No matter where you live, dozens of architectural home styles exist, from the extravagant to the quaint to the modern. Some styles even mix multiple elements from a variety of classic and current designs.
“The style of a home must first find an emotional echo with the buyer,” says Deryl Patterson, architect and president of Housing Design Matters in Jacksonville, Florida.
Patterson, for his part, still remembers visiting his aunt’s mid-century modern home in the early 1960s.
“I remember seeing how stark his family room was,” says Patterson. “The most colorful thing in the whole room was the Kleenex box. “
Which style will suit you or your family the best? Here is a breakdown of the most popular home styles to consider.
The modern farmhouse style reigns most popular in 42 states of the United States, primarily in the Northwest, Eastern and Southeastern states, according to a recent investigation of over 5,000 Americans through Homes.com. Interviewees said they were drawn to the modern farmhouse look because the style is “aesthetic but not boring”.
Other features of this style include:
- Clean lines and cozy elements
- Family size
A Cape Cod style home is a perfect home of departure because of its simplicity, says Michael Moritz, principal architect at Stonewater Architecture LLC in Summit, New Jersey.
“They have a cute feeling with them,” Moritz says.
The main qualities of a Cape Cod are:
- Stretch, either by adding vertically or extending horizontally in the back
- Steep pitched gable roofs or at least two small dormers
Mid-Century Modern style came in second in the Homes.com survey, preferred primarily by those in the Midwest and places like Arizona and Colorado. In today’s mid-century modern homes, you can expect to find polished granite or polished granite floors as well as dark stained woodwork, says Moritz.
The look is best known for:
- Clean lines and an open floor plan
- Large windows
- Minimal and natural touches
The British-inspired Colonial has been popular since settlers arrived in New England hundreds of years ago. Those who embrace old world charm and a certain symmetry might appreciate this style.
Some of the traits associated with a colonial style home are:
- Layout of the central hall with fireplace in the middle
- A long sloping roof, shorter at the front and sloping at the rear (called a “selbox”)
The Craftsman-style home, made famous by architect and furniture designer Gustav Stickley, rose to popularity in the early 1900s. This style attracts buyers for its simple, unadorned style.
Some features found in a Craftsman home include:
- Overhanging eaves and low gable roof
- Large columned porches
- Mixture of natural materials such as stone, brick, wood or stucco
The large windows of a Mediterranean-style home attract homeowners, especially in warmer climates. The vaulted ceilings inside give an impression of luxury and space, along with its characteristic large patios and beautiful gardens.
Some of the other distinctive qualities of the Mediterranean style are:
- Low tiled roof
- Stucco walls in white or pastels
- Arcaded doors and windows
The essential features of a modern style home vary depending on whether you live in a more urban or rural setting, but it typically includes a low pitched or flat roof. This style tends to be appealing to trendsetters and people with a lot of self-confidence, Patterson says.
Other qualities of a modern style home can include:
- Awning over the front door
- Simple and clean cabinets without raised panels
- Large windows
The features of a contemporary style home can also be fluid. Moritz and Patterson say it depends on what area you live in, and many times the term contemporary is paired with modern to describe style. Real estate agent magazine describes the contemporary as having “oddly sized and often tall windows” and a “lack of ornamentation”.
Contemporaries can also include:
- A flat or gable roof
- One story with an open floor plan
- Asymmetric lines
Famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright popularized Prairie-style homes, which often feature horizontal lines to mimic a flat frame. Those who dislike segmented rooms and prefer an open floor plan might especially appreciate this style.
Characteristics of the Prairies include:
- Low slope roof with overhangs
- Fireplace placed in the center
“We do a lot of work in Florida and Texas, and the ranch plan is king,” Patterson says.
Ranch style homes appeal to those who want to live on one level and are ideal for those who don’t want to hear the crackle of feet above them, says Patterson. Their construction generally allows for a wide open or semi-open floor plan, as well as:
- Two-tier design
- Lower roof
- Smaller yard
If you love the grandeur of the Gatsby era and expensive woodwork, then a Tudor-style home might be right for you, says Moritz. Some of the details of this style include:
- High ceilings
- Stone or limestone fireplaces
- Wooden elements everywhere, including heavy beams
Bright floor-to-ceiling windows, ornamental fireplaces, and large porches give Victorian-style homes an appeal, says Moritz. These types of homes can appeal to anyone who enjoys historic settings or woodwork.
Some other Victorian features might include:
- Proximity to city centers of large cities
- Wraparound porch
- Rounded corners, towers, turrets and skylights
Which one is right for you?
Along the way, many architectural home styles have incorporated different rooms from other styles, Patterson says, so it’s entirely possible to find a hybrid design that suits you rather than a specific type.
However, one factor you need to focus on is whether or not you like symmetry or asymmetry, suggests Patterson. For example, some homeowners prefer the front door centered between the windows.
“It’s a very organized style and feels good for those who like it, but others find it boring,” says Patterson. “There is something for everyone. “