What are the different styles of houses?

With the COVID-19 situation, the world is an uncertain place, but building a new home is still a realistic dream. When deciding to build a home, it’s a good idea to understand basic architectural styles. The home will be a place where you will live for a long time, and thus, you want to build a house that matches your desires and individual needs. Your decision will be based on the land where you are building the home, your personal style and the uses of the residence.

Here are a few of the most common architectural styles. Something to consider even as the world confronts the coronavirus.


 The ranch style has historically been the most popular style in the United States. The style can be traced back to Spanish Colonial architecture. Ranch designs usually have low rooflines with wide eaves and can be one or two stories. The style was popularized in 1950s after World War II and was a favorite among soldiers after the war. They often have an open-floor plan and attached garage. Ranch styles are easy to customize and can have a patio or porch.

A few Mitchell examples are:

Cape Cod

Cape Cod often invokes visions of the beach and a weekend getaway. The style was developed by Puritans in the northeast and has become popular across the country. The homes have a symmetrical design and open-floor living space. The style has several variations but usually has more than one story. Cape Cod homes generally have a steep roof and clean lines.

A few Mitchell examples are:


According to Better Homes and Garden, Colonial is the most popular home style in the United States. The style is based on European designs and is extremely popular on the east coast. A colonial is rectangular with the door being in the middle of the front wall. It generally has a chimney and a steep-pitched roof. The entryway is often bisected with a stairway leading to the second level.


Victorian homes are known for their ornate design and rich colors. They are often called painted ladies and can be a mixture of different types of materials. The Victorian style in the United States comes from the Queen Anne style in England. The home usually has two or more stories and a wrap-around porch. The homes are asymmetrical with steep roofs. Victorian homes often have individual towers built into the design and bay windows.


Farmhouse designs harken back to an earlier period when many people lived in rural parts of the country. The bedrooms are often clustered together. The homes have a stylish, yet simplistic design and are usually rectangular. They can be one or two stories and often have a porch connected to the front door. The homes have an open floor plan based around the kitchen and gathering space at the front of the home. 

A few Mitchell examples are:


Medieval architecture saw a major resurgence in the United States between 1890 and 1940. For example, Tudor-style homes, based on medieval architecture, were the most common style constructed in Washington, DC during that period. Tudor-style homes have stucco walls and steeped-pitched roofs with gables. Windows are usually grouped together in pairs or sets of threes. The design is asymmetrical and the entrance is toward one side of the front wall. The homes have grand, arched entrances, and the interiors are heavily decorated with wood.


Craftsman, sometimes called arts and crafts style, is based on an American and British movement to restore the glory of tradesman. Architects in the late 1880s were tired of the grand architecture of the Victorian era and the industrial revolution and sought designs built around craftsman. Craftsman-style homes use natural materials like stone, wood and brick. The front porch is usually square and thick with pillars built out of natural materials. The roofs are low-pitched, and exposed beams are often a design element inside and outside the home.

Cottage style

The term cottage evokes images of the pastoral countryside or a getaway to the mountains. The architecture style is loosely defined but a cottage often has exposed wood or brick on the exterior. The inside is open and spacious, and the roof contains gables. The entranceway is sometimes arched. The home can be either a single-story residence or have multiple levels. Multiple windows allows for large amounts of natural light to enter the home. Rooms can be irregular shaped and often smaller.


Georgian architecture stems from the efforts of four British monarchs who ruled between 1714 and 1830. The style saw a revival in the United States in the late 1800s. Georgian homes are notable for mathematical proportions and simple designs.  They are extremely formal. Windows are placed in a grid patterns across the front of the house and the entrance is often striking. The home is built with either stone or brick. Most Georgian-style homes do not have a front porch.