Do you know your favorite house style? To answer that question, you'll need to be well versed in the most popular architecture styles in America. These house styles have made up the landscape of suburbs and cities for the last couple hundred years.
Once you know your style, you'll be able to envision your perfect dream home. You can either buy an old home or build a house in your favorite style from the ground up. If you want a newly built home that incorporates a past house style, learn about some of the key characteristics that make each home stand apart.
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Cape cod homes are extremely common in suburban communities and became increasingly popular in the United States during the 1950s. The style was originally introduced by English settlers in the late 17th century and is named after the coast of Massachusetts. These homes tend to be a story and a half and include dormers and a central doorway. The original design was inspired by English half-timbered houses from centuries prior, but the frame was altered to suit the New England climate.
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Victorian architecture refers to an era of design instead of one specific style. Victorian homes were built from the early 1800s through the early 1900s during the reign of Queen Victoria. Since the era is generally associated with a rising middle class and increasing wealth, these homes tend to be larger and more elaborate. Victorian architecture was influenced by several prolific architects and varying cityscapes.
Some variations of a Victorian-style home include:
- Queen Anne
- Romanesque Revival
- Gothic Revival
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Colonial style homes date back to the 17th century, and the homes come in many variations. Each style was influenced by early American settlers depending on their country of origin, and the homes usually feature symmetry and some type of dormer. More commonly, you’ll see examples of British or Georgian colonial-style homes since a large portion of America was under British rule early on.
You might also find these colonial styles:
- Federal Colonial
- Dutch Colonial
- French Colonial
- Spanish Colonial
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The craftsman style home came about in the early 20th century during the Arts and Crafts movement. These homes put a particular 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 craftsman-style home tends to be earthy in nature and include shades like forest green, rusty orange, and natural browns.
Some of the common variations of the craftsman style include:
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This style of home was first crafted by an innovative turn of the century architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Homes are inspired by their relationship to nature and feature lots of handcrafted details like simple woodwork, stained glass, and built-in furniture. This style of home was heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, but it is distinct from craftsman-style homes. Only a handful of original homes exist, but the style is still an iconic example of architecture that originated in America.
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Ranch homes are single-story or split level houses that started popping up in the United States during the first half of the 20th century. In the 1930s, people built these homes that were inspired by Spanish colonials in the Southwest. Later examples of these homes can sometimes be confused with mid-Century modern homes because they share some characteristics. In general, ranch style homes have open floor plans and connect to the outside.
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Tudor style homes are easily recognizable and are inspired by historical homes in England. This home style became popular in the early 20th century in wealthy suburban communities. You’ll also find newer subdivisions using this style on homes built within the last forty years.
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This popular American home style was influenced by homes in the Mediterranean and became popular in the Southern United States in the early 1900s. Homes often feature warm tones, stucco exteriors, and beautiful ornamental details incorporated into the tile and woodwork.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
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It’s easy to confuse modern homes with contemporary ones, but the easiest way to tell the difference is to look at who built the home and when. Mid century modern homes were built around the 1940s through the 1970s. In contrast, contemporary homes weren’t built until decades later. Modern homes are generally minimal in style and have simple, geometric lines.
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As you learned above, modern architecture was built in the middle of the 20th century whereas contemporary homes are still being built today. Contemporary homes can vary greatly, but they tend to fuse the interior design with the exterior design so there is a sense of flow. While the style can be minimal, edges could be soft and rounded.
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A farmhouse-style home is a modern interpretation of a home that is situated on plenty of acreage. These homes have been built for centuries and typically serve to help families live off the land, so to speak. Old farmhouses come in various other design styles, like Victorian or Colonial. However, many farmhouses were built with simple details in a more vernacular style.
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Modest cottage-style homes originated in Europe and are part of the vernacular architecture of several small towns and villages. Cottages are defined by their small size and are usually faced with stone or wood. Most of these homes are found in rural communities and have an old-world charm.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
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Small log cabins have been built by locals for several hundred years. This primitive style of building originally consisted of modest one-room homes in the woods. Nowadays, people build modern cabins as their primary residence in rural and even suburban settings for the aesthetic.
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Rowhouses, also known as townhouses, are homes that are built directly next to one another. This type of house is common in cities like Brooklyn and Philadelphia, where lot sizes are tiny and narrow. These homes were generally built by a sole architect for working-class families. Modern-day townhouses will have the same space-saving qualities but more modern features.
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Greek Revival and other classical architecture in America is inspired by buildings from ancient Greece and Rome. You can find several old Greek Revivial homes and buildings that feature large columns, stucco exteriors, and classical order details.