What Is Architectural Style & How Do You Determine The Style Of A Home?


When you pass through various neighborhoods in the United States or just around the world, you come across different types of homes or buildings. What differentiates these buildings is known as the architectural style. One region might be filled with the Modern style, and others might be filled with the American Craftsman style.

And even as time changes, these architectural structures still stand, with various elements incorporated into them. So, passing through these neighborhoods may often seem like you are looking through a time capsule. This is because you are seeing how these buildings have evolved over time. But what is architectural style? What are the elements of an architectural style? How do you determine the architectural style of a home?

This article sheds more light on an architectural style, what it is, some popular types, and features or elements that contribute to an architectural style to make it identifiable. So, let’s dive into it.

What is architectural style?

Starting with the basics is crucial to understanding architectural style practically. Architectural style is considered to be a set of elements, features, or characteristics that make a structure notable or identifiable. Although these features may be evident in various styles, each style carries its own unique combination of features. This combination makes it possible to differentiate between different varieties of architectural styles.

How to determine the architectural style of a home

Different elements or features contribute to the architectural style of a building, some of which include the following;

1. Building material

The first way to identify or at least narrow down the architectural style of a building or structure is by the material used. Generally, materials like Brick, Wood, and Stone were the most used materials thousands of years ago.

So coming across a building with any of this building material should give you the idea that you are dealing with an older-theme architecture. And if you come across a more modern or recent building, you will likely notice other materials, like steel, glass, and concrete.

2. Structural design

Another defining feature that can be used to identify the style of a building is the structural design of the building. The design structure is essential for each style, and this includes various elements like shape, color, size, texture, and more. Every architectural style comes with its own structural design elements that define that particular style.

3. Location

The geographical location of a home will have a significant effect on the home style. In order to be fully functional and durable, the building’s architectural style must take into account the location-based factors. This includes factors like the climate, geography, topography, and more. A swampy location will not be conducive to some architectural styles, the same is said for a rocky location.

4. Size

The size of a home is another indicator of its architectural style since all style features different layouts and footprints. For example, Ranch-style homes are single-story structures, while traditional-style homes are two-story structures. So, basically, the size, paired with other indicators, can help you determine the style of a home.

5. Design features

Design features are significant indicators that can help you understand and identify the architectural style of a structure. From the columns and shutters used to the type, size, or shape of the roof, door, and windows. There are millions of design features that can be added to a structure, and certain combinations will give you a better understanding of which architectural style is used.

What are the different types of architectural styles?

Ranch style – Ranch-style homes are single-story structures featuring an open floor plan and ample outdoor space. Common features to identify this style include low-pitched rooflines, wide eves, large windows, and L, U, or C-shaped layouts.

Traditional style – Traditional-style homes are two-story structures inspired by tradition in a bid to preserve history. Common defining features include two stories, a bedroom on the second floor, well-defined living spaces, a simplistic interior, exterior made of brick, stone, or stucco.

Contemporary style – Contemporary-style homes are homes with design elements and features that reflect the current or latest architecture. Common defining features include open spaces, simple material palettes, eco-friendly building materials, green roofs, large windows, etc.

Victorian style – Victorian-style homes are homes that embody the era in which Queen Victoria ruled in its entirety. Common defining features include at least 2 stories, bay windows, wraparound porches, steep gabled roofs, intricate woodwork, etc.

American craftsman style – American craftsman-style homes are homes that make use of handcrafted or natural materials. Common defining features include Stone or stucco accents, one of two stories, symmetrical or asymmetrical home design, and unique custom-made features, such as countertops.

Cape Cod style – Cape-code homes are single-story homes that feature low and broad rectangular profiles. Common features include large chimneys, pitched side-gabled roofs, and little ornamentation.

Modern-style architecture – Modern homes are home that emphasizes function over ornamentation. Common features include an open floor plan, natural color palette, geometrical shape, large windows, exposed beams, etc.

Tudor-style architecture – Tudor architecture emerged during the reign of the first Tudor king. Common defining features include half-timbering detailing, a brick facade, large chimneys, a large center door, stucco or stone exterior, asymmetrical floor plan, and decorative wood trims.


What is the most popular type of architectural style?

Today, one of the most popular architectural styles is the Ranch architectural style.

What is the most current architectural style?

The Contemporary architectural style is one of the most current styles.

Which architectural style is most modern?

In terms of technologies, Modern architecture is designed to incorporate most of the latest technologies.


When deciding on which architectural style to go for, we advise potential homeowners or builders to beware of architectural trends. Most clients are drawn to what’s trending or what they see on social media, Television or in magazines. While this is not wrong, it may not really be the best choice for you.

Remember, I stated in a section of this article that various factors can determine the style of a home. For example, the location in which the home is to be built. So, it is often recommended to discuss first with an architect.

At Samkins Construction Lnc, we have professionals who will guide you through the process and advise you accordingly. We have the solution you need! Get in touch now.

Thanks for reading.

About Samkins

Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


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