What’s the Difference Between a Ranch and a Raised Ranch? Explained.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a ranch and a raised ranch? It’s a question that many homeowners, buyers, and real estate enthusiasts have asked themselves at some point. While both types of homes share some similarities, there are distinct differences that set them apart. Today, we’re going to dive into this topic and help you understand the key differences between the two.

First off, let’s start with defining what a ranch is. A ranch-style home is a single-story home with a low-pitched roof and an L or U-shaped design. These homes first became popular in the 1950s and 60s. They typically have an open floor plan, where the living, dining, and kitchen areas flow together seamlessly. When it comes to a raised ranch, it still has the same basic layout as a ranch, but with an additional half-basement level. This lower level is partially above ground and typically has windows on at least one side. Some raised ranches even have full basements, giving homeowners even more living space.

So, what separates a ranch from a raised ranch? In simple terms, a raised ranch has a lower level that is partially above ground. The addition of this level gives homeowners extra living space and can be a major selling point for those in need of room for a growing family or for some dedicated entertainment space. Now that you know the basic differences between the two, you can decide which one suits your needs best.

Characteristics of a Ranch Style Home

A ranch style home is a single-story house that’s widely popular in the US. It is designed with a long, low roofline and an open plan layout that promotes easy living and efficient use of space. The following are some of the key characteristics that define a ranch-style house.

  • Low Profile: Ranch-style homes are known for their low profile. They typically have a simple rectangular or L-shaped floor plan, with low-pitched roofs that extend horizontally and blend into the landscape. This low profile provides a seamless connection between the interior and exterior, making it ideal for homeowners who enjoy outdoor living.
  • Single-Story: Ranch-style homes are usually built on one level, making them perfect for families with children, seniors, or anyone who wants to avoid stairs. By minimizing the number of steps and reducing the need for ascent and descent, a ranch home promotes ease of movement, convenience, and accessibility for all ages.
  • Open Floor Plan: Another defining characteristic of a ranch-style house is the open floor plan. The central living area of a ranch home is typically a large, multi-functional space that contains the kitchen, dining area, and living room. This allows for easy entertaining and interaction between family members, creating opportunities for socialization and shared experiences.

Apart from these features, ranch-style homes also often have an attached garage, large windows, and sliding glass doors that lead out to a patio or deck. All these elements contribute to the welcoming and functional nature of a ranch-style home, making it a popular choice for families and homeowners alike.

History of the Ranch Style Home

The Ranch Style Home first appeared in the United States in the 1920s, but its popularity skyrocketed during the post-World War II era. Ranch homes offered open floor plans and a connection to nature that was attractive to returning soldiers and their families. The style originated from California’s Spanish Colonial architecture and features low-pitched roofs with deep eaves, large windows, and an attached garage.

  • During the 1950s and 60s, Ranch homes were the most popular style of home in America, representing over two-thirds of all new builds.
  • The style’s popularity began to decline in the 1970s as larger, more contemporary styles emerged.
  • The popularity of Ranch homes has ebbed and flowed over the years, but they remain a popular choice for single-story living and retirees.

One variation of the Ranch Style Home is the Raised Ranch. This style became popular in the 1960s and 70s and is characterized by living areas built above a garage or basement. The Raised Ranch usually features an entryway that leads to stairs both going up and down. The upper level typically includes the living space, while the lower level is reserved for storage or additional living space.

Despite the decline in popularity, Ranch Style Homes made a comeback in recent years as part of the mid-century modern revival. Architects and designers are taking a fresh look at the style and incorporating modern design elements to create new versions of the classic Ranch home.

Pros Cons
Single-story living is more accessible and convenient for many people, especially seniors or those with mobility issues. Because they are single-story, Ranch homes typically have a larger footprint, which can be a disadvantage for homeowners concerned about conservation and energy-efficient design.
The open floor plan and large windows connect the home to nature and provide plenty of natural light. Some critics find the Ranch Style Home’s design to be monotonous and lack architectural interest.
Ranch homes can be more affordable than other styles because of their simple design and efficient use of space. Because of their popularity, Ranch homes may be seen as less unique or individual, leading some homeowners to customize the home to stand out.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Ranch Style Home

If you are considering purchasing a home, you might be wondering if you should go for a ranch-style or a raised ranch-style house. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but a ranch-style home is a single-story house with a low-pitched roof and an open floor plan. In contrast, a raised ranch is a two-story house that is built on a raised foundation with a garage or a living area on the lower level and the bedrooms on the upper level.

Pros of Living in a Ranch Style Home

  • Accessibility and Mobility: Ranch-style homes have everything on the same floor, which makes the house easy to navigate, especially for older adults or people with mobility issues. With no stairs to climb or descend, it also offers reduced risk of accidental falls or injuries.
  • Energy Efficiency: Since ranch-style homes are typically built on a smaller scale and have a smaller footprint than raised ranch homes, they require less energy to heat and air condition. This means you can potentially save money on utility bills.
  • Outdoor Living Space: Ranch-style homes are often built on larger lots, which provides plenty of outdoor living space for gardening, entertaining, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Cons of Living in a Ranch Style Home

While there are many benefits to living in a ranch-style home, there are also some potential downsides:

  • Lack of Privacy: Since all the rooms are situated on the same floor, this can mean less privacy than a raised ranch-style home, where the bedrooms are typically on a separate level from the living area.
  • Less Storage Space: Ranch-style homes usually have a smaller overall square footage than raised ranch homes, which can mean less storage space overall.
  • Less Options for Expansion: With all the living space on one level, it can be difficult to expand a ranch-style home without adding additional square footage. This might not be a problem if you don’t plan on growing your family or entertaining many guests, but it could be a disadvantage if you envision needing more space down the road.

Ultimately, whether a ranch-style home is right for you depends on a variety of factors, including your lifestyle, budget, and needs. By considering the pros and cons of this type of home, you can make an informed decision that fits your unique situation.

Characteristics of a Raised Ranch Style Home

A raised ranch style home, also referred to as split-level ranch, is a popular architectural design that originated in the United States in the 1950s. It is a unique type of house that is designed for individuals who prefer a more open layout without compromising privacy. Compared to a traditional ranch home, a raised ranch style home’s entryway is typically split between two floors rather than on a single floor. This means that the main living areas of the home are raised above the ground, giving it an elevated look and the illusion of more space.

  • Entryway: One of the most prominent features of a raised ranch-style home is its entryway. Unlike a standard ranch home, which typically has a small, enclosed foyer, a raised ranch style home’s entryway is split between two floors, with stairs leading up to the main living area and stairs leading down to the lower level.
  • Split-Level Design: As the name suggests, a raised ranch-style home is split into two distinct levels. The upper level typically contains the living room, dining room, and kitchen, whereas the lower level houses the bedrooms, bathrooms, and additional living spaces such as a family room or recreation room.
  • Garage: Many raised ranch-style homes have an attached garage located on the lower level. This garage is often integrated into the design of the home and accessed through a door on the lower level entryway.

Another important aspect of a raised ranch-style home is the layout of the living spaces. The open-concept design of the main living area makes it a perfect space for entertaining guests, while the lower level bedrooms provide privacy and separation from the rest of the home. Additionally, the lower level can be easily turned into an independent living space, perfect for long-term guests or even rental income.

Overall, the raised ranch-style home is an ideal option for anyone who wants a spacious and comfortable home that offers both privacy and openness.

Pros Cons
Open-concept main living area Stairs leading to the main living area may be challenging for young children, elderly, or individuals with limited mobility
Lower level bedrooms provide privacy and separation from the rest of the home Garage located on the lower level may be inconvenient for some homeowners
Lower level can be easily turned into an independent living space Less efficient heating and cooling due to multiple levels

While there are both pros and cons to a raised ranch-style home, its unique design and layout make it a popular choice for many homeowners.

History of the Raised Ranch Style Home

The raised ranch style home was first popularized in the 1960s and 1970s. It is a variation of the ranch-style home with a simple and efficient layout. The unique feature of the raised ranch is that the living areas are elevated above the garage and basement level, creating a split-level floor plan.

  • The raised ranch style home originated on the East Coast of the United States and quickly spread to other regions.
  • The style was in response to the demand for affordable housing and the need to optimize land availability for the growing suburban population.
  • The raised ranch design was particularly popular among young families due to the multiple levels offering privacy and versatility.

The raised ranch style home offered several benefits over other house designs that contributed to its popularity:

  • Optimized use of land: With the living spaces raised above the garage and basement, the raised ranch maximizes available land while still providing ample living space.
  • Increased privacy: The split-level design allows for private living spaces separate from the more public areas on the lower level, offering greater privacy to family members or guests.
  • Flexibility: The multiple levels provide opportunities for customizable layouts to suit individual needs and preferences.

In recent years, the raised ranch has experienced a resurgence in popularity among homeowners looking for affordable, functional, and flexible housing options. Its practical design and simple layout have stood the test of time and continue to appeal to a diverse range of buyers.

Pros Cons
Efficient use of land Stairs may be a disadvantage for those with mobility issues
Flexible layout options Split-levels can make HVAC systems more complicated
Privacy for family members or guests May not be suitable for larger families due to limited square footage

The raised ranch style home has a fascinating history that speaks to the needs and desires of the generations that popularized it. With its unique and practical design, it continues to be a popular choice for homeowners looking for functional living spaces that offer privacy, flexibility, and value.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Raised Ranch Style Home

If you’re in the market for a new home, you may be considering a raised ranch style home. But what exactly is a raised ranch, and what are the pros and cons of living in one?

Pros of Living in a Raised Ranch Style Home

  • More affordable – Raised ranch style homes tend to be more affordable than other styles of homes, making them a great option for first-time homebuyers or those on a budget.
  • Separation of living spaces – With the living areas on the main level and the bedrooms on the lower level, there is a clear separation of living spaces in a raised ranch. This can be great for those who want to have a separate space for entertaining and relaxing.
  • More natural light – Because the main living areas are on the upper level of a raised ranch, they tend to get more natural light. This can make the space feel more open and airy.
  • No stairs to climb – If you’re someone who doesn’t want to deal with stairs, a raised ranch may be a great option for you. With all of the living areas on one level, you won’t have to worry about climbing up and down stairs multiple times a day.

Cons of Living in a Raised Ranch Style Home

While there are definitely pros to living in a raised ranch style home, there are also some potential cons to consider before making your decision.

  • Smaller living areas – Because all of the main living spaces are on one level, raised ranch homes tend to have smaller overall living areas. This can make it difficult to entertain large groups of people or to have a lot of furniture in each room.
  • No basement – Oftentimes, raised ranch style homes do not have a basement. This can be a downside for those who need extra storage space, or who want to have a separate area for a workout room or home office.
  • Noisy lower level – Because the bedrooms are on the lower level of a raised ranch, they can be noisier than bedrooms on an upper level. This can be especially frustrating if you have young children who go to bed early, or if you work odd hours and need to sleep during the day.


Ultimately, whether a raised ranch style home is right for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. While there are definitely some potential downsides to consider, there are also many pros to living in a raised ranch that may make it the perfect choice for your next home.

Pros Cons
More affordable Smaller living areas
Separation of living spaces No basement
More natural light Noisy lower level
No stairs to climb

With the pros and cons laid out in front of you, hopefully you can make an informed decision about whether a raised ranch style home is the right choice for you.

Comparison of Ranch and Raised Ranch Style Homes

If you’re looking to buy or build a new home, it’s crucial to know the differences between the various housing styles available. Two popular styles that people often compare are ranch and raised ranch homes. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are several key differences you need to know about before making a decision.

  • Ranch style homes are typically single-story houses that feature an open floor plan and a simple, unadorned exterior design. These homes typically have a long, low profile, with a wide front porch or patio that is often covered by an overhang. Inside, ranch homes often have large living areas that flow smoothly into each other, without walls or barriers.
  • Raised ranch style homes, on the other hand, are two-story houses that have a split-level design. The entrance is typically located on the middle level and leads to a small foyer. This level usually includes the living room, kitchen, and dining room. The upper level is typically a few steps up and includes bedrooms and bathrooms, while the lower level is a few steps down and usually includes a family room, laundry room, and garage.
  • Another key difference between the two styles is the location of the bedrooms. In a ranch home, all the bedrooms are typically located on the same level, while in a raised ranch home, they are split between the upper and lower levels.
  • The cost of building or buying a ranch versus a raised ranch can also vary. Generally, a raised ranch style home will cost you more money than a typical ranch style home due to the added elements, levels and square footage.
  • Ranch homes have less maintenance, while raised ranch homes tend to have much more maintenance requirements. Due to the numerous levels, raised ranches require added care which is often a turn off for individuals looking for a low maintenance home.
  • Finally, the resale value of each style can differ. Depending on the area that the home is located in, a well-maintained raised ranch can fetch a higher price than a ranch home due to the added square footage and functionality of the house. However, in some locations, a well-located ranch can generate more value than a raised ranch.
  • Ultimately, the choice between a ranch and raised ranch will depend on your specific needs and preferences. You should consider factors such as your budget, lifestyle, and location, as well as the style and features of each type of home before making a decision.


Choosing between a ranch or raised ranch style home can be a tough decision without in-depth analysis and research. Consider your budget, maintenance requirements, and location when deciding between the two styles. Take tour of both types of homes before making the final decision.


Website Description
Zillow Zillow is a comprehensive real estate resource that can help you search for and compare homes, including both ranch and raised ranch styles.
Realtor.com Realtor.com is another popular real estate website that can help you find and compare homes in your area, with detailed listings and photos.
Houzz Houzz is a website dedicated to home design and renovation, with a wealth of resources and ideas for both ranch and raised ranch style homes.

FAQ: What’s the Difference Between a Ranch and a Raised Ranch?

Q: Is a ranch the same as a raised ranch?
A: No, a ranch and a raised ranch are not the same. While a ranch is a single-story home, a raised ranch has two levels, with the main living space on one floor and a partially underground level below.

Q: What is the purpose of a raised ranch?
A: A raised ranch provides more living space in a narrow lot, as the partially underground level allows for additional rooms such as a family room, bedrooms, or a garage.

Q: How do I identify a ranch or a raised ranch from the exterior?
A: A ranch usually has a low-pitched roof with a long horizontal silhouette, while a raised ranch has a two-story facade with the entry level located on the second floor.

Q: Which style is more suitable for aging in place?
A: A ranch is more suitable for aging in place, as it involves no stairs or changes in elevation, making it easier to navigate for senior residents or people with mobility issues.

Q: Which style is more popular?
A: The popularity of ranch and raised ranch homes varies by region and era. In some areas, the ranch style is more common, while in others, the raised ranch prevails. It largely depends on local housing trends and buyer preferences.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know the difference between a ranch and a raised ranch, you can make an informed decision when choosing your next home. Whether you prefer the simplicity of one level or the added space of two, there’s a style that suits your needs and preferences. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check back for more home design tips and trends!