Home Design

The Most Popular House Styles in America

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Whether you are looking to purchase a new home or planning renovations for your current home, it is important to understand the different home styles available in America. Each house style features unique architectural designs that distinguish your home from other cookie-cutter homes in the neighborhood. 

Owning your home is a major facet of the American dream, as we know it. Because a majority of U.S adults aspire to be homeowners, the U.S. has become a melting pot of an array of home styles and designs, to appease a variety of buyers. 

Unbeknownst to many future homeowners, most of these mainstream home designs were introduced as early as the1600s but have remained popular even in the 21st century. Due to societal and technological pressures, materials used, architectural designs, and average house sizes have changed over time. 

For a better scope of the most popular home styles in America, review this list of architectural inspirations, and check out the vast collection of house plans from Monster House Plans.


Southwest-inspired homes are designed to mimic the style of ancient Spanish colonizers. This style is most popular in Arizona, California, and areas of Nevada. 

Southwest-style homes often feature materials such as stone, brick, wood, and other decorative materials. Stucco-exterior finishes and low-pitched tiled roofing are also characteristic of the Southwest. 

Other notable features of Southwest-inspired homes are the courtyard, patios, verandas, and other outside extensions. A typical southwest interior includes a spacious living room in a one-story layout and a statement-making fireplace. Other notable southwest features are doorless showers in an asymmetrical house plan. Most decorative elements are restricted to exposed beams and arch openings.

Mid-century modern

This design was first introduced by architects escaping from Nazism. In the mid-20th century, mid-century house styles gained overwhelming popularity in the home-designer community. 

Mid-century moderns are often constructed with strong building materials, such as steel and plywood, though the exterior of the walls can be built with stucco. With linear window installations, these homes also feature wood clapboards, which can be placed vertically. This particular house design is defined by its unique, low pitched gable or low-pitched hip roofing. 

Mid-century modern houses rarely feature dormers, due to their minimum attic spaces.


Colonialists, who settled in the present United States, spearheaded the movement of colonial-inspired housing. Even after the colonial era, other houses were built to mirror the colonialist houses that were mostly blocked or rectangular-shaped. 

A centrally-positioned chimney was one of the most prominent features of the houses. At the time, window panes were rather expensive and scarce in supply. As a result, builders had to compromise on the windowpane sizes and reduce the overall window size. 

In a Colonial, roofing was designed to be steeply pointed. Along with steep roof points, colonial house plans were so symmetrical that they could be divided into two equal sections.

Wall decorations in a Colonial were very minimal and were built from stone and bricks. Minimalist approaches in decor later defined this American house style. 


The Tudor style emerged in the 1980s and has remained popular to this day. A defining characteristic of Tudor-inspired homes is the inclusion of small window panes on tall and narrow windows, substantial chimneys, and steeply-pitched roofs. 

Beautiful stone and brick patterns were often used to decorate the exterior walls. Another distinctive feature of Tudor homes is their featured gables. Tudor houses often revive the medieval by infusing characteristically medieval elements into the home’s design. The look is achieved using a decorative half-timbering technique  Some Tudor houses are even reported to mimic medieval cottages that featured false-thatched roofing.


This style of house surfaced in the early 1990s. Craftsman style houses are widely-known by their wood and stone exteriors and their exposed rafters. 

Bracketed overhangs and low-pitched gable rooftops are also a recognizable feature of craftsman houses. In a craftsman-style home, huge square posts and piers are used to support the porches. This style of home similarly showcases windows with leaded or stained glass and a stone chimney. These same doors and windows incorporate long vertical panels on the exterior, in the interior, on built-in seating, and on shelves, drawers, and cabinets. 

The Craftsman’s bungalow design allows for a multitude of unique shapes and sizes in their fixtures. Overall, Craftsman-style homes are revered for their economical designs and their utilization of readily-available materials. 

Ranch Houses

In the 21st century,  these ranch-style homes have become one of the most popular house styles in America. Ranch houses were originally built to host returning soldiers after the war ended. They were first introduced in the west and southwest of America but have since spread to the rest of the country. 

Ranch-style are one-story homes with distinctive U-shaped, I-shaped, or rectangular designs. Most ranch houses, with their natural material exteriors (i.e. wood or brick), feature simple floor plans, a wide symmetrical façade, and an attached front-facing garage. With the adaptation of the car-owning culture, this house style has become widely-accepted among builders. 

Final Thoughts 

Using these house styles as a starting point for your design plan, you can sprinkle in your own creative flair, while consulting the fundamental and defining characteristics of each style, simultaneously. Don’t feel confined by these defining features. Design your home with your needs and personal taste in mind. 

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