Top 10 Exterior Styles

From farmhouse to midcentury modern, learn what architectural details make up these popular designs.
By: Jeannie Matteucci

Photo By: Robert Linton

Photo By: Chipper Hatter

Photo By: Eric Eggly

Midcentury Modern

Among some of the country's best architecture, this midcentury bungalow features cast concrete blocks laid in a brick-like pattern and a gently sloped low-profile roofline.

Cape Cod

Cape Cods originated in the 1600s and were designed to withstand the sometimes-stormy weather on the Massachusetts coastline. Cape Cods are traditionally modest boxes with few exterior details — simple gray shingles and a dormer window or two — but they have evolved over the years, now incorporating different styles and influences.


Contemporary homes are a broad category that often feature an interesting mix of natural materials, horizontal lines and flat or low-pitched roofs. These homes often emphasize a strong connection between the indoors and outdoors, with large walls of glass that allow natural light inside.


Cottages are smaller-scale homes that are charming and cozy. Used for everyday living and as vacation homes, cottages often include dormer windows, an inviting porch with wicker furniture, or a casual garden with a picket fence and bright flowers.


With details inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement, Craftsman homes are known for their broad front porches with thick, square columns. These homes are often economical bungalows and feature clean lines, warm colors and natural materials.


Straightforward and functional, these homes originated as houses built on agricultural lands. Farmhouses often feature porches added for shade, dormer windows and local stone or timber. This home's aesthetic is heavy on necessities and timeworn finishes, with a simplified interpretation of other styles and influences.


Detailed craftsmanship and multiple rooflines add lots of personality to Victorian homes. A diverse style, Victorians feature elaborate and ornate details with a liberal use of decorations on the facade. Turrets and towers are some of the eye-catching details, along with interesting exterior color combinations, often with three to five different hues. Design by KTGY Group, Inc.


These often single-story homes with large, overhanging eaves usually include a large sliding door that connects the indoor spaces with a courtyard or patio outside. Ranch homes often have an attached garage that blends with the rest of the house.


Colonials have a formal feel and stately look, with a restrained style developed by settlers from Europe who brought their architectural influences with them. Many traditional symmetrical Colonials have a brick facade, flat front and a prominent front door flanked by columns.


Known for their steeply pitched roofs, pointed arched doorways and decorative half-timbered exteriors, Tudors often have a medieval look and feel. Tall and narrow windows grouped in multiple locations, sometimes with decorative crossbars for visual interest, give Tudors a distinct sense of style.

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