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When you’re putting together your house plans, the most important thing you can do is know what style of house you like. From the exterior design to the interior layout, the type of house style you prefer will affect everything. While there are many different styles and variations of homes in the United States, we’ve listed the most common varieties and what makes them unique from each other. Hopefully, this will help you narrow down what style or styles you like, making house plan hunting so much easier.
The Craftsman-style homes were hugely popular during the early 20th century. These homes were ordered by catalog, shipped by train in over sized flat packages, and built with the pre-cut panels inside. They were quaint, often featured large windows, and original, vintage Craftsman homes are seeing a resurgence of popularity with people.
*A popular variation of the Craftsman style is the Bungalow, which borrowed heavily from its inspiration.
Brownstones and Rowhouses
Most Common In: Major cities on the East Coast such as Boston, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Boston, Manhattan, Washington D.C., and Baltimore
Both Brownstones and Rowhouses are multi-family structures, though the Rowhouses are single-family homes that share a roof-line. During construction, they had doors that led from one home to the next to make construction easier.
A popular home style choice among those pushing west, the Cape Cod was seen as relatively easy to build, with simple lines and few decorative elements. The roof is usually a single pitched steep roof, and the front door is found in the center of the street-facing wall with windows equally placed on both sides. Owners and builders that wanted to add a little flair would likely add dormer windows.
Ranch Style and Split-Level
Period: 1920s – Present
Most Common In: California but can be found everywhere
Single storied, with low-slung roofs, hugely popular during the boom after the war, these were the original open-layout home. The style is much less formal, more sprawling and luxurious, able to suit families from all walks of life and in any phase of life.
Split-level homes have multiple floors connected by short flights of stairs—another popular, post-war building option.
Period: 1820s – Present
Most Common In: The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic
Inspired by Greek architecture, these homes usually feature large columns in the front and symmetrical, double-hung windows and front doors with sidelights. The Greek Revival style home is considered by many to be America’s first architectural style and is hugely popular in the South.
Period: 1920s – Present
Most Common In: California and the Southwest
Spanish style homes cut a romantic figure in the dusky light of a sunset with their terracotta roof tiles and bright white plaster walls. Arched entryways and windows are a prevalent part of the style.
Period: 1850s – 1970s
Most Common In: the Midwest and East Coast
With high sloped roofs, multiple pitches, and stone construction, Tudor’s are still best identified by the exposed timbers in white stucco or stone. The style has held its popularity for more than five hundred years since it first appeared.
Period: 1850s – 1920s
Most Common In: The East Coast, Midwest, and San Francisco
These ornately decorated homes feature steeply gabled roofs, beautiful bay windows, rounded turrets, and even dormers.
*Queen Anne homes are a variation of the Victorian, often even more ornate.
Period: 1700s – 1780s
Most Common In: The Northeast and Southeast
Driving along the roads and through the communities of the East Coast, you will find beautiful examples of Colonial Style homes. You can identify the Colonial style through the gently sloping roofs, centered front door, and symmetrical windows. Often these homes will have subtle variations and additions such as dormers and sun-rooms. Federal-style houses are an adaptation of the Colonial with more ornamentation, such as round windows and columns.