Popular Home Styles in the United States

The common types of homes in the United States:

Single Family Homes: Detached Homes-Free Standing

1. A -Frame-resembling a capital A in structure. Steep roof lines are what give the A-frame is unique character. You will usually find large windows in the front and back. The rafters are normally exposed. Due to the structure the living space is generally small. However the light and the open feel make them seem quite larger. A-frame homes were being built in the 1950’s and became very popular in the 1970’s.

2. Bungalows-AKA Arts and Crafts -generally a smaller home that will be a one story or it could be 2 storeys with a sloping roof, usually with dormer window. The home is generally 1 ½ storey’s. Most will also have a front porch.

3. Cape Cod- Generally a story and a half high, with a steep, perfectly pitched roof with end gables. You will find a large central chimney. Most capes have the upstairs finished for additional bedrooms. Normally especially with the older ones there won’t be an attic.

4. Colonial homes-there are different types and styles(Georgian, Dutch Spanish, depending on where you live styles will differ)-most common characteristic are 2 storey’s, generally when you walk through the front door you would enter into a foyer. The stairs for upstairs’ are usually visible from the foyer. Bedrooms in a colonial are usually upstairs. Common living area is on the first floor.

5. Farmhouse-a home that is the main residence on a farm. They can be one storey or two. We generally think of a two storey home when we think of farmhouse. You will normally find in these homes, plenty of storage, and space. They were the main hub for the owners as well as the workers. The homes were well insulated for comfort in the winter as well as the summer. You will find that most farm houses are located in a country setting along with other similar homes.

6. Log home-a home that has been built from timbers. The older homes as well as some newer ones will have the timber exposed on the inside as well. Most log cabins that you see can either be 1 or 1 ½ storey’s high.

7. Manufactured Housing-These homes are also modular’s, they are built in a factory and delivered to the building site in pieces and put together.

8. Mobile Homes-a manufactured home that has either wheels underneath or a hitch. Most mobile homes are not put on a foundation.

9. Octagon Style-8 sides to the home; they will usually have a porch that wraps around. They have an open feel and are generally large in space.

10. Salt Box-main characteristic of the home is the roof line, the roof line is steep in the front allowing for a 2 storey, however it slopes in the back, which only allows for a 1 storey. I have seen homes that are plain colonial described as a salt box. There is a difference.

11. Split level home-they will generally have 3 different levels with only 3-5 stairs separating the levels. You will walk into the main floor where the living space is. The upper level would contain the bedrooms. The lower level will usually be a family room and the garage.

12. Raised Ranch-The home of decision-when you walk into the foyer you will have to decide if you want to go up or down. The upstairs which is generally 4-5 steps leads to your main home, kitchen, bedrooms, living room all on the same level. The down stairs is generally a family room (not always) and the garage. The foundation is half out of the ground which is why it’s a raised ranch.

13. Ranch home-generally a smaller home with all living and sleeping space on the same level. Most ranches will have a basement and attic.

14. Victorian Era-Victorian homes in the eastern part of the US are generally 3 storey’s. Where the Western Victorians are generally 1-2 storey’s.

What’s Your Style? A Guide to America’s Most Common Home Styles

Styles of houses vary across the country. From the New England Cape Cod to the Victorians of San Francisco, the choices are almost endless. Knowing which style you prefer is one of the basic elements in your hunt for the perfect home.

Following is a quick guide to help you recognize and use the professional terms for many of the most prevalent house styles:

  • Ranch: these long, low houses rank among the most popular types in the country. The ranch, which developed from early homes in the West and Southwest, is one-story with a low pitched room. The raised ranch, which is also common is the U.S.. has two levels, each accessible from the home’s entry foyer, which features staircases to both upper and lower levels.
  • Cape Cod: this compact story-and-a-half house is small and symmetrical with a central entrance and a step, gable roof. Brick, wood or aluminum siding are the materials most commonly seen.
  • Georgian: Popular in New England, the Georgian has a very formal appearance with two or three stories and classic lines. Usually built of red brick, the rectangular house has thin columns alongside the entry, and multi-paned windows above the door and throughout the house. Two large chimneys rise high above the roof at each end.
  • Tudor: modeled after the English country cottage. Tudor styling features trademark dark-wood timbering set against light-colored stucco that highlights the top half of the house and frames the numerous windows. The bottom half of the house is often made of brick.
  • Queen Anne/Victorian: Developed from styles originated in Great Britain, these homes are usually two-story frame with large rooms, high ceilings and porches along the front and sometimes sides of the house. Peaked roofs and ornamental wood trim, many times referred to as “gingerbread,” decorate these elaborate homes.
  • Pueblo/Santa Fe Style – Popular in the Southwest, these homes are either frame or adobe brick with a stucco exterior. The flat roof has protruding, rounded beams called vigas. One or two story, the homes feature covered/enclosed patios and an abundance of tile.
  • Dutch Colonial – the Dutch Colonial has two or tow-and-one-half stories covered by a gambrel roof (having two lopes on each side, with the lower slope steeper than the upper, flatter slope) and eaves that flare outward. This style is traditionally make of brick or shingles.
  • New England Colonial – This two-and-one-half story early American style is box like with a gable roof. The traditional material is narrow clapboard siding and a shingle roof. The small-pane, double-hung windows usually have working wood shutters.
  • Southern Colonial -this large, two-to-three-story frame house is world famous for its large front columns and wide porches.
  • Split-levels: Split-level houses have one living level about half a floor above the other living level. When this type of home is built on three different levels, it is called a tri-level.

These are just a few of the many styles of homes available across the country – some are more prominent in different areas than others. Knowing home style terms will help you zero in on the type of house that will fill your needs and suit your taste.

Real Estate Trends – The Most Popular Home Styles

Year after year, trends change in what the most popular home styles are. In the early 20th century, small homes that looked like little pill boxes dominated many American cities, while mid-century developers used ranch homes predominantly. So what are the current trends in home styles today? Read on to learn more.

Craftsman homes are still the most popular design in home styles, and have been for a long time. They are well laid-out homes with reliable designs inside. The homes tend to be a bit boxy, but they are classically styled and often feature a fine porch to relax on. Eaves are deeply overhanging for increased shelter from the sun – and the rain. You will find Craftsmans throughout the country and they allow for great air flow from room to room wherever you are. They often feature a mix of materials like stone and wood and cherish the work that goes into building them – hence the craftsman name.

Traditional homes are the most common in snowier areas like the Rocky Mountain west, the Midwest, and the Northeast. They look a lot like the homes built in the colonial period by European immigrants. They have a specific floor plan and a particular layout of windows. You will often have two windows next to the door, one on each side, and the upper floor has five front facing windows, with one immediately above the door.

Second, and sometimes third, floors will feature dormers. Kids love those as play areas, and parents like to set up their home offices in these niches. They often have big porches and lots of details like shutters and trim.

Out west you’ll find ranch styles, particularly in the Southwest. Ranches were set up to be on true cattle ranches in the west, but they became popular all over. Ranch homes are single-story dwellings, which makes them great for families with small children or elderly parents. They can be small, 1,100 square feet, or they can be huge rambling homes that cover over 2,000 square feet. Current developers don’t often use ranch styles as much any more, but they certainly hold a place in many people’s hearts.

Then there are the grand homes of the European style. Think of the big houses of France and Germany, with the stone work and high walls trimmed by large wood beams. Floors are often made of stone or marble, and metallic trims are common.

Farming is not as common anymore as it used to be, but farmhouse style homes are as popular as ever. The house plan is usually a simple rectangle with perhaps a sunroom or a porch on either end. Windows are tall and narrow allowing for gentle breezes to cool the home naturally. Siding is almost always done in wood, while the roof is made of either wood, composite, or metal.

Whatever style you like best will often be the one that speaks to you. Not every home style is meant for everyone, which is why there are so many out there. One of the ways to find the one you love is to look through architecture books and design magazines. Part of the joy in finding the home you love is the process, so have fun dreaming!