What Are The Different Architectural Styles Of Homes?

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    Have you ever wondered the difference between a ranch style home and a Cape Cod-style home? Perhaps you've been driving through your neighbourhood and noticed that all the homes seem to be built in the same style.

    OR, maybe you're in the market for a new home and want to learn about the different styles that are out there. Well, wonder no more! In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the most popular architectural styles of homes.

    We'll discuss their history key features and give you some examples of each. By the end of this post, you'll be an expert on recognising different architectural styles!

    Whether you're remodelling, adding a second level, or just giving your home some extra curb appeal, knowing the style of your house can help you develop a successful plan. You'll also gain a greater appreciation of how your house was designed and built.

    This guide to different styles of houses will help you understand the many variations within the variety of designs. You can also find architecture guides at your local library or in larger bookstores to help you identify a particular style or design.

    Using the original style of your house as a starting point for an exterior makeover is usually the best technique, but, in some cases, mixing styles can energise a design.

    Cape Cod Homes

    With roots dating back to 1675, Cape Cod was a popular style for homes built in the 1930s. Typically one story (sometimes 1-1/2), the Cape Cod-style features a steep roofline, wood siding, multi-pane windows, and hardwood floors.

    Original Cape Cod-style homes were fairly small, and they often boast dormer windows for added space, light, and ventilation. If you need more space, an addition to your current Cape Cod house plans can go on the side or back, depending on the site.

    Many original Cape Cod-style houses did not have a finished space upstairs, so you might find that the upstairs area is either incomplete or previously remodelled and can easily be changed to fit your needs.

    Country French-Style Homes

    Country French-style homes in the United States date back to the 18th century. At that time, France occupied much of eastern North America with settlements scattered along the principal waterways, such as St. Lawrence, Great Lakes, and Mississippi valleys.

    French building traditions started to fade after President Thomas Jefferson purchased Louisiana in 1803, but this house style remained popular in New Orleans and other areas for another half-century.

    beautiful view residential building (1)

    Country French homes are often one-story with narrow windows and paired shutters, steeply pitched roofs (either hipped or side-gabled), stucco walls, and a half-timbered frame. The curb appeal stands out and often features stunning driveways and landscape designs.

    Colonial-Style Homes

    Colonial style—dating back to 1876—is one of the most popular home styles in the United States. Colonial-style houses usually have two or three stories, fireplaces, and brick or wood facades. The classic Colonial-style house floor plan has the kitchen and family room on the first floor and the bedrooms on the second floor.

    Colonial homes are easy to add to at the side or the back. A brick facade can be difficult to match, but a builder or designer can help you find complementary siding materials. Search online for reproduction Colonial-style materials, such as divided-light windows, to help you make a smooth exterior transition.

    Victorian Houses

    Several houses (such as Queen Anne-style houses) fall within the Victorian Era, which lasted from about 1860 to 1900. Homes of the Victorian Era were romantic, distinctive, and abundant with detail, from the fabrics and patterns to the colours and textures.

    Contemporary Victorian house design retains the traditional characteristics but uses more modern fabrics and colours. YOU can combine traditional and contemporary nicely in these houses.

    Victorian homes often feature a steeply pitched roof, a dominant front-facing gable, patterned shingles, and cutaway bay windows. In addition, victorian-style houses usually have an asymmetrical facade with a partial or full-width front porch.

    Tudor-Style Houses

    The name of this style suggests a close connection to the architectural characteristics of the early 16th-century Tudor dynasty.

    But the Tudor houses we see today are modern-day reinventions loosely based on a variety of late Mediaeval English prototypes.

    Common features of Tudor-style homes include a steeply pitched roof, prominent cross gables, decorative half-timbering, and tall, narrow windows with small window panes.

    Play Up Tudor Style

    No matter what house style you have, it's all about the curb appeal.

    Watch and learn how to enhance your home's elegant Tudor style using these signature exterior details. Then, use these ideas to play up the different materials, colours, and textures found in Tudor-style houses.

    Craftsman Houses

    The Craftsman bungalow (also known as Arts and Crafts-style houses) was a popular house style between 1905 and the 1930s, and it's making a comeback today. If you're wondering what a Craftsman-style house interior looks like, pay attention to the woodwork.

    One distinguishing feature of the style is interior woodwork, such as built-in shelving and seating.

    As for the exterior, Craftsman-style houses often have low-pitched roofs with wide eave overhangs, exposed roof rafters, decorative beams or braces under gables, and porches framed by tapered square columns. In addition, craftsman bungalows often have unfinished but usable space in the attic that can offer great renovation opportunities.

    Add Craftsman Style

    Craftsman-style houses hold a lot of potential. See how to play up your home's charming Craftsman aesthetic with these curb appeal ideas. Your patio and front yard will look better than ever.

    Cottage-Style Homes

    Mediaeval styles of the English countryside inspired American architects to design the charming and cosy cottage-style houses we know today. 

    Cottage-style house plans include a warm, storybook character, steep roof pitches and cross gables, arched doors, casement windows with small panes, and brick, stone, or stucco siding.

    Mediterranean-Style Houses

    Mediterranean-style homes often feature a low-pitched red tile roof, arches, grillwork, and a stucco or adobe exterior. The typical U-shape Mediterranean floor plan is oriented around a central courtyard and fountain, making the garden an extension of the living space. The rooms in Spanish-style houses often open to the courtyard, promoting cooling cross-ventilation and fresh airflow.

    Traditional Ranch Homes

    Traditional ranch-style homes usually have simple floor plans, attached garages, and efficient living spaces.

    The style dates back to 1932 and is still being built today. It was one of the most popular styles in the suburban home-building boom of the 1950s and 1960s.

    Although they might appear plain or cookie-cutter on the outside, ranch-style houses offer great potential for additions. Bilevel and tri level homes evolved from the ranch-style and were built during the same era. Because of their simplicity, ranch-style house plans are easy to upgrade with additions.

    Contemporary-Style Houses

    Referring specifically to architect-designed homes built from about 1950 to 1970, the term "contemporary" has come to describe a wide range of modern house styles built in recent decades that concentrate on simple forms and geometric lines.

    Many contemporary homes feature lots of glass, open floor plans, and inventive designs. However, without elaborate ornamentation and unnecessary detail, the exteriors of contemporary homes often feature a dynamic mix of contrasting materials and textures, exposed roof beams, and flat or low-pitched roofs.

    New Home Additions

    Not every home abides by a single house style. You will often see elements of different house styles combined in one home. It's a product of one era moving into another while retaining some features of the previous period, and it can easily be adapted to your design scheme.

    Although you should avoid an assortment of house styles, you can alter a particular style for your addition. Once you understand the style of your existing home, you can thoughtfully move forward with the design of your addition.

    For example, juxtaposing building materials and mixing window shapes create architectural intrigue between this home and its addition. Although they were built at different times and featured contrasting materials and elements, they are connected by the use of angles and strong geometry.


    During the Arts and Crafts movement, the craftsman-style home came about in the early 20th century. These homes focus on materials and motifs that are inspired by nature. You'll commonly find naturally toned woodwork, geometric stained glass, and several built-ins.

    The color palette of a craftsman-style home tends to be earthy and includes shades such as forest green, rusty orange, and natural browns. Some of the common variations of the craftsman style include mission, bungalow, and Stickley. Craftsman homes are found across the country.


    This house style was first crafted by an innovative turn-of-the-century architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Their relationship to nature inspires Prairie-style homes. And they feature lots of handcrafted details, such as simple woodwork, stained glass, and built-in furniture.

    The Arts and Crafts movement heavily influenced this home style, but it is distinct from Craftsman-style homes. Unfortunately, only a handful of original homes exist, with many in the Midwest.


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    Contemporary architecture essentially refers to the trendy building styles in the present day.

    Contemporary homes can vary greatly, but they generally tend to fuse the interior design with the exterior design to have a sense of flow.

    While the style is typically clean and minimal, edges can still be soft and rounded. Contemporary-style homes are found across the country, especially in new builds (though a new build doesn't necessarily have to be contemporary).


    Small log cabins have been built for several hundred years, with European settlers bringing the style to North America.

    This primitive building style originally consisted of modest one-room homes in the wilderness. Nowadays, people build modern cabins as their primary residence in rural and even suburban settings for the aesthetic.

    The exterior is often formed with logs, or it is at least clad in wood as a nod to the original style. And the shape is simple, usually with a fairly open interior.


    Row Houses, also known as townhouses, are homes built directly next to one another with an adjoining wall.

    This type of house is common in major cities across the country, where the lot sizes are long and narrow. Often the same architect will build most, if not all, of the rowhouses on a block, giving them a uniform look. 


    Antebellum architecture, or Southern architecture, arose before the Civil War in the Southern United States.

    The design was meant to be both impressive and practical. For instance, the homes featured large windows and high ceilings, which looked dramatic and allowed better air circulation.

    And they had large, covered, wrap-around porches to enjoy the outdoors while being sheltered from the hot sun. Winding staircases and columns also were trademark features. This style is still most common in the South, and the modern versions still feature vaulted ceilings and large porches. 

    Queen Anne

    Queen Anne's style is part of Victorian architecture and was popular during the late 1800s. It persisted in the United States into the 1920s, with most buildings in that style being seen in its eastern portion. Queen Anne homes generally feature an asymmetrical facade with a front gable and overhanging eaves.

    There is also typically a porch that stretches across the front of the home, potentially with a second-story balcony. 


    Also part of the Victorian era, the Eastlake style is quite similar to the Queen Anne style. It too arose in the 19th century, and examples now can be found across the United States.

    The style takes its inspiration from British architect Charles Eastlake, who promoted furniture and decor that was more angular and notched than the curved designs of other French styles. Thus, Eastlake-style homes generally have posts and railings with intricate, angular shapes. Latticework also is common.

    The homes are traditionally painted in earth tones with the trim in a lighter colour to make it pop.

    Romanesque Revival

    Romanesque Revival architecture developed during the 19th century in Britain and arrived in the United States in the 1840s. It draws inspiration from mediaeval European architecture, which featured thick stone walls, huge load-bearing columns, and large arches. Romanesque Revival buildings simplified some of those features but still retained their essence.


    Country houses are large European houses or mansions with expansive grounds, and they are also called manor houses. A long time ago, the feudal estate owned the surrounding land while the landowner owned the house.

    A country house or the manor house was historically the capital residence within a manor, the territorial organisation's basic unit in Europe's feudal system. The lord of the manor also resided, where it served as the manorial courts and banquet with manorial tenants. Today, the term is loosely applied with country houses that are way smaller than their origin way back in the late mediaeval era, where nobility resided.


    A farmhouse is a building or structure which serves as the main residence in agricultural or rural areas.

    Historically, this was commonly infused with animal space known as a horse barn. In addition, some farmhouses are connected with more than one barn, which forms a courtyard.

    Today, farmhouses are enjoying popularity relieved, which its traditional version has endured through the test of time. The known characteristic of this style is its porch that stretches on the house's front area and wraps around either side or to the rear.

    The house's roof is typically a steeply pitched one that runs along the house's length and is sometimes decorated with gables and dormers. It also includes other exterior features like horizontal siding and shutters.


    A log house, also known as the log home, is structurally the same as a log cabin, a typical house made of unmilled logs.

    A log cabin is not used as a term by contemporary builders. It would generally mean smaller and different rustic log houses like the summer cottage or the hunting cabins.


    So, what style of home is right for you? Of course, each person's answer to that question will be different. Still hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of the different types of architecture and some ideas on what might work best for your needs.

    If you're still unsure, get in touch with a trusted real estate agent or architect who can help guide you through the process – they'll be more than happy to help!

    "Conventional" styling means that it fits the well-established norms in most Western world.

    An architectural style is characterised by the features that make a building or other structure notable and historically identifiable. For example, a style may include form, method of construction, building materials, and regional character.

    Contemporary architecture essentially refers to the current style of architecture. So, according to current trends, a house built this year would be considered contemporary architecture.


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