Everyone has their unique preferences when it comes to a house. Your home is your safe space and also where you spend most of your time. Naturally, you want your house to be suitable for your needs.
Although there are many styles of houses that vary by materials and architecture, we will focus on the types of houses. The type of house is defined by its purpose, history, and structure. In comparison, the style or design of the house is its architectural style, such as the Cape Cod, Colonial Revival, or Log Home styles.
Some types of houses are well-known, such as bungalows, townhouses, or condominiums. However, you might not have heard of yurts and boathouse. To learn about the types of houses and gain some inspiration for your future home, keep on reading.
Table of Contents
1. Single Family Home
Most people around the world live in single-family homes, and it is the most popular form of residence. This type of house is usually a detached building that is not connected to any other houses. They are common in the suburbs, where there is ample space for single-family homes.
This type of house became increasingly popular after the Second World War when soldiers returned home and immigrated to the suburbs. The demand for single-family homes has stayed constant throughout the years since it is a preference for many people. In recent times, alternatives to single-family homes such as apartments and condominiums are also growing in popularity.
A townhouse, or townhouse, is a tall and narrow house that shares one or two walls with other houses. Townhomes are present in a row, with each home connected to the other. Most townhouses are at least two stories tall, but some stand higher at three to four stories. Since the houses are joined at the sides, windows are only present on the back and front of the house.
Townhomes are similar to single-family units, except they are connected to other houses. Although this type is more communal, like a condominium, the owners are responsible for the interior and exterior upkeep. With condominiums, the maintenance of the exterior is the responsibility of the regulatory body.
Townhouses are popular in urban and suburban areas. Most townhomes also offer a set of amenities such as a pool or clubhouse.
A condominium refers to a single home within a building or series of buildings present in one place. The owners are responsible for the interior upkeep since they own the unit. While an elected body (called HOA in the United States and Strata Council in Canada) owns the communal areas and the land where buildings are present. The HOA or Strata Council makes all decisions regarding the building’s maintenance, regulations, upkeep, and more.
There are two main types of condominiums, a duplex or triplex. In some locations, these terms refer to the number of floors present. While in other locations, they refer to the number of buildings in the condominium.
Some condominiums are also townhomes since owners only own their units, not the shared space.
An apartment consists of multiple units in a single building owned by a single entity. Unlike a condominium where people own their units, apartments are rented out to tenants. In apartments, you cannot own a unit; it can be only be rented out to you. This reduces the amount of maintenance you have to do.
Most people live in apartments before moving into a single-family home. There are many benefits to living in an apartment. Unlike a single-family home, you don’t have to pay for maintenance and repairs. Apartments are also more affordable than single-family homes.
For those who enjoy communal living and moving to a new place often, apartment living can be a great option. With a close-knit community and increased safety, apartments are also great for those living alone. Often, various amenities such as a gym, clubhouse, and pool are also present in an apartment complex.
A Co-Op looks similar to a condominium or apartment, but the financial and legal terms are different. Instead of owning or renting a unit like in condominiums or apartments, individual entities own a percentage of the building. This is similar to being a shareholder, and the owners in a co-op lease units included in their share.
The co-op members have equal voting rights when reviewing applications. They can reject potential members based on financial instability or unwillingness to follow the rules. A co-op is an excellent option if you’re looking for a home to live in for several years. If you want to rent out your space, a co-op is not the best choice.
Co-ops offer a variety of benefits, including affordability and better value for money. However, it can be difficult to rent out your co-op due to restrictive rules.
6. Ranch-style Home
A ranch-style home, also called a rancher, is a single-story home. It is generally wider than other styles, with a rectangular blueprint. Ranch-style homes are similar to Spanish Hacienda-style homes, which are large with ample outdoor space. This style became popular during the 1950s when large suburban plots became available to the public. A ranch-style home has a single story with plenty of outdoor space.
Ranch-style homes offer a variety of benefits. With a single floor, the house is easier to cool and heat. In summers, when heat rises, the ranch-style home remains cool. You get more living space rather than stairs taking up any room.
If you have children or are looking for a home to age in place, a ranch-style home offers much more safety. All your needs are on one floor, so you never have to worry about climbing the stairs.
The word “bungalow” comes from the Indian word for small houses. With India’s warm climate, a cottage home with thick walls isn’t practical. Although the term bungalow now refers to a variety of homes, it means a one or one-and-a-half-story detached house. The characteristic feature of bungalows is a large living room with smaller bedrooms and a kitchen adjacent to it.
Bungalows are a great option for those that find it difficult to climb stairs. The elderly or those with children would benefit from living in a bungalow due to improved mobility.
Bungalows offer a unique old charm that is not characteristic of modern homes. Most people who seek bungalows opt for those built in the early 20th century when they first gained popularity in the US. The charm and character that appeal to certain people are missing in newly constructed homes. These homes offer more intimacy since gathering spaces are larger than the bedroom.
Cottage refers to a small house commonly found in rural or semi-rural areas of England. Traditionally, the word “cottage” refers to a small, cozy dwelling by the countryside. However, in modern usage, it can mean many things. Historically, cottages are characterized by a high thatched roof, thick walls, and a single room.
Currently, many people refer to their vacation homes as “cottages” or “holiday cottages”. These may be classic or modern in design. Although these luxury homes are called cottages, they share nothing with a traditional English cottage. The term now usually refers to a cozy dwelling near the countryside where people go to relax and spend time with family.
The terms “cabin” and “cottage” are often used interchangeably but a cabin differs from a cottage in many ways. The modern usage of the term “cottage” denotes a luxurious vacation home, while a cabin is more of a minimalistic and rustic dwelling. The two main differences between cabins and cottages are location and look. While cottages are painted and adorned, cabins have a rustic, unfinished look. Similarly, cottages may be present in rural or urban areas, but cabins are present in rural areas.
There are many types of cabins. Some of these types are
Timber Frame Cabin
A timber frame cabin uses large square-cut posts and beams of timber joined together. Timber is an intensely durable wood that can last hundreds of years.
Full Scribe Cabin
A full scribe cabin uses horizontally stacked logs for wall formation. Individual logs feature hand-cut grooves so they fit tightly against the next log. This is a traditional Scandinavian methodology for building a cabin. These cabins are heavily weather-resistant and long-lasting.
Post and Beam Cabin
A post and beam cabin features both vertical and horizontal logs. The structure uses posts for support while the beams support roofing. Since the posts are far apart, this type of cabin can have large windows and has ample space.
A chink cabin is a great DIY project for those wanting to build their own cabin. Chinking refers to the material present between the logs of the cabin, similar to mortar between bricks in a home. The material fills in gaps and bonds the logs together for a sturdy cabin. Chick cabins have a distinctive look due to evenly stacked logs.
However, these cabins do require more maintenance than other styles. The chinking material requires regular checking and filling. With proper maintenance, a chink cabin lasts a hundred years.
A hybrid cabin uses various construction methods and materials. In this type of cabin, you are not limited to wood so a variety of appropriate materials can be used. Commonly, such cabins feature stone and glass in addition to wood.
A modular cabin features sections or modules that are manufactured in a factory and assembled at the intended location. These cabins still appear as if built from scratch but are quick and easy to assemble. Modular cabins have lower costs since the construction and assembly time, material waste, and energy used are cut down by a significant amount.
If you would like to purchase a summer cabin as a vacation home, they come with the same responsibilities as any other home. Keep the costs of upkeep and maintenance in mind.
The word “mansion” comes from the Latin word “mansio” derived from Old French. Mansion usually refers to a large, luxurious, and imposing house. Mansions are anywhere from a few thousand square feet to tens of thousands of square feet.
Although most mansions follow classic European architecture styles, modern mansions with contemporary architecture are becoming increasingly common. There are many modern mansions with sprawling glass architecture in Los Angeles.
In modern times, the word “manor” may also refer to a group of apartments designed to look grandiose. In Hong Kong and Japan, the word “mansion” refers to an apartment building. While in modern Japan, the word “manshon” derived from “mansion” refers to an apartment complex or condominium.
The term McMansion refers to poorly designed large houses. A single developer usually builds such homes in the suburbs. With a large number of people from the American population moving to the suburbs after World War II, many developers mass-produced large houses. These houses were often poorly designed, with superficial appearance and size given more importance than structure and functions. McMansions are still a common sight in the suburbs.
These multi-story houses feature no clear architectural style, poor quality design, and large size. Although the McMansion is not a type of house, it is a term commonly used to describe houses. An interesting site that explains McMansions is McMansion Hell.
A Yurt, also called a ger, is a portable dwelling used by several nomadic groups in the Eurasian Steppe. It is one of the oldest types of round houses. A yurt has multiple components including wood latticework for walls, ribs, a door frame, and a crown ring over which a tent is arranged. Although modern yurts are built to stay in one place, traditional yurts were portable.
Yurts have been the most common form of homes in Central Asia for the past three thousand years. In modern times, yurts are seen as a national symbol among Central Asian groups. The world’s largest yurt, called Ak Öýi, is located in Mary, Turkmenistan.
Traditional yurts are rustic, but there are many yurt-inspired vacation homes in the US.
13. Geodesic Dome Home
A Geodesic Dome home consists of a geodesic dome, a hemispherical structure based on the geodesic polyhedron. The dome consists of many triangular pieces that create an almost spherical shape. Although geodesic domes are common in greenhouses and gardens, geodesic dome homes are becoming popular for various reasons.
Compared to a regular concrete home, geodesic homes use affordable materials and are highly energy efficient. Not only can you attach solar panels anywhere, but they are one of the first nearly earthquake-proof homes. In addition, geodesic homes are incredibly versatile because they look great in rustic and modern styles.
Fun fact: Geodesic dome homes can be built on rotating platforms. Such rotating homes invite sunlight from every angle.
Chalet, also called Swiss chalet, is a home that uses Alpine architecture. This type of house is native to the Alpine region of Europe, where it is cold and snowy. Although the term “chalet” is used to refer to small houses in the mountains, chalets have certain distinct characteristics.
The characteristic feature of a chalet is its A-frame architecture and structure. Instead of logs, timber is cut into planks and piled on top of each other to create the chalet. Due to their high-vaulted ceilings, chalets offer ample living space. Most chalets have a large main living area that includes a fireplace and a few smaller rooms.
15. Multi-Family Home
A multi-family home refers to a residential building with one or more housing units. It is an umbrella term for condominiums, apartments, or houses with an in-law suite. An in-law suite refers to a separate unit built within a single-family home. Most homes include a basement in-law suite which can be rented out.
A multi-family home is a great option for those that want to keep family close or rent out property. Since multi-family homes feature multiple units, they generate a steady income as compared to single-family homes.
16. Floating Home
Floating homes are a common sight in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, and San Francisco. In the past few years, floating homes have grown widely in popularity. Although most people refer to floating homes as “houseboats” they are different. Floating homes are moored to a single spot permanently since the electricity, sewage, and water are all connected. With houseboats, you can disconnect easily.
In the last few years, many people are investing in future homes since they offer a life of full of nature. adventure, and community. Although floating homes were originally an affordable alternative to housing, many floating homes now cost up to a million dollars. In fact, some luxury floating homes include many amenities such as a wine cellar, an elevator, and roof deck hot tubs.
Similar to a floating home, a houseboat is a residence that floats on water. It consists of a boat designed as a home with rooms and necessary utilities. Some houseboats need to be tethered to one place, while most houseboats are capable of operation without tethering. Houseboats are either owned privately or rented out as vacation homes. However, some people live in houseboats all-year round.
A barndominium, or barndo, is home created from a metal barn. They look like a barn from the exterior, but the interior looks similar to a conventional home. Barndominiums provide ample living space with open living areas, as well as private bedrooms and bathrooms. They can have anywhere from one to three stories.
The characteristic features of a Barndominium include concrete floors, vaulted ceilings, wooden staircases, gabled roofs, and exposed beams. Barndominiums are the perfect combination of a rustic and modern aesthetic. There are many benefits of a barndominium over a conventional home.
Barndominiums are easier and more affordable to construct but last for a long time. They are eco-friendly, low-maintenance, and fire-resistant homes that are incredibly versatile. With an open floor plan, you have the flexibility to design your Barnodiminium according to your needs.
19. Coach House
Coach house, also called carriage house, refers to the rooms built on property to house carriages. Since there is no need for a coach house, many of these units have been converted to homes that are rented out to guests. Although many homeowners don’t need a coach house, some new buildings still include these structures. They allow owners to generate revenue by renting out these spaces.
Currently, the term “carriage/coach house” refers to either a coach house converted to a living space, a restaurant, bar, or workshop. The term also refers to single-family homes built on a lot the same size as the home.
20. Tiny Home
Tiny homes came into fashion after the advent of the tiny-house movement which advocates for downsizing living spaces and living with less. These houses range in size from four hundred to six hundred square feet. Tiny houses are an eco-friendly solution to the housing industry, as well as a great alternative for those lacking shelter.
In the past few years, tiny houses have become very popular. Most people who opt for a tiny home construct it with salvaged materials. While you can also buy tiny homes, their appeal lies in their affordability. Tiny houses may be stationary or mobile.
21. Recreational Vehicles
Reactional Vehicles, more popularly known as RVs, are vehicles that people live and travel in. However, a million Americans live full-time in RVs, making them a popular alternative to housing. Some people choose to live in RVs because they can’t afford other options, while many do it by choice. Interest in RVs has increased, particularly among young couples, with half of new sales by Americans under 45. Many people invest in RVs for a life of freedom, spontaneity, and travel.
Farmhouse refers to a residential property in a rural or agricultural setting surrounded by a farm or large garden. Historically, farmhouses were the primary residence of farmers and their families. However, now the term also refers to a specific architectural style.
Most people use farmhouses as vacation homes, but they are also suitable for long-term living. Farmhouses usually have one or two stories with a wide main living area. They are also a great real estate investment because you can rent them to vacationers and tourists. Since the expansion of buildings in cities leaves little room for greenery, many people prefer visiting farmhouses to connect with nature.
23. Beach House
A beach house refers to a residence located either on the beach or near it. Beach houses are popular as vacation or second homes. These houses can withstand harsh weather conditions since the building materials and construction methods used are appropriate. Beach houses also require special paint and sturdy foundations to protect them from sea water and sand.
Many people invest in beach houses for a variety of reasons. For some, it is a second home, while others prefer renting it out to generate revenue. If you want to purchase a beach house, do your research and contact a knowledgeable realtor.
24. Mobile Home
Mobile homes are of various types including houseboats, tiny houses, and yurts to name a few. You can move these homes, but not often, like an RV or trailer. Some people live in mobile homes, while others use them as a vacation home or temporary accommodation. Modern versions of mobile homes are factory-made and include a steel frame with wheels.
With the boom in real estate prices, many people are switching to mobile and tiny homes as an affordable alternative. These houses provide them a mortgage-free life, full of freedom and spontaneity. Although these homes come with their challenges, the pros outweigh the cons when looking at real estate prices.
The two common purposes of treehouses are leisure and recreation, but treehouse residences also exist. They are non-invasive structures, generally built around the tree rather than nailed into it. Some treehouses are quite large and can accommodate a family of two to three people easily.
History suggests that prehistoric humans may have lived in tree platforms or nests. Even today, some indigenous people, such as the Korowai clans of the Papuan tribe, build treehouses to protect occupants and store food. Modern tree houses usually serve as play areas for children.
Castle refers to a fortified structure built during the Middle Ages for the nobility or royalty. A castle is different from a palace that is not fortified and a fort that usually does not serve as residence. Castles were built over nine centuries, and they took many shapes and forms over those years. However, some distinct features such as curtain walls and arrowslits stayed constant. Various, striking castles across Europe are either of the following types:
Shell Keep castle
Square Stone Keep castle
Round Stone Keep castle
Caravans are popularly known as homes to the Romani people. They are a culturally significant symbol of the nomadic Romani people who lived in caravans at the start of the 19th century. Caravans provide more protection from the weather and usually contain modern amenities like a wood-burning heater as well.
The term “caravan” is used for any accommodation towed using a road vehicle in modern times. The words “travel trailer,” “camper,” and “towed trailer” are modern names for the caravan. A caravan provides travelers the flexibility of having their own home on a trip or vacation instead of relying on hotels.
Forts are military buildings that serve as the defense of territories during warfare. They are the center of power and are used to establish rule in the region. The term “fort” is short for “fortification,” which comes from the Latin words fortis (strong) and facere (to make).
The act of constructing a military fortification has been in practice since the period of the Roman Republic. Fortification usually consists of three branches that are permanent fortification, field fortification, and semi-permanent fortification. Castles are also a type of fortification but differ from traditional forts because they serve as the residence of a monarch.
The term “villa” originally referred to ancient Roman country houses belonging to the upper class. Since then, the villa underwent many changes during the Italian Renaissance. During the nineteenth century, the term “villa” referred to any detached large suburban home in a landscaped area.
Although the modern villa is very different, a villa usually refers to Hacienda-style houses in most European countries. The word “villa” is often synonymous with luxury and affluence. It may also refer to vacation or holiday homes. Currently, the two most popular forms of villas are spa villas and beachside villas.
30. Manor House
The Manor House historically referred to the residence of the Lord of the manor, the landholder of a rural estate. Similar to a castle, the house served as the administrative center of a manorial system in the European feudal system. Most manor houses were fortified and existed in European countries with a feudal system.
In modern times, the term “manor” refers to various medieval-era houses by the countryside in Europe. During the sixteenth century, manor houses acquired the characteristics of a countryside residence with no fortification elements. Such houses are now the definition of “manor,” like the Sutton Place in Surrey.
Château is basically the French word for manor house but can mean different things. The term is used for a manor house as well as luxurious countryside homes for the nobility. The French château is similar to the Roman villa in many ways. The land surrounding the château largely supports it, making the residents within self-sufficient. Some of the most well-known châteaux in France include the Château de Versailles, Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, and Château de Chenonceau.
In the Bordeaux region of France, “château” also refers to a winemaking estate. It is common for vineyards to use the term as a prefix when referring to the estate.
32. Container Home
A container home is a type of tiny house that consists of shipping containers. Shipping containers have grown in popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional living spaces. They have been used to create urban farms, pools, and off-the-grid homes.
Shipping containers use durable materials such as steel that last a long time. While you can certainly DIY your container home, many companies sell pre-made container homes in various sizes. Container homes are some of the tiniest homes, ranging in size from a hundred and sixty to three hundred feet.
An igloo, also called snow house or snow hut, refers to a dome-shaped home made of ice. The common inhabitants of igloos are Eskimos, an umbrella term for various culturally similar ingenious groups. Eskimos include the Inuit people and the Yupik people of Eastern Siberia. These groups inhabit the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska.
There are three main types of igloos, depending on size and purpose. The smallest igloos usually serve as temporary shelters while hunting or traveling. Medium-sized igloos serve as traditional family homes in an Inuit village. While the largest igloos were used for ceremonies, community feasts, and special occasions.
Tipi refers to a tent made from animal skins hoisted on wooden poles to serve as a dwelling for various indigenous groups. Tipis served as home to indigenous people such as the Iowa, Otoe, Pawnee, Blackfeet, and Arapaho in the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies. Tipis still serve as a culturally significant symbol for these communities, often used for ceremonies rather than daily living.
While Tipis appear similar to other conical tents, their distinctive feature is a canvas covering and a smoke flap at the top. Tipis are durable, portable, and versatile. They can withstand weather changes and provide warmth or cool when needed. Some Tipis are also painted to depict historical battles or dreams and visions.
35. Old Roundhouse
Old-school roundhouses are a common sight in many parts of Britain. Roundhouses with conical roofs were the norm from the Bronze Age throughout the Iron Age. The walls were either stone or wooden posts, topped with a thatched roof.
Although roundhouses are common in Britain, they are also found in other parts of Europe such as Italy, Spain, and Ireland. The Italian Trullo, the Irish Crannóg, and the Spanish Palloza are all examples of roundhouses around the world.
36. Underground House
An Underground house refers to a dwelling below the Earth’s surface, whether natural or man-made. They are an eco-friendly alternative to above-ground housing for some.
There are many advantages to underground houses, such as high weather resistance, energy efficiency, and noise abatement. Since the ground has naturally insulating properties, these houses save energy by maintaining a nearly constant interior temperature. Underground homes are not entirely underground but often exposed on one side for light to enter.
In some communities exposed to harsh weather conditions, underground houses are the preferred mode of housing. These include Italy’s Sassi de Matera, the Coober Pedy town in Australia, and the Berber caves in Matmata, Tunisia.