You’ve heard the names before, of course: Tudor Revival, Colonial, Mediterranean, Art Deco, Midcentury Modern… we could go on. Architectural styles are one of the key ways of describing buildings and often have specific connotations associated with them, whether it’s Old World traditional or sleek and modern. But what do these architectural styles actually mean, and what are the common ways to recognize them?
Right off the bat, you’ll want to pay attention to a whole host of factors, from the general to the detailed: the overall form of the building, the shape and type of roof, the use of symmetry or asymmetry, and the materials and color palettes that were selected. You should also note more specific architectural elements, like the types and placement of windows, their shape and how they operate (for don’t!), and the size and type of arches, porches, doors, and more. With all of these considerations in mind, it can be quite a puzzle — but that’s half the fun (not to mention the many buildings that are actually an eclectic combination of several styles put together)!
Here, Dirt dives into the defining characteristics and histories of the most common architectural styles you’ll find in home design — styles that are inspired by everything from the fabled castles of yore to the twentieth century’s then-cutting-edge technology. Better yet, guess along the way and see how many you got right.