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What style is your house?

types of architectural design

A building’s style is a dynamic illustration and one of the first things that will capture your attention. If a building is architecturally notable and historically identifiable, it often becomes a landmark that defines a city and its community.  Memorable buildings often follow certain architectural styles that are immediately identifiable. There are dozens of architectural styles to base home on, from historical approaches to modern interpretations. The beauty of creating a home is having the freedom to pick the perfect architectural style that is practical and aesthetically pleasing. There are many considerations that go into designing homes. Some climates are better suited for certain home designs. Deciding on the final design for a custom home is always difficult and design inspirations can always help narrow down the choices. Taking a look at some of the most popular architectural styles will be a great help when designing a home. This article will give a summary of some major and influential styles by providing a bit of historical background, common characteristics, and examples.

 Art Deco


As American architects embraced Modernism during the Roaring Twenties, the decorative Art Deco style emerged. This style is first of all a style of ornament. The new style broke revivalist traditions and stressed hard-edged geometric compositions with vertical emphasis. Hallmarks of the Art Deco style include stepped facades, zigzags, and stylized ornamentation.  There were luxurious materials in design, rather than luxurious material you can also see handcraft components in it. It has a full impact on the technological progress of that time. The first design of this type was Art Deco Structure which was designed by renouncing reinforced concrete model designer Auguste Perret.

Cape Code

1600-revived in 1930

Reverend Timothy Dwight was the first person to describe Cape Cod homes in detail. He saw that these homes were made of either oak or pine, which were readily available resources and are durable enough to endure winter. These houses can be found in one-story or two-story buildings. These are simple houses. Their design is such that it seems symmetrical. it has a classic rectangular shape and central chimney and contains two windows on each side of the entry door, multiple-pane windows, dormer windows on each side of the chimney, and gabled and steep roofs which come down to the first floor’s ceiling. A unique part of this house is that it has no porch in front or back. Cape Cod house architecture style can be found in eastern coastal areas.

types of architectural design


This type of architecture design is used for construction at the time of Ancient Greece between the time of 7th and 4th century BC. Ancient Greece and Rome are the origins of classical styles. For a long time, this style has changed and got influenced by these civilizations and integrated traditional beliefs into following architectural styles. It was famous for designing religious buildings such as temples and stones were used as basic material at that time.

Characteristics of this style are:

·Symmetry and proportions: Classical structures are often symmetrical, with equally spaced features such as columns and windows.

.Columns in a specific style (or order): For Greek architecture, these Classical orders might be Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian. There were also Tuscan and Composite orders among the Romans.

.Materials: classical style incorporates durable materials such as marble, brick, or concrete.

.Classical design motifs: Dental molding, medium pitched roofs, boxed eaves, ornate door surrounds, and broken pediments over the entry door are all common features of these homes.

.Rectangular windows: windows are double-hung and symmetrical



The Colonial home style is one of the oldest architectural styles that are still very common in many states. Its origins date back to the 17th century when American colonies were merged and then began experimenting with architectural design, focusing heavily on symmetry. These different designs are the foundations of Colonial Architecture, which branched out to a variety of styles like French Colonial, Dutch Colonial, and Spanish Colonial. The exterior has a symmetrical design accented by dentil molding. There is often a central chimney found in the steep roof usually made of wood or has two windows on each side of the entry door, five windows on the second floor, and one window above the entry door. Colonial homes are usually two stories with the family room on the first floor and the bedrooms are on the second floor. The staircase serves as the focal point of the home because it is the first thing people see when they enter a Colonial home. 


1950-present day

These houses got famous after the 1950s in the United States. They are small homes with fine structures. They have simple features; nothing extraordinary is added to them. It has large and irregularly-shaped windows, open space, a simple layout but sophisticated, natural light, neutral colors such as black, brick, and timber materials. Another main feature of many contemporary homes is eco-friendly, sustainable design and smart-home technology that reflects a response to today’s climate-change emergency. For instance, contemporary homes are often constructed of natural and recycled materials.



These houses were born out of the Arts and Crafts movement and encourage more artwork. Their exterior and interior contain handcrafted objects. Craftsman-style homes have an emphasis on natural materials like wood, stone, and brick Furthermore, they tend to use materials that are naturally found. They have full or partial porches framed by tapered square columns and low-pitched roofs with dormer and stained glass windows. These houses are made in a way that gives a cozy feeling. The most famous example of this style is surely the Gamble House.


This style originated from Europe then spread to America which developed very strongly. Large wooden panels that still retain the natural rough color are a prominent feature of the Farmhouse interior style. Dark wood color combined with light wall color creates a striking contrast for the house. The space is opened to the outside so that the maximum amount of light enters the room. Light colors such as white, gray, beige, or pastel colors are often used in farmhouse style because it brings a feeling of relaxation, coolness, and lightness.

Greek Revival


As American interest in classicism continued into the nineteenth century, Greek revival became the dominant style for both domestic and public architecture that was inspired by Greece. The style grew to national prominence largely through the work of Benjamin H. Latrobe and his students William Strickland and Robert Mills, all of whom were actively engaged in public building design and has a bold design. Buildings with temple fronts, classical and tall columns, and pilasters, tall, double-hung windows. The siding was often painted white to resemble marble temples in Greece. This house has a low pitched or hip roof, gables with pediments, and wide entablatures that evoked the democratic ideals of Ancient Greece throughout the United States.



This style is very popular among Americans. It has big balconies and red-tiled roofs. It has wooden doors and bigger windows for ventilation. These houses have a slight touch of Spanish architecture. The goal of Mediterranean Revival homes is to give resort-style living space to homeowners. A rectangular floor plan is often used because it is easily navigable and it flows easily through the house. These homes also have a very lively color palette and patterned tiles are often used.

Mid-Century Modern


Mid-century modern homes came to life with a focus on simplicity intermixing with the natural world. The second wave of the Modern movement swept the United States in the years following World War II. As architects explored new materials and technology, distinct architectural styles emerged:

  • International Style: Absence of ornamentation, expansive windows, flat roofs, smooth wall surfaces, and cantilevered upper floors.
  • Formalism: Flat projecting rooflines, smooth wall surfaces, columnar supports, and strict symmetry.
  • Brutalism: Weighty massiveness, exposed concrete walls, broad wall surfaces, and deeply recessed windows.
  • Expressionism: Sweeping curved rooflines and wall surfaces, minimal use of symmetrical forms, concave or convex surfaces, and arched or vaulted spaces.

This modern home style flourished until the 1980s, with the flat plane design making for a chic and seamless look. Today, more than ever, the mid-century modern look is everywhere. 



Influenced by the modern art movement, modern architecture emerged at the turn of the 20th century and was a dominant style until roughly the mid-20th century. Reinforced concrete, cast iron, and plate glass were revolutionary materials that allowed architects of the period to break away from historical architectural precedents. Modern homes are characterized by a minimalist design that emphasizes function. They are recognizable for their rectangular forms, lack of adornment, and whitewashed exteriors. Many modern homes were also built with the landscape in mind. For instance, the lines of a roof or overhang might reflect the lines of natural surroundings. Modern homes further incorporate an appreciation of nature with horizontal compositions built low to the ground, and expansive glass windows or walls.


Developed by celebrated American Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Prairie architecture is creating a home inspired by its environment. Wright wanted a home that would improve a family’s holistic wellbeing so he designed Prairie homes to be harmonious with the environment. Staying true to green principles, Prairie-style homes are made with natural materials like wood, brick, or stucco. The style also keeps details simple by keeping everything horizontally oriented. The home has a low-slung flat roof that is also horizontal and a free-flowing layout. Wright designed the Prairie home like a public space. An asymmetrical floor plan centered on living spaces like the living and dining room is often used for Prairie homes. Wright’s goal for the Prairie’s floor plan is to connect the indoor and outdoor spaces.



The ranch home, also known as a rambler, is typically a single-story home with a long horizontal footprint. It was popularized in the 1950s and often attributed to California architect Cliff Mays and made fashionable by Frank Lloyd Wright. Standard features include a long, low roofline and simple, open layouts. Ranches are usually one-story, but the raised ranch is a two-story adaptation with a finished basement. Ranches are typically rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shaped. The long horizontal structure allows for easy connection to the outdoors, and most rooms have a view of both the front and the back of the home. The long layout of the ranch also allows for an easy division between living and sleeping spaces. And because of the structure of a ranch home, future additions are often fairly simple.



These houses promote American architecture. Its origin is in England and includes almost all features of English houses. Its exterior is entirely made of stucco textures. Its siding is brick laid in an elaborate pattern on the first story and stucco or wood with decorative trim on the second story. It contains massive chimneys and steep gabled rooftops. It has arched wooden doors with casement windows that are grouped in rows of three or more. These houses became famous in the 20th century.



During the reign of Queen Victoria, the Industrial Revolution made way for housing booms, resulting in millions of Victorian houses popping up. Romantic details full of rich texture and color, steeply pitched roofs, Plain or colorfully painted brick, Ornate gables, Painted iron railings, Churchlike rooftop finials, Sliding sash and canted bay windows, and full front porches covered with gables made for homes constructed for beauty more so than functionality. This style is a mix of Greek revival or balustrades echoing a Beaux-Arts style. Today, such homes are popular in Louisiana and Utah. Most famously, San Francisco is home to a row of such homes referred to as the “Painted Ladies.



Italian farmhouses were the inspiration for Italianate architecture, which began in Great Britain. A low-pitched roof with projecting eaves supported by brackets was the hallmark of this picturesque style, which architects broadly applied to government, commercial, and residential buildings. Features also include fanciful bay windows with inset wooden panels, arches, Corinthian-columned porches, and, in the Italian Villa subtype, square towers. The style declined in popularity soon after the Civil War.



Gothic is a French word which is ‘Opus Francigenum’ that means ‘French work’ and it came in French in the late Middle Ages. At that time Gothic architecture design gave a sense of majestic architecture so it is generally used for the construction of Cathedrals and Churches. This is a style of stonework/masonry building that is characterized by three main features: sharply pointed arch and lancet windows with steeply sloped roofs, ribbed and vaulted columns, and flying buttress.



Neoclassical architecture design shows the mixed structure of Classical Greek and Roman Buildings which take them once again in use. Classicism regained popularity during the early twentieth century. Cities throughout the country demolished earlier, picturesque-style federal buildings and replaced them with classically designed structures. Pedimented porticos, simple and side-gabled roofs with colossal columns dominate the symmetrical facades of neoclassical buildings. Unlike the contemporaneous Beaux-Arts style, however, neoclassical buildings did not display enriched moldings and statuary.


A style developed in the mid-20th century, characterized by simplicity and lack of decoration to the point of starkness. The movement advocated reducing art to the state of non-art by removing nature and culture, resulting in artwork in pure, simple forms and objects placed randomly. The term can be extended to all art, including literature, design, music, visual art, and performance. With specific reference to the visual arts, the term is used to describe an abstract art movement and style, predominantly of sculpture, that flourished in the mid-and late 1960s.

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