Monthly Archives: January 2023

Whether you’re building from the ground-up or purchasing a prefab home, there’s one exciting element that comes with new house plans: Designing it to make it your own. In fact, for many, customizing your own home is a significant factor for why you may want to build instead of buy

This way, you can decide your floor plan, how many bedrooms, and even design the backyard with your own landscaping ideas. Of course, building your own home is not always a walk in the park—with it comes plenty of work and long to-do lists. And, unfortunately, plenty of important things often get overlooked.

8 Basics to Should Consider For Your House Design

When you’re going on a trip and packing your suitcase, you wouldn’t forget a change of clothes or your toothbrush. The same can be said for your home design: There are just some things you shouldn’t forget. This guide will take a close look at important tips you should consider when designing your home.

Tip #1: Consider Your Lifestyle

Building your own home is exciting, but it’s also an investment. Since your house plan will affect your lifestyle, it’s wise to consider what your life may look like in the next decade or two.

If you’re single, do you plan to stay in the home if you get married and start a family? Will the house be big enough to fit a growing household? Or perhaps you prefer to entertain, which means that you’ll want open concept living spaces, extra bedrooms, and a spare bathroom so that your guests can have some privacy when they stay over. 

In any case, your lifestyle may affect major floor plan elements, such as:

  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Whether the home is one, two, or three levels
  • Entertaining spaces, like rec rooms, outdoor areas, and open-concept living
  • Basement or attic spaces for guest areas or a playroom for the kids
  • How much storage you may need, which can account for closet and basement space
  • Overall square footage and property acreage

Whether you’re looking for a home for yourself or your family, addressing your lifestyle is the first step to finding the right house plans. Of course, that means you’ll also have to think about what your overall budget is. 

Tip #2: Establish Your Budget

While most people have a laundry list of wants for their dream home, actually paying for everything on that list is a whole different story. That’s why it’s wise to be realistic about what you want versus what you need so that your budget can make sense. After all, if you don’t stick to your budget, then you’ll find yourself in over your head with debt. 

“You want to make sure you’re being strategic about how you spend your money,” says Brad Ford, an interior designer in New York City. “A budget gives you a roadmap for how to divide the costs of things between rooms.”

With that said, there are many types of costs that go into building a home. To start, you need to purchase the land. On average, land costs about $3,020 per acre. And, while it depends on the project’s size, the average cost to build a house is about $296,000. This price includes construction, labor, material costs, and major systems, like plumbing and HVAC.

If you’ve already selected a house plan, then you can quickly get an estimate of how much it may cost to build your house. Of course, this entirely depends on the type of house you’re building. A 400-square foot home won’t cost nearly the same as a full-fledged family home with four bedrooms will. You can find out how much your home may cost to build with a cost-to-build estimator

Tip #3: Centralize the Kitchen

Today’s homes are changing. What worked for Americans one hundred years ago simply doesn’t anymore. In turn, the average house size has more than doubled since the 1950s. But that’s not all: The way we use our homes has changed, too.

              Many modern house designs include a kitchen that opens up to family spaces

“The biggest difference between old houses and new ones is the change where the kitchen is the center of the house and almost all daytime space revolves around the kitchen,” says James F. Carter, a Birmingham-based architect.

Clear sightlines and communal areas have increased significantly, whereas older homes have designated living, dining, and cooking spaces. It may be worth considering centralizing your kitchen space so that you could keep up with the way many people are changing the way they live. 

Tip #4: Conduct a Site Analysis

One thing many homebuilders may not even consider is a site analysis. While your contractor will certainly conduct one, it’s often far-removed from many people’s minds when designing their own home. 

Your property site can tell you plenty about how your house plan may function, including where to expect sunlight

Before you even pick a few house plans, you should know the ins and outs of your property. Your site analysis can tell you where the sun will shine throughout the year if there are any slopes or hills to consider. Slopes may affect the placement of foundation and determine whether your home is better as a single or multiple-leveled house. 

Plus, the location of the property may affect its value. You’re probably familiar with the saying, “Location, location, location!” Well, there’s a reason real estate agents live by this mantra: Buying property in an up-and-coming area is going to be more expensive than in a neighborhood that isn’t as developed yet. 

What Does a Site Analysis Include?

A site analysis will include everything you need to know about your property, including any regulations or codes you must adhere to and even where to place your utilities and major systems like HVAC and plumbing. A site analysis can be overwhelming for a first-time homeowner, but that’s typically where contractors come into play.

The site analysis will also tell you what is permitted and what is restricted. For example, utility restrictions may control how far away your septic tank must be from the closest well. 

Another helpful example is if you’re building a home in a subdivision. In that case, you’ll likely have to adhere to the local homeowner’s association (HOA) or Architectural Review Board (ARB), which decides on the permitted house size, paint color, garage placement, landscaping, and other essential details.

Tip #5: Browse For Your Favorite Style

Ranging from the beloved country farmhouse to the modern Scandinavian style, there are dozens of home styles to choose from when it’s time to design your house. 

For many, the combination of the country-style and clean lines from modern homes is well-loved too: Referred to as the modern farmhouse, this style is quickly sweeping the nation.

But if modern farmhouse isn’t your style, then there are plenty more to choose from. Here are some of the most popular styles in the United States today:  

  • Mid-century Modern Ranch
  • Spanish Colonial/Southwest
  • Bohemian Craftsman
  • Italianate 
  • French Chateau
  • Tudor

Your home’s style is shown throughout the house’s exterior and interior, including the linework, window styles, roofing styles, and even impact outdoor spaces and landscaping detail. For example, the Craftsman is distinct for its low-pitched roof, large columns, and intricate woodwork.

Think about the kinds of elements in a home that you like best. You could do this by reflecting on homes you’ve seen in passing, searching through a variety of available styles, or by watching your favorite home makeover shows on TV. 

Then, make a list of your favorite types and elements, which will help you narrow down a list of home styles that will work for you. When browsing on a floor plan website, you should know your plan number so that you don’t forget which ones you like best.

Tip #6: Don’t Cut Corners On the Important Stuff

When building your home, it’s natural to want to save money anywhere you can. For many, this means opting for less expensive products, materials, and even labor. However, some things are worth the extra money, such as: 

  • High-end, “green” appliances
  • Energy-efficient windows and insulation
  • Engineered wood flooring
  • Kitchen cabinets and counters

Although expensive at first, green appliances and energy-efficient construction materials pay off in the long run with lower utility bills. Engineered wood flooring is also a must-have if you live in a humid region. Wood tends to bend and warp over the years, but engineered flooring avoids this altogether. 

You’ll also want to splurge extra on kitchen necessities like high-end appliances and cabinets. Since families centralize in the kitchen nowadays, kitchen cabinets, furniture, and counters are often the first things that experience wear and tear. 

Tip #7: Choose a House Plan With Flow

Also known as “the art of placement,” feng shui is a traditional Chinese practice of believing that energy forces within a given space can help better harmonize individuals to their environment. In other words, the way colors, lighting, materials, and furniture are set up in a room are said to impact a person’s well-being.

Although there is little science to back this, feng shui has some great guidelines that make for excellent flow and functionality within a home. For example, couches and beds should be in a “commanding position,” and—whether or not you’re a believer in feng shui—most designers work by this rule of thumb.

Functionality within a home is important. It means that all rooms should be welcoming and easy to navigate. There shouldn’t be any obstacles when you come through the doorway, so keep this in mind when incorporating furniture into your home. Having a natural flow in the home promotes better livability and entertaining (and even makes for easier cleaning!).

If you decide to work with an interior designer, they can help you strategically place furniture, artwork, and lighting so that every room in your house plan is at its utmost potential.

Tip #8: Interview Architects and Designers

While your home’s contractor may wear many hats, they can’t do everything that comes with building and designing a house. That’s why there are several other vital roles to fill, like architects and designers. You might want to consider working with:

  • Residential Architect: Specializes in outlining, planning, and developing homes in residential neighborhoods 
  • Interior Designer: Responsible for developing the interior and exterior style for their client’s home
  • Green Design Architect: Helps plan for green plan techniques if you choose to build with energy-efficient living extras, like solar panels 
  • Landscaping Architect: Designs the outdoor space of your home, like the front lawn, backyard, deck space, and any shrubs, trees, or gardens

All of these professionals can best help make your floor plan as best as possible. The best part is that many contracting companies have their own designers and architects on board, which makes your research all the easier.


When designing your own home, there’s a lot to keep tabs on, like the endless paperwork, design plans, and actual building process. It’s safe to say that while it’s an exciting project, building a house can also be exhaustive. 

That’s why it’s important to stick to the basics for your house plans, such as: 

  • Considering your lifestyle, which may influence the number of bedrooms and living spaces
  • Establishing your budget, which is a no-brainer that helps you avoid unnecessary debt 
  • Centralizing the kitchen, as studies have shown that families are now spending more time in the kitchen than ever before
  • Conducting a site analysis, which can help you decide if the land is suitable for your chosen house plans, and even impact where windows are placed 
  • Make a list of your favorite floor plans so that you have a variety to select from when consulting with your architect or designer (and remember to bookmark it so you know your plan number)
  • Avoid cutting corners and allow yourself to splurge on essential purchases, like appliances and flooring
  • Opt for functionality and flow as much as possible. Your designer or architect can help customize your favorite plan
  • Decide which architects or designers you may need for your project so that you know exactly which role everybody plays 

No matter which part of the process you’re in, Monster House Plans is a great place to start. With thousands of floor plans in dozens of different styles, you’re bound to find the perfect house for you. Search for your favorite plan today.

How to Build a Low-Square Footage House

Think about how much energy you spend cleaning and maintaining your home. If you’re like most people, you spend too much time on upkeep and too little on enjoying your living spaces.

You also might be spending a lot of money fixing problems and paying for heating and cooling, leaving you to question your investment. The reality is that a large home may be more of a burden than you bargained for, and if you’re an empty nester, it may no longer offer your family the value it once did. 

That’s why so many people are scaling down on square footage instead of spending more money on maintaining their larger homes. These smaller homes require less maintenance and can shrink your carbon footprint. With the right floor plan from Monster House Plans, you can quickly move out of a home that no longer fits you and into one perfectly aligned with your vision.

What Is a Low Square Footage Home?

Low square footage houses are homes under 1,000 square feet. Some small homes are as tiny as 80 square feet. Regardless of the size of your tiny home, you can still have ample flexibility in your house plans.

With the right floor plan, you can maximize your living space and save your hard-earned dollars.

Types of Low Square Footage Homes

If you think having only about a thousand square feet to work with might make things limited, think again. There are a large variety of small home layouts and you can get quite creative when you’re working out your dream design. 

      • Apartments and Condominiums: Your floor plan can range from open and spacious to compact and functional if you decide to live in an apartment or condominium. However, if you plan on renting out the space, be sure to choose an approachable layout that your future tenants will enjoy.
      • Trailers, RVs, and Buses: These types of homes are totally transportable and fully customizable. While you can take your home with you, you cannot add additions.
      • Mobile and Permanent Homes: Depending on the size of your house, you can attach it to a trailer and transport it to a new location. If you settle on a permanent dwelling, you can build up to 1,000 sq ft.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs): Also known as granny flats, ADUs are separate dwelling units on a property with a home. For example, when you buy a house on a large lot, you can build a small structure in the backyard. You can live in the ADU and rent out the house with the proper zoning laws and inspections. ADUs can be economical to build. In certain areas, such as Canada and the Pacific Northwest, they are growing in popularity. On the other hand, many states and cities in the US outlaw ADUs entirely. Even without bans, you’ll still have to deal with a lot of red tape and requirements before you can build one.

Four Benefits of Owning a Small Home

When you decide to own a low square footage home, your decision will benefit you for years to come. These compact and tiny homes are cost-effective, easy to maintain, energy-efficient, and they allow you to get creative when designing and maximizing your space.

#1: Cost-Effective

When building your low-square footage home, the price per square foot is similar to what it is for larger homes. Depending on your location within the country, the average cost per square foot is $100 – $155

While the price remains the same per square foot, you are paying for less space, so your overall costs to build, as well as your ongoing utilities and expenses, will be much lower. And, finally, the mortgage on a smaller home is typically more affordable. 

#2: Easier Upkeep

One of the main reasons people want to downsize is daily maintenance and upkeep. When you live in a small home, there is less to clean, simply because there’s less space, and potentially even fewer personal belongings. 

Not only will you save both time and money, you can focus on relaxing in your home rather than spending your free time cleaning it.

#3: Sustainable and Energy Efficient 

Smaller homes mean more money saved. Due to the smaller space, it is more affordable to heat and cool your home during the year.

One overlooked aspect of home design that impacts energy usage is the shape of your house. While you may choose a particular shape for its aesthetic appeal, the number of floors and the flow between the rooms can determine how energy-efficient your house actually is.

For example, Bern homes are designed to be built below ground level, so they require less heating and cooling. Likewise, A-frames naturally let in more light because their asymmetrical shape makes it easy to install windows instead of walls. Homeowners often use this natural warming, potentially coupled with solar panels, to better heat their interiors, save on energy costs, and light up their homes more sustainably.

The most exciting design shape is the octagon. Octagon-shaped homes can fit in the same perimeter space as a square-shaped home but have 25% more space. When you design your small home, make sure you consider the shape.

#4: Get Creative With Your Allocated Square Footage

A significant way to express your creativity and personality is to take advantage of multi-use spaces. A multi-use space is a part of the home that can be used for multiple purposes. For example, you can have a function as both a dining and living room. It is all about how you design the space to work for you. 

Low square footage homes are excellent for multi-use spaces because most people moving into a tiny home are looking to size down and minimize unnecessary expenses and space. However, you can get creative with the space you do have and combine multiple functions in one area using modular furniture.

You can easily implement these multi-use spaces in your own layout by considering how you use your current spaces in your home. 

  • Do you work from home and eat in the same room? 
  • Do you workout and relax in the same space?
  • Do you sleep and hang out with friends in the same space?

Once you have considered your current situation, you can make adjustments to your floor plan for your tiny house. You can maximize the home’s potential by combining similarly used spaces. 

Understanding the Costs Associated With Building Small Homes 

When you decide to build your own home, you need to know about a few extra costs that you wouldn’t see if you purchased an existing property.

For starters, you’ll purchase land for your custom home. You also need to ensure your land is electricity- and water-hookup ready. Otherwise, your contractor cannot begin working.

And, finally, you will need to find a contractor to build your dream small house with a layout and design that fits your needs.

If you want to avoid the costs associated with new homes, a potential prefabricated home. They’re less expensive, and you can start living in your home right away. However, there is a problem with prefabricated homes – they don’t hold their value well.

A custom-built home is solid, sturdy, and retains its value for decades. A prefabricated home loses value over time. Keep in mind that you cannot make as many design changes since the contractor completes the frame off-site.

With a custom home, the house is built on-site and is designed according to your family’s needs and specifications. If you’re choosing a low square footage house plan because you’re looking to downsize, then this option makes the most sense.

Since you can see your home’s progress, you can ask for specific changes before the building phase. A key component to making custom changes to your floor plan is to be able to see what it looks like from all angles. That’s what the 3-D Modeling feature allows you to do: get to look at your new home before the building process begins and can request any changes you desire. 

Another issue with prefabricated homes is that you have to pay more upfront than you would with a new build. When buying a prefabricated home, you need to be able to pay for the entire home before building is complete. This is typically accomplished in installments where the homeowner pays a portion of the total amount due. With a prefabricated home, the homeowners must be sure they can fully afford and pay off the house before they can live in it.

In contrast, a new build only requires approximately 20% down payment for building to start, and you don’t have to have the entire home paid off before the structure is completed.  

Step-By-Step Guide to Building Your Low-Square Footage Home

When you decide to build your own tiny house, you have to consider a few things before getting started.

First, determine your budget. Having a clear budget will help guide you through the rest of the process. You then need to decide on the size of your home. Once you have figured out these key factors, you can begin looking at home designs and working on your tiny house plans.

Step 1: Measure Your Property Area

You must find a suitable property for your home. Measuring your property area will give you an idea of how big a home you can build and if you have space for a yard and garden.

Pay attention to both the size and the terrain. If you love to garden, but the ground is not suitable for growing plants, you will not have a place for your hobby.

Likewise, if you’re not interested in outdoor recreation and don’t plan on spending time in your yard, you can settle on a smaller lot. A smaller lot will typically be less expensive than one that’s larger, depending on location and proximity to nearby cities.

Step 2: Select Your Home’s Shape and Style

After selecting and purchasing your lot, it’s time to focus on the structure and style of your home. You have several options. You can have an A-frame, L-shape, octagon, or H-shape, and these refer to the physical layouts of your home’s exteriors and interiors.

Some homeowners want to take things a step further and go with a particular style. For example, they may want an L-shaped home that also has all the design flourishes and features of a classic Craftsman-style house. Other popular house styles include Colonial-style homes, farmhouse-style house plans, Cape Cod-style homes, and many more.

Step 3: Customize Your Tiny House Floor Plans

After you decide on your home shape and style, you can focus on your tiny house plans. The floor plan is the layout of your home, but it also serves as the directions for your contractor.

Without a solid floor plan, there will be work stoppages as you and your contractor work together to figure out what you want next. Having a concrete floor plan from the beginning will make your life easier and your contractor’s job much more manageable.

Step 4: Purchase Supplies and Materials

Now that you have purchased the lot, contractor, and floor plan, you and your contractor can discuss the necessary supplies and materials.

A contractor will include supplies in their cost. But to assist you with figuring out what you will need, Monster House Plans has provided this information for you. When you order from Monster House Plans, you have the option to receive a cost-to-build analysis that will detail what you need to purchase and how much it will cost.

Step 5: Start Building

Once you have your supplies, there is no time to waste. After laying the foundation, you can begin constructing the frame.

As with any project, you need to address unexpected things as they come up. With Monster House Plans, you have an invaluable opportunity to Ask the Architect questions about the floor plan so you can make the necessary changes to ensure a successful building process that’s on-schedule and on-budget.

How to Maximize the Space of a Small House

When you have minimal square feet, you need to be creative with your floor plan so you can enjoy living in your new home. There are several ways to be creative with smaller spaces in the house and to maximize your furniture placement and usage, but you can also manipulate the layout of your home to maximize the space.

1) Decide on Necessary Rooms

When establishing your floor plan, decide which rooms you need to have in the home. Then consider if these rooms should be on different floors or on different sides of the house.

Once you’ve decided on the necessary rooms, consider which rooms you can combine into one larger room. For example, instead of having a designated office space, you can change it to a multi-purpose office space that includes a guest room.

2) Reconsider the Traditional Layout of Rooms

Tiny houses provide an opportunity to think outside the box. For example, most homes have a laundry room on the first floor with the bedrooms upstairs. Instead of making yourself walk across the house, place the laundry room next to the bedrooms.

Another interesting take on traditional layouts is to have an outdoor kitchen. With a little bit of forethought and planning, you can set up your oven, stove, and grill outside under a canopy.

Depending on the year-round weather you experience, this might be an excellent option for you. Not only will it inspire more home cooking, but it will save space inside the home.

3) Embrace the Open Concept Design

You can also maximize your square footage by embracing an open concept design. An open concept design is a floor plan that minimizes the use of walls and hallways. The idea is for the rooms to blend into each other and to take advantage of a large space for a variety of uses. 

For example, popular open concept layouts feature the kitchen, dining room, and living room combined in one big space. This is an excellent option for people who like to have guests, so that while you are cooking in the kitchen, you can see and talk with others. Likewise, your guests won’t feel obligated to stay in the kitchen with you and feel crowded if you had walls separating everyone. 

While open concept homes may eliminate the use of hallways, you can use that to your benefit by creating multi-purpose rooms with modular furniture. Similarly, you can also create separation between spaces by positioning your furniture to designate specific areas for sitting, eating, and cooking.


Downsizing or opting for tiny houses can mitigate stress and provide you with a place to truly maximize your home’s intent and use. Not only will you save yourself time and money, but you can still incorporate the luxuries of a larger home with the right floor plan.

Low square footage houses are eco-friendly, cost-efficient, and easier to maintain. Better yet, building one is simple.

To build your home, you’ll need to:

  • Make sure your property or lot area will support your intended design.
  • Have a floor plan and a contractor who can build it.
  • Use your creativity to take advantage of all the ways you can maximize your space.

When you’re ready to jump into searching for small home plans, start with Monster House Plans. Our database of house plans, featuring a variety of styles, can help you browse a range of low square footage homes. Search by style, square footage, shape, and even detailed features like outdoor kitchens, in-law suites, wraparound porches and more. No matter what your vision, Monster House Plans can help you build your dream home for less today.

With the housing market currently focused on McMansions, large colonial-style homes, and Cape Cod designs, it can be hard to find a home that meets your personal specifications. 

If you want a house that feels bigger than it is, focuses on airy, open spaces for family and gatherings, and helps you save money on HVAC in hot climates: Find a rambler house. A rambler style house is an excellent choice for families looking to increase their space and save money on heating and cooling.

What is a Rambler or Ranch-Style House?

Rambler homes are large, single-story homes with a simple open-concept design originally created by San Diego architect Cliff Mays. But there is more to these homes than meets the eye. In the 1930s, an influx of California immigrants meant a spike in demand for affordable and easy-to-build homes for families.

Mays drew inspiration from his upbringing. His Mexican heritage and large family inspired a style of home designed to accommodate everyone’s needs: a combination of Mexican adobe haciendas and the ranch-style of the southwestern cattle ranches. By blending these two styles, he designed a home that was affordable to build, stayed cool in the hot climate of the west and southwest, and provided ample amounts of space for families.

As more developers built ranch houses with unique styles and features, demand increased. From World War II to the early 1970s, rambler style houses dominated the housing market across America. Although the design’s popularity briefly declined in the 1970s, many modern families are returning to this style today because it meets their needs: large open spaces and natural light.

When you look on the market for a rambler house, it’s essential you know it by another name — a ranch-style home. Although these houses are quite different from the original ranches, this name is an homage to one of its inspirations. Therefore, ramblers and ranch-style are synonymous in the housing market.

You can view our selection of rambler/ranch style house plans here.

Critical Elements of the Rambler Style

Rambler-style homes have several features that differentiate them from a standard home on your street. Some of the key elements to look for are sizeable street-facing facades, large windows around the house, low-gabled roofs, extended eaves, open floor plan, L or U-shaped orientations, garages, patio, and three to four bedrooms.

Generous Street-Facing Facade

One of the most recognizable features of the rambler home is the front facade. In the 1930s, many houses were taller and narrower than the ranch house because space was right and builders can accommodate narrower homes on smaller plots of land.

Among row houses, then, the rambler style home’s long, front facade was as much about making a statement as it was about creating an iconic house plan.


The front side of the home typically faces the street and is about double the depth of the house. For example, if a home is 30 feet deep, the front should be around 60 feet long. This length produces an enlarging effect on potential homebuyers and neighbors.

Sizeable Windows Around the House

Large windows and sliding glass doors found on the front facade and around the home’s exterior let in natural light. Since these homes originated for warmer climates, the windows take advantage of the sun and light the house. Additionally, sweeping windows are aesthetically appealing and make the home feel open and spacious.

Low-Gabled Roofs

Low-gabled or low-pitched roofs are a crucial element of the rambler-style home. Since these homes are quite expansive and cover a lot of square footage, the low roof reduces building costs and helps maintain cooler temperatures. 

However, these roofs are the exact reason why rambler homes are not ideal for colder climates. The low-gabled roofs will easily retain snow and ice, which could result in expensive damage and repairs over time.

Extended Eaves

Low-gabled roofs go hand-in-hand with extended eaves. Since the roofs are not quite as steep as a traditional roof, the eaves extend from the roof and create a shady overhang, blocking too much sunlight from entering the windows.


Overhanging eaves also provide extra protection if you’re located in a state with hot and sunny climates. The additional shade helps lower the temperature within the home and allows you to sit outside and enjoy the weather without the sun beating down on your face.

Open Floor Plan

Rambler-style homes feature large, open spaces in their floor plan, which is distinctly different from other homes built in the 1930s. 

Whereas traditional homes in the 1930s were closed and had many rooms and hallways, the rambler breaks down these walls to create an open space for gatherings and ventilation. With few load-bearing walls (most ramblers don’t have a second floor), the only walls necessary are for the bathrooms and bedrooms. 

This open-concept design makes the home feel more substantial than it is and helps with allowing cool air to flow throughout the house. However, such an open floor plan also minimizes the privacy one gets while at home, so if that’s a priority for you, consider using furniture and room partitions to strategically create more closed-in spaces.

L or U-Shaped

This unique shape is ideal for this type of home as it improves its accessibility and connection with the exteriors. Since rambler houses have many doors to the outside, an L or U-shaped home can feature one to three entries that give outdoor access.


Rambler homes usually sit on expansive pieces of property because developers build outward, not upward. This means you have plenty of outdoor space for a relaxing patio area. 

Additionally, the shape of the home helps create a friendly ambiance. L and U-shaped homes create a natural courtyard area. And with two to three sides protected by your home, you increase privacy while maintaining access to the yard from all parts of the house.


Since many ramblers are L or U-shaped, Cliff Mays and developers have since learned they can create more space with the addition of a garage. Garages help homes create privacy in the backyard and provide much-needed storage. Since rambler homes have open floor plans, you may not find an abundance of closets outside the bedrooms, so the garage provides much-needed storage space.



In addition to the floor plan, many homeowners building a rambler style house look for designs that incorporate a patio or outdoor area. Not only do these increase the value of the home, but they improve your lifestyle. There are many options available including wrap-around porches, decks, stone patios, a lanai, and a sunroom.

Three to Four Bedrooms

Generally, growing families opt for a rambler house style because it’s large enough to accommodate their needs. These homes have several bedrooms. And as your children grow and move out, you can repurpose a bedroom as office spaces, home gyms, or libraries. 

Different Types of Rambler or Ranch-Style Homes

The rambler house is a distinct style that stands apart from many other homes, but some variations meet different needs and styles. While these homes all have the previously mentioned essential elements, their structures will vary.

There are five main types of rambler homes:

  • 1. California Ranch
  • 2. Suburban Ranch
  • 3. Split-Level Ranch
  • 4. Raised Ranch
  • 5. Storybook Ranch

California Ranch

The California Ranch features the unique L or U-shape with the most original design and truest to Cliff Mays’s conception. It often has a courtyard as the central gathering place in the backyard.

Suburban Ranch

Much smaller in design than the original rambler, the suburban ranch was adapted from World War II. It stems from building homes that require less maintenance due to smaller size and more straightforward design.


Many homes do not have garages and sit on solid slabs on smaller properties.

Split-Level Ranch

These homes look similar to California ranches but offer a half staircase to get to the second level. Often built on a sloping lot, these ranch-style homes contain many of the same interior characteristics of the traditional rambler house with a slightly different look.

Raised Ranch

The raised ranch home has a staircase similar to split-level ranches, but the stairs can go in two directions. 


Often called a split-entry, when you enter the home from the front door, you have the option to go “upstairs” to the main living quarters or “downstairs” to the garage and storage units.

Storybook Ranch

The fancier of the five styles, the storybook ranch is more ornate and decorated. Upon the first glimpse, you may not recognize it as a rambler house until you notice the low-gabled roof, extended eaves, and open-concept design.

Is the Rambler Style Right for You?

When you consider the right home for you and your family, you must consider your immediate needs and how those needs will change in the future. To know whether or not the rambler style is right for you, consider these questions:

  • Do you like to entertain guests?
  • Do you have a large or growing family?
  • Do you want to spend time outdoors?
  • Do you live in a warm climate?
  • Do you have a substantial piece of property?
  • Do you like open-concept floor plans?
  • Do you prefer natural lighting to artificial lighting?

If you answered yes to these questions, the rambler house is the right choice for you. Additionally, consider these points:

  • Is your family growing? Buying a home with multiple bedrooms is perfect because it will expand with your needs.
  • Are your children moving out soon? If you expect your children to move out or go to college in the next two to four years, have a plan for all the empty bedrooms. Otherwise, you’re paying money for empty space.
  • How much property do you already own? While any size lot can fit a rambler home, these homes shine on large pieces of property. It is noticeable when they look squished between treelines or houses since their wide facade appears prominent from the street. If a scaled-down version of the rambler doesn’t fit your property, you may need to reconsider other house styles.
  • Do you experience severely cold weather? While most southern states experience freezing temperatures at some point during the winter, homes in the western and southern United States don’t have to worry about weeks and months of snow and ice buildup. If you live in a climate where you experience a lot of snow and ice, you need to address the roof of your house. Low-gabled roofs cannot handle heavy ice buildup, so you risk severe damage if you don’t take the necessary precautions.


Rambler homes are an excellent choice for growing families on large pieces of land. These homes feature beautiful street facades with large windows and gorgeous backyards that are perfect for entertaining guests and spending time with family.

Similarly, these homes come in various styles to meet your personal needs and the slope of your lot. You can design your home with a half staircase or split entry, which are perfect solutions for homes built on sloping lots.

Overall, there’s a reason the rambler home is still popular today even after nearly 100 years of existence — it consistently meets the needs of growing families, at an affordable price. If you need floor plan designs, contact Monster House Plans to start your designing process.

One of the most frequent inquiries we get in our sales of house plans is ‘do the plans include electrical’. The answer to that is yes, almost always. Yes because most designers include location of lights, plugs and switches according to codes in effect at the time the plan was drawn. We qualify this with ‘almost always’ because we have some designers who design for up-scale builders and their contractors don’t want the standard electrical stuff on the plans.

In this day and age, most people want to plan where they want switches, outlets, ceiling fans, specialty lighting, etc. Electricians prefer to locate outlets and switches after consulting with their customer and don’t want to have to scratch off the generic stuff. Electrical panels are conveniently located near where the service comes to the house.

If you live in a home built prior to 1990, have you ever said to yourself “I wonder why this builder didn’t allow for extra outlets here in the kitchen”. Or, if you have limited mobility, wonder why the switches and plugs aren’t placed more conveniently on the walls. Or, decided to put in a ceiling fan and had to go through the hassle of pulling electric to the ceiling? The reason for this is because tract homes allowed for only what was required by code at the time the home plans were created.

Monsterhouseplans offers over 18,000 exciting floor plans that are, in most cases, ready to build and can also be modified to fit your exact requirements.