From coast to coast, millions of quintessentially American houses like those shown below were built during the 1950s… and many of them are still the places we call home.
This collection of more than a hundred ’50s house plans and vintage home designs from the middle of the 20th century includes all the classic styles — among them ranch houses (also called ramblers), split level homes, two-story residences, contemporary houses, mid-century modern, prefabricated (prefab) residences — and combinations thereof. Take a look!
110+ fab ’50s house plans & vintage home views
See color views of the completed home, ’50s house plans, and details about each house — including the number of rooms and home size.
’50s house with traditional Colonial elements & modern design features
Five room, one story small home design from 1951
6-room vintage ’50s house plan for a modern setting
Here is freedom for spacious living in an exciting, modern setting. Open planning and generous window area provide a sparkling roominess.
Inside, the limitations of traditional room partitions are eliminated. The fireplace, with its wide expanse of brick, adds distinction to the living room. The multipurpose rooms serves as an extension of the living room, or as a dining or playroom.
6-room tri-level vintage ’50s house plan
Wood gives an interesting, modern flavor to this home
Bright & cheerful fifties home in red and white
A six-room one-story house with attached garage
Simple, inviting lines for this classic ’50s house plan
Vintage ’50s home plans for a 4-room 1-story house
5 room home for everyday family living & entertaining
A better living plan for the big family
A modern exterior and a compact retro home plan
A multi-level plan with shingle exterior
On ’50s house plans and homebuilding in the mid-fifties (from 1955)
The many homes of individuality presented [here] reflect the best ideas of most recent modern and popular developments in design and planning.
Exterior concepts extend from the latest contemporary types to the more conservative traditional types planned in a modern manner — the latter yet enjoying the same marked popularity prevalent for many years.
In today’s wonderful new home designs, architects present prospective homeowners with marvelous opportunities for “tailor-made” selection.
Never before have you had such wide choice of beautiful, distinctive home styles… efficient, unusual floor plans… attractive exterior treatments… new ideas and multi-purpose materials for interiors. Never before have you had such opportunity to select the home plan that is exactly suited to your family’s needs and desires, your family’s mode of living.
Architects, building material and equipment manufacturers, lumber dealers, builders and contractors have teamed up to bring you homes that offer comforts, conveniences, economy of maintenance, enduring beauty and value that were undreamed of a few years ago.
Features that border on the luxurious are now standard in many homes of moderate cost– space-saving built-ins… folding partitions that quickly make two rooms out of one, and vice versa… air conditioning… multi-use rooms… window arrangements that bring nature’s own mural, the changing outdoor scene, right into your home… and dozens of other features that add immeasurably to home enjoyment.
Economical and liveable mid-century homes
Livability and construction economy are the two basic qualities demonstrated in every home shown here. These prerequisites are incorporated in the original design — where they obviously have to start — but each plan is checked and rechecked on these two points before it is selected for publication.
Homes shown in these pages have been tested in actual construction, and have proved their popularity with the home-building and home-buying public.
This is the way the total operation works to refine and test a new home plan: First, a development builder erects a pilot model or a group of homes to the new plan.
In a highly competitive area, the new home must represent extraordinary value in both price and design or it will not sell. Costs are carefully watched, all along the line, and by experts. After completion comes the irrefutable test of popularity: does it produce cash-on-the-line sales?
These ’50s house plans were all carefully checked by architects
Then, if necessary, the plan is altered to eliminate weak features or add even more desirable ones, and necessary changes made to conform to nationwide building practices, normal F.H.A. requirements and the like, and sets of stock plans are offered for sale to readers of national magazines and other plan books.
A careful check on its popularity leads the way to further improvements and new designs.
Livability is the common denominator of all these homes. This includes, over-all, designs for many different ways of family life; attractive appearance; comfort and convenience; efficient work areas for today’s servantless homes; provisions for outdoor living, and plenty of properly located storage space. These things are readily visible in the plans.
To provide greater flexibility for various family needs — and for changing patterns of family life over the years — almost every home includes one room designed and located to serve more than one purpose.
Most frequently this is a small, “extra” bedroom with a folding bed concealed in a cabinet, to provide sleeping accommodations while leaving maximum possible area free for such uses as a den, sewing room, children’s playroom, second living room or home office.
One of the more surprising early results of the continuing “popularity poll” which lies behind all these designs was the overwhelming preference for a vestibule or foyer at the front door. This provision is carefully included in most of these plans, with some sort of partition device providing the desired privacy in homes where space does not permit complete separation.
Fifties homes designed to include wanted features
Another most-wanted feature — shelter against the weather at front and rear entrances — has been incorporated in a wide variety of ways in most of the plans.
Kitchens have been accorded the thoughtful planning that is essential for a workable, livable house. The three most-used items — range, sink and refrigerator — are grouped within maximum efficient distances as worked out by home economists.
Work and storage areas are always adequate, and frequently generous, in proportion to size of house and family. And always space is set aside for serving snacks or informal meals, a “must” for most families.
Kitchens must be pleasant as well as efficient, in view of the hours the average housewife spends there — and the view is fine.
There is always good window space to bring some of the rest of the world into the kitchen; some designs give the young mother a commanding, quarter-deck position to supervise children’s play; one provides a “living kitchen” with room for the whole family; still others are open in plan, to make the kitchen really a part of the house.
Kitchens given special attention in these ’50s house plans
And these days, why shouldn’t the kitchen come out in the open? Cabinets and appliances are as attractive as useful; dishes go right into the dishwasher instead of being piled in the sink; disposers get rid of food waste before it becomes garbage; home freezers and freezer compartments in new refrigerators save food storage space as well as time in preparation and shopping. Built-in ovens and counter-top range units add new beauty, convenience and flexibility in kitchen planning.
A term you will run across frequently in the plan descriptions inside is “circulation.” In the sense used here, it refers to the ease — or lack of it — of getting to any part of the house from any other. Most important trafficways are from front entrance to living room and bedrooms; kitchen to dining room, and front and rear entrances.
Where traffic does go through a room, it is better routed through one corner or along one wall than clear through the room. Good circulation is the usual rule of all plans shown here, with a central hall the preferred method of obtaining it.
From the standpoint of both livability and economical use of space, a basement is an important feature of every home shown. Full basements are desired by most families and heartily endorsed by the architects, who have introduced any number of special treatments and devices to make them more beautiful and more useful.
There is one very desirable design quality many home plans have in common — no matter what its actual size, every house looks larger than it actually is. This is accomplished by excellent design techniques, judicious selection of exterior finish materials, and intelligent location of breezeways, garages and fenced-in patios.
Mid-century house designs: What are home buyers looking for in 1958?
Today’s home builders have been taking a long, deep look at today’s home buyers. These houses are, quite literally, created out of the stuff that dreams are made of — your dreams, when you describe the kind of a dwelling you’d like to make into your family castle.
Who are the buyers?
A composite picture of Mr. and Mrs. Modern Home Buyer goes about like this:
Mr. Modern Home Buyer is probably in his early thirties — and there is a 50 percent chance that he has already owned a home, but is looking for another more exactly suited to his tastes which, in most cases, have changed as his family expanded! If Mr. Home Buyer chooses an older house to try, he is likely to be a little older than the median age. If he selects a new home, he may very well be a little younger.
Mr. Modern Home Buyer makes a median income of close to $5,000. Half of all his home-buying colleagues will be in the $4,000 to $7,500 bracket. Of these, 30 percent will earn less than $4,000 a year — while only 16 percent will earn over $7,500.
He has an average of two children — both under eighteen. If he is like one out of three families who have been buying homes, there will be a second wage earner living in his family, probably his wife.
New homes from the ’50s
Mr. and Mrs. Modern Home Buyer have lots of company — because out of every five households in the United States, three live in homes which they own. When, this September, he sets out to look for a new house — or, at least, to dream a little about buying — just what will he be looking for? The builders know the answer to that one, too.
If he is like most homebuyers. houses in the $12,000 to $18,000 bracket will hold particular interest for him. He will want three bedrooms and two baths — and he likes to think that he might be able to have a den he could call his own, as well.
The fact that he favors a double carport — or a double garage — indicates the strong trend toward two-car families. He’d like, too, to have both a screened porch and a patio — but if he has to settle for one, the screened porch has a slight edge.
Mrs. Home Buyer comes into the picture in firmly wanting a basement for added storage space. And the whole family prefers homes on one level, with the split-level taking second place. They picture the house having a low-pitched roof, and brick is a high favorite among exterior material choice.
The home buyers would like to have a fireplace, at least in their living room, they are willing to put as much as $500 extra for air conditioning, and would be glad to pay the builder $200 to handle the landscaping for them, instead of doing it themselves.
About these mid-century house designs and home floor plans
As the well-read homeseeker may quickly notice, the homes shown are rather closely patterned to reflect the recommendations of the Women’s Congress on Housing.
As might be expected, the several basic plans and functional features which they thought most important for different families in different price ranges required many compromises in detail. So also were they subject to further modification in order to achieve a variety of personalized exteriors, without which so few would be permanently satisfactory.
In the interest of conveying “reality,” our previous plan books have favored the use of actual photographs of existing homes; but in order to assemble a greater collection of wanted features into immediate form — as well as secure them in production printable colors — this book is made up primarily as an artist would “materialize” an architect’s “custom plan” — to show a home as planned, but not yet built.
Building costs can be determined only by a competent contractor from plans and specifications. Naturally, a material list is helpful, and the more complete the plans, the closer or more accurate the estimate. Our plans show 5 to 7 large sheets. They are designed to meet the requirements of all lending agencies, and will help any builder to construct a better home.
In order to help you arrive at approximate costs of these homes, we have included with each plan the Square Footage. Your local lumber dealer, lending agency, or builder can suggest the price range, as applied to different types of construction.
Quite naturally, this can be only approximate, might need a little “uppage” if the house is undersized or “loaded” with equipment, and could be lower where rooms carry more space for the same number of doors, windows and closets.
50s house plans from The Celotex book of home plans: 20 charming homes of moderate cost by Celotex Corporation (Publication date 1952); Homes of individuality for today’s homemakers by National Plan Service, Inc (Publication date 1955); Modern living: fashion in homes by National Plan Service, Inc. (Publication date 1958); Home designs from Planned homes for better living by National Plan Service, Inc. (Publication date 1959); Upper text excerpted from Homes of Individuality for Today’s Homemakers, by National Plan Service, Inc. (1955) and Today’s New Homes: 22 Architect-Designed Homes of Moderate Cost, by The Celotex Corp. (1955); Middle text adapted from Homemaster: A Book of Home Planning, 4th ed. by Homemaster Publications, Inc. (1955). Lower section: Article from The Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama) – September 28, 1958; Images from “Home of color: Custom designed plans of merit,” by Standard Homes Company (1958)