Story at a glance:

  • Some of the most popular home styles architecturally are bungalows, cape cods, and Victorians.
  • Many of today’s popular home architectural styles borrow from forms from the early 1900s.
  • We explore the pros and cons of some of today’s sought-after styles.

Modern, farmhouse, industrial, Mediterranean—there’s a seemingly endless list of residential architecture styles to choose from when buying, designing, or building a home. While trends like tiny homes come and go, some of the top 2023 home trends are focused on bold colors and organic forms. These are just some of the most popular home styles in 2023.

Bungalow House Style

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A concrete bungalow is connected to the bay through a covered terrace on this property. This bungalow houses the TV room and an additional bedroom with its own bathroom, responding to the need for a more private space for possible visitors. Photo by Rafael Gamo

A bungalow is considered to be a fairly narrow, rectangular one-and-one-half-story house, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The beloved style originated in California in the late 19th century in response to the elaborate decoration of Victorian homes.

Bungalows are known by their low-pitched gabled or hipped roofs and small covered porches at the entry. The style was so popular in the early 1900s that “bungalow kits” were even sold in the Sears and Roebuck catalog. In 1918 some of the most popular house kits, including bungalows, cost roughly $3,600 to $4,600, according to an article from Forbes.


  • Accessibility
  • Affordability
  • Open floor plans
  • Low maintenance
  • Considered a good investment


  • Higher cost per square foot than two-story home
  • Limited storage
  • Smaller bedrooms
  • Some consider outdated


Cape Cod House Style

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Photo courtesy of APV Engineered Coatings

Cape Cods are some of the earliest houses built in the US—dating back to the 17th century in New England when the first colonial style Cape Cods were shingle-sided, one-story cottages with no dormers. During the mid-20th century the small, simple style was prevalent in suburban developments. The style evolved into a square or rectangular structure with one- or one-and-a-half stories, accompanied by steeply pitched, gabled roofs. It may have dormers and shutters. The siding on cape cod style houses is usually clapboard or brick.


  • Inexpensive to build
  • Flexible design options
  • Curb appeal
  • Built to last


  • Relatively small floorplan
  • Frequently have low ceilings
  • Difficult to expand
  • Hot second floor


Colonial House Style


Inside and outside Bajío 307, Talavera-inspired tiles decorate the walls—a nod to the colonial property’s original decor. Photo by Onnis Luque

The NAR considers the Colonial style as including any house that is rectangular and symmetrical with bedrooms on the second floor. The double-hung windows usually have many small, equally sized square panes. From the late 1800s throughout the 20th century builders made Colonial Revival homes with elegant central hallways and elaborate cornices, according to the NAR. Unlike the original Colonials, Colonial Revival homes are often sided in white clapboard and trimmed with black or green shutters.


  • Curb appeal
  • Privacy (distinct rooms)
  • Large floorplan
  • Grand front entrance


  • Mobility
  • Isolated rooms
  • Standard ceiling heights
  • Limited light fixture options


Contemporary House Style

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A contemporary three-bedroom house designed by LG Squared uses continuous stone wool insulation to keep the home a comfortable temperature while keeping energy demand low. Photo courtesy of LG Squared

Often recognizable by their large, tall windows and lack of ornamentation, contemporary style homes often have an unusual mix of materials—like stone, brick, wood, and glass. This mix allows homeowners to reap the benefits of some of the best building materials while still feeling like they live in a traditional house.

Architects designed Contemporary-style homes between 1950 and 1970 with flat-roof and gabled roof types. The latter is often characterized by exposed beams. Both tend to be designed to incorporate the surrounding landscape.


  • Natural light
  • Spaciousness
  • Often surrounded by nature
  • Sustainable building materials


  • Can be bland
  • Prone to damage (broken glass, etc)
  • Expensive
  • Trendy

Cottage House Style

Perry World House, Philadelphia, PA.

An old cottage
gets quite the addition
at the University of Pennsylvania. Photo by Greg Benson

A cottage is easiest understood as a small home for a single family. Cottage-style architecture is celebrated for its simple design, coziness, and ability to stand the test of time. Cottages can be designed in a number of styles, including English, Nordic, Canadian, American and South African.


  • Coziness
  • Longevity
  • Location
  • Simple design
  • Encourages togetherness


  • Small floorplan
  • Maintenance
  • Location
  • Can feel cramped
  • Resale value

Industrial House Style


The house’s materiality—including concrete, stone, and Corten steel—connects the project to the existing home through a large courtyard. The courtyard acts as storm water retention and is defined by gabion walls, which are seen throughout the project to define indoor/outdoor courtyard spaces. Photo by Casey Dunn

An industrial style house typically refers to a home with a simple aesthetic that emphasizes materials like concrete or exposed ductwork. The industrial style has become increasingly popular in the US in recent decades. Industrial interior design may appear cold to some, but when paired with rich textures and the warm whites and woods often seen in Scandinavian style homes, it has a cozy effect.


  • Simple, raw materials
  • Open space
  • Flexible design
  • Cost


  • Noise control
  • Aesthetics
  • Skilled labor
  • Upfront cost


Mediterranean House Style

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Closeup of Potomac roof. Photo courtesy of Quarrix

Mediterranean style houses are known for their low-pitched red-tiled roofs—often clad in terra-cotta—as well as an exterior that incorporates brick or stucco, often painted white. They often offer sprawling layouts with arched windows and doorways and even wrought-iron balconies and beautiful gardens.


  • Large floorplan
  • High ceilings
  • Natural ventilation
  • Durable


  • Expensive to maintain
  • Not suited for colder climates
  • More prone to pests
  • Utility bills


Modern Farmhouse Style

Photo: Kelsey Johnston

Cedar Street Builders owner Dan Porzel built this modern, energy-efficient farmhouse in Indiana, designed by David Rausch, with a simple, clean design that didn’t waste space. Photo by Kelsey Johnston

The modern farmhouse style mphasizes a cozy feel with a modern-yet-rustic look. Among the farmhouse style, farmhouse modular homes are on the rise. Here, elements of warm minimalism also come into play, with farmhouse modular homes embracing simplicity and comfort. Modern farmhouses emphasize function, natural materials, organic color palettes, and a variety of textures, to name a few more characteristics.


  • Flexible design
  • Inexpensive
  • Low maintenance
  • Often in nature


  • Can be isolating
  • Difficult to personalize
  • Finding fixtures that match the style
  • Could look dated

Ranch House Style


Nestled amongst neighboring houses and mature trees, this Los Altos residence is a modern interpretation of a ranch style home that maintains a sense of privacy and offers its clients, a young family, reprieve from the bustle of daily activities. Photo by Nic Lehoux

The Ranch style house can be traced back to the 1930s in California, where it emerged as one of the most popular American styles in the 1950s and ’60s, according to the NAR. The style harkens back to Spanish Colonial and Prairie and Craftsman homes and is known for its one-story, pitched-roof construction, built-in garage, wood or brick exterior walls, sliding and picture windows, and sliding doors leading to patios. These homes are typically one story.


  • Low maintenance
  • Affordable
  • Easy to design
  • Easy to evacuate


  • Requires more property
  • Limited design flexibility
  • Can feel cramped
  • Smaller yard

Tudor House Style

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Tudor style house. Photo by Daryl Mitchell

When you think of a storybook house, there’s a good chance you imagine a Tudor style home. This architecture popular in the 1920s and ’30s continues to be a favorite in suburbs across the US, according to the NAR. Tudors are known for their half-timbering on bay windows and upper floors and facades dominated by one or more steeply pitched cross gables. Patterned brick or stone walls are common, as are rounded doorways, multi-paned casement windows, and large stone chimneys.


  • Curb appeal
  • Interior design flexibility
  • Durable roofing
  • Large floorplan


  • Lack of natural light
  • Upfront expense
  • Higher maintenance
  • Heavy architectural proportions

Victorian House Style


Two Victorian style houses in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Photo by Paul VanDerWerf

You’ll know it’s a Victorian when you see Gothic influences and intricate woodwork. Victorian style houses often have pitched roofs, wraparound front porches, cylindrical turrets, and roof towers. Victorian architecture dates from the second half of the 19th century, when America was exploring new approaches to building and design, the NAR says. The last true Victorians were built in the early 1900s, but contemporary builders often borrow Victorian ideas, combining modern materials with 19th century details like curved towers and spindled porches.


  • Curb appeal
  • Design flexibility
  • History
  • Many rooms


  • Higher maintenance
  • More energy to heat/cool
  • Smaller rooms
  • Less storage