Wikipedia lists more than 110 architectural styles. That’s an overwhelming number when you are deciding on the right style for you and your family. In fact, if you’re like most people, you’ll probably find several diverse styles appealing. To narrow the list of architectural styles that appeal to you the most, you can use criteria that help assure that the style you choose is both suitable and practical for your needs. Here are a few considerations:
Climate and Environment
Architectural styles are often associated with specific parts of the country. While it may seem merely a matter of taste, often there are underlying reasons why specific styles are more common in particular areas. For instance, European architectural styles such as Tudor or French Eclectic are often characterized by smaller windows and built with materials such as stone and brick that offer greater insulation. These styles are more popular in areas such as the east coast where temperatures can drop very low, as these homes need less energy to make living areas comfortable. However, these building materials, while suited for colder temperatures, are less desirable in areas with substantial seismic activity such as California, where more flexible building materials such as wood and stucco are more practical. These materials lend themselves well to such styles as Craftsman and Mediterranean architecture. So it can be important to consider where you live when choosing an architectural style for your home.
When choosing the architectural style for your home you also need to take your lifestyle into account. Take, for example, the difference between the common courtyards of Spanish design, providing a safe utopian sanctuary from the outside world, and the wrap-around porches common in such styles as Farmhouse and Victorian homes. One, seemingly, was designed to thwart visitors while the other awaits and observes the outside world, welcoming it in. Other lifestyle aspects that can be influenced by architectural styles include the formal dining areas common in most European styles versus the more informal, “great room” eating areas and breakfast nooks common in contemporary architecture.
It’s not uncommon to have an instant “gut reaction” to specific design styles. While it is important to pay attention to those instincts, taking time to think about whether the specific aspects of the style align with your preferences can help you decide if you can live with the style of house you are considering. For example, the many small details and patterns found in Victorian style homes are qualities to admire, but many people prefer less detailed, more relaxed styles such as Craftsman or Contemporary architecture. Also, some styles have distinctive color palettes associated with them, such as Southwestern and Spanish architectural styles. Taking the extra time to consider these elements when choosing the architectural style for your home can help you select the style that suits you and your family the best. It can also help you understand how you might combine the best parts of your favorite styles to create a living environment tha