Different Types of Houses and Their Characteristics

Smita Pandit Dec 14, 2018
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Design and layout form the basis of the classification of different styles of houses around the world. Here is an information about some of the different types of houses around the world.
With the passage of time, the designs and layout of houses have gone through a sea change. Improved construction methods and the development of new construction materials has given rise to different types of houses around the world. Houses can be classified on the basis of the style of architecture or construction designs.
Different styles of architecture have developed during different eras. Geography or location has also had an impact on the housing designs. Some of the popular architectural styles include cottages, ranch, chalets, colonial houses, bungalow, and mansions.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod is popular in the North eastern United States. The origins of Cape Cod can be traced back to early 18th century. It is linked to the colonial era.
The colonists who traveled from the New England to England adapted the English house with a hall and a parlor as a model and remodeled it using some local materials to ensure protection against the stormy weather. Generally, these 1 or 1½ storied timbered houses are covered in shingles and clapboards and the exteriors are slightly ornamented.
The prominent features of this style of house include decorative shutters, hardwood floors, and a large central fireplace that is connected to all the rooms. Other features include the multi-paned, double-hung windows, and a central hall floor plan.

Colonial Houses

The prominent feature of this style of architecture is symmetry. These houses are rectangular or square in shape and have multi-squared panes and evenly spaced windows. In the colonial times, these houses had a symmetrical shape with low ceiling and doors.
The designs of a colonial house could be simple or elaborate. These are multi-storied houses with the main living area on one floor, whereas the bedrooms are on the higher floors. Some of the other features are timbered framing, open porches, decorative columns, or door being crowned by molding. Victorian style houses are included in this category.

Tudor House

This architectural style is linked to the reign of Tudors in England. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Tudor houses made its appearance in the United States.
This style of house could have multiple chimneys, inlaid brick patterns, and wooden frames. Other features could be small and flattened arches and pillared porches. The size of the house could vary from a small cottage to a huge mansion.


Bungalow style homes are generally 1½ or 2 stories tall. The second floor generally covers less area than the first floor. The prominent features are low-pitched roofs, stone chimneys, large attics, broad eaves, and large porches.
Due to the vast area that is covered by the roof, the attics absorb a lot of heat during the summer. These are popular due to their heat-reducing features.


Ranch homes are simple homes. These one-story houses have a simple layout. These could be rectangular and L shaped or U-shaped with large double hung windows.
The concept of open spaces is a major part of this home as one large area might be used for the living room, dining room, kitchen, and in some cases family room. Ranch homes were the first to popularize the attached garage. With time, the traditional ranch home layouts have undergone a change and the concept of split level or raised ranch has become popular.


Saltbox is a kind of frame house that has an uneven arrangement of stories. It has two stories in the front and one at the back. The roof has been made asymmetrical to accommodate the uneven arrangement of stories.
It has a steep roof in its front and the extension at the back is covered using the much longer, sloping roof in the back. These houses are covered in clapboard siding.

Split Level

In case of the split level homes, the entrance is located between two floors. When one enters the house on the second level, one finds a set of small staircase leading up and another set leading down.
The living room, dining room, and the kitchen might be on the second level. The bathrooms and bedrooms would be on the next level. The level below might have a family room.
A house is called single-detached, if it is completely detached from any other property. Bungalows, cottages, mansions come under this category. Though the aforementioned styles are some of the prominent ones, there are several other types such as cottages, villa, farmhouse, rowhouse, etc.