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Architecture and Design Style Guide to Sell Your Home Quickly

Did you know there is nearly 100 architectural styles to choose from when building a property? Every home has a unique style sometimes combining two or more of these styles together with renovations and extension projects added to the property over the years. 

It’s important to know the architectural style of your home to help determine how to decorate the inside of the space properly– so it will be attractive to the current buyer, if even the property was built centuries ago. 

Some architectural styles are more on trend now than others. Usually homes that linger on the market longer look dated. I recently visited a home (pictured above) on North Shore Long Island, the property was in a prominent area and the price tag was hefty, but the home was built back in the 1980’s featuring the popular contemporary style of decades past. While this isn’t the ideal architectural style for a home buyer, you could help update the space to show its potential by merging what the buyer wants and the style of this home through on trend decor. Which I’ll explain later, but first…

Let’s focus on the 10-most popular architectural styles 

Colonial Home

This is one of the most popular styles in the United States and it evolved from European influence back in the 1600’s. Some of the features to look for include a symmetrical design. They’re more square and the front door is in the middle of the home. There is usually two windows on either side of the front door and five windows on the second floor. It also has a medium pitched roof and a stairway in that front hallway which bisects the middle of the second floor.

Georgian Home

This architectural style is from the 1700’s. It’s beautiful, right? Again, it has a square symmetrical shape and the door is in the center of the home. There is usually a decorative crown over the font of the door and dentil molding (square- tooth like cuts) along the eaves. This home has minimial roof overhang and paired chimneys.

Cape Cod Home

This is a typical style in the Northeast, in fact, my home is a cape. This type of home has a steep roof and a shallow overhang. They’re usually rectangle shaped, 1 to 1 1/2 stories high, unless it has a dormer. Second story windows usually protrude out the roof. 

Contemporary Home

Now, while the property mentioned above had distinct characteristics of a 1980’s contemporary home that many buyers may not appreciate, new-construction contemporary properties are trending. However, this properties use clean lines with a touch of industrial finishes. A contemporary home has an irregular asymmetrical facade. Strong geometric shapes, large windows, usually floor to ceiling bringing the outdoors in. The roof line is usually flat. This style has a very distinct feel so people either love it or hate it.

A Country Home

This type of home is a combination of a cottage and a farmhouse. It has a gabled roof, evenly soaced windows and a centralized door, but it’s prominent characteristic is a porch, usually a wrap around porch. This is a popular style throughout the United States, I’d say thanks to the Texas couple Chip & Joanna Gaines from HGTV Fixer Upper.

Craftsman Home

A craftsman or arts and crafts style property is usually made up of wood, stone and stucco siding. This home has a low pitched roof, wide eaves with trianglular brackets. Exposed roof rafters and a porch made with stine supports and thick square or round columns. 

Coastal Home

A coastal home has multiple levels, in fact the main level of the property is usually above ground level. This house tends to be built on piers or pilings to prevent flooding inside. A coastal home has a large open floor plan with large windows. There is usually one or more decks to take in the breathtaking views.

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Tudor Home

Unlike coastal homes that tend to be light and flowing, a tudor or medieval revival style home have a steeply pitched roof, tall narrow windows with small window panes and prominent cross gables. It’s exterior is quite unique with decorative brick or stonework with half-timbering, which is the decorative wood pieces on the exterior. I have many of these homes in my area too.

Spanish Style Home 

I love, love, love this house. The mediterranen or spanish style home has a lot of curves and arches not only in doorways but on steps. This style home is usually made from stucco, which gives it an aged-looking old world feel. They tend to feature painted tile, terra cotta roof tiles and tower like chimneys.

Victorian Home

The last architectural style I want to talk about is the Victorian. These homes were built to impress with intricate grand entrances with wrap around front porches. This home is narrow and tall usually has a tower, for a castle like feel. This home is covered in decorative molding and most have large bay windows and stained glass.


Once you’ve determined your home’s architectural style you can then decide on your home’s aesthetic or design style which should enhance the architectural style of the property.

The design style can be used to emotionally connect buyers to a property. There is nearly 20 popular design styles to choose from and of course there are many variations within these styles. Choosing the right style is important to the process because it’s how we can later subliminally use cues to attract the attention of buyers. We want to have a cohesive design style that will show buyer the lifestyle of your home both outside and in.

I see this mismatch of styles in many homes I visit during a home staging consultation Watch this video below, the exterior looks great its updated and clean and then you walk inside and see this…

The decor has you time warped back to past decades and doesn’t exactly fit the architectural style of the home’s exterior. When your exterior and interior styles clash, buyers usually end up turned off and confused and that means no deal.

How do you avoid this? First, go outside and study your home what is the architectural style? Is it craftsmen, colonial or contemporary?

There are lots of exterior and interior styles and in some cases you can mix and match more than one style in your home, so lets discuss 7 design styles you can use in your home.

Contemporary Design Style

This style works best with a contemporary architectural styled home. Contemporary design has clean, sleek lines and uses solid pops of color throughout the room. Furniture is sleek, lower to the ground with metal legs. Artwork uses graphic elements and basic shapes.

Modern Design Style

Like contemporary, modern design style has clean, streamlined furniture. It uses a neutral color palette, polished surfaces and strong geometric shapes. This is a good style to use with most architectural styles, if your buyer is very trendy or an urbanite.

Traditional Design Style

Obviously, this works best with more traditional homes like the colonial, georgian and even tudors. This style is more formal than contemporary or modern and uses symmetry to design the room. The color palette of traditional style is often mid tones and the fabrics tend to be muted.

Transitional Design Style

Now a safe style to always incorprate into your design is a transitional style. Transitional is a combination of contemporary and traditional design all rolled up in one. This style uses neutral colors, lots of dark woods, bold furnishings with classic, simple lines. Most of the furniture lines have a curve. The design uses minimal accessories that is mirrored, glass and metallic to create a sophisticated feel.

Eclectic Design Style

Like transitional an eclectic design style is a mix of styles, but a little less formal, sophisticated and more playful with patterns and colors. While it may seem like anything goes in this style, it’s actually very purposeful and thought out way of decorating. Its using interesting elements together to create a cohesive look. This is a hard style for newbies to grasp, but can be very beneficial when merging your buyer profile with your home’s architectural style.

Farmhouse Design Style

Country is a very specific taste and usually works in more rural areas, country homes, cottages and farmhouses. This style can also work in colonial and historic homes. Okay so the country look is more relaxed and comfortable, it’s an informal style that uses floral patterns, stripes, plaids and the wood can range from very dark to unfinished to stained or whitewashed.

Mission Design Style

The last design style I want to talke about is the arts and crafts or mission design style. This style is inspired by nature and craftsmanship, so it tends to use colors from nature. The furniture is mostly made from wood and has a handcrafted feel. The wood slats is the symbol of this design. There is often stain glass and soft muted fabrics incorprated into the design.


If your  buyer profile matches the architectural and design style of your home than your property is on trend and should sell quickly, but if one of these don’t align with one another you’re going to have to use at least two design styles to create a cohesive feel in your home. One that aligns with your architectural style, the other that will appeal to a buyer’s wants and needs.

I hope this helps you to determine what style home you have and how to properly decorate it to merge the exterior and interior styles together. I’d love to see the architectural style of your home, so post your pictures on our Facebook page and if you have questions about how to determine your style email me.

Happy Selling,