30 Popular House Styles and Their Defining Characteristics


With a plethora of house styles out there, it can be overwhelming to understand what your own home’s style is, which ones are your favorites, and what qualities belong to each. Since some house styles are more popular in certain regions of the country than others, some of them may be new to you. To help you differentiate them all, we’ll go through 30 popular house styles and what characteristics give each of them their distinct charm.

Country French House Style

Reed Davis

Country French-style homes in the United States date back to the 18th century. Country French homes are often one story with many 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 House Style

Emily Followill

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. The main exterior of the house typically has an entrance at the center with symmetrical windows on each side of it. Today, you’ll often see these homes have dormer windows and window shutters on the exterior.

Victorian House Style

Tria Giovan

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

Several styles of houses (such as Queen Anne) fall within the Victorian era, which lasted from 1837 to 1901. Homes of the Victorian Era had interiors that were romantic, distinctive, and abundant in detail, from the patterns of their fabrics to their colors and textures. Contemporary Victorian house design retains the traditional characteristics but uses more modern fabrics and colors. Traditional and contemporary can be combined nicely in these houses.

Tudor House Style

Jeff Herr

A Tudor-style home commonly features a steeply pitched roof, prominent cross gables, decorative half-timbering, and tall, narrow windows with small windowpanes. Dark half-timbering, trim, and brick are often accentuated by the lighter colors of cream, light brown, or white stucco or stone walls.

This style’s name suggests a close connection to the 16th-century architecture of England’s Tudor dynasty. But the Tudor houses we see today are modern-day reinventions loosely based on a variety of Late Medieval English prototypes.

Craftsman House Style

Jon Jensen

The Craftsman bungalow (also known as the Arts and Crafts style) was popular between 1900 and 1930, 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 the large amount of 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. Craftsman bungalows often have unfinished but usable space in the attic that can offer great renovation opportunities.

Cottage House Style

Stacey Branford

The charming and cozy cottage-style houses we know today were inspired by the thatched-roof cottages of the Medieval English countryside. The style became especially popular in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. Common features of 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 House Style

Edward Gohlich

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 the flow of fresh air.

Traditional Ranch-Style Houses

Laurie Black

Traditional ranch-style homes usually have simple floor plans, attached garages, and efficient living spaces. They are single-story homes and usually have large windows along the front of the house. The style dates back to 1932 and is still being built today. It was one of the most popular styles in the postwar suburban home-building boom of the 1950s and 1960s.

Contemporary House Style

Michael Garland

Many contemporary-style homes feature lots of glass, open floor plans, and inventive designs. 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.

Italianate House Style

Pam Spaulding

The Italianate house style is notorious for its overhanging eaves and ornate details around its doorways, windows, porches, and supporting columns. There is typically a tall chimney and gently sloping roof with these two- or three-story homes. The houses are shaped like large, rectangular boxes but have lots of visual interest in their detail. A square tower, or cupola, will often be seen on top of these Italian-inspired structures.

Colonial Revival House Style

John Bessler

The Colonial Revival style is trademarked by its large windows, grand entrances, and intricate ornamentation. You’ll often see these homes made of brick and adorned with columns on the front exterior. The style was most popular in the 1940s, born after its more simple original, the American Colonial-style home.

Georgian House Style

Werner Straube

The Georgian house style is known for being symmetrical in every way—including the windows, entrance, and roof. They’re built in a square or rectangular shape and have a hipped roof, sometimes with dormers on the second floor. You’ll often find this style of home made with stone or brick walls and multi-paneled windows.

Greek Revival House Style

Emily Followill

Greek Revival houses are easy to spot with their bright white facades and dramatic columns. Characteristics of the Greek Revival home include large layouts, low-pitched roofs, and front doors that typically have small-paned windows surrounding them. This style is popular in the South, where you’ll very likely see rocking chairs resting on the vast porches.

Midcentury Modern House Style

Greg Scheidemann

Midcentury modern houses feature clean lines, large windows, flat roofs, and open-concept interiors. The exterior is usually very wide, only having multiple stories if the house is a split-level. There are also various materials used in combination, like glass, brick, stone, and stucco. Easy access to the outdoors is common with these homes, which often include large glass doors that open right to the patio. Warm earth tones like oranges, creams, and browns are the most common exterior colors in original midcentury homes, most often built between 1945 and 1969.

Gothic Revival House Style


The Gothic Revival house style has strong roots in medieval design—think stained glass windows, towers, spires, and lots of pointed arches. This distinctive house style typically has a wide one-story porch and intricately detailed bargeboards. The roofs of these homes are usually very steep pitched, similar to the churches and other historic buildings of the same style.

Modern Architecture House Style

Edward Gohlich

Modern architecture is known for a slightly industrial feel, a far cry from a Tudor or Colonial-style house. Modern homes feature sharp, clean lines, with many of them incorporating geometric shapes. There are tall, large windows to let in lots of natural light to the open-concept interiors. The glass is one of the few materials used in the structures, many of them featuring a combination of concrete, wood, and metals. These houses often have flat roofs.

Mediterranean Revival House Style

Laura Hull

Mediterranean Revival is similar to Mediterranean style but is slightly more simplistic and symmetrical. These homes often have balconies, awnings, porches, and bell towers. The walls are usually a stark white stucco and have wrought iron fixtures. The roofs are low-pitched and made of clay tile, taking design inspiration from both Italian and Spanish architecture.

Prairie House Style

Helen Norman

The Prairie house style was made popular by architect Frank Lloyd Wright who thought that homes should be functional yet simple. The houses are usually two stories, wide, and have low-pitched roofs. The focus of these homes is to blend the outside and inside together. Multiple smaller windows are often placed together to give the appearance of one large window.

Rowhouse Style

Getty Images/Alexander Spatari

Rowhouse-style houses are most common in urban areas where accessible land for residential buildings is hard to come by. The vertical homes are built side by side in a uniform row, all of them being the same height. They’re usually built of brick and sometimes painted different colors to differentiate each home from one another. Since the side walls of the houses are usually adjacent to the next home, multiple windows line the front and back of the building.

Antebellum House Style

Jean Allsopp

Antebellum-style houses are commonly found in the South on farms and plantations and are hard to miss with their dramatic size and Greek-inspired pillars. The style features large wraparound porches and porticoes, and the homes often have porches on the second floor as well. The house is typically symmetrical and in the shape of a square.

Federal House Style

Annie Schlechter

Federal-style houses are popular on the East Coast and easy to spot with their brick exteriors and flat facades. The homes are rectangular and symmetrical in their wall and window styles. Federal-style houses have more understated and clean details in comparison to Georgian-style homes.

Modern Farmhouse Style

Kerry Kirk

Modern farmhouse style is a contemporary twist on the traditional American farmhouse. The modernized style is simple and practical. Its staples include board-and-batten siding and a metal roof. The classic color scheme is white siding with black trim but is seen in countless other variations now. Multiple roof peaks and a front porch with exposed wooden beams are also common with modern farmhouses.

Brutalist House Style

Getty Images/Construction Photography/Avalon/Contributor

For those who love a modern and minimalist design, the Brutalist architecture style is a dream come true. The key features of brutalism include the geometric use of unfinished concrete, minimal ornamentation, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The homes are considered more sculptural than cozy with their natural materials and hard edges.

Saltbox House Style

Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

Saltbox houses are a trademark of the Colonial period and are named after the common wooden salt containers of the time. The homes have an iconic one-sided sloped roof, giving the structure two stories in the front and one in the back of the house. Most saltbox houses also have a brick chimney in the center of the roof. The original saltbox home is unadorned and simple, as the style was made to be a more affordable housing option for the time.

A-Frame House Style

Edmund Barr

A-frame houses are about as unique a house shape as they come. The home is shaped like a triangle due to its extremely steep roof (doubling as side walls) that starts at the floor level. The A-shaped structure often has wooden siding and plenty of windows in the front and back of the house. This style is popular in cabins but also makes for a practical home.

Spanish Colonial House Style

Ed Gohlich

Spanish Colonial houses are full of nods to traditional Spanish architecture with their red terra-cotta roofs and white-washed stucco walls. There are few windows in this style of home, and the ones it does have are rather small. Their structures are asymmetrical and are not as extravagant as most Mediterranean-style homes, but still feature the same arches and wrought iron details.

Barndominium House Style

Courtesy of Mr. Post Frame

Rising in popularity, the barndominium is a mix between a traditional barn and a condominium. They’re most common in rural areas and feature a strong framework made of a steel roof and walls. They’re likely to have many windows and exposed wooden beams supporting an overhang for a porch. They’re commonly large structures with ample opportunity for interior design choices.

Cabin House Style

Spacecrafting Photography

The nostalgic cabin house style is an American classic that commonly uses rustic materials like timber, steel, tin, and stone. They normally have exposed beams and high ceilings, as well as porches and decks. Cabins likely have a simple gable roof or a cross-gable roof with a stately stone chimney on the side of the home. These types of houses can range from quaint and cozy to large and impressive layouts.

Shingle-Style House

Werner Straube

Shingle-style houses are similar to Queen Anne-style Victorian houses but feature fewer embellishments. They are typically wide and asymmetrical with extensive porches. The facade of the houses references their name, with wooden shingles serving as the home’s siding. The roofs have multiple gables and often have chimneys peaking over their horizon. The windows are typically small and in various shapes.


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