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Custom Homes, Design Trends

What are the Differences in Home Architectural Styles?

Written by Simonini Team | Published on Jan 05, 2021

Whether you build a custom home with Simonini or purchase a finished home, you want to find something that feels like you. During your search, you’ve probably encountered a handful of architectural styles from Contemporary to Craftsman and beyond. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the options, but when it comes to home styles, there’s a handful of features that set each style apart. When reviewing each style, ask yourself how the features would work for you and your lifestyle. Here are a few of the most common home architecture styles that Simonini Homes builds.



Many often interchange the architecture terms “Contemporary” and “Modern”, however, they are different. Properly, “Modern” refers to uniquely sleek homes built in the 1950s—1970s. While “Contemporary” refers to a home that captures the innovations of the current time, or the future.   Contemporary homes most often have clean, sleek lines and use natural materials and geometric shapes to create a cohesive design. These homes don’t tend to be overly ornamental, allowing large windows and natural light to steal the show. Many of these homes have large, open concept floor plans with the kitchen and living room in the heart of the home. There is not typically a lot of color in Contemporary style homes, and instead uses natural textures and colors such as black, gray, and brown.


Key Features

  • Large doors and windows to maximize natural light
  • Clean lines
  • Use of metals, concrete, and wood


A contemporary style home may be for you if…

  • Prefer simple, clean design
  • Prefer open space
  • Desire energy-efficient or other green features





Many homes in the U.S. are considered traditional homes. This was the typical architectural design in the 1940s and features a welcoming entryway and rooms that are compartmentalized. They’re often built with symmetrical features such as a fireplace in the center of a wall with flanking windows. Many traditional homes feature rich color palettes that play up the handcrafted details such as arched doorways, tray ceilings, and built-in shelving. These homes tend to have a more formal layout, but can be made cozy and with decor and rich colors.


Key Features

  • Symmetrical design
  • Handcrafted details
  • Compartmentalized rooms


A traditional style home may be for you if…

  • Like built-in features
  • Have a keen eye for detail
  • Prefer separate living spaces




Transitional home  _DSC6470-1

If you like a little bit of the contemporary design mixed with a bit of the traditional charm, a transitional home may be for you. Transitional homes have similar clean lines as contemporary architecture, with added warmth in trims and finishes. They feature traditional materials such as wood and stone but use it in new, modern ways. Unlike contemporary homes, transitional styles incorporate the curves and symmetry of traditional styles. When it comes to interior design, many of these homes are decorated with a neutral color palette to create a soothing and warm space. There is a delicate balance between mascline and feminine details. 


Key Features

  • A blend of contemporary and traditional styles
  • Open floor plan
  • Neutral colors


A transitional style home may be for you if…

  • Like the function of contemporary architecture and the charm of traditional homes
  • Like to entertain 




Schwartz - Dumpster Removed-1

Craftsman-style homes (smaller models are called Craftsman “Bungalows'') originated in the Arts and Crafts Movement at the turn of the 20th century up to the 1930s, born from European Americans looking to counteract the lack of originality of Victorian architecture. This style of home made a comeback in the 21st century, for homeowners seeking charm. They feature large, expansive porches and low-pitched roofs. On the interior, they are known for built-in features that are functional and decorative, like shelving and breakfast nook benches. These homes usually have extensive decorative woodwork on windows, stairs, and fireplaces. Authentic Craftsman homes tend to have compartmentalized floor plans and have less storage, but make up for it in loads of character. Newer builds that use this style may have more open floor plans, but keep the Craftsman touches like wide crown molding, built-ins, and wainscotting.


Key Features

  • Built-in furniture and details
  • Low-pitch roof and wide front porch


A craftsman style home may be for you if…

  • Love details and character
  • Embrace vintage decor

Modern Farmhouse


A farmhouse-style home used to simply refer to a home built on land or in rural areas. It was more utilitarian than it was fashionable. But the current repurposing of these homes has created a new sub-style category in design: Modern Farmhouse. A trademark element of these homes is their vast wrap around porches, which often act as extended living spaces - just as they would in original farmhouses where farmers, animals, and children gathered. These homes may be divided into formal and informal spaces, featuring living and dining rooms at the front of the home. Modern farmhouses may often take advantage of the high pitched roofs to incorporate vaulted ceilings and open spaces in the interior. When it comes to decor, Modern Farmhouse-style homes may uniquely combine contemporary design with rustic materials.  


Key Features

  • Large porch for outdoor living
  • Separate formal and informal living
  • High ceilings


A modern farmhouse style home may be for you if…

  • Enjoy an outdoor lifestyle
  • Like rustic touches





Mediterranean-style homes pull in elements of both Italian and Greek styles. They gained popularity in the early 1900s after the Panama-California Exposition of 1915. On the outside, these homes are easy to spot with their tile roofs and textured stucco walls. They typically have elaborate and fancy, detailed landscaping. On the inside, these homes are uniquely centered around a courtyard or garden, while the rest of the space forms a “U” around that outdoor space. These homes were built for sunny and warm climates and optimized for ventilation. They often feature dramatic balconies and heavy, ornate wooden doors. You’ll find curved arches and colorful accents throughout the home in both the furnishings and structure of the home. 


Key Features

  • Tiled roofs and stucco walls
  • U-shaped layout
  • Ornate details


A mediterranean style home may be for you if…

  • Live in a sunny, warm climate
  • Enjoy dramatic details such as balconies and wrought iron
  • Are drawn to saturated color





European-style homes encompass a wide range of styles that focus on simplicity with a bit of romance. This broad category encompasses French Provincial, Modern Spanish, and Tudor-style homes. They often have steep roofs and symmetrical exteriors that feature balconies or dramatic windows. The overall shape of the home is boxier, with an interior layout using smaller divided spaces. These homes are simple at first glance but are filled with detailed fixtures and high-end materials. You’ll find marble, brick, and curved details on both the exterior and interior. 


Key Features

  • Simple construction and detailed features
  • Steep roofs and large windows
  • High-end finishes


A European style home may be for you if…

  • Like symmetry and simple design
  • Prefer separate living spaces



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