Corner of modern home

The 10 Most Popular Architectural Styles of Homes

If you’re looking to buy a home soon, one factor that can help you during your search is the home’s architectural style. Every home comes with an architectural style. In fact, some properties have a combination of at least two styles that they are built with. Whenever a homeowner performs renovations, it’s possible that the architectural style will be changed.

When you’re considering all the architectural styles at your disposal, keep in mind that one style isn’t automatically better than another. The style you choose largely depends on which one you prefer. In the event that you’re about to build a new home, understanding the various architectural styles will better prepare you for the construction process. The following offers a more in-depth look at 10 of the most popular architectural styles on today’s market.

What is Architectural Style?

An architectural style is a set of features and characteristics that provide a building with everything from its visual appearance to the materials that are used to construct it. Other elements that are covered by a home’s architectural style include construction method and form. By identifying what style these elements are using, it’s possible to differentiate between the many different architectural categories.

When it comes to older architectural styles, the materials they use mainly involve ones that were prevalent in the area. For many years, the most commonly used building materials were wood, stone, and brick. Over time, however, materials like steel, concrete, and glass have become popular as well. Knowing what materials you want with your home can help you determine what your preferred architectural style is.

Cape Cod

The cape cod architectural style is often seen in suburban communities. This style became increasingly prevalent throughout the 1950s. In most cases, homes built in the Cape Cod style have at least 1.5 stories, a central doorway, and dormers. This design was initially inspired by half-timbered homes in England. The Cape Cod style adapted the half-timbered style for the Northeast climate.

While this style was popularized in the mid-20th century, the first Cape Cod properties were constructed in Colonial times. They began as one-story cottages with shingle siding. They now have steep, gabled roofs. As for the siding, it’s often made with brick or clapboard.

cape cod home


The Victorian architectural style is based off numerous styles that were popular throughout the 19th century. When these homes were built, they oftentimes had large floor plans and detailed architecture to better reflect the increased wealth that many people enjoyed during that time. Today, the Victorian style is still popular in the U.S.

Along with the increased wealth, this style became more popular among Victorian-era builders because of the advancements that were made in machine technology. These advancements gave builders the opportunity to implement mass-produced ornamentation into the construction process. This ornamentation included everything from patterned shingles to brackets and spindles.

While modern builders no longer construct homes that perfectly match the Victorian-era style that ended in the early 20th century, they often borrow ideas from this period. The Victorian features that are still widely used in homes today include spindled porches and curved towers. If you ever visit Disney Land or Disney World, many of properties that adorn “Main Street” were built in the Victorian style.

Victorian home


Colonial-style homes originated in the 17th century and were built in several different variations that were brought over by the first American settlers. In most cases, this architectural style features dormers and symmetry. It’s commonplace to see homes in the Colonial style when you travel along the East Coast.

If you’re searching for a traditional Colonial-style home, look for a rectangular property that places the bedrooms along the second floor. These homes typically come with double-hung windows that have equally sized square panes. Over time, Colonial-style properties have adopted more detailed cornices and stylish central hallways. The siding is usually white clapboard in combination with green or black shutters.

colonial home


Homes built in the Craftsman-style were first constructed in the early 1900s. This style focuses on nature-inspired motifs and materials that can provide your home with a comfortable and cozy feeling. Craftsman homes are typically outfitted with built-ins, stained glass, and natural woodwork whenever possible.

The style’s color scheme mainly centers around earthy tones that can make the architecture blend in with the surroundings. These homes are very simple and don’t usually come with much ornamentation. You’ll notice that these homes typically provide wide front porches and are built with such materials as stucco and stone.

craftsman home


Prairie-style homes were first built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1893 and were designed with a focus on stained glass, natural elements, handcrafted details, built-in furniture, and basic woodwork. Even though Prairie-style homes are rarely built these days, the style is exceedingly common throughout the Midwest.

These homes can come in two distinct styles, which include low-slung and asymmetrical or boxy and symmetrical. Roofs typically have a low pitch to them alongside wide eaves. The two building materials that are most commonly used include clapboard and brick. Some additional details you might be interested in extend to large square supports for porches, casement windows, and stylized masonry ornamentation. The ornamentation is often placed around the cornices, doors, and windows.

prairie home


Ranch homes were most popular throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Ranch-style homes are often split-level or single-story homes with elements that are inspired by Spanish colonials. These properties come with open floor plans as well as many natural elements. Many Ranch-style homes are equipped with built-in garages, brick or wood exterior walls, pitched-roof construction, sliding doors, and sliding windows.

ranch home


Tudor-style homes are popular among more affluent homeowners. They come with timber details along a light stucco exterior. The brickwork is usually ornate and elaborate. While this architectural style was created in England, it would eventually be brought over to the U.S. This architectural style was prevalent among wealthy suburban homeowners throughout the early 1900s. These homes are still common in colder climates because of their durable architecture and building components.

You’ll notice that Tudor-style homes come with steeply pitched gables, patterned stone or brick walls, and rounded doorways. The casement windows are often multi-paned. Many homes that are built in the Tudor architectural style are outfitted with large chimneys as well. One type of Tudor-style home that was derived from this style involves the Cotswold Cottage style. Homes built in this style have sloping roofs and sizable chimneys along the front of the home.

tudor home


Mediterranean-style homes draw inspiration from standard Mediterranean homes found in countries like Greece, Italy, and France. This style is highly popular in warmer areas across the U.S. The Mediterranean style is exemplified by stucco exteriors, ornamental details, and warmer colors. They often come with a more open design that allows in fresh air. Natural elements like stone and wood beams are common.

Mediterranean home


Modern-style homes were mainly built from the 1940s to the 1970s. These properties come with clean lines, very few ornamental details, and a focus on minimalism. These homes still exist in every part of the country but are most common along the West Coast.

While prospective homeowners oftentimes confuse contemporary homes with modern ones, it’s important to know what to look for to understand the difference. For instance, contemporary homes were built several decades after modern homes, which means that they will typically have sleeker appearances and more modern touches.

modern home


The contemporary architectural style is the one that’s currently being used when constructing new homes. This style has a focus on exterior and interior elements to provide a more cohesive feel to the entire design. Even though contemporary homes usually focus on clean and minimalist elements, they can also come with rounded and soft edges. This style is used throughout every region in the U.S.

Just like the modern architectural style, contemporary homes don’t have much ornamentation. They also have tall windows that can come in strange sizes. The wall materials used during the construction process can include stone, wood, and brick. This style originated in the 1950s and has since been separated into two versions, which include a gabled style and a flat-roof style. Gabled contemporary homes typically come with exposed beams. However, both styles often have just one story.

contemporary home


Architecture plays a significant role in shaping the character and aesthetics of our homes. There are dozens of different styles to select from, each of which can significantly alter a home’s appearance. When you explore these architectural styles, you’ll better appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship of the past. You should also gain inspiration when designing your own home. By embracing architectural diversity, we can celebrate the rich heritage and cultural influences that have shaped the homes we live in today.

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