From mid-century to Victorian, these expert tips will help you create a cohesive look outside in.
Finding a home requires trade-offs, whether in the house or neighborhood. And though it’s not easy to change your neighborhood, you can certainly change the way your home looks and feels. This is why we’re excited to showcase advice and insights from the Trulia Design Panel, an expert group of interior designers, home stagers, and organizers from across the nation, to help homeowners and renters make their house a home, wherever it is.
What architectural style do Americans love most, and where are they most likely to find those homes? To find out, a new Trulia survey conducted online by Harris Poll of more than 2,000 Americans age 18 and older asked and found that the top home styles Americans cite as their favorites are craftsman (43%), ranch (41%), and colonial (36%). However, this varies by age. Millennials, age 18–34, were more likely to favor craftsman-style homes (52% vs. 36% of those age 55+), while older adults, age 55+, were more likely favor ranch-style homes (52% vs. 28% of millennials).
Despite the overwhelming popularity of craftsman-style homes, ranch homes are much easier to find on the market. Among all the for-sale home listings on Trulia, the most common architectural styles are colonial, ranch, Cape Cod, Victorian, and mid-century. Though, state by state, it definitely varies.
There are local surprises as well. Although brownstones are practically synonymous with New York City, colonial houses are actually more common in the city. Similarly, although art deco is Miami‘s best-known architectural feature, mid-century homes are by far the most common throughout the city. And if you’re looking for a ranch-style home, Colorado Springs, CO, has the highest proportion of them in the country.
Given the five most common architectural styles in America, the ones that buyers are more likely to find, the Trulia Design Panel offered their tips on how to decorate for each type of home. Here’s what they suggested:
Layne Brookshire of Ms. Placed suggests augmenting your home’s classic style with textured, woven baskets of natural materials like rattan, sisal, or water hyacinth. Houseplants, including dramatic palms and ferns, are also good options to create this effect.
Jay Britto and David Charette of Britto Charette recommend nodding to the colonial style’s spartan take on neoclassical grandeur. Collect handcrafted wooden bowls and ladles, and seek art that involves the crude human figures of the colonial period.
Hannah Crowell of Crowell & Co. suggests a more counterintuitive approach, pairing modern light fixtures and furniture with your home’s traditional architecture. “I find the juxtaposition between the two styles to be endlessly intriguing and interesting.”
The colonial style emphasizes wood tones and handcrafted elements. Becki Owens says you can keep those features feeling fresh with dramatic bright or dark paint choices on walls or furniture.
Brookshire suggests embracing the rustic inspiration behind the ranch style with Western-flavored elements like cowhide and leather ottomans, rugs, and pillows. Wood elements like floating shelves, trays, and coat racks also help.
Britto and Charette say ranch style emphasizes social space and natural light. To capitalize on those elements, they recommend using neutrals with no heavy patterns and grabbing a bar cart and serve-ware for entertaining.
“I have a 1960s ranch-style home of my own, and I love it!” Crowell says. She enjoys making modern statements on the style with elements like cement floor tiles, light floor stains, and minimalist trim and molding.
“The ranch looks best when you embrace its modern simplicity,” Owens says. She recommends sticking to clean-lined furniture but adding personality through rattan accents and an eclectic mix of metals.
Brookshire suggests nodding to the Cape Cod style’s East Coast origins with vignettes of nautical items or vintage hardcover books. Accent your home’s cozy simplicity with white or light bedding, sofa slipcovers, and pillows.
Britto and Charette also recommend emulating the simplicity and function of architectural style in your décor. They suggest painting walls in “tried-and-true” neutrals like Benjamin Moore® Decorator’s White.
As always, Crowell embraces the unexpected, suggesting Cape Cod owners keep original moldings and details while adding aesthetic surprises, such as modern tiling, windows, and furnishings.
Owens recommends taking advantage of a Cape Cod’s charming, symmetrical exterior by focusing on curb appeal with floral boxes or large planters.
Brookshire recommends hearkening back to this architectural style’s namesake era by choosing lace, ribbon, or embroidered linens in neutral or white for tablecloths, curtains, and bedding. Mismatched antique furnishings are also a good look.
Britto and Charette recommend painting baseboards dark espresso or high-gloss black to mimic the dark wood elements that were popular in the era. To add personality, follow another Victorian tradition and fill a curio with collectibles.
Victorians enthusiastically embraced patterns, but Owens suggests modernizing by wallpapering one feature wall while keeping others neutral. An ornate furniture piece can also make a nice accent.
Brookshire suggests starting simply and inexpensively by swapping out the legs on your existing furniture for the tapered legs characteristic of the mid-century style. A low-profile sofa or arched floor lamp are other easy ways to achieve this style.
Britto and Charette also say the right furniture is crucial, but price can be an issue. “Don’t go for original,” they warn, suggesting instead to find modern designers and stores whose products mimic the style of the time period.
Crowell says her own style leans toward mid-century, but she likes to balance its modern aesthetic with antique pieces.
Owens recommends giving a mid-century home an update with a new paint job. “White always looks fresh, or consider a dramatic, dark tone paired with medium wood accents,” she says.
Methodology: Trulia analyzed all for-sale listing descriptions nationwide and at each state level in all 50 states since 2012 to identify the most common property types that were listed in each location. Property types included: art deco, brownstone, Cape Cod, Colonial, contemporary, craftsman, French Provincial, Georgian, Greek Revival, mid-century, ranch, Tudor, and Victorian.
Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Trulia February 6th–8th, 2018 among 2,079 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.