9 popular house styles in America
Check out these ideas for your next home
A fun part of buying a home is thinking about all the different kinds of homes you could buy! There are many styles of single-family houses including condos and townhomes. Take a look at our list of popular house types below and dream a little dream about the perfect home for you.
Single-family home styles
These homes include the house and the land surrounding it. In a single-family home, you are responsible for maintaining the property and can renovate the home as you like. You may find these popular single-family home styles in your search.
- Ranch. These are one-story homes with a low roof line. Since they are simple and have an open floor plan, they offer flexibility for improvements and remodeling. Many homeowners think about adding a second level for bedrooms or expanding the home’s footprint with one side for bedrooms and the other for open living.
- Cape Cod. This style became popular during the 1930s to 1950s. Named after the Massachusetts coastal region, Cape Cod houses are generally small homes with a steep roofline and hardwood floors, many of which were built with an unfinished upstairs. Capes are cozy and simple. If you need to room to grow, you may be able to remodel the second floor.
- Colonial. Colonial-style homes are inspired by the design of houses from the 1600s and 1700s. These homes have two stories and a symmetrical design with a front door in the middle and windows on either side. They offer space for families with multiple bedrooms and two or more baths, a main floor living area with a central fireplace, and a basement. These homes often have attached garages.
- Craftsman. These homes emerged in the early 1900s and were inspired by the British Arts and Crafts movement. Craftsman-style homes continue to be popular today with a simple design, low-pitched roofs, wide porches, and thick columns. A fireplace is typical for Craftsman homes as are exposed beams, built-in bookshelves, hardwood floors, and a large living room bay window. These homes are great for smaller families because they often have two to three bedrooms on the second floor.
- Mediterranean/Spanish. This house style is similar to ones you can see in Spain, Italy, and France. They feature a sprawling structure, low-pitched terra cotta roof, stucco or brick construction, arched doorways, outdoor living spaces, and courtyards. Inside you can find colorful tiles, exposed beams, wrought iron banisters, and more. Mediterranean/Spanish homes are great for large families. You’ll find them in warmer climates like Florida, California, and the Southwest.
- Victorian. These homes were popular during Queen Victoria’s reign in the United Kingdom. You can find them in many locations as well as in Victorian-era neighborhoods such as Kalamazaoo, Michigan, Richmond Hill, New York, Woodruff Place, Indiana, Guthrie, Oklahoma, and Huning Highlands, New Mexico. They are large houses with two and sometimes three stories, steep roofs, towers, bright colors, and a mix of materials like stone and wood. Victorian houses are not known for their open floor plan. They have many rooms, nooks, crannies, and doorways which make them unique. The ceilings are high and the rooms are narrow.
- Split and bi-level homes. Popular between the 1950s and 1970s, these home styles are not often built today. A split-level home has three levels, the main area where the kitchen and living room are, an upstairs for bedrooms and a lower level for a family room or recreation. These homes offer more privacy than a bi-level. Bi-level homes have two levels that you face once you enter the door, steps going up to the kitchen, dining room and bedrooms and steps going down to a family room and potentially another bedroom and bath. The garage typically connects to the lower level.
Condos can be more affordable than single-family homes because the property you own is inside the walls of your home. The exterior of your condo building and shared spaces are owned in common with the other condo owners. The maintenance of the outside of your property and shared communal areas are managed by an association and paid for with a monthly fee. While condo fees are an added expense, they often cover pools and exercise rooms as well as snow removal, landscaping, and maintenance. Some condo communities are gated or offer security. Make sure you research the condo community to ensure it’s well-funded and well-managed. Condos can also be a good source of income as an investment property for rentals. However, check with your condo association for rules for renting or using the property as an Airbnb first.
Townhomes are similar to traditional houses in that they have many levels and offer space for families. Townhomes can have a front and backyard that you need to maintain as well as the home’s exterior and the roof. Townhomes are privately owned but part of a larger community which also have association fees like condos. The association fee includes shared services like trash pickup and snow removal and maintenance of other common areas such as a community gym or pool.
Last reviewed and updated March 2023 by Freedom Mortgage Corporation.