When you start shopping for the perfect home, you might be overwhelmed by the vast variety available. Several major floor plan layouts and architectural styles are standard within the industry. You can learn about some of the most popular types of house plans that you'll come across right here!
Colonial Floor Plans
Traditional colonial or Early American styles are beloved by many. They are normally rectangular in shape and have two stories—so they can be described as boxy and efficient, because they maximize interior space for the materials used. The floor plans of traditional colonial style designs generally consist of a center hallway with large square rooms on each side and two additional rooms in the back. Exteriors are typically clad in wood lap siding and have columns and shutters.
Colonial homes often have chimneys on both ends of the house. The upper floors generally have four large rooms that follow a similar layout as the main level. Cape Cod homes are perhaps the most iconic subset of this group. They are generally smaller than their sister colonials, include secondary bedrooms on the upper floor, are characterized by sloped ceilings, have roofs with dormers, and have no porches or columns. Then there are Federal or Georgian style home plans, which are characterized by brick exteriors without front porches, but with gables and decorative dentils. Southern colonial designs often include heavy columns in the front of the home and an upper balcony supported by a large covered front porch.
Farmhouse floor plans have a boxy style similar to traditional colonials, and they are defined by distinctive pitched roofs, modest styling, and covered wraparound porches that extend from the front and wrap around the side of the house. Country homes generally have simpler covered porches that only extend across the front of the house, and large "country" kitchens.
In addition to these traditional colonials, another classic, but not quite as old, style is Victorian. Romantic Victorian-styled home plans typically have decorative "fish-scale" shingles, bay windows, "gingerbread" adornments on gabled roofs, and large wraparound porches.
Conventional Ranch Designs
Ranch floor plans are generally one story and have efficient layouts. Original ranches have an "L" shaped floor plan with all the bedrooms grouped in one wing or one side of the home. Nowadays, it's common to see the master bedroom somewhat separated from the other bedrooms on the main floor. Because ranch homes are only one story, there are limited possibilities for expansion unless there is an attic—but you will find that we have plenty of ranches with bonus rooms above the garage.
You might have heard of "raised ranches," which are more formally called Split-Level house plans. These rose in popularity because they are simple to build and cost efficient for their size. In these homes, bedrooms are grouped together as well, but there is a main floor and a basement level. The basement usually includes the garage and some space that can be finished into another family room, game room, etc. The main floor includes all main living spaces.
Traditional Floor Designs
Traditional house plans are one of the most popular floor plan styles in America. The roofs are generally steep with front-facing gables and the exteriors often use brick, stone, stucco, or clapboard—or a variety of siding types to really highlight the different shapes in the structure. The interiors of traditional homes include lofts or high ceilings, providing a very spacious feel. These homes strive for a grand appearance.
As far as floor plans go, many different layouts can be found these days. A traditional floor plan is highly defined as opposed to open, meaning that there will be a formal dining room and living room instead of a general great room, but you can find plenty of house plans that have traditional looks with modern open floor plans inside.
Contemporary and Modern Floor Plans
Contemporary floor plans are very popular throughout the U.S. and generally have plain exteriors that have wood or stonework facades. Designs can include large overhangs, split levels, and very open floor layouts with lots of windows. Contemporary-style floor plans can have either single pitched or flat roofs, making them especially popular in mild climates.
Modern floor plans generally have asymmetrical designs with bold shapes and more angles than traditional homes. Modern plans make distinct use of glass—from walls, to windows, to skylights, to clerestories—which provides a great deal of sunlight. Combined with very spacious floor plan layouts and interestingly angled walls, ceilings, and roofs, these designs are exceptionally unique and get a lot of attention!
Florida floor plans are generally only one story and have have stucco exteriors with Spanish/Mediterranean touches like archways. While these homes fall into a special category of contemporary design, they have fewer angles than other contemporary homes, giving them softer looks than their modern sisters. Many of these homes can be described as "transitional modern" designs, which merge elements of several styles together.
European Home Plans
European floor plans encompass several different distinct styles that have been influenced by the architectural styles from England, France, Spain, and beyond.
Mediterranean house plans offer low tiled roofs, pastel stucco exteriors, and spacious interiors with clean lines, soft arches, and columns. They provide airy spaces that flow easily from room to room. Spanish house plans and Tuscan house plans are both special subsets of this broad style.
For More Information
With so many styles to choose from, how do you pick the style and design that is right for you? See our information on How to Choose the Right Plan.
We also have a great deal of information on How to Read and Understand Blueprints. If you require any assistance, don't hesitate to contact us!