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The Top Ten Most Popular Home Styles In The U.S.

Written by Carol J Alexander

Published on April 8, 2024


The Top Ten Most Popular Home Styles In The U.S.

Learn what type of home you have or which you'd like to buy in this informative glossary of architectural home styles in the U.S.

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, we consult a number of sources when producing each article, including licensed contractors and industry experts.

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The United States is a melting pot of people, culture, and architecture, and its home styles reflect this. With a myriad of rooflines, porch shapes, materials, and trim packages, the homes in this country are as varied as their homeowners.

However, when it comes to purchasing a home, the National Association of Home Builders states, "there is no national consensus on exterior design" in its latest What Home Buyers Really Want study, a survey of more than 3,000 recent and prospective home buyers. It seems respondents are divided somewhat equally between a traditional home style, a contemporary design, and something in between.

However, cost is a driving factor when building a new home. "It's expensive to create all the millwork in a Craftsman-style home, for example," says Diana Melichar, R.A. and president of Melichar Architects in Lake Forest, Illinois. Otherwise, she says, "homes don't really go out of style. People gravitate toward a style that feels like home. And that's most likely the style they grew up in."

Nevertheless, whether you're shopping for a home that captures the eye, designing a new home build, or want to know what style your historic home leans toward, this article is here to help.

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Ranch style homeĀ 

This ranch-style home features an attached garage, a low-pitched roof, and large, prominent windows.

The iconic ranch-style home is known for its sprawling single-story and simple floor plan. Also known as a rambler, this home may have a full-length basement, depending on the region. Roof pitch varies but is primarily low-slope with shingles, and most ranch homes have a garage or carport attached. Large windows on the home's facade and sliding glass doors in the rear that open onto ample patios are other features that set the ranch apart from different architectural styles.

Mid-century modern home style

Mid-century modern homes frequently feature a butterfly roof and floor-to-ceiling windows.

The mid-century modern style features clean lines, natural materials, and flat roofs. The butterfly roof is a popular example of a mid-century modern roofline. This style of home generally features floor-to-ceiling windows or windows placed above eye level (clerestory).  In a single story, architects include an open floor plan with a seamless transition to nature and embrace an asymmetrical design. "You need more land for this style," says Melichar, "in order to connect to the earth." She adds that the mid-mod style has been trending for several years. Typically, this style contains furnishings of the Scandinavian persuasion that pair well with the minimalist lifestyle.

Craftsman style home

The American Four-square is a version of the Craftsman-style home with four rooms on each story.

The Craftsman-style home has wide front porches supported by columns, overhanging eaves, and low-slope hipped roofs. As a one-story, it's called a Bungalow. This home style was popular in the early 1900s crafts movement and is also known as the Arts and Crafts style. The interior design features a lot of natural woodwork, built-in cabinets, shelving, seating, large fireplaces, and walk-up attic space. Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style partly influenced this style of home.

Victorian era home

The interior of a Victorian home is just as ornamental as the exterior, with commanding stairways, ornate woodwork, and built-ins.

Victorian homes emerged in late 19th-century Europe. They are characterized by elaborate detailing and ornamentation in the form of brackets, spindles, and beaded trim. The Victorian's grand appearance includes steep roofs, bay windows, and towers. Like the Craftsman, Victorian homes have several styles, like the Queen Anne, and wear deep, saturated colors like the latest runway fashions in Paris.

Log home

Log homes come in many shapes and sizes and can be built from indigenous trees or a pre-made kit.

From the diminutive cabin to the mountain chalet, log homes have been part of the American landscape since the arrival of early European settlers. Instead of wood framing or concrete construction, the home's walls are made of logs. Builders can harvest logs from the land or purchase pre-made kits from companies like Dogwood Mountain Log Homes. Most often found in mountainous regions, log homes are energy efficient and usually paired with stone rather than brick.

Saltbox style home

John Quincy Adams' birthplace is a prime example of a Saltbox house construction.

Almost as old as the log home, the saltbox style was used next by early settlers, primarily in the New England area. You can spot a Saltbox home by the roof line extending to the first-story level in the rear. They also feature a prominent brick fireplace in the center of the house. Small, paned windows and the absence of porches or ornamentation are other tell-tale features of this style.

Cape Cod style home

A Cape Cod house with traditional shake siding and dormer windows.

Another early home style in America is the Cape Cod. Also referred to as a One-and-a-Half-Story home, it features a steep gabled roof, dormers, and shuttered windows flanking the front door. A 20th-century Cape Cod home is a singular, small square or rectangle. Garages (or carriage houses) were detached, and homeowners used the attic space for storage. Modern designs include attached garages, single-story wings, and finished attic spaces that serve as a half-story.

Mediterranean style home

This Mediterranean home sports a tile roof, stucco siding, and ornamental ironwork.

The Spanish-influenced Mediterranean home style is found mainly in the temperate climate regions of the south, like Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, and New Mexico. The floor plan was designed as a U around a central courtyard onto which all rooms opened. This construction ensured adequate ventilation in a time before air conditioning and created a seamless transition to the outdoors. The ceilings in the central portion of the home are vaulted, frequently with exposed beams. Outside, the home features a low-slope tile roof, stucco siding, and arched doorways and windows. 

Farmhouse style

Both modern farmhouse-style and 100-year-old homes have a classic, timeless curb appeal.

Originally, farmhouses were designed for large families, food processing, and mud. Therefore, in a farmhouse, you'll likely find large, eat-in kitchens with an oversized sink, wooden floors, and a mud room to keep the barn mess out of the house. Outside, the farmhouse style includes large porches that serve as a transitional space for working, dining, or relaxing after a hard day’s work.

The modern farmhouse is similar. "The new farmhouse style is the millennial's interpretation of the Colonial," says Melichar, "because it's less expensive to build." But she believes this style is on its way out. Typically, farmhouses are painted white with black trim, have shutters and a standing seam metal roof, and include board and batten or clapboard siding. This home style is predominately two stories, and its home style is popular in the Midwest.

Colonial home style

Colonial-style homes command respect in the neighborhood. 

Think Cape Cod, only taller, and you have a Colonial-style home. The Colonial's impressive curb appeal features two to three stories with dormers and columns. With a focus on symmetry, the front entryway is always in the center of the home, with windows evenly spaced on either side. Shutters, brick siding, and multiple chimneys are typical. Inside, bedrooms are found on upper stories, and an open floor plan would signify newer construction or renovation. 

Which home style is right for you?

Choosing a home style depends on your taste, lifestyle, and the region of the country where you live. While you may love the clean lines and clerestory windows of a mid-mod home or the impressive facade of a Mediterranean home, you may long for the attic of a Craftsman-style home to hide a creative studio. That said, maybe a home that breaks the mold is best for you. To help you decide, let us help you find a custom home designer or builder near you.

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Written by

Carol J Alexander Content Specialist and Subject Matter Expert

Carol J Alexander is a home remodeling industry expert for Fixr.com. For more than 15 years as a journalist and content marketer, her in-depth research, interviewing skills, and technical insight have ensured she provides the most accurate and current information on a given topic. Before joining the Fixr team, her personal clients included leaders in the building materials market like Behr Paint Company, CertainTeed, and Chicago Faucet, and national publications like This Old House and Real Homes.