The 10 Most Popular Types Of Houses in America

popular colonial home

Do you know how many types of homes exist? Most home buyers aren’t familiar with the many popular types of architectural styles available. And that’s fine! You don’t need to know the type of house to fall in love with it. However, you can describe the types of houses you’re looking for more clearly to your real estate agent if you are familiar with the most common architectural styles.

So, how can you tell the difference? We provide a guide to the top U.S. house styles.

Style #1: Contemporary Homes

A contemporary architecture style is basically a style that is popular right now. It contrasts with modernist architecture, which is anchored to a specific time period and part of a larger modernist movement. Due to the fact that contemporary homes can have so many different characteristics and still be considered contemporary, it’s nearly impossible to give a definitive description.

Many of the elements featured in contemporary architecture are natural and sustainable, as well as eco-friendly. These structures are usually asymmetrical and uniquely arranged.

Large windows are popular in contemporary-style homes. The exterior usually has a variety of different textures such as stucco and brick. Many of these homes will have flat or low-pitch roofs.

Style #2: Ranch Style Houses

Ranch-style houses are a classic American home design. Initially, ranches first appeared in California in the 1930s and were then popularized around the mid-20th century.

Ranch houses are usually short, single-story, and low-pitched. It is common for ranch-style homes to have almost level foundations, giving them their signature low-profile appearance.

A ranch layout is generally open and encourages outdoor living, with large windows and sliding glass doors opening onto a patio or sprawling backyard.

Style #3: Farmhouse Style

You may think of an enormous, beautiful white house on a huge lot with a wraparound porch when you think of a farmhouse. The interior might have a rustic feel. However, farmhouses weren’t designed for their aesthetics.

Farmhouses were the dwellings where farmers lived on their land. Historically, they were constructed using whatever materials were available and affordable according to the lifestyle of the people who lived in them. In early farmhouses, practicality was paramount.

Any house on a farm is still considered a farmhouse. However, modern farmhouses that have gained in popularity in recent years tend to include many of the traditional farmhouse features. Large front porches, simple architecture, and hardwood floors are among these features. Large farmhouse sinks will never go out of style.

Style #4: Cape Cod Homes

Cape Cod homes are often quaint and charming, but their exterior doesn’t show their strength. These houses have sturdy and durable architecture. Remember, these were the houses that had to provide protection from the harsh winters early New England settlers endured.

During the post-World War II housing crisis, Cape Cod-style homes played a substantial role in solving the shortage of housing. Since new home construction ceased throughout the war, there weren’t enough houses for soldiers to return home.

The U.S. government responded by subsidizing the construction of new housing developments. These developments were often filled with Cape Cod homes because of their simple layouts and ease of construction.

Cape Cod houses today still feature steep, side-gabled roofs that prevent heavy snow from building on top of the house. Additionally, they also feature low ceilings, shingle siding, and window shutters to keep the elements out and the heat in.

The front door and chimney of a Cape Cod home are often centered on the facade, with an equal number of windows on each side.

Style #5: Colonial Architecture

Early colonization of America led to the rise of colonial architecture. The colonial home style was heavily influenced by the country of origin of the builder and the materials available in the area.

Each type of colonial architecture has its own regional flavor, even though they share the same basic elements – rectangular, symmetrical structures with long rows of windows.

Cape Cod-style homes are similar to colonial-style houses with their symmetry and centered chimneys, but colonial homes typically contain multiple stories and a large number of windows.

Its style made a comeback under the name Colonial Revival architecture in the 1870s. Using modern building materials, contemporary colonial homes have the same basic elements as traditional colonial homes.

Style #6: Mid-Century Modern Homes

Modern architecture emerged in the 1920s as a reaction against the more ornate, function-before-form design styles that had previously dominated. The “mid-century” modern style emerged after the end of World War II and remained popular for the bulk of the 1970s.

Using contemporary materials and technology, the modern design emphasizes highly functional and practical spaces. Today’s modern houses are minimalist and forward-looking.

Think of simple shapes and clean lines. The trend of open-concept layouts is prevalent, as is the mixing of natural and manufactured materials.

A key goal of mid-century modern architecture was to remove the wall between the indoors and outdoor spaces. In order to achieve this, the home incorporates natural materials, such as wood and stone, into its interior design as well as floor-to-ceiling windows.

Style #7: Victorian Style Homes

Victorian homes gained popularity in the late 1800s, and have since risen up and down in popularity. The beauty and history of these homes draw many to this style even today.

Extravagance and ornament are the hallmarks of Victorian homes. They use a variety of different shapes in the construction of their structures. Most of them are painted in bright colors.

Typically, Victorian homes have multiple stories with steep roofs, as well as turrets and dormer windows. There is plenty of detailed decoration inside.

Style #8: Neoclassical Style

The classical architecture of old government and university buildings is an example of neoclassical architecture.

Classical architecture was the style of ancient Greece and Rome. Neoclassical is a revival of that style. The Neoclassical style includes lots of tall, grandiose columns.

Neoclassical style was common in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and can still be found in buildings today. Its stately columns and symmetrical structure make it stand out. 

Style #9: Craftsman Style

Craftsman architecture is a hallmark of American residential architecture. These homes have remained popular throughout the 20th and 21st centuries because they are classic but stylish.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Arts and Crafts movement gave rise to Craftsman-style architecture. The movement formed as a means of pushing back against industrialization,  originating in England and soon making its way to the United States. Handcrafted goods were an influential part of this movement.

When you see tapered columns supporting a roof that overhangs the front porch, you know you’re looking at a Craftsman home. The colors are natural, with wood and stone as main elements, but clapboard or shingle sidings in earthy tones are also common.

In Craftsman homes, functionality and practical living are emphasized, with open floor plans and built-in storage. Craftsman homes are typically not overly ornate.

Style #10: Tudor Homes

The history of Tudor architecture dates back many centuries. As the name suggests, the style originated during the reign of the House of Tudor, which lasted from the late 15th century to the early 17th century. However, it wasn’t popular throughout the whole Tudor period.

The Tudor-style homes that we see today are the result of the Tudor revival at the turn of the 20th century.

The Tudor style is another distinctive kind of home style. It is fairly easy to identify one when you see it. Typically, Tudor exteriors are characterized by a combination of brick, stucco, or stone, with exposed framework on the second floor of the home. These are very prestigious and stately homes, but they are also very expensive to build, which is the reason why they are not as popular today.

Final Thoughts

We hope to have demystified the styles of homes in American culture. As always, call us at (636) 699-0449 for all of your exterior home needs!