Take a look at our comprehensive guide of types of houses including Condominiums, Co-Ops, Single Family Homes, Bungalows, Cabins and many more.
Are you are looking to purchase a home as your primary residence, for an investment property, or possibly even a vacation home? Maybe you are looking for some inspiration on different types of houses because you are planning to design and build your own home. If you fall into any of those categories this is the article for you! We have a lot of information to cover around house styles and their structure.
The first thing to know is that there are two main ways to classify a home. Houses by their structure type are the first way to classify different house types. The other is by the types of home styles. When we say structure, this simply means the type of building, such as an apartment building or a single family home. The style of homes covers the design and architectural features. Different styles of houses include colonial style houses, farmhouses, cute little cottages, plus many more.
Since there are so many different types of houses and home styles to choose from things can get overwhelming. We have put together a list of different types of houses and some of the most popular styles of homes for you.
Types of Houses: Structures
Here we will be talking about and looking at the specific different structures when it comes to types of houses. The house structure is most often an important place to start in the decision process.
An apartment building contains a collection of rooms or units, forming one residence, meaning they are all in one building structure. If you are looking for an apartment, some things to consider when making your decision might be size, price, apartment type, location, and amenities. Common amenities available are a pool, gym, laundry, a covered parking space, and a maintenance worker. While these are great, something to consider about apartment living is you will have lots of neighbors. This means more potential noise and considerably less privacy than other types of homes.
A condominium commonly referred to as a condo is a group of similar buildings on the same site with separate units, each one is individually owned. This means, if you are renting a condo, you pay rent directly to the individual owner. The owner is responsible for maintenance and repairs and pays fees to a condo association. Much like an apartment, if you are renting a condo, amenities such as a pool and gym are available to you.
A Co-Op or Cooperative Housing is an investment where you actually become part owner of the property. The idea is that you own shares in the corporation that owns the building. As part owner, you get to vote on how things are handled and decisions being made. You even have a say in who your neighbors are based on who is let in and what shares they are able to invest in which is a definite plus!
A townhome, more commonly referred to as a townhouse is a house structure where one to two walls are shared with the home or homes on either side. In an attempt to save space these are built vertically meaning you will find they are usually two and sometimes even three levels. Each individual home does have its own entrance on ground level, unlike an apartment building.
These types of homes have gotten a lot of attention and become pretty popular over the past few years. A tiny home is exactly what it sounds like… a very small home. Typically built at 500 square feet or less, the idea behind these types of houses is downsizing and living with only essentials. These are individual structures and can even be made to be mobile, giving the owner additional options and freedoms. At a cost of as low as $15,000, if you are able to do some of the work yourself, tiny homes can also offer some decent financial freedom as well.
Single Family Home
A single family home is quite different from the other types of homes we have talked about so far. Unlike a condo or apartment, a single family house is completely detached from another building. This means it is free-standing, has no shared walls, and sits on its own section of land apart from the other different houses. Some benefits of single family homes include more privacy, less busy and more space which means less noise. Properties like this will however come with more upkeep and responsibility and are usually more expensive to own.
Multi Family Home
The main difference between single family homes and multi family homes is the number of units. While a single family home has one unit, Multi Family Homes are residential properties that contain multiple housing units. These are often referred to as duplexes, triplexes or quadplexes which reflects the number on units they contain.
Types of Houses: Home Styles (Architecture)
There are so many different beautiful and unique styles of houses. The style of a home is largely determined by the location and time it was built. Typically, your home style will give you inspiration for the design and decor of the interior. Below we will talk about many different style homes.
The inspiration for the term “Victorian Style” came from the Victorian era during the reign of Queen Victoria of Britain from 1837-1901. Some characteristics include a steep roofline with a bold front-facing gable, lots of shapely windows, fancy woodwork, towers, dormers, large wrap-around porches and are typically two to three stories.
Mediterranean Types of Houses
The Mediterranean Style home is a beautiful combination of Italian and Spanish architecture. Some of the features that create this unique style are stucco walls, tile roofs, decorative tile work, black wrought iron details, and large, wooden front doors. Another detail you will find with this home style is the focus on outdoor living. You will often find enclosed outdoor spaces such as a courtyard with arbors or a porch wrapping around. The Mediterranean Style houses first came about in the 19th century and you will find this style mostly in the warmer climate areas such as California.
Colonial Style homes boast a traditional style of architecture from the Colonial era Going back to the 1600s, these homes display a simple, symmetrical, and rectangular shape. A few key features include a brick or wooden exterior, at least one fireplace, and lots of windows. The front door is typically central to the home, leading into a grand entryway with a central staircase. These homes are almost always at least two stories, sometimes three. The different types within this style are French, English, Dutch, Georgian, and American. The influence in the specific style was determined by the country that occupied the region during the time the home was built.
Cape Cod Style Houses
The original Cape Cod Syle came out of the 1700s. Originating in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, these charming homes were built small, efficient, and sturdy in order to endure the rough winters. A classic home in this style would display a centralized front door with two long windows on each side. Today, a newer version of these homes would more than likely be larger, naturally creating more interior living area as well as more windows.
The French Country Style home is inspired by the homes found in the French Countryside. A beautiful blend of rustic elegance, these homes range from simple to extravagant. A typical design with this home style is pointed rooftops, stone exterior, warm tones, and curved arches and soft lines. Inside you will find wooden beams, plaster walls, and stone flooring.
A Contemporary home reflects the current style, simply meaning the architecture of today. In a Contemporary home, you will find that the builder will use natural and sustainable materials. These homes have a touch of modern simplicity sticking to straight lines and a minimalistic feel with neutral colors.
Modern Mid-Century Houses
Mid Century Modern focuses on clean lines while adding a combination of geometric and organic shapes. Many times you will see large windows in order to let in natural light and appreciate nature. The main idea behind this style of home is uncluttered simplicity. It is an American design that became popular after WWII.
Beginning in the 1820s, this architectural style hit peak popularity from the 1830s through the Civil War. An interesting fact about this style is, not only was it popular for a regular house but also for public buildings like churches, courthouses, libraries, and banks. Some key features of the Greek Revival style are tall columns across the front, grand entrances, Greek Style embellishments, and are white or subdued in color.
Types of houses with names like Farmhouse gives you a pretty good idea of what you’re dealing with. Farmhouses were typically built on agricultural lands and got their inspiration from the farm homes of the early settlers. Whether classic, rustic, vintage, or traditional, these types of house styles display tall ceilings, exposed beams, dormers, and a central fireplace. These homes have a large footprint with a rectangular layout, a large front porch and were typically two stories. In the past, the Farmhouse style home was only found in the country, however, it is such a popular home style that you now see them mixed in with suburban style homes and even in some urban areas. There are those who find even a modern farmhouse style to be their perfect dream home.
Ranch Style Houses
When looking at different types of home architectural styles you might notice a couple of similarities between a Ranch Style home and a Farmhouse, such as a devoted patio area, a large footprint, and nice open living spaces. Characteristics you will find specific to a Ranch style home design are low-pitched rooflines with wide eaves, large windows, and sliding glass doors, and most are single story and in the shape of an “L” or a “U. Ranch houses tend to be placed and larger plots of land typically between 1 and 10 acres.
The Craftsman home style came out of the American Craftsman Movement at the turn of the 20th Century and is unique from the idea of the mass-produced residential house that all looked the same. Craftsman architecture proudly displays the work of man, versus large machines, with the use of natural materials. This style provides a strong build, typically horizontal in shape. The exterior is typically painted wood siding with some sort of stucco or stone accent. Other characteristics include low pitched roofs with single or double gables and overhanging eaves, large bay windows, exposed beams, and wide, tapered columns framing in gorgeous, open porches.
When looking at different types of home styles, the Cottage home style offers many unique looks and a variety of home elevations. Whether you are looking for a home for the day-to-day or a vacation home, the Cottage style is one that is quite charming. There are many characteristics that make the Cottage style home so quaint and cozy. They are typically on the smaller side and made out of a combination of wood, brick, and stone. They often display beautiful wooden beams on the ceiling. Some other key features include lots of outdoor space, cute little front porches, and don’t forget a nice, warm wood burning fireplace.
Definitely not your typical residential house, the Tudor Style homes will without a doubt catch your eye. One distinguishing characteristic is the steeply pitched rooftops with front-facing gables of different heights. Another is the windows. Incorporating a touch of medieval architecture, the windows are tall and narrow with multiple panes, either in the shape of a rectangle or a diamond. Other features that contribute to the beauty of Tudor Style houses are the tall chimneys with distinct pots at the tops, the elaborate doorways, and the brick exterior laid out in such intricate designs. Originating in Europe in the late 1800s, this very unique home style emerged in the United States in the mid 19th century and is often referred to as a “Storybook” style.
When you hear the term “split-level home” you may think… “Isn’t that just a two-story house?” The two are actually quite different. In a typical two story home, you see a long flight of stairs connecting the two stories. Split-level homes are multiple levels separated by short flights of stairs, creating a home style in which the living spaces are quite separated. These homes really became popular in the 50s and 60s and were even built through the 70s. If you are someone who appreciates privacy and doesn’t mind lots of stairs, a split-level home may be a great option for you.
Cabins, like cottages, offer a cozy vibe that makes for a charming home or place to get away. Cabins are made out of wood, have gable or cross gable roofs, often have porches or decks and typically have either a cozy fireplace or wood burning stove. Although a cabin is typically on the smaller side, there are plenty of cabin floorplans that are quite large. Whether small or on the large side, a cabin still provides a cozy, relaxing vibe and is a great option to rent for a vacation or own so you and yours can enjoy it anytime you want.
Mobile Homes are prefabricated, built in a factory, and then transported to a site. Although these manufactured homes can be transported, they often remain in a permanent spot after the initial transport after being built. A Mobile Home is usually at least 320 square feet and is relatively inexpensive to own.
Simply put, a Mansion is a large, impressive house. Although there are no real specifics when it comes to the size, most realtors will refer to a home as a Mansion if it is 8,000 square feet or more. This is definitely not your regular house considering the average size home in the U.S. is somewhere around 2,500 square feet. Of course, there is more than just the size that makes a mansion. The exquisite architectural design often features large windows, tall ceilings, and an impressive facade using only premium materials such as high grade wood and the highest quality stonework. You will typically find a mansion built on an impressive piece of land including beautiful walking paths, large water fountains, and pleasant gardens.
Originating in Rome, a Villa was a home for the upper-class. Often the wealthy would own a home in the city as well as a private Villa in the countryside on a large piece of property. The Tuscan is a well-known style villa and is one that became popular in Europe. It was common for these house styles to include impressive pools and gardens on the property.
A Barndominium is exactly what you might think… a barn that has been converted into a living space. While these have not been around for too long, they have grown in popularity over the last couple of years. You might be wondering why in the world someone would want to live in a barn. Barndominiums are affordable, energy-efficient, and very low maintenance. You can also get quite creative with the look of your Barnominum and create a unique, beautiful home.
A Houseboat is exactly what it sounds like… a boat that is used as a house. Although houseboats are on the water, many are not motorized and are anchored in order to be stationary. Often times they are anchored directly to a dock for the convenience of easy land access. It is possible to anchor your houseboat out in the middle of the water somewhere. This would require a smaller boat to get from land to your housing unit, then you would simply tie your smaller boat to the houseboat. A typical houseboat includes all the amenities you would need such as a kitchen, living space, small table, bedrooms, and a bathroom.
The simplest way to describe a chalet is a wooden house in the mountains. These homes find their roots in the French Alps and Swiss Mountains where the herdsmen would bring their flocks for the summers. Today, they are commonly used as luxury vacation homes during ski season. The wide, sloping roofs and overhanging eaves with a perfect blanket of snow, creates a picturesque getaway.
A Penthouse is located at the highest level of units like apartment buildings or hotels. Different from your standard home or room, the penthouse offers a more luxurious side to things. You will naturally be paying more to live or stay in a penthouse but will get the benefit and enjoyment of things like larger living spaces, lavish home finishes, and gorgeous views.
McMansion is a derogatory term used to describe oversized, mass-produced homes with poor architectural styles. Some key factors that contribute to this description are a lack of overall balance and symmetry, too many voids like windows and doors as well as too many different shapes creating a house style that is cluttered and disorganized.
Houses of European Style
The European house style is one that draws inspiration from many different styles such as Italian, Tuscan, Spanish, French, and English. This style features steep roof pitches, tall windows with shutters, and oftentimes includes arched doorways. These homes are built with stucco, brick, or stone and most of the time display a combination of two, creating a gorgeous facade. You will find that these homes are almost always at least two stories tall and often include a basement suite. Creating a beautiful, Old World feeling while providing all the up-to-date features and amenities, it’s not hard to see why this would be someone’s dream home.
A Coach House, also known as a Carriage House, is a small building built on an estate typically behind the main house. During the 19th century, the purpose of a coach house was to provide rest and shelter for horses and carriages. It was also very typical to find these in more wealthy neighborhoods, where they were used for relatives or the homeowners’ staff to stay in.
Bungalow style houses originated in Bengal, India during the mid 19th century. The initial purpose behind these types of houses was to have something informal and easy to build. Over the years, these simple, single family homes became more and more popular, even making their way into the United States. Though there are many different styles of bungalows, there are certain characteristics that you will find consistent. These homes are small, most often one story and feature a sloped roof, large front windows, and a large front porch.
Skoolies are the perfect combination of tiny homes and RVs. A skoolie is a school bus that is renovated and turned into a living space. Much like a tiny home, a skoolie is on the smaller side, typically between 245 and 300 square feet, and offers a sustainable, affordable living option. With a skoolie and an RV, you have the convenience of a home on wheels, perfect for those who do a lot of traveling. A skoolie could be fun for those who are looking for a DIY project. Incorporate hand-crafted wood features to create a rustic look, go with a stark black and white color combination if you like modern, or even combine the two.