What Are the Different Types of Exterior Home Designs?

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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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When someone is searching for a home to buy or build, he or she should remember that the exterior often makes the first impression. Exterior home designs come in many styles, and each one suits a particular range of tastes. From the stately Victorian and Tudor styles inspired by old English designs to the trendy Southwest style that evokes the feel of the southwestern United States deserts, there is a type to suit every family.

Many types of exterior home designs are created to capture the essence of European style. Tudor homes often include stone building materials framed with beams of lumber and are finished with steep roofs, stone walkways, and distinctive chimneys. Another English-inspired style, the Victorian, also has a similar steep roof pattern along with a wrap-around porch, circular turrets, and ornate trim.

Some exterior home designs evoke the feel of a warm climate; these are commonly finished with clay and stucco, and include the distinctive, often sprawling Mediterranean home. Southwest homes are typically also done in stucco, with colors found throughout the deserts, and often include stone lawns and brick walkways. The Florida can include many of the same stucco and clay features, but often adds a large, furnished patio that can be either open or enclosed.


Single-story houses can also be diverse in their exterior designs. Ranch homes became popular in the middle of the 20th century, in part due to their flexibility. Simple and generally with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, the exterior of the ranch can be adapted to feature different styles while still keeping the same basic, rectangular shape. The bungalow is also commonly only a single story, but a pitched roof occasionally allows for extra attic space or a partial second floor.

Some of the most distinctive of the exterior home designs include the log cabin and the solar. The log cabin look was first used in northern Europe and popularized in the United States as pioneers traveled westward, using rough-cut trees to build the walls of the home. More modern log cabins are often designed to take advantage of the romantic, adventurous look while providing all the modern luxuries inside. The most distinctive feature of the solar home are the panels used to collect, store, and convert the sun's energy to a form that can be used to power the house. Many of these houses are designed with other energy-saving methods in mind, such as including the clay roof and stucco siding that makes warm-weather Mediterranean homes so efficient.


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