Mar 6, 2024

What Type of House Do I Have? 12 Popular Home Styles Explained.

How-To What Type of House Do I Have? 12 Popular Home Styles Explained.

Knowing the architectural style of your house helps you make better decisions about how to remodel or renovate. Chances are you live in one of these 12 popular house styles.

When it comes time to remodel, failing to understand what kind of home you have could lead to making decisions you will regret later. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but understanding the basics of different house architecture styles helps you make more informed decisions.

What Are Architectural Home Styles?

Most home improvement experts refer to homes by their architectural style—a set of characteristics and features that make a structure notable or historically identifiable, in this case your home. 

There are many different ways to identify architectural house styles, which can take some time to learn. The payoff? Confidence to make remodeling product selections and decor choices.

You can mine archival images of original homes in your style to get inspired, or you might want to review the renovations of current homeowners that have a similar type of house as you. 

How to Identify Different Home Styles

Here are three things to keep in mind when defining architectural style:

1. Form is the overall shape and proportions of a home—so, think about whether your home is one story or two story, or if it has a flat or pitched roof. 

2. Stylistic detail is about the aesthetic decisions made in the design phase that add character, including columns, trim, or moldings.

3. Construction focuses on how a home was built and what materials were used.  

The Most Popular Home Styles Today

Take a drive around any American town and you soon realize there are many different types of house styles, but in the 2020s people tend to live in one of, or a variation of, the architectural styles below.

1. Colonial

colonial home style
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Colonial homes are usually balanced and symmetrical with steep roofs, small porches, and wood, brick, or stone siding.

Mainly found in New England, Colonials were among some of the first houses built in the United States.The title of ‘Colonial’ stems from the time in which the style came to be—quite literally Colonial times. Overtime, they blended into many other styles.

2. Cape Cod 

cap cod home style
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Cape Cod home style is a low, broad, and plain single or double story building, usually with a chimney. 

It was first introduced in Cape Cod, Massachusetts during the late 17th century but had a renaissance in the 20th century. Based on its simple, utilitarian structure, and ease of build, it was an economical and hardy type of home that has attracted many young families. 

3. Victorian 

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Victorian homes, built during the reign of Queen Victoria of England, are opulent, two or three-story buildings typically made with turrets, towers, and an ornate exterior. 

Reflecting the booming economy of the times, Victorian homes are also known as ‘mini castles,’ and the interiors are often as detailed as the exterior, with moulding and many nooks and crannies.

4. Tudor 

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Tudor homes look like they have been plucked out of medieval history—multi-story homes, heavily influenced by 15th and 16th century England (and named for the Tudor royal dynasty of that era`), with signature half-timbered, stucco siding and brick.

Introduced by architects trained in Europe, Tudor style homes were built primarily for the upper classes, often called a “Stockbroker Tudor” based on homeowners who did well in the stock market of the Gilded Age and the Roaring 1920s.

5. Mediterranean 

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You can spot a Mediterranean-style home from a mile away by just looking at the roof—the shingles are commonly made from terracotta. Other telltale signs? Stucco exteriors and an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living.

A combination of classic Italian and Spanish designs, this style made its way to the United States in the Post WWI booming economy, when New York City became the financial capital of the world. Nowadays, this style is very popular in the South and Southwest, specifically in states like Florida, Arizona, and California.

6. Ranch 

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Beyond the single-story dead giveaway, ranches are typically built with attached garages, pitched roofs, and ample room for sliding glass doors and big picture windows. 

The Ranch style is synonymous with the Great Depression, World War II, and Baby Boomer Generation. During these times, affordable homes needed to be built quickly to support the growing boomer generation which led to houses being built in bulk, and the rise of developments and suburban neighborhoods. 

7. Craftsman 

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Craftsman home styles can be identified by wide front porches with decorative brackets and large columns that flank the front facade, holding up a low pitched roof. The exteriors are usually built from natural materials like brick, stone, stucco and wood, while on the inside, fireplaces, wood trim, and original built-ins are quite common. 

Craftsman homes first became popular in the late 19th century—a backlash against Victorian style homes and the industrial revolution. A magazine called The Craftsman, which sold residential blueprints by furniture designer Gustav Stickley, solidified the style, and Craftsman homes have remained a top choice across the United States to this day.  

8. Bungalow 

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Bungalow home styles are small, affordable, minimal, and they are easier than many other styles of home to renovate. Most are comprised of a single story, however, modern homeowners have created two-story bungalows, where the already existing attic space is flipped into an actual living space. 

An offshoot of Craftsman style, the Bungalow has been extremely popular in the United States since the early 1900s.

9. Modern 

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Opposite of the many ornate and detailed styles of the 19th century, lies Modern architecture, which specifically set out to simplify and innovate on traditional home designs with clean lines, sharp angles, a flat roof, and a minimalist aesthetic. 

One of the most popular offshoot home styles of Modern architecture is Mid-Century Modern, and one of the most notable influences on American modern architecture is famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

10. Farmhouse 

Farmhouse home styles
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Even though the ever-so-popular farmhouse design started in the 1990s and early 2000s, it catapulted into stardom in 2013 with HGTV’s hit show, Fixer Upper. These homes styles (many of which are painted in a crisp white exterior) showcase an iconic wrap-around porch, and are built with open concept functionality in mind. 

Normally situated on an expansive plot of land, farmhouses are simple and rustic in nature given its modeled off of providing comfort to working farmers and their families.  

11. Cottage 

cottage home style
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The cottage home style originated some time during the Middle Ages, where farmers who were known as “cotters” used to live in small dwellings known as “cottages”. 

Although the style has since changed drastically (long gone are the days of thatched roofs), cottages now have many offshoots (like the bungalow) and can be found in any terrain or geographic location. One characteristic that remains the same: their rustic nature and cozy size.

12. Greek Revival 

Greek revival home styles
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Greek Revival was inspired by ancient Greek temples and the dawn of democracy, embraced fully by 19th-century Americans who embodied that symbolism during a defining time in history. 

Common traits seen in Greek Revival styles are symmetry and elegance, with columns lining the front facade as a dead giveaway. Even the exteriors are often painted white to mimic the marble used in ancient temples and buildings. 

What Style Is Your Home?

So what style is your house? Take a look at your own home (or one you’re interested in buying) and see which identifying features you can spot.

Looking to renovate? Learn more about our remodeling services.

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