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Types of Houses: The 10 Most Popular Styles of Houses

No matter what your home style is, Cottage can help you design and build a custom ADU that perfectly matches your home style and aesthetic.

January 1, 2018

Whether you’re buying a new house, renovating your existing house, or building a new tiny house, it’s beneficial to know about different styles of homes so that you can choose the style that best reflects your needs and personality.

The 10 Most Popular Styles of Houses

When you drive around town, you may see many different styles of houses along the way. But what are the most popular styles of homes in the United States?

Here are the top 10 styles and some fun facts about them:

1. Cottage

Cottage-style homes are inspired by the old English countryside. This style of home was originally popularized in the mid-1800s but became especially prevalent in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s.

These homes feature vertical board-and-batten, shingle, or stucco walls with gable roofs on the outside. They may also have casement windows with small panes and bay windows.

Cottage homes often have arched doors that contribute to a quaint and antique appearance. Cottages are usually one-story or, at the most, one and a half stories since they come with a smaller footprint.

2. Craftsman

Craftsman-style homes have a unique origin and history. This style dates back to the early 1900s, when many homes were mass-produced, thanks to the Industrial Revolution.

Craftsman homes were presented as an alternative to mass-produced, often Victorian-style homes that embrace natural materials and hand-crafted features.

Craftsman-style homes are one of the most popular and in-demand home types in the United States due to their simplicity and high-quality construction. These homes feature low-pitched roofs, wide front porches, wood siding, overhanging eaves, and large picture windows. They are commonly painted in earth tones like brown and green.

3. Mediterranean

Mediterranean-style homes are inspired by Spanish architecture. Although this style first popped up back in the 19th century, it didn’t reach peak popularity status until the 1920s. Mediterranean-style homes are particularly popular in California and Florida.

The trademark of a Mediterranean-style house is the red terracotta roof. The exterior of the house may also contain a mixture of light-colored stucco and stonework.

A true Mediterranean-style home will have no shortage of fancy tile work—both on the floor and on the walls. Wrought-iron work is another common feature for railings on balconies or windows.

4. Contemporary

Contemporary-style homes are designed and built to reflect current styles and trends. As a result, what’s considered “contemporary” is always changing. Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to home styles, contemporary and “modern” are not the same thing.

These days, a contemporary house would have a lot of natural light, and it would feature more neutral colors. It would also have the most up-to-date technological features to be considered a “smart home.” Finally, it would be designed and constructed using eco-friendly building materials with an emphasis on energy efficiency.

5. Tudor

The design elements in Tudor-style homes actually date all the way back to the Medieval and post-Medieval styles of the 1600 and 1700s. However, the Tudor homes that we know and love today are likely from the mid-19th century. Tudor-style homes are well-suited for the cold weather climates found in the northern United States.

These homes feature a steeply pitched roof with front-facing gables, brick exteriors accented with stucco or stone, and tall windows. Tudor homes are also known for decorative half-timbering.

6. Cape Cod

Cape Cod-style homes originated in the New England area in the 17th century but were quickly overtaken by Victorian homes in the mid-1800s. They later saw a revival at the beginning of the 20th century—giving us many of the lovely Cape Cod homes we see today.

These homes feature a steep roof, a shingled exterior, and plenty of windows. One unique feature of Cape Cod homes is that they are designed to be symmetrical—with two windows on each side of the front door. They often have smaller footprints and are usually one-story.

7. Victorian

Victorian-style homes date back to the reign of Queen Victoria of Great Britain from 1837 to 1901. However, they did not become particularly popular in the United States until the mid-to-late 19th century.

These homes feature tons of ornate details, including gabled roofs, towers, turrets, and decorative woodwork. Victorian homes are typically quite large, with two to three stories. They are often painted in bold and bright colors.

8. Colonial

Colonial-style homes are extremely traditional and hold the title as one of the oldest styles in the United States—dating back to the 1600s. Since they date back to America’s origins, they are usually found in historic cities like Boston and Philadelphia.

Colonial homes are simple and rectangular and often have brick or siding exteriors. However, they can be quite large, with plenty of space to host friends and family members. Most of these homes are two stories that feature dormer windows. Like Cape Cods, Colonial homes are also known for their symmetry.

9. French Provincial

French Provincial-style homes, unsurprisingly, date back to 17th-century France, wherein they housed French aristocrats in the Parisian suburbs. This style was brought to the United States after World War I.

These homes feature brick or stone exteriors, steep roofs, and tall second-story windows. They are usually symmetrical or, at the very least, balanced on the exterior. These homes are also large and have at least two stories.

10. Mid-Century Modern

Mid-century modern-style homes reflect the architectural trends of the mid-20th century, specifically those from after World War II. These homes are known for clean lines, minimal decoration, large windows, and flat panel roofs. Nature is also an important component of a mid-century modern home.

What’s Your Style?

With so many different home styles to choose from, it can be difficult to find one that fits your personality.

Here are some factors to consider to determine your home style:

  • Would you describe yourself as more modern or more traditional?
    • If you describe yourself as more modern, you might enjoy contemporary and mid-century modern home styles.
    • If you describe yourself as more traditional, you might enjoy styles like Cape Cod and Tudor.
  • Do you want your house to feel grand or quaint?
    • If you want your house to feel grand, you might prefer Victorian and French Provincial homes.
    • If you want your house to feel quaint, you might be particular to design aesthetics like craftsman and cottage.
  • Do you want your house to feel more international or domestic?
    • If you want your house to feel more international, you might enjoy Mediterranean and French Provincial spaces.
    • If you want your house to feel more domestic, you might appreciate home styles like Colonial and Cape Cod.

How To Achieve Your Style in an ADU?

No matter what your home style is, it can be difficult to achieve that same style when building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) working with prefab ADU companies or modular home builders. Most of the time, these homes come prefabricated and may not match the exterior style of the existing house whatsoever. As a result, your property could end up feeling mismatched and disjointed.

For example, say that the main house is a beautiful Mediterranean style; however, the ADU you purchase may be more of a Colonial-style with brick and siding. While there’s nothing wrong with a Colonial, it might not go well with the stucco and tile of a Mediterranean.

But what if there was a way that you could match the style and features of your ADU with the style and features of your main house? You can partner with Cottage—the leader in custom ADUs and an ADU builder that understands the importance of matching your existing home and property.

Cottage can help you customize your ADU inside and out with the style and features you’re looking for. We provide our clients with a hassle-free process—handling every step from start to finish. Specifically, Cottage handles feasibility, design, permitting, and construction with the team of experienced ADU architects, designers, and contractors.

Going the custom route could save you a significant amount of money over going the prefabricated route. With the prefabricated route, you end up paying extra for site prep, utility connections, and foundation. However, all of these components are included when you go the custom route with Cottage.

If this sounds appealing, reach out to our custom ADU experts today for a free estimate.

A Home for Every Style

In the United States, there’s no shortage of different home styles to choose from. The good news is that there’s no clear winner here. Instead, the “best” style really depends on your own unique taste.

If you’re still not quite sure what your taste is, it might be a good idea to work with expert designers and architects. They can help you create a plan that perfectly meshes with your personality.


What Style Is Your House? The 10 Most Popular House Styles Explained | Better Homes & Gardens

Everything You Need to Know About Mediterranean-Style Houses | Elle Decor

What Is Mid-Century Modern Architecture? | The Spruce