California ranch-style or American ranch-style, originated in the Southwestern United States. Ranch homes are characterized by their long layout, low profile, and roomy interior layout. This style typically features large eaves to guard against the sun’s intense heat.
Ranch homes blend modern materials and open spaces to create a laid-back environment for an easygoing lifestyle. Each home’s look can vary greatly, but most ranch houses embrace these common characteristics:
- Horizontal lines—Ranch homes use long, horizontal lines, so the design elements you incorporate into your home must be consistent with this configuration.
- Natural light—Ranch houses were the first iteration of “open concept” layouts, so they rely on large windows to allow natural light into the home, especially with ample eaves.
- Modern materials—Traditional building materials, like wood, were considered outdated when ranch-style houses were popularized. Steel and aluminum were widely used, but now, more contemporary materials, like vinyl and fiberglass, are more popular.
Best Window Styles for Ranch Homes
When choosing windows for your ranch-style residence, here are some popular styles to consider that complement your house’s architecture:
As we mentioned, ranch houses require multiple windows to invite plenty of sunlight inside. Because of this, many ranch homes include sliding doors to provide easy access between your home and backyard and provide an additional source of natural light.
If your home already has sliding doors, incorporating sliding windows into your home’s design may complement your sliding door. These windows typically include large, unobstructed panes of glass to flood your home with sunlight, but they also slide open easily to allow refreshing breezes into your home.
Casement windows are hinged on one side and can be cranked open (from side-to-side) to invite fresh air into your home. They look like a fixed vertical window when they’re closed and can be installed with grilles or without grilles to match your home’s style.
Casement windows are an excellent match for ranch homes because the smooth, effortless lines allow for bigger panes of glass, resulting in more expansive views. Additionally, modern casement windows have tight seals, making them energy-efficient and sturdy.
Awning windows share many of the same characteristics as casement windows, but instead of a hinge at the side, they are hinged at the top, so they open outward. They are the perfect window addition in hard-to-reach spaces, like above a shower or sink, and they’re great in steamy rooms, like the bathroom or kitchen, since they allow for refreshing ventilation.
Picture windows were made famous by ranch-style homes and are a favorite among mid-century modern styles. These stylish windows are intended to frame your backyard like a picture, so they’re typically large and have thin frames.
Picture windows are a type of fixed window, so they have no moving parts, making them incredibly efficient. Typically, ranch-style homes will have at least one picture window in a gathering room, like the living room—if not more!
Do you love houseplants? If so, you’ll love incorporating a garden window into your design.
Garden windows, also called greenhouse windows, extend into your backyard. They include multiple panes of glass that create a “box” shape and have shelves where you can place herbs or flowers. Many homeowners incorporate garden windows above their kitchen sink.
Garden windows are an excellent match for ranch-style homes because they have several panes of glass, allowing plenty of sunlight into your kitchen.
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Windows for Your Ranch House
Use these tips as a rule of what to do (and not to do!) when selecting windows for your ranch-style home.
Match Your Architecture
Since ranch homes include horizontal lines, it’s best to choose windows with a sleek profile to stay true to the architectural style.
Rather than choosing double-hung windows, choose casement windows for cleaner lines. Instead of bay and bow windows, select a picture window for more expansive views. And instead of vertical grilles, choose horizontal grilles to match your home’s layout and design.
Select Modern Materials
As we mentioned, steel and aluminum were once the most popular window materials for ranch-style homes, but now, modern materials, like fiberglass or vinyl, tend to be the best options.
Fiberglass and vinyl are much more durable than wood, and they’re often more customizable and energy-efficient than steel or aluminum. You’ll enjoy lower utility bills, long-lasting performance, and a contemporary appearance when installing vinyl or fiberglass windows.
Keep It Simple
Ranch homes are clean and straightforward, so your windows should be too!
Steer clear of windows with unique shapes, like circles, semi-circles, or triangles, and choose traditional rectangular windows instead. You should also avoid tinted or stained glass—these are distinctive features of historic homes.
Transform Your Ranch-Style Home with Replacement Windows from JD Hostetter & Associates
Whether your windows are deteriorating and you need a durable replacement, or you’re looking to replace your current windows to match your ranch-style home better, we can help.
JD Hostetter is a Pella Elite Platinum Certified Contractor, so we follow all the company’s guidelines backwards and forwards during your window installation. You can be confident we are committed to getting the job done right!
Learn more about the stylish windows you can choose from to match your ranch-style home when investing in window installation with JD Hostetter.