The Most Popular House Styles in the United States

Many suburbs may be uniform in appearance, but there is still a great diversity of housing styles which exist in the United States.
Many suburbs may be uniform in appearance, but there is still a great diversity of housing styles which exist in the United States.

The difference in building styles is a result of the materials used, the size of the house, origin of the architectural style, and the design used to build the house among many other factors. Some of the common styles of the houses in the United States are listed below.

10. Cape Cod

The Cape Cod houses emerged and became popular between 1920 and 1940. Their popularity grew after the World War I. Among the common features of Cape Cod-styled houses are a one-storey cottage with ample loft attic space, dormers, simple doors, and symmetrical windows mounted on either side of a paneled front door. The roof is steep pitched and gabled. The chimney of Cape Cod houses is usually prominent and located behind the front door. Decorations of Cape Cod houses are always very minimal.

9. Southwest

Southwest houses are built from materials such as wood, stone, brick and stucco, and decorative materials to bring out the look of ancient Spanish colonizers. Southwest homes are more popular in southern California, Nevada, and Arizona. Their notable features include low-pitched tiled roofs and stucco exterior. The overhangs are mainly used to filters the scorching sun. Outside extensions such as a courtyard, veranda, and patios are also an important feature of southwest homes. In the interior, southwest houses can be one story with a spacious living room and fireplace. The house plan is asymmetrical. Some of the southwest houses have door-less showers. Decorations of southwest houses are usually restricted to mostly arch openings and exposed beams.

8. Victorian

The term “Victorian house” is generally used in the United Kingdom to refer to houses built during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 -1901). The houses are common in Britain as well as its colonies. Bricks and common stone were used to build the houses. The majority of the Victorian houses’ roofs were made of slate. Some of the houses have rectangular or cylindrical tower-like structures. Small gardens to the exterior are a notable characteristic of Victorian houses. They mostly comprise of two stories.

7. Log home

Log homes trace their origin from small cabins. Anciently, they were built as single rooms with no nails. Their main characteristic is the walls made of wood or logs, hence the name log home. Log homes are more popular in rural areas than in urban areas and are usually bungalows. To build a long-lasting log home, the climate and weather should be put into consideration before choosing the wood to use.

6. Mid-century modern

Mid-century houses were first designed by architectures fleeing from Nazism. These houses became more popular in the mid 20th century. Strong materials such as steel and plywood are used in their construction. Stucco can be used to build the exterior wall. Wood can also be used horizontally as clapboard or vertically as board and batten. The windows are installed linearly. The roofs are either low pitched hip or low pitched gable. Due to the minimum attic space, dormers were rarely used in mid-century modern houses.

5. Tudor

Tudor style emerged in the 1890s and is still popular today. Tudor houses are characterized by large and heavy chimneys decorated with chimney pots, steeply pitched rooftops, tall and narrow windows with small window panes, and cross gables that stand out. The exterior walls are often decorated with beautifully patterned bricks and stones. The decorative half-timbering technique used to decorate Tudor houses gives the houses a medieval look, a reason as to why Tudor houses are also referred to as medieval revival houses. Some of the Tudor houses are said to have imitated medieval cottages which are characterized by false- thatched rooftops.

4. Colonial

Colonial houses were built by the colonialists who settled in the present day the US. Other houses were also built to mimic the colonial houses after the era of colonialism. Colonial houses are mostly rectangular or block shaped. The roof is usually steep yet pointed at the top. The chimney was prominent and centrally positioned. The windows of the colonial houses were small with small window panes due to the scarcity of window panes which were also expensive. The houses were usually designed symmetrically. The walls were commonly built from stone and bricks with little to very minimal decorations.

3. Mediterranean

The Mediterranean style is most common in southern Spain, France, and Italy, although it can also be found in the United States. The architecture mainly focuses on extensions such as verandas and patios while designing and building these kinds of houses. The exterior of the Mediterranean houses is usually characterized by very little details. The exterior walls are mostly plastered. The roofs may be flat or slanted a little. The roofs might also be tiled. The windows of Mediterranean houses are mostly arched. The Mediterranean houses get their inspiration of design from Spanish and Mexican houses.

2. Craftsman

The craftsman houses emerged and became popular between 1905 and 1930. The house is characterized by a combination of wood and stone exterior, low pitched gable rooftops accompanied by deep, bracketed overhangs and exposed rafters. The porches are usually supported by strong piers and huge square posts. They have an exterior chimney which is usually made of stone, and numerous windows, either with stained or leaded glass. The windows and doors have long vertical panes. In the interior, the craftsman houses usually have built-in seats, cabinets, drawer and shelves, and a number of hallways. The houses are often bungalows and can be built in any shape, as long as the relationship between nature and the craftsmanship bring out uniquely crafted and decorated surfaces. The craftsman style is considered economical and easy to build since the architectures utilize readily available materials to express their creativity.

1. Ranch

The ranch-styled house became one of the popular house styles in the second half of the 20th century. They were mostly built after the war to host the soldiers who were returning from war. Ranch style was first used in southwest and west of America but later spread to other parts of the country. The entire house is usually on the ground floor with no stories. The shape of the house can be I-shaped, U-shaped or rectangular. Other notable characteristics of the ranch style are wide asymmetrical façade, simple floor plans, a front-facing garage which is attached to the rest of the house, and a low pitched roof. The ranch houses were widely accepted because of the adaptation of the car culture, whereby many people acquired their own cars. The ranch houses are built from natural materials such as oak floors, wooden and brick exterior.


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