Popular home styles explained


When you first decide you are ready to make the leap to home ownership we run through a basic check list-

good credit, check!

gainfully employed, check!

savings, check!

pre-qualification from your lender, check!

Now what? Do your research! Decide what style of home your looking for. If you’re not sure, check out the descriptions below of some of the most popular styles of homes and see which one is the most “you”. I’ve collected the most widely used explanations of each homes style to help you narrow it down.

farmhouseFarmhouse:  Farm Houses are very popular in this part of the country. Some of the most basic characteristics are:

  • The foundations are rectangle usually with one or more additions;
  • roof lines are also simple and tall, narrow windows laid out for cross breeze,
  • large porches,
  • wood siding, and may even include a metal roof.
  • Some additional characteristics include: asymmetrical plan with dormers and gables, some even have Victorian detailing. (see pictures below)



Victorian: There are many different types of Victorian Style homes. The most popular is the Queen Ann and its distinguishing characteristics include:

  • Steep gable roof
  • Tall narrow windows
  • Ornamental woodwork (gingerbread)
  • Turned columns, turrets, and porches
  • Decorative wooden brackets, patterned shingles, clapboard siding



Colonial:  This style of home is widely considered the most popular style of home in the US! You’ve seen this home everywhere (think Mad Mens leading man Don Drapers iconic Long Island home with the red door) its stand out characteristics are:

  • 2-3 stories with a high pitched roof
  • 2-4 dormers
  • Massive chimney(s)
  • Double-hung, multipane windows (usually in pairs) placed symmetrically on both sides of a central front door
  • Decorative crown over front door supported by pilasters or columns
  • Narrow clapboard siding (sometimes brick)

cape cod

Cape Cod: Cape Cods were first built by English colonists who came to America in the late 1600s! This type of home became very popular in the 1930’s (and the love is still going strong). A lot of home buyers like Cape Cods for their charming curb side appeal and those quaint details you just cant find in new construction! Some popular characteristics include:

  • Hardwood floors and center hall floor plan
  • Sided with wide clapboards, wood shingles, or brick
  • Centered front door, most often plain
  • Multipaned, double-hung windows with decorative shutters
  • built-in cabinets, shelving, and seating
  • Low-pitched gable roof with exposed rafters, decorative beams, or braces under the gables


Ranch House:  This one is easy…… think one floor living!!

  • Single story, with a low-pitched gable end or hipped roof
  • Usually rectangular, but can be L- or U-shaped
  • Long and low to the ground
  • Sliding glass doors leading to a patio
  • Attached garage, simple open floor plan


Tudor Style: When I think of Tudor Style homes I immediately think “fairy tale come true”! This style of home has long been the idyllic back drop to some of our favorite fairy tales (they are hard to miss)

  • Steeply pitched roofs with wide gables and massive chimneys
  • Brick and stucco cladding, combined with stone trim and door surrounds
  • Tall, narrow, casement windows with multiple panes
  • Larger Tudors feature wood and stucco half-timbering

modern home

Modern vs. Contemporary:  According to “Modern” style describes a static (era-specific) design style that breaks with those pre-Industrial Revolution traditional styles. Simply put, modern design is connected to the age of machination and is typically referred to of that of the 1920s-1950s (although some make the case that modern design refers to anything from the 20th Century).  They embrace the horizontality of the landscape and automobile culture. “Contemporary” architecture and style is, literally, what is being created and produced right now. It is dynamic, meaning it’s constantly changing. It can be quite eclectic for this reason – contemporary style isn’t tied down to one specific style – it’s of the moment and borrows bits and pieces from a variety of styles and eras.

Modern houses eschew fussy details and often employ high-quality materials such as marble, wood floors/paneling, and stone, Snider said. The overall effect creates clean lines.  (HuffPost, see below)

(clink the hyperlinks to read the full article. Thanks Homedit , Huff Post and BHG!)


Still Not sure? Talk to your Realtor and see a few different styles together. Ask questions and take pictures!


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