Styles of Homes: A-Z Explained

There are SO many styles of residential architecture... from Palladian and Prairie to Craftsman and Colonial.

So whether you are seeking a specific style of home yourself, or would just like to be able to identify the styles of homes you see when out and about - we've got you covered. Keep reading to learn about every style of home out there with descriptions, lists of characteristics, histories, examples, and more...

The A-Z of styles of homes explained...

Abstract Style

What is Abstract style design and architecture?

Generally speaking, balance and symmetry are basic requirements for building but abstract design illustrates that artistic design and odd angles and shapes make way more of an impact than everyday, regular structures.

Abstract design is a process that removes certain characteristics of something in order to reduce it to a set of essential characteristics. It offers a way to see nature and extract its beauty for art and architecture. Buildings that feature elements like curved lines, sharp angles, and an overall distorted look challenge ordinary people into taking the time to appreciate and analyze the beauty that exists in complex-looking structures.

What are some examples of abstract architecture?

  • Harbin Opera House in China
  • The Jeongok Prehistory Museum in South Korea
  • The Gelderland Villa in the Netherlands

American Colonial

What is American Colonial style?

American colonial style is one of the oldest architecture styles in the United States, dating back to the 1600s when European colonists settled here. Various parts of the US developed their own styles thanks to immigrants from different parts of Europe settling here, resulting in subsets such as Spanish colonial, French colonial, and Dutch colonial styles.

Colonial homes are simple rectangular and symmetrical homes that are typically 2+ stories tall. They normally have a door in the centre of the front facade which open into an entryway with a staircase as the main feature. The common living spaces are traditionally located on the first floor and the bedrooms on the upper floors. You will often see a large central fireplace.

How to identify American colonial style houses?

  • Symmetry
  • Square or rectangular facade shape
  • Centered door
  • Balanced window placement
  • Two to three stories
  • Paired chimneys
  • Traditional, simple floor plan and room layouts
  • Prominent staircase in the entryway or centre hallway
  • Formal entryways
  • Decorated mirrors
  • Brass details

Art Deco

What is Art Deco style?

Art Deco refers to a short creative movement from 1925 to 1940 which influenced the architecture of many American cities. The movement’s name comes from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs in Paris which was a showcase for new fashion, art, and design inspiration and was essentially a style of applied decoration and rich embellishment. Art Deco architecture can be identified through bold colors, hard edges, geometric shapes like chevron and ziggurats, as well as floral and sunrise patterns, plus the use of wood, lacquer, marble, and metal.

What are common characteristics of an Art Deco architecture home?

  • Rectangular forms arranged in a geometric fashion alongside curved ornamental elements
  • Monolithic appearance with a decorative motif
  • Materials used include Terracotta, stucco, concrete, smooth stone, steel and aluminum, glass, and decorative opaque vitrolite
  • Flat roofs, chimneys, spires, and tower-like structures
  • Sometimes elaborate and decorative windows, doors, and entrances

What are examples of Art Deco architecture?

The Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center in New York, the Delano Hotel in Miami, and the Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles all feature Art Deco architecture.

Bauhaus

What is Bauhaus style?

Bauhaus (German for “building house”) architecture, design, and style were born from the German art school of the same name. The school combined crafts and fine arts and became famous for its approach to design which aimed to help rebuild society after World War I.

The design philosophy is that “form follows function” - so less is more, and functionality and practicality are key over beauty and frills. Most Bauhaus buildings look nothing alike - but they all abide by the “form follows function” rule. Some features you may find in a Bauhaus style home include honest materials, an emphasis on functionality, glass curtain walls, smooth surfaces, asymmetry, simple and fuss-free decoration and furniture, and all topped with a flat roof.

What are the main characteristics of Bauhaus architecture?

  • Functionality
  • Plainness
  • Simplicity
  • Modernity
  • Honest materials like steel, concrete, glass, and plastic
  • Being conducive to mass production
  • Focus on geometric shapes and forms (squares, circles, triangles)
  • Asymmetry
  • Flat roofs
  • Smooth surfaces
  • Glass curtain walls

British Colonial

What is British Colonial style?

Colonial style is one of the oldest architecture styles in the United States, dating back to the 1600s when colonists settled here. Various parts of the US developed their own styles thanks to immigrants from different parts of Europe settling here, resulting in subsets such as Spanish colonial, French colonial, and Dutch colonial styles. British Colonial style is one of the most common architecture styles in the US, and the US was a British Colony for roughly 200 years.
Cape Cod style, Georgian colonial style, Saltbox style, and Mid-Atlantic style are all subcategories of British colonial style.

British colonial homes are simple rectangular and symmetrical homes that are typically 2+ stories tall. They normally have a door in the centre of the front facade which open into an entryway with a staircase as the main feature. The common living spaces are traditionally located on the first floor and the bedrooms on the upper floors. You will often see a large central fireplace.

What are the different types of British colonial style homes?

  • Cape Cod style
  • Georgian colonial style
  • Saltbox style
  • Mid-Atlantic

Bungalow Style

What is bungalow style?

Derived from South Asian homes, bungalows are commonly found across the country. A small front porch, well-balanced home structure, a low exposed roof, and tapered columns are some of the most common characteristics of this style. First built in the Northeast part of the US, today you can bungalow homes for sale all over the country.

What are the benefits and advantages of living in a bungalow home?

  • Bungalows can accommodate mobility limitations like those in wheelchairs or the elderly due to accessible floor pans and lack of stairs in single stories
  • They are kid-friendly
  • They can offer privacy
  • The feature open floor plan design allowing for a bright, open, airy and spacious feel
  • Flexible for additions and expansions
  • High-demand for reselling

Cape Cod Colonial

What is a Cape Cod Colonial home?

Cape Cod style homes are low and broad single-style houses. They feature moderately steep pitched gabled roofs, large central chimneys, and little ornamentation. They originated in New England in the 17th century and were constructed of local materials to withstand stormy weather. This quaint style of home was extremely popular from 1930 to 1950.Typically, the home features a door in the centre with multi-paned windows on either side.

What are the characteristics of a Cape Cod home?

Typically, the home features a symmetrical appearance with covered entryway and door in the centre and multi-paned windows on either side with double-hung shutters. Centralized chimneys, simple ornamentation, shingle siding, gabled dormers, steep roofs, low ceilings, and open-concept living spaces can all be found in Cape Cod style homes.

What are the variations of Cape Cod homes?

Half Capes, three-quarter Capes, and full Capes are all forms of Cape Cod homes.

Coastal Farmhouse

What is coastal farmhouse style?

Coastal farmhouse style is a subcategory within classic American farmhouse architecture homes which were originally developed to function as residences in rural settings allowing farmers to be closer to their workplace, however, over the years they have evolved and transformed for the modern homeowner. Inspired by the sea and beach, coastal farmhouse style blends traditional and classic farmhouse style with beachy coastal style resulting in a shabby chic, casual, calm, relaxed, and eclectic nautical aesthetic.

Where is coastal farmhouse style popular?

Coastal farmhouse style is very popular in Southeastern states, particularly along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Low Country and Bayou areas of the South, and the Atlantic Coast in Georgia and South Carolina.

What are common characteristics of a coastal farmhouse?

  • Distressed woods
  • Low sheen
  • Distressed metal
  • Vintage vibes
  • Subtle nautical pieces
  • Neutral colors and soft hues

Colonial

What is Colonial style?

American colonial homes are one of the oldest architecture styles in the United States, dating back to the 1600s when European colonists settled here. Various parts of the US developed their own styles thanks to immigrants from different parts of Europe settling here, resulting in subsets such as Spanish colonial, French colonial, and Dutch colonial styles.

What do Colonial style homes look like?

Colonial homes are simple rectangular and symmetrical homes that are typically 2+ stories tall. They normally have a door in the centre of the front facade which opens into a formal entryway with a prominent staircase as the main feature. The common living spaces are traditionally located on the first floor and the bedrooms on the upper floors. You will often see a large central fireplace, brass details, decorated mirrors, paired chimneys, and simple floor plans in these homes.

Beautiful colonial style home with light brown stone work and dark brown shutters

Colonial Farmhouse

What is Colonial farmhouse style?

Colonial farmhouse style is a subcategory within classic American farmhouse architecture homes which were originally developed to function as residences in rural settings allowing farmers to be closer to their workplace, however, over the years they have evolved and transformed for the modern homeowner. This style of home blends classic farmhouse design with traditional colonial design.
Farmhouses date back to the fields and working-class families of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries and hit American shores after appearing in the Canadian countryside.

What are Colonial farmhouses like?

These types of homes are functional, livable, and practical homes above all else with features like front porches, board and batten exteriors, exposed beams, rustic-looking woods, cathedral ceilings, and the use of galvanized steel.
Colonial farmhouses feature lots of charming and old-world accents, colonial grid windows and cabinet doors, and brick fireplaces and flooring - all in a simple, natural, muted color scheme.

Colonial Revival

What is Colonial Revival style?

The Colonial Revival architectural style sought to revive elements of American colonial architecture and is one of the most well-known and widespread residential architectural styles in America. The beginnings of the Colonial Revival style are often attributed to the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, which reawakened Americans to the architectural traditions of their colonial past. Colonial Revival was extremely popular throughout the 1940s and still is today, despite the movement ending around World War II.

Original colonial architecture was introduced by British, Spanish, French, and Dutch settlers but by the late 1800s, bigger and more fancier, ornate homes like Victorians and Greek Revivals were very popular so this influenced Colonial Revival designs.

What do Colonial Revival style homes look like?

Well, they look a lot like their predecessors - just larger and more elaborate. Common features include a rectangular and symmetrical facade with side porches, brick or wood clapboard siding, between one to three stories, gabled or hip roof with narrow overhang, medium pitch, and wood shingles, multi pane and bay windows with shutters, and a centered and prominent front doorway with columns, pilasters, or extended pediment to create a covered porch.

Contemporary

What is a contemporary style home?

Contemporary homes can be identified through their asymmetrical features, geometric shapes, and the use of natural and more sustainable materials. Contemporary architecture design prioritizes functionality and simplicity so expect flexible, wide, and open spaces, and rooms that flood with light. Striking facades, clean lines, minimalistic style, and seamless indoor-outdoor flow are more ways to identify these homes.

What materials are used in contemporary homes?

Contemporary homes are often built using eco-friendly, innovative, recycled, and outside-of-the-box materials - like rock, brick, concrete, and other sustainable materials.

Cracker Style

What is Cracker style?

Cracker house style architecture, also known as “Florida Cracker”, is a style of vernacular architecture in the form of a wood-frame house that was widespread in the 19th century, however, it is still popular today. Common features include metal roofs, raised floors, lots of windows, straight “shotgun” hallways running from the front to the back, and wide verandas and porches that wrap the entire home.

Why are they called cracker and Florida cracker houses?

This term refers to Colonial-era English pioneer settlers and their descendants. Many of these settlers were ranchers who used to crack their whips to round up animals. Native Floridians came to be known as Crackers, as did their homes.

Craftsman

What is a craftsman style home?

This style of home was born in the 1800s and 1900s with thanks to Britain's industrial revolution and the subsequent Arts and Crafts Movement which rejected mass-production in favor of handcrafted works of art.
The term "craftsman" was originally just reserved for homes built from the plans and blueprints of Gustav Stickley, design leader, leading voice of the Arts and Crafts movement in America, founder and editor of 'The Craftsman' magazine, and furniture manufacturer. His design philosophy was a major influence on American craftsman architecture. People welcomed the simplicity, modesty, and functionality of this style of home over the frills, fuss, and eclectic style of traditional Victorians. This was a home for the hardworking American.

What are the exterior characteristics and features of a craftsman style home?

  • Low-pitched, triangular roof
  • Overhanging eaves
  • Covered front porches
  • Pillars and columns along the entry
  • Dormer windows
  • Exposed rafters
  • Double hanging windows
  • Patterned window panes or multi-paned windows
  • Muted, earthy tones
  • Materials like wood, brick, stone, and stucco


What are the interior characteristics and features of a craftsman style home?

  • Large fireplaces
  • Practical and functional floor plan
  • Built-in cabinetry and shelves
  • Nooks
  • Window seats
  • Natural materials like wood

Dutch Colonial

What is British Colonial style?

Dutch colonial is a style of domestic architecture that shares, primarily characterized by gambrel roofs having curved eaves along the length of the house.
Modern versions built in the early 20th century are more accurately referred to as Dutch colonial revival, a subtype of the colonial revival style. They are sometimes known as “barn houses”. These styles of homes were super popular throughout the 1920s.

Common features of a Dutch colonial home include:

  • One and a half to two stories
  • A gambrel roof, often with flared or curved eaves
  • Wood clapboard, wood shingle, brick, or stone facade/siding,
  • Shed, hipped, or gable dormers
  • Gable-ended chimneys
  • Decorative windows in gable end
  • Symmetrical or balanced asymmetrical facade
  • Entry may have a decorative hood or portico with columns
  • Multi-paned windows (like six-over-one or six-over-six etc)
  • Porch under overhanging eaves

Where did Dutch colonial style come from?

Dutch colonial style homes were originally built in the United States by Dutch and German colonists. These homes consist of gambrel-style roofs with flaring eaves and are traditionally built from stone or brick.

Farmhouse

What is a farmhouse?

Farmhouses were originally developed to function as residences in rural settings allowing farmers to be closer to their workplace, however, over the years they have evolved and transformed for the modern homeowner. They date back to the fields and working-class families of Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries and hit American shores after appearing in the Canadian countryside. Early settlers and pioneers of the Colonial period brought this new architecture to the East Coast and so Cape Cod and Colonial styles were born. They are functional, livable, and practical homes above all else with features like front porches, board and batten exteriors, exposed beams, rustic-looking woods, cathedral ceilings, and the use of galvanized steel.

Why are farmhouses so popular?


  • This style of home is extremely livable, functional, and practical above all else. They feel laid-back, warm, and approachable. Very family-friendly.
  • They are versatile and can take on different influences - like modern or industrial farmhouse style or rustic, traditional, and classic farmhouse style. This style of home is a great blank canvas for interior design and decor.
  • The majority have open floor plans for ease of living - and again, functionality.
  • Decor is widely accessible and can be super affordable through thrifting and vintage items.
  • They exude character and charm.

Federal Colonial

What is a federal colonial style home?

Federal style pulls from Roman and Greek architecture trends from the late 1700s. In the early 1800s, this style was a statement of urban wealth along the port cities of New England. Built with brick facades, elaborate windows flanking the front door, and decorative molding around the entryway and windows. This style of home is all about the elaborate details. Another common feature are double-hung six-over-six windows typically in rows of five on the second and third stories and two windows on either side of the entrance, creating a symmetrical front facade. Chimneys are usually located on either side of the low-grade, hip roof. Federal style houses are also known as Adam-style houses.

What are some ways to identify a federal colonial home?

  • Symmetrical facade and form
  • Elliptical fan light over paneled front door
  • Sidelights flanking front door
  • Delicate details
  • Flat lintels over windows, often with bull’s eye corners
  • Cornice with decorative moldings (typically dentils)
  • Low pitched side-gable or hipped roof
  • Double-hung windows
  • Decorative front door crown or entry porch
  • Tripart or Palladian windows

French Colonial

What is a French colonial style home?

Dating back to the 1600s, French colonial homes were originally designed by French colonists and are most common in the Southeast in the likes of Illinois and Louisiana, as well as in Quebec. French colonial homes are known for their symmetry and very steeply pitched roofs with wide overhangs. They usually have stucco exteriors, expansive wrap-around porches  (galéries) on lower and upper levels with ornate wrought iron railings and details, lots of windows, and high ceilings. Exterior stairs and hallways were used to ventilate the home while raised basements were built in order to prevent flooding during hurricane and rain season.

What are common features of French colonial style houses?

  • Symmetrical design and square exterior
  • Very steeply pitched roofs with wide overhangs
  • Stucco exteriors
  • High ceilings
  • Expansive wrap-around porches (galéries) on lower and upper levels with ornate wrought iron railings and details
  • Lots of windows
  • Exterior stairs and hallways
  • Raised basements

What are other names for French colonial style?

  • Creole architecture
  • Cajun cottages
  • Plantation architecture
  • Raised houses

Where are French colonial style houses most common?

French colonial style houses are most common in the Southeas, in particular Louisiana. If you want to see French colonial homes up close, then you should head to New Orleans and visit the Garden District - home to some of the world’s most beautiful and impressive French colonial architecture and homes.
They are also common in Illinois, along sections of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, and in Quebec, Canada.

French Farmhouse

What is a French farmhouse?

French farmhouse style is a subcategory within classic American farmhouse architecture homes which were originally developed to function as residences in rural settings allowing farmers to be closer to their workplace, however, over the years they have evolved and transformed for the modern homeowner.
French farmhouse style, also known as French country style, is inspired by the elegant, timeless, and tranquil châteaus of the European countryside - like you would find in a quaint French village - but married with the original rustic, practical, and modest feel of the original American Farmhouse style. It's the best of both worlds.

What are some common characteristics of a French farmhouse style home?

1. Natural stone facades that are symmetrical and flat
2. A tall, sloping, hipped, tiled roofs
3. Long rectangular windows
4. Moldings and plaster walls
5. Wood-planked ceilings (often painted)
6. Double chimneys
7. Natural stone or wood floors
8. Soft, curving lines

French farmhouse with intricate woodwork along the front porch and dark green shutters

Georgian Colonial

What is Georgian colonial architecture?

Georgian colonial architecture is one of the most consistently popular styles of home across the United States. It’s well-known for its symmetrical design, classic proportions, and decorative elements, It was the most dominant architectural trend in the colonies between 1700 and the Revolutionary War.

Who invented Georgian colonial architecture?

Georgian style architecture was designed by the third Earl of Burlington, who drew inspiration from the attempts by 16th-century Italian architects to recreate the kind of villas found in ancient Rome.
It arrived in America via British architectural building manuals (pattern books) around 1700. While the Georgian style was popular in England in the 17th and 18th centuries, it is based on the classical forms of the earlier Italian Renaissance period.

Gothic

What is Gothic architecture?

Gothic architecture is style of architecture from Europe, and inspired by Romanesque architecture, that emphasizes height and exhibits an intricate, delicate aesthetic. Though its roots are French, the Gothic approach can be found in churches, cathedrals, and other similar buildings in Europe and beyond. It can be identified through ornate decoration, pointed arches, vaulted ceilings, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses, and stained glass windows.
The following Gothic Revival architectural movement began in the late 1740s in England and grew in popularity during the early 19th century, in particular in the Western US from 1840s to the 1890s.

What are some identifying features of Gothic style architecture?

  • Ornate decoration
  • Pointed arches
  • Vaulted ceilings
  • Ribbed vaults
  • Flying buttresses
  • Stained glass windows

Gothic Revival

What is Gothic Revival style architecture?

Gothic Revival architecture was an architectural movement that began in the late 1740s in England and grew in popularity during the early 19th century, in particular in the Western US from 1840s to the 1890s. It draws features from the original Gothic style, including decorative patterns, finials, lancet windows, hood molds, and label stops. It is also known as Victorian Gothic, neo-Gothic, or Gothick, and wood frame houses of this style are referred to as Carpenter Gothic.

Some common features of Gothic Revival style homes include steeply pitched roofs, cross-gabled, pointed arch windows (sometimes with stained glass and above the entry), decorated verged boards, one-story porch with flattened Gothic arches, and picturesque floor plans.

What are the common characteristics of Gothic Revival style homes?

  • Steeply pitched and cross-gabled roofs
  • Pointed arch windows (sometimes with stained glass and above the entry)
  • Decorated verged boards
  • One-story porch with flattened Gothic arches
  • Picturesque floor plans (unpredictable and asymmetrical)

Greek Revival

What is Greek Revival style architecture?

Greek Revival was an architectural movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, predominantly in Northern Europe and the United States. It revived the style of ancient Greek architecture, in particular the Greek temple, with varying degrees of thoroughness and consistency. This style was common for both private residences and public buildings like banks, libraries, and courthouses.

What are common features of Greek Revival style homes?

  • Tall columns and pediments inspired by Ancient Greek temples
  • Horizontal transoms above front doors
  • Painted white plaster exteriors
  • Bold moldings
  • Embellishments like pilasters and framed dormer windows

Hacienda Style

What is a Hacienda style home?

Hacienda is the Spanish word for an estate and back in the day, some were plantations, mines, factories, or a combination of all three. This architecture style is native to Mexico and Spain but arrived in the US around 1600 when Spanish settlers moved here and was prominent until mid-1800 when the Spanish Colonial era ended.

These settlers arrived through North America but sought out states with warm and dry climates like Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, and others. They built their new homes using materials easily available to them like adobe with a stucco finish and low-pitched red clay tile roofs.

Hacienda style architecture shares many characteristics with Spanish Colonial, Spanish, and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.

Expect features like white stucco or adobe walls, red clay (Terracotta) roof tiles, courtyards, arched doorways, few and small windows with spindles, little or no decoration, stone, tile, and cobbled floors, rustic wood, and exposed wood beams.

Where did Hacienda style come from?

This architecture style is native to Mexico and Spain but arrived to the US around 1600 when Spanish settlers moved here and was prominent until mid 1800 when the Spanish Colonial era ended.

These settlers arrived through North America but sought out states with warm and dry climates like Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, and others. They built their new homes using materials easily available to them like adobe with a stucco finish and low-pitched red clay tile roofs. Hacienda style architecture shares many characteristics with Spanish Colonial, Spanish, and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.

What are the common features of a Hacienda-style home?

  • White stucco or adobe walls
  • Red clay (Terracotta) roof tiles
  • Courtyards
  • Arched doorways
  • Few and small windows with spindles
  • Stone, tile, and cobbled floors
  • Rustic wood
  • Exposed wood beams

Industrial Farmhouse

What is an industrial farmhouse?

Industrial farmhouse style is a subcategory within classic American farmhouse architecture homes which were originally developed to function as residences in rural settings allowing farmers to be closer to their workplace, however, over the years they have evolved and transformed for the modern homeowner. Industrial style architecture combines functionality and design and takes inspiration from old factories and industries. It is typically found in converted lofts and new builds. This particular aesthetic trend of architecture and design has increased in popularity over the last several decades. Common features you will find in an industrial style farmhouse are: industrial, raw, and rough materials like concrete, brick, and metal, minimalistic ornamentation and design, clean lines, flat roofs, high ceiling, large and open floor plans, sharp edges, exposed ductwork and piping, and polished surfaces.

What are common features of industrial farmhouse style homes?

Common features found in industrial style homes include the use of industrial, raw, and rough materials like concrete, brick, and metal, minimalistic ornamentation and design, clean lines, flat roofs, high ceiling, large and open floor plans, sharp edges, exposed ductwork and piping, and polished surfaces.

Industrial Style

What is an industrial style home?

Industrial style architecture combines functionality and design and takes inspiration from old factories and industries. It is typically found in converted lofts and new builds. This particular aesthetic trend of architecture and design has increased in popularity over the last several decades.

What are common features of industrial style homes?

Common features found in industrial style homes include the use of industrial, raw, and rough materials like concrete, brick, and metal, minimalistic ornamentation and design, clean lines, flat roofs, high ceiling, large and open floor plans, sharp edges, exposed ductwork and piping, and polished surfaces.

Why are industrial style homes popular?

Industrial style design was first made popular in the early 90s, but it could be said it’s even more popular today. People love the simple aesthetic and clean lines that act as a blank canvas for interior design and decor. This style of design is neutral and muted enough to remain timeless. Less is more.

International Style

What is International style architecture?

International style, or internationalism, dates back to the 1920s and 1930s in Europe as the world was recovering from World War and was used to rebuild cities affected by the war due to its effective and economical nature. This style is closely related to modernism and inspired by the industrial revolution.
When it arrived in the US, International style wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms - people thought it was cold, ugly, and unappealing - until after World War II when commercial and urban buildings embraced the design. When the 70s arrived, it became unpopular again and was regarded as boring, cheap, and grungy. Today, however, we can still see hints of Internationalism in modern homes with rectangular forms, cleans lines, functional materials, and large glass features.

Japanese Style

What is a Japanese style house?

Traditional Japanese influence on American architecture and design can be seen throughout the US. Iconic American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was fascinated by Japanese wood prints and the elements that married indoors and outdoors together. Mid-century modern design is influenced by Japanese design. Examples include sliding or glass walls and open floor plans

Why are Japanese style homes popular?

Neutral color palettes, minimalism and simplicity, lack of decoration, strong and clean lines, open floor plans, and the highlighting and incorporating of nature are among the reasons why Japanese styles are a popular choice.

Mediterranean

What is Mediterranean style architecture?

Drawing from the cultures, design ideas, and elements commonly found in countries around the Mediterranean Sea (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, North Africa, Greece, Morocco, France and more), Mediterranean and Mediterranean Revival style homes are a firm favorite across the United States. They can be easily identified through their red or brown (often Terracotta) tile roofs, white stucco exteriors, beautiful archways, and emphasis on outdoor living through the use of balconies, patios, terraces, and courtyards. Another somewhat common feature found in Mediterranean style homes are towers and tower-like structures.

Traditional Mediterranean style architecture in the United States was originally served for hotels, seaside resorts, and public buildings, however, around the 1920s Mediterranean Revival style blew up and people in the likes of Florida, California, Texas, and more warmer states began to demand these styles of homes.

There are three subcategories within Mediterranean style architecture: Modern Mediterranean, Spanish Revival, and Italian Renaissance. Mediterranean architecture, due to its many influences, can also be known as Mission Revival, Neo-Mediterranean, Moroccan, and Spanish Colonial.

What are the main characteristics and features of a Mediterranean style home?

  • Red or brown (often Terracotta) tile roofs
  • Symmetrical facades and white stucco exteriors
  • Archways
  • An emphasis on outdoor living through the use of balconies, patios, terraces, and courtyards
  • Towers and tower-like structures
  • Wrought and cast iron details (balconies, gates, window grilles, and decor)
Mediterranean style house with terracotta roof tiles and balconies

Mid-Century Modern

What is mid-century modern architecture?

Mid-century modern architecture and design dates from 1935 to 1975 as part of the larger modernist movement with roots in the Industrial Revolution. Due to the economic changes in Germany following World War II, Bauhaus architects and designers migrated to America. American cities were expanding rapidly post-war and with this came suburbanization and the need for quickly built, modern homes and furnishings. And so the mid-century modern movement was born.

Ranches and split-level home are common styles of mid-century modern homes with an emphasis on functionality.

What are common characteristics and features of a mid-century modern home?


  • Clean and sleek lines
  • Organic and geometric shapes
  • Function over form AKA an emphasis on functionality
  • Low-pitched hip roofs and low-pitched gable roofs
  • Roof overhangs with exposed rafters or an open eave
  • The use of contrasting materials, traditional (wood) and non-traditional (plastic, glass, vinyl, Plexiglass, Lucite, and vinyl)
  • A range of colors - from muted to bold and graphic uses of black and white
  • Minimal fuss, clutter, and ornamentation
  • Detached garage
  • Large, linear, flat windows
  • Recessed, covered front entryway

Mission Revival

What is Mission Revival architecture?

The Mission Revival style was an architectural movement that began in the late 19th century for a colonial style's revivalism and reinterpretation, which drew inspiration from the late 18th and early 19th century Spanish missions in California. It’s similar to Spanish colonial architecture in particular, is sometimes also referred to as Western Craftsman style, and is most common in California and the Southwest.
Some common features of a mission style home are: smooth stucco walls and exteriors, red clay tile roofs, bell towers, courtyards, parapets, and Spanish baroque ornamentation like Moorish arches, carvings, and rose windows.

What is Mission Revival style architecture similar to?

It’s similar to Spanish colonial architecture in particular, is sometimes also referred to as Western Craftsman style, and is most common in California and the Southwest.

What are common features of a Mission Revival style home?

  • Smooth stucco walls and exteriors
  • Red clay tile (often Terracotta) roofs
  • Bell towers
  • Courtyards
  • Parapets
  • Spanish baroque ornamentation
  • Moorish arches
  • Carvings
  • Rose windows

Modern Farmhouse

What is a modern farmhouse?

Modern farmhouse is a newer take on the classic farmhouse style adding smooth lines, glossy finishes, and more monochrome color schemes on top of the original comfortable, practical, and relaxed style. It blends old with new, is less rustic, more sophisticated, and incorporates contemporary elements like stainless steel appliances, marble countertops, sleek lighting, and industrial style elements. This style was made popular by HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines of the show ‘Fixer Upper’.

Why do people love modern farmhouse style homes so much?

This style of home is warm, cozy, and approachable. It is simple yet versatile and can be made completely unique to its owner. The mix of modern and traditional means the needs of modern-day life are met but the classic farmhouse character remains.

What are common features of a modern farmhouse style home?

Some of the most common features of modern farmhouse style homes include front porches, barn lighting, metal roofs, shiplap, board and batten siding, shaker-style cabinetry, barn doors, and exposed beams.

Neoclassical

What is Neoclassical architecture?

Neoclassical architecture is inspired by the culture, art, design, and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. It has been around since the mid 18th century and was born as an opposition to the ornamentation, flamboyance, and decorative nature of Baroque and Rococo styles.
This style of architecture is all about perfect proportions, symmetry, shapes, forms, and balance. Common features include tall classical columns topped with a triangular pediment, full-height front porches, elaborate doors and entryways, flat roofs with a center dome, and evenly-spaced out windows with shutters.
It is commonly seen in grand public and municipal buildings, large mansions,, and the homes of presidents, politicians, and wealthy people.

What is an example of Neoclassical architecture?

One of the most well-known examples of neoclassical architecture is The White House in Washington DC which was designed by Irish-born architect James Hoban.

What are common features of Neoclassical style homes?

  • Tall classical columns topped with a triangular pediment
  • Full-height front porches
  • Elaborate doors and entryways
  • Flat roofs with a center dome
  • Evenly-spaced out windows with shutters

Palladian

Where does Palladian style architecture get its name?

Palladian style architecture is a classical style named after architect Andrea Palladio whose work influenced European architecture from the early 17th century. He was heavily influenced by classical forms of architecture in Ancient Greece and Rome.

What are the hallmarks of Palladianism?

Some hallmarks of Palladianism are symmetry, proportion, tempo fronts (columns topped with a pediment), and Venetian windows.

Postmodern

What is postmodern architecture?

Sometimes known as “PoMo”, Postmodern architecture originated in the late 1960s and 1970s as a critique and response to Modernism and traditional styles of architecture. It aimed to create a contrast and sense of individualism from classic styles through adding ornamentation, symbols, wit, and fun to architecture. Postmodern style homes take on some elements from previous architectural styles but in more experimental, exaggerated, diverse, dynamic, and whimsical ways - and it is said that the general rule during this time was “anything goes”. The result? No two Postmodern homes or floor plans are symmetrical - these architects preferred asymmetry in order to create unique and unusual spaces. Some prominent Postmodern architects and designers include Robert Venturi, Ettore Sottsass, Frank Gehry, and Phillip Johson.

What are some features of postmodern architecture and design?

  • Asymmetry
  • Exaggerated lines (rooflines and slopes)
  • Odd angles
  • Unusual shapes
  • Bold colors and metallics
  • Colored glass, tile, and stone
  • Layering different textures and materials
  • Varying heights

Prairie

What is a Prairie house?

Similar to the Arts and Crafts movement, Prairie architecture is uniquely American and is known as the first distinct American architectural style. It features strong horizontal lines and earthy materials - echoing the plains of midwestern landscapes. Expect large chimney, masonry piers, long porches, and cantilevered floors.

What are common features of prairie homes?

  • One or two-story
  • Open floor plan
  • Low-pitched roof
  • Broad, overhanging eaves
  • Horizontal lines
  • Ribbons of windows, often casements emphasize horizontality of overall design
  • Prominent, central chimney
  • Built-in furniture
  • Simple materials

Pueblo

What is a Pueblo style home?

Pueblo style architecture is inspired by traditional Pueblo Indian structures which have been around since 750 A.D. The Pueblo style we know today was brought to life around the turn of the 20th century in Arizona and New Mexico. It has more of a Spanish influence and is known as Pueblo Revival. The sleek and simple design of Pueblo style homes continues to be very popular in the Southwest due to their very thick walls that keep the heat out and maintain a cool temperature inside.
Other features of Pueblo style architecture include flat or sloping roofs with parapets, traditional materials like adobe that create smooth and earthy-tone walls, enclosed courtyards or patios, oversized rustic wood features like doors, porches, and ceiling beams, rounded exterior features, and square windows.

Where does Pueblo style architecture get its name?

Pueblo style architecture is inspired by traditional Pueblo Indian structures which have been around since 750 A.D. The Pueblo style we know today was brought to life around the turn of the 20th century in Arizona and New Mexico. It has more of a Spanish influence and is known as Pueblo Revival.

What are common features of Pueblo style homes?

  • Flat or sloping roofs with parapets
  • Traditional materials like adobe that create smooth and earthy-tone walls
  • Enclosed courtyards or patios
  • Oversized rustic wood features like doors, porches, and ceiling beams,
  • Rounded exterior features
  • Square windows

Where are Pueblo style homes most common?

These types of homes are most common in the Southwest, New Mexicos and Arizona in particular, due to their very thick walls that keep the heat out and maintain a cool temperature inside.

Ranch Style

What is a ranch style home?

First built in the 1930s in California, ranch style houses are known for their long, single-story living, low roof, and open floor plan. A popular architecture style in San Antonio, its exterior is usually a combination of materials such as stucco, brick, wood or stone, and features sliding doors, large windows, and attached garages.

What are some of the advantages of a ranch home?

Larger living space (lack of staircases = more free square footage), simpler to design, easier to clean and maintain, safer to navigate and better for mobility, and easier to evacuate are just some of the benefits of ranch homes.

Roman

What is Roman style architecture?

Roman architecture displays grandeur externally and internally. Back in the day, Roman buildings (known as a domus) were designed to be impressive on the outside for their wealthy inhabitants. These homes were built around a courtyard known as an atrium, and rooms throughout the home would open into the atrium.
Nowadays, Roman inspired buildings and architecture fall into a few different categories: Romanesque, Neoclassical, Romanesque Revival, and Palladian. Buckingham Palace in London and the New York Stock Exchange in New York are examples of Neoclassical architecture while the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy is an example of Romanesque architecture and the Smithsonian Institute Building  in Washington D.C. is an example of Romanesque revival.

What are some common characteristics of Roman architecture homes?

  • Columns topped with a horizontal lintel
  • Arches
  • Impressive stone facades
  • The use of motifs
  • A sense of opulence and grandeur
  • Marble floors
  • Gold and gold leaf features

Rustic Farmhouse

What is a rustic farmhouse?

Rustic farmhouse style is a subcategory within classic American farmhouse architecture homes which were originally developed to function as residences in rural settings allowing farmers to be closer to their workplace, however, over the years they have evolved and transformed for the modern homeowner.
A rustic farmhouse blends classic and traditional with all-natural, rugged, rougher styles and elements like reclaimed unfinished woods, natural fibers, rusted/distressed finishes, subdued colors, and repurposed materials.

What do rustic farmhouses look like?

A rustic farmhouse blends classic and traditional with all-natural, rugged, rougher styles and elements like reclaimed unfinished woods, natural fibers, rusted/distressed finishes, subdued colors, and repurposed materials.
The result is a comfortable, livable, cozy, warm, approachable, fuss-free, and familiar aesthetic.

Why do people love rustic farmhouses?

  • People love rustic farmhouses as they are very fuss-free, functional, practical, and livable homes, perfect for families who want a comfortable place to call home. They feel laid-back, warm, and approachable.
  • The majority have open floor plans for ease of living - and again, functionality.
  • Decor is widely accessible and can be super affordable through thrifting and vintage items.
  • They exude character and charm.
  • Well-crafted and sturdy farmhouses can last forever.

Saltbox Colonial

What is a saltbox colonial house?

A saltbox colonial house is a traditional New England residential architectural style that is sturdy and understated. Saltbox homes can be identified through their long, pitched roofs that slope down the back of the house - generally with timber framing - and a flat front and central chimney. Typically a saltbox house will have two stories in the front and just one story in the back.

Why do they call them saltbox colonial houses?

Built during the 17th and 18th centuries, American saltbox houses were named after commonly used wooden salt containers from the colonial period.

Where in the United States are saltbox colonial style houses most common?

Saltbox houses are most  common in New England. During the 18th century they were home to famous pioneers and patriots, including the second American president, John Adams.

Saltbox colonial style house with white wood exterior and burgundy window shutters

Santa Barbara Style

What is Santa Barbara style architecture?

Derived from Mediterranean and Spanish revival style homes, Santa Barbara style architecture is often characterized by white stucco and plaster walls, arched doorways and windows, patterned red tile work, terracotta tile roofs, wrought and cast iron details, oversized fireplaces, arcade style arched passages, rustic exposed beam ceilings, asymmetrical towers, courtyards, patios, and an emphasis on an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.

Where did Santa Barbara style architecture come from?

Santa Barbara style architecture dates back to the 16th century, to the early days of Spanish rule in Mexico (then known as New Spain). The Spanish came  to Santa Barbara in the 18th century to occupy and Christianize the area, which became part of Mexico following the Mexican War of Independence.
When an earthquake hit Santa Barbara in 1925, the city used its Spanish-colonial history to rebuild the city. Architects Mary McLaughlin Craig and James Osborne Craig were tasked with restoring many of Santa Barbara’s buildings throughout the 1920s and 30s - inspired by Santa Barbara’s Courthouse and the Old Mission building (which is why Santa Barbara style is often also called Mission architecture. George Washington Smith was prominent Santa Barbara architect and is known for popularizing the Spanish Colonial Revival style in early 20th Century America

Scandinavian Farmhouse

What is a Scandinavian style farmhouse?

Scandinavian farmhouse style is a subcategory within classic American farmhouse architecture homes which were originally developed to function as residences in rural settings allowing farmers to be closer to their workplace, however, over the years they have evolved and transformed for the modern homeowner.
Scandinavian farmhouse design blends the rustic and down-to-earth charm of original American farmhouse design with the modern minimalism of Scandinavian design resulting in an elegant contrast and beautifully livable and cozy home.

What are the benefits of living in a Scandinavian style farmhouse home?

Scandi farmhouse style homes are very simple, practical, and livable. You get the best of both worlds: the traditional charm of American farmhouse style and the delightful minimalism of simple Swedish and Danish decor.

What are common features of a Scandinavian style farmhouse?

This style of home draws heavily from traditional American farmhouses using symmetry, two-stories, and metal roofs. Color-wise, these homes are typically just black and white in classic Scandinavian fashion. Other features to look out for include unfinished wood, large windows, a strictly monochromatic black and white color palette, and a minimalist approach to home decor. There are also lots of plants and textiles in Scandinavian farmhouse style - resulting in a well-rounded, functional, and cozy space.

Shingle Style

What is a shingle style house?

A shingle style house is exactly what it sounds like: a house clad in shingles (overlapping wood) - not just on the roof but also on the exterior walls.
The Shingle style is an American architectural style made popular by the rise of the New England school of architecture, which eschewed the highly ornamented patterns of the Eastlake style in Queen Anne architecture. In the shingle style, English influence was combined with the renewed interest in Colonial American architecture which followed the 1876 celebration of the Centennial. The plain, shingled surfaces of colonial buildings were adopted, and their massing emulated.

Where are shingle style homes most common?

Shingle style homes are most common on the East Coast in the likes of New England, Cape Cod, Newport, Nantucket, and the Hamptons.

Where do shingle style homes get their name from?

Shingle style homes are known for their overlapping wood cladding - AKA shingles.

Southern Colonial

What is a Southern colonial house?

Southern colonial style homes draw their influence from European colonists who settled in America’s northern and southern colonies during the 1600s. It’s an Early American style that, as it evolved, the architecture aspired to the ideals of the Greek Revival movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Typically made from brick, wood, stone, or a combination of all three, these homes are symmetrical, large, at least two to three stories with a colonnade across the front. The roof usually extends over the colonnade and houses a portico (front porch) underneath. Other features include paired chimneys and fireplaces on each level, a center hallway and grand staircase, and a lot of molding inside and out.

What are common characteristics of a Southern colonial house?

  • Symmetrical appearance, features, and elements
  • Large in size
  • At least two or three stories
  • Colonnade across the front with roof extending over it
  • Portico behind the colonnade
  • Exterior made from brick, wood, stone, or all three
  • Front door in the center with windows on each side (usually French windows with shutters)
  • Paired chimneys
  • A lot of molding inside and out
  • White walls and paint used throughout
  • Center hallway
  • Grand staircase

Spanish Colonial

What is a Spanish Colonial style home?

Spanish Colonial style homes exist due to the Spanish settlers who came to America from 1600-1800, and although they arrived through North America, they sought out states with Spain-like climates: Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, and others and built their new homes using materials easily available to them like adobe with a stucco finish and clay tile roofs. The Spanish Colonial era ended in mid 1800 but was later revived in the 1900s when Spanish Colonial Revival became a highly demanded residential architecture style. Spanish Colonial style is most commonly identifiable through thick stucco or adobe walls, red clay (Terracotta) roof tiles, interior courtyards with water features, wrought iron elements, arched doorways, curved edge walls, few and small windows, little or no decoration, heavy carved wooden doors with metal accents, colorful tile work, stone, tile, and cobbled floors, and exposed wood beams.

What are common features of a Spanish Colonial style home?

  • Thick stucco or adobe walls
  • Red clay (Terracotta) roof tiles
  • Interior courtyards with water features
  • Wrought iron elements
  • Arched doorways
  • Curved edge walls
  • Few, small windows
  • Heavy carved wooden doors with metal accents
  • Colorful tile work, stone, tile, and cobbled floors
  • Exposed wood beams

What subcategories are found within Spanish Colonial style architecture?

  • Spanish Colonial Revival
  • Mission Revival,
  • Moorish Revival styles

Transitional Style

What is transitional style architecture?

Transitional homes are classic with a contemporary twist. They combine elements of both traditional and modern home styles resulting in an elegantly enduring design that boasts comfort, clean lines, neutral colors, light and warmth.

What are some common features of a transitional style home?

Transitional style blends elements from both traditional and contemporary designs but a few defining features include neutral colors, textured elements, clean lines, minimal accents, and an emphasis on natural light.

Tudor

What is a Tudor style house?

Tudor homes have an old-world charm, reminiscent of an English country manor. This style of architecture originated in the United States in the mid-19th century and continued to grow in popularity until World War II. They were designed to weather cold and wet climates in the northern half of the US which get heavy rain and snow but have been popular throughout other areas of the country too.

What are common characteristics of a Tudor style house?

Steep pitched roofs, multiple overlapping and varying gables, two to three stories, rectangular design, stucco or brick and timber facade, cantilevered second story over porch, tall windows with square or diamond shaped panes, chunky iron doorway with Medieval vibe, ornate brick chimneys, and asymmetrical floor plans are just some of the most common characteristics of a Tudor home.

Where are Tudor homes most popular?

During their peak of popularity, most of the large Tudor houses were built in the Northeast and the Midwest.

Tudor Revival

What is a Tudor Revival style home?

Tudor Revival homes were built with very similar features as their predecessors, but thatched roofs were replaced with slate. They have an have an old-world charm, reminiscent of an English country manor.

Common features of Tudor Revival style homes include: steeply pitched roofs with multiple gables, rectangular shape, two to three stories, half timber and half stucco or brick facade, cantilevered second story over a porch, windows with square or diamond shaped panes, tall chimneys, Medieval looking doors with iron details, and asymmetrical floor plans.

What are common features of Tudor Revival style homes?

  • Steeply pitched roofs with multiple gables
  • Rectangular shape
  • Two to three stories
  • Half timber and half stucco or brick facade
Cantilevered second story over a porch
  • Windows with square or diamond shaped panes
  • Tall chimneys
  • Medieval looking doors with iron details
  • Asymmetrical floor plans

Tuscan Style

What is a Tuscan style house?

Inspired by the villas of Tuscany, the region around Florence, Italy, Tuscan style homes typically feature stucco exteriors with stone accents, red clay or terracotta tile roofs, arched doorways, tall and arched windows with shutters, wrought-iron details, enclosed courtyards with water features, and columned porches and porticos. Marble or granite floors, large stone fireplaces, high ceilings with rustic wood beams are common interior features.

What is the difference between Tuscan style and Mediterranean style architecture?

The biggest difference is that Tuscan style architecture is solely inspired by Italy, whereas Mediterranean style architecture is inspired by other cultures around the Mediterranean Sea - like Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, North Africa, Greece, Morocco, France, and more.

What are common features of a Tuscan style home?

  • Stucco exteriors with stone accents
  • Red clay or terracotta tile roofs
  • Arched doorways
  • Tall and arched windows with shutters
  • Wrought-iron details
  • Enclosed courtyards with water features
  • Columned porches and porticos
  • Marble or granite floors
  • Large stone fireplaces
  • High ceilings with rustic wood beams are common interior features

Victorian

What is a Victoria house?

Originating in England during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901, the Victorian architecture style was brought to the country through San Francisco. Steep pitched roofs, colorful exteriors, painted iron railings, multiple stories, and asymmetrical design are some of the key characteristics of Victorian homes. Some well-known examples of this architecture style are the iconic ‘Painted Ladies’ - the row of colorful Victorian houses in San Francisco, CA.

What are common characteristics of a Victorian houses?

  • Two to three stories
  • Complicated shape and layout
  • Decorative woodwork and trims
  • Stained glass windows and doors
  • Bright and bold colors
  • Round angles
  • Towers, turrets, and dormer windows
  • Wood or stone exterior
  • Very ornate and decorative elements
  • Textured wall surfaces
  • Steep, multi-faceted or Mansard roof
  • Single-story porch

What are some of the downsides of Victorian homes?

Smaller rooms, less closet space, and sometimes the need for repairs and updates including costly custom replacements. Some consider these homes too formal and too ornate.

Why do people love Victorian homes?

There is a romance, elegance, and an air of magic around Victorian homes that is hard not to love and find endearing. The sense of history associated with older Victorian homes is truly unique and hard to replicate.

Colorful Victorian houses in a row

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