Environment influences architecture, so knowing where to find the most popular house styles is a great place to start your home search. Whether you’re dreaming of a classic Colonial or a Contemporary home base with all the trendiest innovations, there’s a style out there for you—and a loan originator to help you finance it.
8 Most Popular House Styles in the US
As with just about everything in the United States, home architecture is an eclectic mix of influences from all over the globe. From historic English woodwork to cool Tuscan tiling, the most popular styles in the country can be hard to pin down. Many homes today will probably have elements of multiple styles, but we’ve rounded up eight of the most-loved looks you’re likely to see on the market.
- Cape Cod
Ready to get this house tour started? Let’s go.
Cape Cod Home Architecture
A fixture on the east coast, Cape Cod-style homes feature steep roofs, central chimneys, and shuttered windows. Settlers originally designed these homes to conserve heat and keep too much snow from accumulating on the roof, which may still be a priority if you’re looking to buy a home in the northeast US. As the name implies, this home style is also known for its coastal charm.
Escape to the Cape: Learn more about Cape Cod architecture here.
Colonial Home Architecture
If you’re looking for simple symmetry, a Colonial house could be right for you. This classic architecture style can be found all over the country, but especially in the New England area. In the southeast US, you can typically find French-style Colonial homes with wraparound porches and multiple doorways. There’s a wide variety of Colonial styles, but it ultimately comes down to rectangular shapes, simple floor plans, and symmetric sightlines.
Colonial Collection: See how to spot a Colonial-style home with these examples.
Contemporary Home Architecture
Contemporary home architecture (not to be confused with the strictly minimalist features of modernism) is all about natural light, sustainable materials, and biophilic design* in general. If you’re looking for a home that’s in harmony with nature, Contemporary architecture fits the bill. The floorplans tend to be spacious and sprawling, which means you’re more likely to find these in areas like the southwest, where there’s plenty of open space available. Keep in mind that with such an emphasis on large windows to maximize natural light, you’ll want to consider a sustainable energy source to keep your utility bills manageable.
*Biophilic design is architecture and interior design intentionally created to connect people with nature.
Can’t-Miss Contemporary: See Contemporary design at its finest with a look at the Tubac House in Arizona.
Craftsman Home Architecture
One of the most popular house styles in the US today is the Craftsman style. This architecture is recognizable for its use of natural materials, tapered columns, and inviting front porches. Inside, you’ll enjoy open concept floor plans and built-in features like desks, bookcases, and cabinets to save space. Because of this, Craftsman homes are one of the most energy-efficient styles available, which makes them popular in areas with more extreme temperatures in the summer and winter seasons.
Craft Corner: Get a feel for the Craftsman style with these examples.
Mediterranean Home Architecture
The mild climate of the west coast means Mediterranean architecture is prevalent in the area, especially in California. Mediterranean architecture is characterized by warm colors, terracotta roofs, and welcoming spaces that blend indoor and outdoor access. If you’re looking for a timeless home, this style can give you that ideal balance of classic and modern elements.
Mediterranean Musings: Find more Mediterranean inspiration here.
Ranch Home Architecture
Ranch homes are typically single-story and open concept. Easily identifiable by large windows and low rooflines, Ranch-style architecture is gaining popularity across the US but is usually found in warmer areas like the south and southwest. These homes often include basements, which could be an important safety feature if you plan to live in a tornado-prone area like Texas, Kansas, or Oklahoma.
Ranch Round-Up: Explore modern examples of Ranch style here.
Tudor Home Architecture
If a home made of quality materials that stand the test of time is a priority for you, Tudor-style home architecture may be just what you’re looking for. Tudor houses typically include gabled roofs, brick exteriors, and narrow windows. This house style is most often found in the midwest and northeast. The cons of Tudor architecture include less natural light and difficulty renovating if you change your mind later.
Tudor To-Do List: Explore stunning examples of Tudor architecture here.
Victorian Home Architecture
Not a fan of modern architecture? Then you’ll love the bright colors, ornate woodwork, and round angles of Victorian-style homes. Buying a Victorian home these days will probably entail some fixing up, so don’t forget to account for renovation costs in your budget. You can find Victorian architecture just about anywhere, but Georgia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania may be your best bets for residential Victorian properties with the modern conveniences you need.
Victorian Views: San Francisco, CA is home to one of the most iconic examples of Victorian home architecture, the Painted Ladies.
How do I decide which of the most popular house styles is right for me?
If you’re not sure which style is your best fit, take our tried-and-true advice and start with a chart.
|Energy efficient||Craftsman, Cape Cod|
|Sustainable materials||Contemporary, Craftsman|
|Biophilic design||Contemporary, Mediterranean, Craftsman|
|Unique design||Victorian, Craftsman, Tudor|
|Open concept||Ranch, Mediterranean, Contemporary|
|Easily renovated/expanded||Ranch, Colonial|
|Durable build||Tudor, Colonial|
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of potential styles to consider. And if you’re building your home, you may be able to pick and choose elements of each to create something that fits all your wants and needs. Either way, enjoy the search! It’s one of the fun parts of the home loan process.
Knowing which notable features are a priority for your next home can help you narrow down which popular house style is for you.