Sometimes basic Intel isn’t learned until well into adulthood. See: How to poach an egg, the proper dampness for ironing cotton, how to differentiate between a Cape Cod and a Colonial. Well, better late than never. Hence, we (finally) checked in with our pals at Trulia to break down the ten most common home styles in America.

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Originally modeled after rural Western ranches, these unique-to-America-style homes came into being in the 1930s and have since gone on to become the country’s most popular home style. Three cheers for easy access and practicality.

Identifiers: Open floor plans, modest, rambling single stories or split-levels, U or L shaped layouts, attached garages.



Homes classified as “modern” in style are not actually “modern” at all—they reference popular homes from the 1950’s and 60’s that were inspired by the Modernism art movement. Now ya know.

Identifiers: Geometric lines, large windows, elevation changes, integration with nature, heavy use of materials like concrete and steel.




Or the new modern. These homes were, in fact, constructed in recent years but have the same emphasis on open space, clean lines and natural light as modern homes from mid-century. 

Identifiers: Geometric lines, new construction, sustainable materials, energy efficiency


Born of the Arts and Crafts movement at the turn of the 1900s, these cozy, detailed homes were built to show off the superior skill sets of the craftsmen who made them. 

Identifiers: Bungalow-esque front porches, low-pitched roofs, intricate woodwork and stonework, arched interior doorways.



Petite homes that look straight from a fable are called Cottage-style, and are born of the term “cotter,” the word for the European farmers who lived in these modest homes in the Middle Ages.

Identifiers: Small size, leaded windows, arched doorways, casual decorative walkways, charming, cozy feel


These quintessential American homes date back to the 1600s and most always feature a wood construction and formal look. Within Colonial, many architectural subcategories were born, from Georgian Colonial to Dutch colonial, reflecting the diversity of early American settlers.

Identifiers: Symmetrical design, shuttered windows, exterior columns, dentil moldings, central front doors, steep roofs.




If a home looks like a gingerbread house, it’s probably a Victorian. This type of architecture emerged in the mid-1800s under Queen Victoria, and has an emphasis on ornate detail and prettiness over function.

Identifiers: Asymmetrical shape, decorative trim, complex rooflines, large wraparound porches, and two or three stories.

Cape Cod

Inspired by Britain’s thatched cottages, these early settler homes were built for standing up to harsh Northeast winters. With their practical, sturdy footprint, these cozy dwellings were made to heat easily and stay warm.

Identifiers: Large central chimneys, shingled siding, dormer windows, gabled roof, compact size.


While considered a popular home style, the term “farmhouse” refers more to function and siting than anything else and can reflect many different 19th-century styles (Colonial, Victorian, etc.)—but with a distinctly informal, toned-down look.

Identifiers: Rural/country setting, functional porches, tall and narrow windows, wood siding.


These fairy-tale-esque homes originated in England in the early 20th century. With their trademark steep roofs, they make a very practical design for wet, cold climates.

Identifiers: Steep pitched rooflines, ornamental framing, timber accents, decorative entryways, large chimneys, stone, brick and stucco exteriors.

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