29 types of houses: The ultimate house style guide

Published Date: July 27, 2022

An image of a contemporary house rests under the evening sky, displaying one of the many types of houses available to home buyers.
Do you have your perfect home in mind but struggle when you try to describe it? Well, you’re not alone. There are many types of houses — with many having their own variants — and unless you’re an architect, it can be difficult telling them apart. Learning what makes each type of home unique can help you in your search for the perfect first or second home.That’s why we’ve compiled this list of common house styles that breaks down their defining features. First, let’s get into house structures.
An image displays the differences between house structures and styles, two ways to classify types of houses.

Types of houses by structure

An image displays nine types of houses commonly found around the world.
Before we get to the different types of houses, it can be helpful to know the common types of residential structures. Knowing whether you want a single-family home or a condo can narrow down your search and make it easier to find something that suits your budget and lifestyle. 

Single-family detached

A single-family home is a structure that is not physically attached to other houses. These homes offer the highest degree of privacy and customization by the owner. They are most popular in areas with lower population densities.
Pros of single-family detached homesCons of single-family detached homes
MORE PRIVACYALL COSTS FALL TO THE OWNER
CAN BE CUSTOMIZED BY OWNERLACK OF PUBLIC AMENITIES
OWNER HAS EQUITY IN THE PROPERTYREQUIRE A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT

Apartment

An apartment is a residential unit contained within a larger building or complex. An apartment is only available for renting and requires a contractual agreement with the landlord. Some apartment buildings provide amenities such as pools and fitness rooms.
Pros of apartmentsCons of apartments
BUILDING AMENITIESLIMITED PRIVACY
LANDLORD IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ROUTINE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRSLIMITED OPTIONS TO CUSTOMIZE
RENTER HAS SHORT-TERM COMMITMENTSNO EQUITY WITH RENT PAYMENTS

Condominium

A condominium, or condo for short, is an apartment-like unit that is owned by an individual. The owner can make renovations and rent out the unit so long as they do not violate the rules of the homeowners association (HOA).
Pros of condominiumsCons of condominiums
REQUIRE LESS UPKEEP THAN A DETACHED HOMEOWNER MUST ABIDE BY HOA RULES
OWNER HAS EQUITY WITH MORTGAGE PAYMENTSLIMITED PRIVACY

Co-op

A housing cooperative, more commonly known as a co-op, has many similarities to a condominium but with more restrictions. Instead of purchasing a specific unit within the building, the buyer is purchasing shares in the company that owns the building. The number of shares the person owns translates to the size of their unit.
Pros of co-opsCons of co-ops
LESS EXPENSIVE THAN A DETACHED HOMECAN BE DIFFICULT TO SELL SHARES
FOSTER A SENSE OF COMMUNITY WITH NEIGHBORSOWNER MUST ABIDE BY STRICT RULES

Townhome

A townhome is a private unit that is attached to at least one other private unit. It usually has exterior access and multiple stories for added space. Townhomes sometimes provide access to shared building amenities.
Pros of townhomesCons of townhomes
USUALLY HAVE MORE SPACE THAN A CONDOAT LEAST ONE SHARED WALL WITH NEIGHBOR
GENERALLY MORE AFFORDABLE THAN A SINGLE-FAMILY HOMELIMITATIONS PLACED ON CUSTOMIZING EXTERIOR

Coach home

Coach houses, sometimes called carriages, were originally used to house horse-drawn carriages and were converted to be private dwellings. Now, a coach house can refer to any detached unit on the same property as another building. They can be rented out by the property owner of the main house, or owned by a second individual.
Pros of coach housesCons of coach houses
MORE PRIVACY THAN AN APARTMENTMORE EXPENSIVE THAN A CONDO
CAN BE USED AS AN INVESTMENT PROPERTYLESS FREEDOM THAN A SINGLE-FAMILY HOME

Chalet

A chalet is the traditional house of shepherds in Switzerland. Today, the term refers to a vacation home located in the mountains. They usually have easy access to ski routes and are specially designed with steep roofs to deter the accumulation of snow.
Pros of chaletsCons of chalets
CONVENIENT ACCESS FOR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIESLIMITED USE AS A SINGLE-PURPOSE GETAWAY

Cabin

A cabin is a type of single-family structure defined by its minimalist features and rustic design. It is often used as a vacation residence but can also be a primary dwelling. Cabins are almost always located in remote areas.
Pros of cabinsCons of cabins
PROVIDE A HIGH DEGREE OF PRIVACYLACK MANY AMENITIES OF A MODERN HOUSE

Tiny house

A tiny home is usually considered to be any home under 400 square feet. Tiny homes were inspired by the modern trend of people downsizing their possessions and financial burdens.
Pros of tiny housesCons of tiny houses
AFFORDABLE TO BUILD OR PURCHASECAN BE DIFFICULT TO FIND A BUYER
CONTAIN SOME DEGREE OF MODERN AMENITIESLACK OF SPACE

Mobile home

A mobile home is a factory-built house that can be towed to a lot for a semi-permanent residence. The mass-produced nature of mobile homes makes them an affordable option for home buyers. 
Pros of mobile homesCons of mobile homes
RELATIVELY INEXPENSIVEMAY REQUIRE MONTHLY LOT FEES
ABLE TO MOVE LOCATIONSDO NOT AGE AS WELL AS TRADITIONAL HOMES

Modular home

A modular home has different sections that are fabricated in a factory. The sections are then shipped to the build site and assembled atop the foundation.
Pros of modular homesCons of modular homes
FAST CONSTRUCTION TIMEOLDER HOMES WERE BUILT WITH CHEAP MATERIALS AND MAY REQUIRE RENOVATIONS
HIGHER QUALITY THAN MOBILE HOMESDIFFICULT TO SELL DUE TO OLD STIGMAS

Types of houses by architectural style

Now that you know the different structures that can make up a home, it’s time to dive into the house architecture styles you’ll likely come across. When we talk about house styles, we’re referring to the exterior aesthetics of each house and some of their practical functions. As you examine the different kinds of houses, take note of what is beneficial for the area you live in, versus what is simply decorative, as this can drive costs up unnecessarily. For example, while a home with tall ceilings and lots of windows may be great for hot climates, it’s going to raise heating costs in areas with harsh winters. 

Victorian

An image displays a traditional Victorian home, one of the main types of houses.
The Victorian house style came to prominence in the 1830s — during Queen Victoria’s reign — and continued into the early 1900s. These homes are quite large, usually two to three stories tall. This type of house is known for its ornate wooden exterior with gabled roofs and turrets.Defining features:
  • Ornate designs
  • Large porch
  • Bright colors
  • Bay windows
  • Turrets 

Tudor

An image displays a traditional Tudor home, one of the main types of houses.
The Tudor house style came to America in the late 1800s and remained popular into the 1930s. Tudor homes often evoke feelings of an English country manor. They were inspired by medieval architectural elements and incorporated masonry, timber framing and narrow windows. Defining features:
  • Asymmetrical structure
  • Mostly brick exterior
  • Timber frame with white stucco filling
  • Shingled roof

Farmhouse

An image displays a traditional Farmhouse home, one of the main types of houses.
The Farmhouse style is known for its warm and cozy aesthetics. It typically employs hand-hewn beams and wrought iron hardware over a rectangular design. Farmhouse-style homes often have wood flooring, clapboard siding and contrasting shutters. Some even mimic barn roofs. Defining features:
  • Exposed wood beams
  • Tall ceilings
  • Large porch
  • Rectangular layout

Modern Farmhouse

An image displays a traditional Modern Farmhouse home, one of the main types of houses.
Modern Farmhouse homes blend traditional Farmhouse elements with the sleek, clean lines of contemporary design, resulting in warmth, simplicity and functionality. The style is characterized by natural textures and materials, especially wood and galvanized steel. Color schemes lean toward cream with black trim and fittings, though bolder hues are also used.Defining features:
  • Galvanized steel
  • Clean lines
  • Tall ceilings
  • Contemporary features

French Country

An image displays a traditional French Country home, one of the main types of houses.
As the name suggests, French Country-style houses take inspiration from homes found in areas like Provence, France. These types of homes share traits with the Farmhouse style by incorporating distressed wood, subdued color palettes and window shutters. They differs in their stone exterior and fireplace. Defining features:
  • Stone exterior
  • Pointed roof
  • Distressed wood
  • Window shutters 

Mid-Century Modern

An image displays a traditional Mid-Century Modern home, one of the main types of houses.
Mid-Century Modern style is all about simplicity, with clean lines, organic and geometric shapes, floor-to-ceiling windows and minimal decoration. Made popular after World War II, Mid-Century Modern design puts function front and center. This type of home also aims to complement the surrounding environment.Defining features:
  • Straight lines
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Steel and concrete materials
  • Open spaces

Tuscan/Mediterranean

An image displays a traditional Tuscan/Mediterranean home, one of the main types of houses.
The Tuscan style is a natural fit for areas that have a mix of indoor and outdoor living. It’s a style that looks particularly fitting in the rolling hills of wine country and in sunny Southern California. These kinds of houses feature detailed stonework, lavish balconies with wrought iron railings, terracotta tiles, textured walls and stucco façades. Defining features:
  • Stucco walls
  • Tiled roof
  • Wrought iron accents
  • Balcony

Ranch

An image displays a traditional Ranch home, one of the main types of houses.
Ranch houses first popped up in the 1930s and hit their peak in the 1950s. They are known for open living spaces and low-pitched roofs, rarely being taller than one story. Since these homes hit the market during the suburban boom, they often have an attached garage for commuters and a large backyard.Defining features:
  • Low-pitched roof
  • Attached garage
  • Large backyard
  • Open spaces

Split-Level

An image displays a traditional Split-level home, one of the main types of houses.
The Split-Level house style is an offshoot of the Ranch style and became popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Its main difference is that it will contain multiple stories that are connected with short flights of stairs. Defining features:
  • Multiple floors
  • Short flights of stairs
  • Low-pitched roofs
  • Attached garage

Bungalow

An image displays a traditional Bungalow home, one of the main types of houses.
Bungalow houses were first constructed in the 19th century by the British elite as simple rest houses. This affordable style was adopted all over America in the 20th century, with offshoots popping up in Chicago, California and Michigan. Bungalow homes are known for their column-supported roofs, large main floors and stone elements.Defining features:
  • One or one-and-a-half stories
  • Exposed rafters
  • Square, tapered columns
  • Stone exterior

Cottage

An image displays a traditional Cottage home, one of the main types of houses.
Cottage houses were first built by working class English farmers before this type of home was first brought to America. Now, they are ideal vacation homes due to their tight quarters, creating a cozy atmosphere and requiring little maintenance. They can be identified by their wood or wood shingle siding and small front porches. Defining features:
  • Condensed layout
  • Wood shingle siding
  • Small porch

Art Deco

An image displays traditional Art Deco homes, one of the main types of houses.
Art Deco is one of the most visually distinct types of homes in this list. Like Mid-Century Modern and Cottage, this style can also be applied to certain interior design elements. Concerning house architecture styles, Art Deco is defined by its stucco walls with rounded corners and its often flat roofs. Other common traits include glass brick windows, shiny chrome and detailed exteriors.Defining features:
  • Rounded corners
  • Stucco walls
  • Mirrored surfaces

Colonial

An image displays a traditional Colonial home, one of the main types of houses.
The Colonial house style in America dates back to the 1600s and draws from English, French, Georgian, Dutch and Spanish influences. These homes are at least two stories tall and have a rectangular frame. They have a symmetrical façade with evenly spaced windows. It is also common for them to have a decorative crown over the entryway that is supported by columns. Defining features:
  • Two to three stories
  • Symmetrical, rectangular shape
  • Brick or wood siding
  • Central staircase

Cape Cod

An image displays a traditional Cape Cod home, one of the main types of houses.
Cape Cod homes are similar in style to Colonial houses, and they originated around the same time. They also have a symmetrical appearance, but are usually smaller in size. They were designed to withstand harsh weather, so they have heavy shutters to protect the windows and a central fireplace for heating the whole home where essential.  Defining features:
  • One to one-and-a-half stories
  • Wood clapboard or shingle siding
  • Symmetrical
  • Center door

Craftsman

An image displays a traditional Craftsman home, one of the main types of houses.
The Craftsman style is a rebellion against the mass-produced homes in modern developments. These houses are handmade and built to stand the test of time. Each one is unique since they are designed according to the specifications of the owner. Some common traits include built-in shelves, custom fireplaces and reading nooks.  Defining features:
  • Wood siding
  • Exposed beams
  • Tapered columns

Greek Revival

An image displays a traditional Greek Revival home, one of the main types of houses.
The Greek Revival style arose during the 1800s when people found inspiration in ancient Greek culture. This translated to buildings emulating traits of historic structures like the Parthenon. These types of houses in America had large wood columns that were covered in white plaster to mimic stone.Defining features:
  • High ceilings
  • Large entryway
  • White columns

Prairie

An image displays a traditional Prairie home, one of the main types of houses.
The Prairie house style is a uniquely American creation. These types of houses were created by architects looking to break away from the traditional European styles of the time. It can be seen as a precursor to the Mid-Century Modern style with its heavy reliance on horizontal lines and desire to complement natural surroundings. Defining features:
  • Flat roof
  • Open floor plan
  • Horizontal lines
  • Stucco, stone or brick siding

Contemporary

An image displays a traditional Contemporary home, one of the main types of houses.
The Contemporary style refers to homes that are presently being built and do not fall under a previously defined style. They sometimes share elements with modernist styles — such as clean lines — but will also appeal to current trends, like utilizing eco-friendly materials. Defining features:
  • Clean lines
  • Neutral colors
  • Minimalist details   
Now that you know the types of houses you’re likely to come across during your house hunt, you can narrow your search down to the styles you find most inspiring and practical to your needs.  If you’re currently in search of a second home, learn how Pacaso can simplify the process and increase the benefits of home co-ownership.

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