Iconic Home Styles: 10 Types of Houses

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Throughout different time periods and geographical locations, we have seen many types of houses. Most of these iconic home styles are still around to this day and are seen in many neighborhoods across the country. Each of the types of houses has its own individual architectural and structural details. Below, learn about each home style and how to identify them by their traits. You can also download the full list here.

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Craftsman

The craftsman home became popular during the first 30 years of the 20th century with the first houses appearing in Southern California. Inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement (a response intended to promote the work of craftsmen versus the machine-made of the Industrial Revolution), this type of house features a simple and classic design. Details such as tapered columns, a partially paned door, multi-pane windows, visible rafter tails, and exposed beams under the overhang mark the craftsman design. With a large front porch to seamlessly enjoy the indoors and outdoors, a low-pitched gabled roof, and a neutral color scheme, these American-made creations are still enjoyed and reproduced to this day.

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21st Century Modern

The modern home ideal is constantly changing and this can vary decade by decade, but there are some common trends that seem to be à la mode. The main idea is to keep it simple with clean lines while still thinking of functionality. Some elements of modern homes are neutral color schemes, exposed steel, and a minimalist design. Windows are often wide and sometimes span from ceiling to floor. This is one of the most retro types of houses, drawing inspiration from mid-century homes.

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A-Frame

Like the 21st century home, the A-frame is one of the most vintage types of houses. Surging in popularity from the 1950s through the 1970s, this post-war style of home let architects experiment with very modern designs since A-frames weren’t very expensive to build. With a steeply sloping roof, deep-set eaves, and large windows spanning the front and back gables, this home is quite easy to spot.

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Colonial Revival

Colonial Revival architecture gained momentum in the 1890s. In the early 20th century, the automobile was invented, allowing more Americans to visit sites connected with their heritage. Bringing back elements of American colonial homes and buildings during the Revolutionary War, which largely drew from Britsh design styles. The Colonial Revival home is usually very rectangular in shape, has aligned and centered windows and door, and often features a decorative pediment and pilasters (columns).

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Queen Anne

Originally referring to the English Baroque architecture of the early 1700s, Queen Anne revival types of houses because popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This home style is identified through its cross-gabled and steeply sloped roof, witches hat turrets, and fish scaled siding. Highly ornamental, the Queen Anne uses all surfaces as decorative elements and often has a gorgeous wrapped porch. In American Queen Anne types of houses, free Renaissance (non-Gothic Revival) details are referenced.

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Ranch

The ranch originated in the US in the 1920s and became extremely popular from the 1940s to the 1970s. It is known for being one story and wide open layout with a rational design, clustering bedrooms into one portion of the house and living spaces in another. It often has a hipped or a gabled roof with deeply set eaves. The modern ranch’s long, low profile complements its rectangular, L, or U-shape, and usually, there isn’t elaborate ornamentation. An attached garage is often associated with the ranch. After declining in popularity in the 70s, this simple house style regained momentum in the late 90s as young homebuyers found the ranch to be an affordable entry-level home with a fashionable retro vibe, and older buyers discovered easy mobility in the one story design.

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Spanish Revival

The Spanish Revival home is often seen throughout the Southwest. With elements reminiscent of old Spanish villages, this organic style often features stucco exterior, terracotta roof tiles, and decorative ironwork. The roof is usually hipped or gabled with a wide overhang, and arched windows, doors, and entryways add to the Spanish Revival’s charm. Since much of Spanish architecture is focused on the balance between indoor and outdoor living, balconies and courtyards are common.

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Gable Front and Wing

Also known as Upright and Wing, the Gable Front and Wing home was popular from the mid to late 19ths century and is typified by a gable ended “upright” section (usually two stories) and a one-story ell or “wing” section. Usually shaped in an L or T-shaped layout, this house style has a gabled roof, spindlework porch, and an elevated floor height. Typically Gable Front and Wing homes were built by tradesmen instead of homeowners. Most of these residences don’t have too many standardized decorative elements and can vary from home to home.

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Greek Revival

The Greek Revival architectural style was popular from 1825 to 1860 through the Civil War. Representing the American expression that our newly formed nation was the spiritual descendant of Greece as the birthplace of democracy, Greek Revival buildings and homes started in the east but moved west with the early settlers. With large pilasters, columns with no bases, double-hung windows, and elaborately framed doors, these types of houses are stately and grand. They often are painted white to resemble marble, are gable fronted, and have a wide band of trim on the cornice line.

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Italianate

The Italianate style was popularized in the US in the 1840s as an alternative to Gothic or Greek Revival types of houses. It is distinctive by pronounced exaggeration of many Italian characteristics such as eaves with deep overhangs supported by decorative brackets (corbels), low-pitched roofs, and square towers placed centrally on the roof. The windows are usually substantially framed, hooded, or with pediments, and the windows are often taller on the 2nd story than the 1st story. With a brick or stucco exterior, these adorable Italian villa style homes have a picturesque aesthetic.


There are many iconic home styles, and its fun to see the eclectic mix of types of houses. To see all of them side by side, download the pdf here or pin the entire image.

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