11 Exterior Home Design Styles to Know

11 Exterior Home Design Styles to Know

Have you ever been driving down a suburban street and noticed a uniquely designed house and wondered, what is that style of house called? You’re not alone. There are many different house designs, and most of them we just look at and think, that’s a cute house, and that’s just fine.

However, if you’re in the market for a new house, knowing what you’re looking for and being specific about the style of the exterior decor can help narrow down your options and get you closer to the home you’ve always had in your dreams.

Maybe you’re remodeling your current home or just upping the curb appeal, knowing the style of your home, how it was built, and perhaps some history of the style will help you plan better and add to the flow of the design. Making for a better, more harmonious outcome to your remodel.

We’re going to give you some help and look at ten popular exterior home design styles to give you a little information about them. Then, you can amaze your friends and family with your incredible knowledge of exterior design styles. Won’t that be fun! So, here, in no particular order, are the ten more popular exterior home designs.

Table of Contents

  • 11 Exterior Home Design Styles to Know
  • Cape Cod Homes
  • Country French Style
  • Colonial Style
  • Victorian Houses
  • Tudor-Style
  • Craftsman Houses
  • Cottage Style
  • Mediterranean Style
  • Ranch Homes
  • Contemporary Style
  • The Combination Style
  • Revere Homes Builds Stylish House

Cape Cod Homes

Charming is a word often uttered when someone first gazes upon a Cape Cod home. They have roots dating back to 1685, and this style of home was very popular in the 1930s.

These homes are typically one story and have a very steep roofline. They feature wood siding, multi-pane windows, and hardwood floors.

The original Cape Cod home style was small and often had dormer windows, which is a type of roof window offering both natural light and additional space to a vaulted ceiling, and better ventilation.

Additions for more space on a Cape Cod home are usually added to the side or the back, depending on the available area. It’s also interesting to note that many Cape Cod-style homes do not have a finished upstairs. So, that space is open to be remodeled to fit your needs.

Country French Style

In the United States, this style of home dates back to the 18th century, during the time when France occupied much of eastern North America with settlements along major waterways such as the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi Valley.

The style faded somewhat when President Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana purchase in 1803. The style did stay strong and popular in New Orleans and other areas in the south for about a half-century longer.

Country French is recognizable for its steeply pitched roofs and narrow windows with paired shutters. Usually one story, they have stucco walls and half-timbered frames.

The Country French- style is most notable for its curb appeal, often displaying striking driveways and elaborate landscaping touches.

Colonial Style

This is one of the most popular home styles in the United States, dating back to 1876. The classic colonial home has two or three stories, fireplaces, and brick or wood facades.

The floor plans for these homes have the kitchen and family rooms on the first floor with the bedrooms on the second floor.

The colonial-style is an easy home to add on to, with additions fitting nicely on the side or the back. Talk to a knowledgeable builder about brick siding; matching can be a bit tricky.

Victorian Houses

This style of home was built during the Victorian era, which was from 1860 to 1900. There are a few different styles of houses that popped up during this time, such as Queen- Anne-style homes.

These homes have a very romantic feeling about them, with abundant detail in fabrics and colors and textures and patterns. Modern versions of the Victorian home use more modern materials and fabrics; however, they retain the Victorian silhouette and traditional characteristics.

A Victorian house is noted for its steeply pitched roof, a dominant front-facing gable, pattern shingles, and cut-away bay windows. They also have an asymmetrical facade and a half or full-width front porch.


If you’re a history buff, you’ll notice the name of this style of house harkens back to the architectural characteristics of the 16th-century Tudor dynasty in England. The name is right; the dynasty is correct; however, the Tudor-style homes we see on tree-lined streets today are just replicas, modern reinventions of a variety of late Medieval English prototypes.

Notable characteristics of this style house are the steeply pitched roof, the cross gables which are dominant to the silhouette, decorative half-timbering, and narrow windows with small window panes.

Craftsman Houses

The craftsman bungalow, also known as the arts and crafts style house, was popular between 1905 and the 1930s, and we’re seeing a massive resurgence of the style in today’s market.

This style of house is distinctive for its interior and exterior design. Inside you’ll find a large amount of interior woodworking like built-in shelves and seating.

As for the exterior design, you’ll notice the Craftsman has low-pitched roofs with wide eave overhangs. You’ll also notice exposed roof rafters, decorative beams, or braces under gables and front porches framed by tapered square columns.

Craftsman homes usually have open, usable space ripe for renovation opportunities in the attic. These are lovely and quaint-style homes.

Cottage Style

Medieval English country-style houses inspired the cottage-style home. American architects took that style and designed the rather cozy and charming style we see here in the States today.

Very popular in the 1920s and 1930s, these houses sport deeply pitched roofs, cross gables, arched doorways, and casement windows with small panes.

They have a very charming storybook feel about them and are usually sided with brick, stone, or stucco.

Mediterranean Style

California in 1915 saw the Panama-California Exposition. At that event, people were introduced to this home style, and the style flourished between 1920 and 1930.

Mediterranean style homes, also known as Spanish Farm House or Spanish Eclectic, feature low pitched roofs with red tile and arches, grillwork, plus stucco or adobe exteriors.

This style of home typically sports a U-shaped floor plan oriented around a centralized courtyard and fountain. This makes the garden an extension of the living space—the rooms in these houses open to the courtyard, which provides cooling cross ventilation and fresh flowing air.

Ranch Homes

The Ranch-style home sports a simple floor plan, an attached garage, and efficient living spaces. Popular back in 1932, this style of home is still being built today. In fact, it remains one of the most popular suburban designs on the market and was the style of home during the suburban building boom of the 1950s and 1960s.

Some have complained that this house style is too cookie-cutter in appearance, but the secret is the level of potential for additions. During the building boom, not only were Ranch-style homes popular, but so was turning a one-level Ranch style home into a bi-level or tri-level home.

The simplicity of this house plan makes it very easy to upgrade with additions.

Contemporary Style

These homes are explicitly referring to architect-designed homes from 1950 to 1970. The term ‘contemporary’ has been used to describe a variety of homes built in recent decades that favor simple forms and geometric lines.

These homes show the beginning of the integration of the experimentation and dynamism of the post-war modern period. During this time, not just houses but much of the American aesthetic was influenced by modernist ideas.

Contemporary-style homes feature a lot of glass, open floor plans, and inventive designs. They are lacking in elaborate detail or unnecessary decoration and detail. The exterior designs on these types of houses are usually a mix of contrasting materials and textures with flat, low-pitched roofs and exposed roof beams.

The Combination Style

While it is easy to point at some house styles and say that’s a Tudor or a Craftsman, not every house falls neatly into a specific category. As different styles take the lead in the housing market, it is not uncommon to see various house styles being melded into one house.

This combo-style home is a product of one style moving into another that is now more popular or dominant while retaining some features of the previous era. This style of house allows the homeowner to easily adapt their own design elements to an already built, older home.

Aesthetically it’s not advisable to just patchwork one house style with bits of one or more other styles; however, if done well, combining house styles can have a dramatic effect and add curb appeal.

Say you’re adding an addition to your current colonial-style home. Using different building materials, altering the window shape but staying within the boundaries of a time period, not adding a contemporary addition to a traditional colonial can give you some stunning results.

Although, why not make a contemporary addition to your Tudor home? It is, after all, your home, and no one has to like it or live in it but you.

Revere Homes Builds Stylish House

Understanding home styles can lead you to your perfect home, and it can help you if you’ve decided to remodel or put an addition on your existing home; aesthetic choices can be better navigated if you understand the stylistic foundation of a home and don’t veer too far away from the original design.

We hope this article has given you some inspiration and good knowledge of home styles. If you’re thinking of building or buying, it helps to talk to experts in the field. Few people know more about homes than the folks at Revere Homes.

With a multitude of floor plans and decades of experience building homes and crafting neighborhoods, Revere Homes should be your first call for information about homes and home building or buying. They have the experience and are more than happy to share what they know with you. Contact Revere Homes and start your home buying or building journey off on solid footing.

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