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How to recognize the most common styles of home!


Every home is made in a specific style, from shingle siding on Cape Cod style homes to turrets in Victorian. Most of us know what we like in a home, but we might not know what to call it. Here is a list of the most common styles of home and an explanation of what attributes they have so you know exactly what to tell your realtor!


Cape Cod - Era when popular: 1690 - 1850 & 1920 - 1950

Though Cape Cod homes come in a variety of styles, there are a few defining features that bring them all together. Often found along the east coast, they are popular for their calming feel.

  • Symmetrical appearance with a centered front entry

  • Steep roofs with side gables and an overhang

  • Shingle siding

  • Double-hung windows with shutters

  • Centralized chimneys

  • Simple exterior ornamentation

  • Single story

  • Lower ceilings

  • Symmetrical layout

  • Open concept living space

  • Clean lines, small detailing


Colonial - Era when popular: 1714 - 1830

The classic Colonial-style house floor plan has the kitchen and family room on the first floor and the bedrooms on the second floor. Colonial-style homes are easy to add onto and can be found in many historic neighborhoods.

  • Simple

  • Symmetrical

  • Rectangular

  • Two stories or more

  • Staircase central in the home

  • Often wood features

  • Plain exterior

  • Pitched roof

Contemporary - Era when popular: 1970 - Present

Often described as a free-for-all, there are key elements that persist from each contemporary style home. Think new age or Frank Lloyd Wright style when you think of contemporary homes.

  • Curved lines

  • Rounded forms

  • Unconventional Volumes

  • Asymmetry

  • Open floor plan

  • Large windows

  • Unique and strong shapes


Cottage - Era when popular: 1920

Cottage-style homes are described as cozy and comfortable. Practical and Functional. If you are into the cottage core craze, these homes are perfect for you.

  • Shingles

  • Stucco walls

  • Balconies

  • Small porches

  • Gable roofs

  • Bay windows

  • Informal spaces inside

  • Natural elements

Craftsman - Era when popular: 1900 - 1930

Craftsman style homes emerged in the American Craftsman movement at the turn of the 20th century and are still widespread. They are often described as timeless and unpretentious.

  • Low-pitched gable (triangular) roof

  • Overhanging eaves with exposed rafters and beams

  • Heavy tapered columns

  • Patterned window panes

  • Large covered porch

  • Stained wood throughout the interior

  • Earthy neutral paint colors

  • Outdoor architectural detail

Mid-Century Modern - Era when popular: 1930 - 1980

When we think of Mid-Century Modern, often we think of contemporary but in the 60’s - 70’s era. The architecture is similar in the geometric aspects, but they stick closer to crisp lines, angles, and shapes.

  • Clean lines

  • Muted curves

  • Lack of Ornamentation

  • Large windows

  • Design based on functionality

  • Open floorplan

  • Indoor and outdoor living spaces complement each other

  • Minimalism

  • Bright and vibrant colors

Tudor - Era when popular: 1485 - 1603

Tudor homes became well known in the Tudor era when they got their name. You'll often find these homes in historic districts and old historic neighborhoods. Tudor is loved for their fairy tale qualities.

  • Steeply pitched (triangular) gable roofs

  • Elaborate chimneys

  • Embellished doorways

  • Groupings of windows

  • Decorative half-timbering

  • Two or three stories

  • Unique nod to medieval architecture


Victorian - Era when popular: 1860 - 1900

Victorian homes are often loved by those in favor of vintage qualities. With the abundance of stained wood, unique windows, and oftentimes turrets, Victorian homes resemble dollhouses and have a quality of old-world luxury.

  • Steep gabled roofs

  • Round angles

  • Towers, turrets, and dormers

  • Shapely windows

  • Bay windows

  • Stained glass

  • Decorative, hand-carved woodwork

  • Bright colors

  • Large/oversized

  • Large covered porch

  • Decorative trim

Ranch - Era when popular: 1950 - Present

Ranch style homes are one of the most popular homes built with their ease of single level, a wide variety of styles, and ability to customize each home. Ranch styles can be found everywhere due to their ease of construction and versatility.

  • Single story

  • Open concept floorplan

  • Rectangular, “U” or “L” shaped

  • Devoted patio or deck

  • Large windows

  • Sliding glass doors

  • Low pitched roofline with wide eaves

  • Finished basement

  • Attached garage

Farmhouse - Era when popular: 1700 & present

Have you heard of farmhouse chic? The term has been popularized with the growing popularity of the rustic and southern charm of farmhouses. If you like the popular Magnolia Homes brand by Joanna Gaines, you'll probably like farmhouse style homes!

  • Large open living spaces

  • Front porch

  • Exposed wood

  • Emphasis on functionality over everything

  • Often metal roofing

  • Barn-style lighting and doors

  • Large front door

  • Often white exterior

  • Tall ceilings


Which style do you think should be revived and which should stay in the past?