Home Improvement

What Are the Different Types of House Styles?

Are you planning to build a home in the near future? Or, are you looking to renovate your existing space? Whether you’re creating a house from the ground up or just giving yours a makeover, it might be time to switch up your style.

What you loved 10 or 20 years ago might not be your taste anymore. Plus, there are new looks hitting the scene every year or so. Today, we’re taking a look at the different types of house styles available, so you can design a property you’ll love.

1. Cape Cod

You don’t have to live off the coast of Massachusetts to appreciate the Cape Cod architectural style. Originating around 1700, this design traces its root back to New England’s iconic Cape Cod region.

As you might expect, these houses are built to be as durable as possible. This is more of a necessity than a luxury, as true Cape Cod homes must be hardy enough to withstand the area’s harsh weather and biting winters. A few key traits of the Cape Cod style include:

  • Wood siding
  • Cedar shake roof shingles
  • Central front entry
  • Gabled dormers
  • Center chimney
  • Double-hung windows with exterior shutters

Modern Cape Cod homes retain many of these features. However, they’re also a little more airy and open-concept. As such, you may find that they incorporate more windows than their predecessors.

2. Farmhouse

Hop on Instagram for one minute, and you’ll likely be inundated with images using the #modernfarmhouse tag. Over the past 10 years, this style has skyrocketed in popularity, thanks in no small part to design guru Joanna Gaines.

Gaines made terms like “shiplap” household vernacular, and breathed new life into the traditional farmhouse look. Both modern and old-fashioned farmhouses share some of the same traits, including:

  • Exposed beams
  • Weathered, hardwood floors
  • Tall ceilings
  • Large, wraparound front porches
  • Rustic details

If you’re interested in embracing a more modern look, then you can incorporate those touches, along with cleaner lines and high-end elements. Most modern farmhouse kitchens feature stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and black window trim, among other features.

3. Craftsman

While all house styles are unique in their own way, arguably none is as architectural-centric as the Craftsman.

These homes get their name from the Arts and Crafts style, with an emphasis on stately design and solid construction. You may notice that these homes directly rebuke the cookie-cutter style and are designed to stand on their own. A few of the most noticeable elements include:

  • Horizontal build
  • Hand-forged touches
  • Low-pitched, gabled roofs
  • Natural exterior materials (wood, stone, brick)
  • Tapered porch columns

Inside of a craftsman home, it’s not uncommon to find custom built-ins, hand-laid hearths, and other touches that go beyond builder-grade.

4. Contemporary

Do you find yourself drawn to clean lines and a minimalistic aesthetic? If so, then you may prefer a contemporary look among all the different types of house styles.

Often confused with modern, contemporary is actually a style all in its own. It means “of the present” or in-the-now. Conversely, modern style refers to a specific period of time that has already occurred, such as mid-century modern. A few of the most common features include:

  • Natural materials
  • Straight lines
  • Black and white tones

If you’re unfussy by nature and prefer your home to be equally sleek, then a contemporary style may be for you. This style can transform a single-family home, or you can also find it in a double-occupancy building, such as a duplex. The right dual occupancy builder can help you bring your design to life!

5. Colonial

Stately, classic, and timeless. These are just a few of the ways you might describe a Colonial-style house. Like Cap Cod homes, these structures have a symmetrical structure, with a centered front door and double-hung windows.

Depending on when and where they were built, Colonial homes can have a variety of different looks. For instance, some can lean more French while others are decidedly Dutch or Spanish.

Most Colonial homes are at least two stories tall and feature special touches, such as:

  • Symmetrical floor plans
  • Decorative foyers and entryways
  • Real chimneys
  • Pitched roofs
  • Central stairway

While some trends will come and go, the best house styles are those that look just as good today as they did hundreds of years ago. This definitely applies to Colonial homes!

6. Cottage

There’s just something so charming about a cottage. Whether yours is out in the country or in the middle of a bustling cityscape, these structures bring to mind a simpler, sweeter time.

While cottages tend to be smaller than some of the other house styles on our list, they are no less feature-rich. This architectural trend likely originated in England, where traditional cottages are used to house local farmers.

In the United States, homeowners can choose to build or buy cottages to use as a primary or secondary residence. Today’s ever-popular tiny home is one example of how the right cottage can generate passive, secondary income as a rental! If you’re looking for one, then keep these characteristics in mind:

  • Wood siding or shingles
  • Stucco walls
  • Gable roofs
  • Small front porches
  • Side porches
  • Bay windows

7. Greek Revival

Want to go big and bold? If so, then it’s time to check out a home in the Greek Revival style. These are stately and gorgeous structures most noticeable for their oversized front porch columns.

You’ll find similar columns on iconic Greek buildings, such as the Parthenon. However, this isn’t the only decorative touch to keep an eye out for. Historically, Greek Revival homes were painted white to mimic the marbled exterior of Grecian public buildings, and this feature can still be seen today.

Emerging in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, this style is all about subdued opulence. Common traits include:

  • Grand front doors
  • Porch entry
  • Decorative cornices and friezes
  • White or neutral exterior colors

8. French Country

As their name implies, French Country homes are designed to replicate the structures that dot the bucolic countryside of France. With elements like decorative gables and stonework, they can sometimes resemble farmhouse-style homes, but the do have a few distinguishing characteristics.

One of the trademark features of this style is the tall, pointed roof. Architecturally-speaking, these roofs tend to be hipped, which means that all four corners are pointing toward the ground. They are often made of clay or slate tiles that are designed to be much more durable than standard asphalt varieties.

A few of the other characteristics of French Country architecture include:

  • Exterior shutters
  • Rustic, weathered touches
  • Symmetrical proportions
  • Porches with hefty balustrades
  • Tall windows on the second story

9. Midcentury Modern

Did you find yourself drooling over almost every scene in Mad Men? Do people often tell you that you were born in the wrong era? If you love everything 1950s and 1960s, then Midcentury Modern style might be for you.

Emerging predominantly after World War II, this architectural style emphasizes straight lines, low-profile furniture, and a clutter-free aesthetic. In addition, it also highlights a love of nature, and the value of bringing the outdoors in. For this reason, many Mid-Century Modern homes will feature oversized windows that draw in plenty of natural light.

In these homes, form and function are equally important. A few of the most common shared traits include:

  • Natural and organic materials
  • Geometric forms
  • Flat planes
  • Bare, minimal aesthetic

10. Mediterranean

If your ideal vacation destination is somewhere overlooking the coast of Italy, then you might be drawn to a Mediterranean-style home.

One look at these homes conjures up images of sunbathing on the Amalfi Coast and dining on pasta in Sicily. In addition to Italian flair, this style also embraces many elements from Spain. Like Mid-Century Modern architecture, Mediterranean homes also draw plenty of inspiration from nature.

In fact, most of these structures will feature an abundance of indoor/outdoor living spaces that make it easy to entertain a crowd. For this reason, they tend to be popular in regions that see plenty of warm, temperate weather, such as Florida.

Of course, the standout feature here is the wavy, tiled roof. Usually made of terracotta and showcasing a beautiful muted brown/red color, it’s a must-have! In addition to this special touch, you’ll also find:

  • Natural exterior materials (stone, wood)
  • Brick or stucco walls (painted white)
  • Metalwork around windows, doors, and balconies

If you can’t sip a martini in Positano, then living in a Mediterranean-style home is the next best thing!

Which Types of House Styles Do You Prefer?

When it comes to architecture, personal taste reigns supreme. There isn’t one look that’s preferred over another, so allow your tastes to guide your decision.

Now that we’ve covered a few of the most common types of house styles, are you ready to choose a layout you love? Regardless of the one that you select, take time to make it yours and you’ll always look forward to coming home.

In the meantime, we’re proud to be your go-to sources for everything real estate and technology. Feel free to check back often for more of our informative guides!


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