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Guide to House Styles in the United States

In This Post: Learn about some of the most popular house styles in the US and the inspiration behind their design!

I love looking at the different house styles in my neighborhood. For me, houses are filled with historical stories about the people and communities that lived there! But have you ever wondered why some neighborhoods have similar houses while another neighborhood a few blocks away looks completely different?

There are so many styles of homes, and I can never seem to remember what attributes make a house a specific style. In actuality, I can barely remember what style of home I live in! 

I was recently in a conversation with a friend who struggled to articulate the differences between a Craftsman and a Bungalow. If you have a deep understanding of the various house styles worldwide, this blog post is probably not for you.

However, if you want to learn & see an example of:

  • The most common house styles
  • The history and influence behind various house styles
  • Gorgeous examples of homes with a particular style

Then, you’ve come to the right place! The next time you are looking at houses, you will become an expert on what house style is represented. Or, at the very least, you can determine what house style is YOUR favorite!

The Bungalow

Popular Home Styles:

The Bungalow

Single Story
Smaller in Size
Dormer Windows
Sloped Roof
Could have a Second Half or Partial Story

The name Bungalow comes from the Hindi word “Bangala,” meaning “belonging in Bengal.” So, it should come as no surprise that the bungalow home was widespread in Bengal, India. This style of the home includes simple designs, with open concept, cost-efficiency, and the ability to expand. Many retirees prefer purchasing bungalows due to their small size and low maintenance. However, anyone looking for a simple and easy lifestyle could benefit from purchasing a Bungalow!

The Craftsman

Popular Home Styles:

The Craftsman

Simple Handcrafted Designs
Low-Pitched Gabled Roof
Tapered Columns
Covered Front Porch
1-2 Stories

Let’s go back to the question that inspired this blog post! What is the difference between a bungalow and a craftsman? Well, the short answer is not much! The craftsman home style comes from the Arts and Crafts movement and is seen more as an architectural “style,” whereas the bungalow is a type of home. So, in other words, you can have a bungalow with a craftsman style, but not the other way around.

The Arts and Crafts movement was trendy for simplicity, raw materials, and quick builds. Therefore, if you have ever heard of “Kit Homes,” you will know why the Craftsman became popular in the US. Either way, the simple design and feel of the home make it an affordable and worthwhile investment.

Mid-Century Modern

Popular Home Styles:

Mid-Century Modern

Sleek Lines, Angles & Geometric Shapes
Emphasis on Glass and Nature
Flat Planes and Different Elevations

The Mid-Century Modern house style became popular through architects and artists who fled the rise of Nazi Germany. This style is loved for its functionality, simplicity, and beauty. With Mid-Century Modern homes, you get large expansive windows, well-utilized spaces, and an intentional effort to bring the natural world indoors. If you like house styles with “timeless” and quirky looks and various shapes, then this house is definitely for you!

Victorian

Popular Home Styles:

Victorian

Large Two to Three Stories
Steep Gabled Roof
Wood or Stone Exteriors
Vibrant Colors and Decorative Trim
Asymmetrical Shapes

“Victorian” is the name of an era, but common house styles include:

There are many other examples of Victorian house styles; however, you can definitely expect multiple stories and intricate designs and colors in all of them. Victorian homes usually also have mosaic windows and lace-like woodwork. There was a level of sophistication and elegance in the Victorian era, and it is well represented in its architecture. Therefore, with this style, expect mighty structures, with gorgeous designs, and lots of character!

Modern Farmhouse

Popular Home Styles:

Modern Farmhouse

Lots of Windows
Covered Porch
Gabled or A-Shape Roof
Open Concept
Wood Elements
White Exteriors

HGTV shows like Fixer Upper have brought the rise of the “Farmhouse Modern” style. Home styles that utilize farmhouse characteristics tend to be open-concept, light and airy, and include a rustic touch mixed in with modern features. You can easily bring the farmhouse charm indoors with some design and decor! Check out my Farmhouse Toolkit for some tips & tricks!

The Cape Cod

Popular Home Styles:

The Cape Cod

Low, Broad, Single-Story
A Centered Front Entry
Steep Roof with an Overhang
Centrally Located Chimney
Shingled Siding

When Puritan settlers made their way to New England, they were not prepared for the extreme East coast winters. So, essentially the Cape Cod home is designed to be like an English cottage but made to withstand the harsh New England winters. The steep roof and low ceilings help to conserve heat while reducing the weight of snow accumulation. Cape Cod house styles also come in various layouts: the quarter, half, three-quarter, and full Cape. These homes are charming, functional, and super easy to manage. The best part–you don’t need to live in Cape Cod to own one of these gorgeous homes!

Tudor

Popular Home Styles:

Tudor

Front-Facing Gables
Steeply Pitched Roof
Brick Exteriors with Masonry & Stonework
Exposed Wood Beams on the Exterior
Usually Brick or Stucco Exterior

Tudor-style homes are known for their stunning medieval architecture and gorgeous windows, and dark exteriors. These homes became popular in the US during the 1920s with Tudor-inspired designs such as the Tudor revivals or mock Tudors. However, after World War II, American patriotism led to an influx in the Colonial revival. As a result, House styles influenced by the Tutor era mimic rustic medieval cottages, qualities that are commonly found in Europe or East coast states.

A-Frame

Popular Home Styles:

A-Frame

Triangular Shape with Pitched Roof
Wood Siding
High Ceilings
Windows Galore

A-Frame house styles have one essential goal: expansive views of the natural world with lots of natural light! Many homes with this design have a rustic appeal, but a more modernized version with expensive amenities is also rising. A-Framed houses are commonly used as vacation homes or second homes, as they are less functional for everyday living. However, if you like gorgeous designs and clean lines, and lots of light, this home is definitely for you!

Ranch

Popular Home Styles:

Ranch

Open Concept
Single Story
Long, Low-Pitch Roofline
Patio or Deck Space
Large Windows and a Sliding Glass Door
Usually includes an Attached Garage

In the 1950s the California Ranch was the most popular newly constructed home. Ranch-style homes are popular entry-level houses due to their low costs and accessibility. Smaller families or seniors who may be less mobile can benefit from a single-story layout. The addition of porches, decks, and garages provides great storage and the ability also to enjoy the outdoors. If you are looking to be a First-Time Homebuyer then a ranch might be the most convenient, functional, and manageable option.

American Colonial

Popular Home Styles:

American Colonial

Two-Stories
Rectangular in shape
Steep Side-Gabled Roof
A staircase located at the center of the home
Usually, Wood Exterior but can also be Stone or Brick

The American Colonial style dates back to the 1600s. Many New England Colonial homes were built with wood, but there are also home styles that utilized stone or brick, usually seen on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley. Known for their spacious and stylish layouts and shape, Colonials are easy to expand and are great for large families. There is a formal charm to these homes, and their design and versatility remain timeless!


Now that you have seen various home styles, which one is your favorite? Comment below with the home style and why! 

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