The 10 Types of Home Exterior Design Styles You Could Use As Inspiration

Written by Brittany Allen

Whether you’re wondering what style your home is or trying to find the perfect style for you, this is the blog for you! Here we’ll be going over all the unique features that make up the most iconic exterior home design styles. 

Cape Cod

Cape Cod are relatively small homes, and the design originated in the 1600s, but it was redesigned to stand up to harsh weather on the New English coastline in the 1930s. The modest box-shaped homes have very few exterior details with maybe a dormer window or two. However, more modern cape cod designs also incorporate elements from other design styles.

Cape Cods are typically one story, but sometimes they can be found with one and a half stories. They feature steep rooflines, wooden siding, and multi-pane windows. 

Contemporary

Contemporary has come to describe a wide range of home styles built in recent decades. Still, they often feature a mix of natural materials, horizontal lines, low or flat roofs, and a strong connection between the indoors and outdoors. Usually, they incorporate large walls of glass for a lot of natural light, which makes them perfect for a houseplant enthusiast.

Most contemporary homes were built between 1950 to 1970 and are generally made with many concrete and geometrical lines.

Cottage

This home style is almost always associated with keywords like charming and cozy, and warm. Cottage-style homes feel very much like they popped out of a storybook and are often smaller vacation homes. Typically they incorporate dormer windows, a porch with a porch swing, and a casual garden with a picket fence and bright flowers to welcome you in.

Cottage-style homes have a bit of medieval influence and became popular in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. They feature details like arched doors, cross gables, casement windows, and their exterior is made of brick, stone, or stucco siding, but sometimes they might have shakes.

Craftsman

Inspired by the arts and crafts movement, craftsman style homes have a very distinct look. They are known for their expansive front porches, thick square columns, clean lines, and use of natural materials. They were prevalent from 1905 until about the 1930s; however, the style has been making a comeback in recent years. You can identify them by their low-pitched roofs, decorative beams, and braces under the gables.

Farmhouse

Farmhouses were functional houses originally built on agricultural land. They feature expansive front porches, dormer windows, and local stone or timber. Farmhouses are heavy on function over beauty, but modern touches have improved their aesthetics dramatically.

Modern farmhomes now feature timeworn finishes and neutral color pallets. The modern farmhouse interior design has swept the nation in popularity since Joanna Gains took over with her simplistic yet homey designs. 

Victorian

Details, details, details, the Victorian style home is known for its elaborate designs. They often have multiple rooflines and three or even up to five different hues on the exterior design. Victorian homes have sweeping romantic elements and ornate details with liberal use of decorations on facades.

On larger Victorian homes, they have turrets and towers to give them a dramatic and fairytale aesthetic. You can imagine Repunzel standing on the balcony of one of those towers. 

Ranch

Ranch homes are usually single-story homes with extended overhanging eaves. Many times they have a big sliding door that will lead out to the backyard or patio, and the garage is attached but hidden in the design. The ranch-style home dates back to 1932 and is one of the most popular styles of home built in the suburban home-building boom of the 1950s and 1960s.

While they might appear “cookie-cutter” from the outside, ranch-style homes lend themselves to easy additions. Even bilevel and trilevel homes evolved from the ranch-style home. 

Colonial 

Most colonial homes were built back in 1876, but modern ones have been constructed to mimic this iconic style. They have a stately and very formal look to them, and this restrained design was developed by settlers from Europe. They brought their European architectural influences with them to the United States and started building these grand homes.

These designs tend to be very symmetrical and are two stories or even three. Colonial houses have a brick facade, flat fronts, and a distinguished front door that is framed by prominent columns. 

Tudor

Tudor style homes have a very distinct and recognizable look. They feature steeply pitched roofs, pointed arched doors, decorative crossbars for interest, and tall and narrow windows grouped together. Their exterior is decorated with half-timbers, and their design often resembled a medieval aesthetic.

Once someone has pointed out these homes to you, you’ll likely be able to identify them on your own.

Mediterranean

Architecture brought over from Spain, the Mediterranean style home is distinguished. You can usually find this style of home in Southern California, but you can also find them sprinkled in other southwest states. They are typically designed in a U-shape and feature low-pitched roofs, grillwork, stucco or adobe exterior, and arches.

Mediterranean homes are oriented around a central courtyard that often includes a fountain or other water features. It’s designed to allow for windows to be opened, and cross cooling and ventilation are used to bring in the fresh air. This is perfect for those warmer states where hot days and cool nights can make it challenging to regulate your home’s temperature. 

Each of these different home exterior design styles has its pros and cons, and not every design will suit every climate or environment. However, they each bring something unique to the table, and you’re sure to find one that suits your home and your desired aesthetic.

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