Top American Home Designs for Modern Tastes

Contemporary Living Room

One of the more important considerations for buying or building a house is the style. In the U.S., multiple home styles often grew out of a particular region’s history, or design cues reflect that place’s cultural identity. Over the years, styles fell in and out of favor with homeowners.

Regardless of era, however, some styles became staples in American residential options. Find out what they are, and how they stood the test of time and taste.

Colonial Style

Several distinct features characterize one of the most popular home styles for U.S. residences. The Colonial style usually has a high-pitched roof with two or more stories, massive chimneys, paired multi-pane windows, and decorative arches on the front doors. It has such a degree of familiarity that toddlers will draw a Colonial-style home when asked to draw a house.

Cape Cod Style

Also referred to as Colonial Revival, these types of houses originated from English colonists who settled in America during the late 1600s. The 1930s saw a surge of popularity of this style, which features a steep roof, clapboard or wood-shingled sides, multi-paned double-hung windows, and a front door with portico.

Contemporary/Modern Style

Exuding minimalist strokes, it gained popularity in the 1950s to ‘60s, and continue to enjoy adoption by Silicon Valley types. Common cues for Contemporary design are geometric shapes, low-sloping/horizontal rooflines, tall glass panes, cathedral-style ceilings, open floor plans, and minimal decorative flourishes.

Craftsman Style

Early 20th century Arts and Crafts inspired this style, emphasizing nature and craftsmanship in its choice of materials and construction. Among its recognizable features are combinations of stone and wood paneling, double-hung windows, a low-pitched roof with ornamental beams and gables, and natural color schemes.

Farmhouse style

No longer exclusive to farms, this style is popular across the country with its simple lines and large spaces. Other characteristics include a metal or shingled roof, huge porches that wrap around the house, and wood sidings.

Mediterranean Style

This distinct style exudes French, Italian and Spanish architectural design, earning popularity in early colonial states in the Southwest. This design features mostly stucco exteriors, low-pitched clay tile roofing, open structure to accommodate a courtyard, and wrought iron rails for balconies.

Ranch Style

This style flourished during the 1950s to ‘60s, which took advantage of vast sprawls of land, thus, featuring only one story. Usually structured in an L or U shape, these plain, rectangular blocks reflected the real estate boom of that period. Its features (or lack of them) include patios with sliding glass doors, minimal to no ornamentation, and attached garages.

Tudor Style

These houses look quite a bit like those in fairy-tale books and movies, distinctly European in flavor. It gained favor among homeowners during the 1920s to ‘30s and saw a resurgence in the ‘70s to ‘80s. Recognizable design features are walls made of brick or stucco; tall, narrow, multi-paned windows; massive chimneys mounted on steep roofing.

Victorian Style

Another European-inspired piece of architecture, its 19th-century style is distinctive with its fussy decorations. Other defining features are its “painted lady” multiple exterior colors, patterned shingles with wooden brackets, multiple turrets and columns and steep gable roofing.