Give Your 1960’s Ranch Style House A Facelift For Under $100

Not content to pull into the driveway of a boring looking 1960’s ranch house anymore? These inexpensive changes can transform your cookie-cutter ranch and make it a modern mid-century joy to come home to!

Same, same, same…

All  ofthe other houses in our 1960’s tract home neighborhood had terracotta brick, plastic shutters, and a small cement porch with twisted iron railings, that jutted out inconveniently from of the center of the house.


Every other home in our neighborhood was an equally dreary version of ours.

Most of our home improvement budget was earmarked for a kitchen remodel, so it would take ingenuity to transform the exterior of our home. Fortunately, I’m a penny pincher, and knew I could make this facelift dream a reality!

Painting the old brick

I found an old can of indoor/outdoor latex paint in the cellar. It was the same blue as the plastic shutters, that I couldn’t wait to yank off the front of the house! The paint can was 3/4 full, and seemed like it could be stirred back to life. If I meticulously brushed it on with a paintbrush (that I was willing to throw away when I was done using it,) I was pretty sure I’d have enough to cover the brick facade.

Equipped with little more than optimism, I began the laborious process of painting. Because new paint wasn’t in the budget, I was determined to cover the entire expanse with what was left in my gallon can!

I completed the job in a weekend, and used the paint so sparingly, I actually had enough to paint the matching brick section at the opposite end of the house.

My newly painted brick looked amazing, but I wanted to personalize it a bit more with bright colored painted bricks asymmetrically placed.

…and this year I gave it an update

That old latex paint has held up incredibly well for the last two years, and not needed any touch up or maintenance. Shocking, considering it was at least three years when I unearthed it.

Revamping our porch

Fussy twisted iron railings can be found on many mid-century front porches. I guess they had to put something up so tipsy dinner guests didn’t teeter off the elevated porticos after too many martinis. Removing the railing on our five foot high porch would have left us open to liability issues, so we decided to modernize it.

My husband and I cut out all the vertical spindles and put modern wire cable in their place. We used a sawzall to cut out all of the twisted iron spindles of the porch railing, sanded down where we’d made the cuts, painted our railing a trendy color of green, then ran some wire cable through holes we drilled and secured it all with clamps (ferrules), screw eye hooks, and eyebolts with nuts.

Eyebolts with nuts and ferrules (clamps) hold the wires.


Wire runs through drilled holes in the railing.


Screw eye hooks and ferrules (clamps) hold the wires in place.

We decided we didn’t need any tension devices, so we just pulled the wires taught and clamped them in place using ferrules. I’ve repainted the railing annually, just to keep it looking sharp. People regularly stop and ask if they can take a closer look, because they want to try the same redesign at their home.


Railing, similar to what ours looked like before the facelift.


Our repurposed light sculpture

The circular plastic ball is an old industrial light cover, I found abandoned in a parking lot. It had holes in the top and the bottom and one hole had a crack extending out from it. I spray painted the entire globe, placed it on top of a metal outdoor planter, and then sat a solar garden stake light in the top.

It soaks up the sun all day and fills the globe with light, becoming a unique planet-like light sculpture at night.

Our modern house number display

The final change we made, aside from the addition of some plants, was to make a modern house number display.

I used a decorative aluminum sheet, available at home improvement stores, and attached our numbers and an inexpensive exterior wall light to it.



It doesn’t take a lot of money to differentiate your cookie-cutter ranch home from all the others in your neighborhood. Transform your mid-century sleeper to a mid-century keeper, for under $100.

Pura vida, Penny


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