Our country’s history is filled with many distinct architectural styles, some originated in native ground and some brought to us from other cultures. There has never been a single standard and nowadays all of these styles are of a vast portfolio that homeowners take inspiration from when designing their homes.

We do have a “modern" style, sure, but it’s far from a mold that every new home is built from. Even new homes built from the ground up can be inspired by vintage aspects, and that’s the best thing about home styles: there’s no “correct" way to go.

Nowadays, our love for the vintage made sure no style is out of fashion, as they can always be revived – either in their purest form, or with modern revisions to better suit our needs… which can sometimes lead to the creation of an entirely new thing in the process.

Let’s take a tour through some of the most popular home styles in America!

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been." – Mark Twain

1. Colonial style

The colonial style is probably one of the oldest on this list, dating back to the 17th century and the structures of the first American settlers.

The most common giveaway from the colonial style are the horizontally wide homes with lots of evenly spaced windows. A simple monotone color palette with white, black and grey helps in keeping the style as simple as it was back in the day.

2. American craftsman

The craftsman style was born from the Arts and Crafts Movement as a response to overly industrial trends that seemed to neglect beauty in the simple things. Hence, the American Craftsman style focuses on natural-looking materials such:

  • Wood
  • Brick
  • Ceramic
  • Stone
  • Marble

These homes usually have wide front porches with large beams and low-pitched roofs, often with a second floor. Colors tend to lean on the neutral side with brown and beiges resembling earthy tones.

3. Contemporary home

The contemporary style is marked by straight lines and sustainable components. Source: HGTV
The contemporary style is marked by straight lines and sustainable components. Source: HGTV

The contemporary style isn’t the same as the modern we’re used to seeing. The modern often takes a more avant-garde approach to visual design and favors form over function, whereas the contemporary emphasizes large windows and straight roofs in an approach that almost seems minimalistic (though that is an entirely different thing).

Another perk of the contemporary style is the focus on using as many sustainable and recycled materials and components as possible. From the outside it might seem close to industrial, but the contemporary style relishes on natural materials such as wood for the floors and stone or marble countertops. The large windows are also a way to let a lot of natural light in, making it one of the most visually appealing exterior home styles.

4. Dutch colonial

The dutch colonial style is most notably known from the shape of its roof – almost like the roof breaks halfway through and rests in a bevel slightly outward, usually with broadly spaced windows similar to the american colonial style.

5. Mid-century modern

The closest thing we have to a proper modern style. Source: Home Adore
The closest thing we have to a proper modern style. Source: Home Adore

The mid-century modern style is often regarded as the newest style to have emerged and spread through America. Visually there are similarities to the contemporary style, but the designs usually have a touch of “form over function" on its straight lines and angular edges.

That’s not to say it’s all style though, far from it. The idea is to simplify the floorplans and allow for a compact but functional home that allows for pieces of nature to join in – which is why you will often see details and decoration in wood, stone and bricks to offset the blocky concrete planes.

6. Log cabin

Log cabins used to be the one of the most crude forms of housing. They were built with no nails and usually as a single room to facilitate construction, but now you will often see log cabins used as luxury vacation spots for people who want some time away from the city and closer to nature.

In recent times, homeowners lean towards the log cabin style (even if the house itself isn’t built with logs) for a rustic look that feels at home surrounded by trees and shrubs. It’s viable in most regions, though the type of wood will likely change depending on where you live.

7. Victorian

The Victorian style, as the name suggests, is based on the Gothic-inspired Victorian England that became popular under the rule of Queen Victoria between the mid 19th century and early 20th century. Which is why a lot of this style can still be seen in England, given how recent a lot of these structures were.

If there’s one word that describes the Victorian style, it’s “flamboyant." It’s known for:

  • Lots of ornate details
  • Dense patterns
  • Multi-faceted rooflines
  • Fancy window frames
  • Asymmetrical floor plans

It’s very complex and gives homes a “royal" feel. As in, despite the simplicity in overall structures, the amount of details make it look more expensive and complex than it really is, which is why the style is also described as having form over function for the most part.

There’s no denying the classical beauty of the Gothic inspiration though, and a home that adopts the Victorian style is sure to stand out from the rest.

8. Cottage

Cottage homes are usually smaller homes with a curved entryway and a front wall made in wood siding or exposed brick, giving it a very distinct look. This home style retains that rustic look from the past, when homes were built to be simple and functional.

9. Farmhouse

The Farmhouse style is known for function over form. Source: One Kin Design
The Farmhouse style is known for function over form. Source: One Kin Design

The Farmhouse style is one of the most common american home styles. Ironically, the name comes from where these types of houses were built, not because anything about them resembles farms.

Houses like this were often built in rural settings and were characterized by:

  • Wide porches
  • Large rooms that allow for easy mobility
  • Built with wood
  • Simpler design
  • Generous windows that allow for lots of sunlight

There’s nothing flashy about the visual design, since these homes were built for being practical and offering lots of space to move around, rather than to impress. However, it appeals to modern homeowners precisely because of its simple no-nonsense approach to design.

10. Georgian colonial

The Georgian Colonial style, though similar to the Colonial style we’ve already seen, has a few shifts in design to set it apart. It’s similar with its focus on symmetry and evenly spaced shutter windows, but the Georgian Colonial windows often sit on the front walls of the home rather than on the roof portion. This gives the house a “box-y" look that wouldn’t look out of place in the suburbs of America.

It often features a pompous crown presenting the front door and outside walls in exposed brick, which in turn, gives it a distinct vintage look that sets it apart from most modern structures that are often more angular and less symmetrical.

Ready to build your new house? Get free quotes from professional architects in your area today! 


Top 6 Home Renovations That Pay You Back
10 Ways To Decorate Your Entryway Just In Time For Fall
The Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Roof Types

Join the conversation