Building your own home from the bottom up means you can customize it to your every desire. But, sometimes narrowing down your options can become challenging. The architectural design is the first place to start when customizing your home. Keep in mind narrowing down your design options can be quite demanding. It is crucial to take into consideration not only aesthetics but also practicality when making your decision.

Take a look at 5 common architectural designs to see which one works best for your future custom home!


Still maintaining popularity from when it first emerged as early as the 17th century, colonial homes are all over the country. Initially built by European settlers to interpret their home’s architecture overseas, today we see even more variations to the historic design.

What Makes a Colonial Home?

Because the colonial design has spread across the country, different states have their interpretation of the style. While you might see varying materials, the following tend to be standard in colonial homes across the country:

  • Symmetrical design
  • Dentil molding
  • Central chimney
  • Two-stories
  • Family room downstairs; bedrooms upstairs
  • Staircase focal point 


Traditionally, farmhouses served to be just as their names describe – homes on farms. In the 17th century, immigrants settled into these homes as agriculture was their primary source of livelihood. Today, the farmhouse design refers to a classic look for a practical home.

What Makes a Farmhouse home?

While farmhouses today do not necessarily serve the same purpose they did when they originated, they still stick to traditional aesthetics. You will likely see the following in a farmhouse design:

  • Outdoor porches
  • Simple aesthetic
  • Flat board exteriors
  • Square columns
  • Clapboard
  • Built out of wood 


Modern architecture came about in the early 20th century when experimenting with different technologies in construction became prevalent. New developments in design and inspiration birthing from art began shaping the modern houses we know today.

What Makes a Modern Home?

Often confused with contemporary, which opts for neutral tones, modern design uniquely boasts pops of color throughout. Other distinguishing characteristics of modern design include:

  • Function over form
  • Open floor plans
  • Big windows, natural light
  • Clean lines
  • Minimalism
  • Geometry


Similar to modern design, craftsman homes emerged in the early 20th century. Originating in California, this style peaked in popularity between 1905 and 1930, offering a design so contrastingly different from the previous fad, the Victorian style. Today, we are seeing craftsman homes making a strong comeback.

What Makes a Craftsman Home?

Craftsman homes are known for being compact but still very comfortable due to their efficient use of space within the home’s structure. More characteristics of a craftsman home include:

  • Natural materials
  • Symmetrical structure
  • Low-pitched roof
  • Built-in furniture, shelving, and seating
  • Oversized fireplaces
  • Wide front porches


Newer to the architectural design game is the transitional design blending classic and contemporary into beautiful homes. It began with interior designers combining modern and traditional aesthetics inside the houses and became so widely popular that architectural design followed their lead.

What Makes a Transitional Home?

What is exciting and unique to transitional design is that it does not necessarily follow a specific order because it combines styles. The easiest way to identify a transitional home is to recognize that it does not fit into any other particular home style. Other characteristics of a transitional home might include:

  • Neutral color palette
  • Textural elements
  • Minimalist décor
  • Impactful art pieces
  • Large conversation pieces
  • Mismatched window shapes