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Types of Colonial Homes: A Comprehensive Guide

Types of Colonial Homes: A Comprehensive Guide

Colonial homes are a popular architectural style that emerged in the 1600s and lasted until the mid-1800s. These homes are known for their symmetrical designs, steep roofs, and decorative accents. Colonial homes were built throughout the United States, and each region has its own unique style.

There are several different types of colonial homes, each with its own distinct features. One of the most popular types is the Georgian Colonial, which is characterized by its symmetrical design, rectangular shape, and evenly spaced windows.

Another popular type is the Federal Colonial, which emerged in the late 1700s and is known for its elegant, refined details, such as delicate moldings and ornate mantels.

Other types of colonial homes include the Dutch Colonial, which features a distinctive gambrel roof and flared eaves, and the Spanish Colonial, which is known for its stucco walls, red tile roofs, and wrought-iron accents.

Whether you’re looking for a classic, traditional home or a more modern take on the colonial style, there are plenty of options to choose from. Let’s take a look at all of the types of Colonial homes in more detail!

To learn more about the history and architecture of colonial-style homes, check out our Ultimate Guide to Colonial Style Homes.

Georgian Style

The Georgian style of colonial homes originated in England during the reign of King George I, II, and III. The style was popularized in America during the 18th century and was named after the British monarchs.

Georgian homes are known for their symmetrical design and classical proportions.

The exterior of Georgian homes is typically made of brick, with a formal entrance in the center of the house. The front door is often adorned with a decorative crown or pediment, and flanked by evenly spaced windows on either side. The roof is usually a gabled or hipped roof, with a central chimney.

Inside, Georgian homes feature a central hallway with rooms on either side. The rooms are often large and spacious, with high ceilings and elaborate moldings. The design is meant to create a feeling of grandeur and elegance.

Some common features of Georgian homes include:

  • Formal entrance with pediment or crown
  • Symmetrical design
  • Brick exterior
  • Central hallway with rooms on either side
  • Elaborate moldings and high ceilings

Georgian homes are still popular today, and many new homes are built in this style. They are often seen in upscale neighborhoods and historic districts.

Federal Style

The Federal Style of colonial homes was popular from 1780 to 1820. It was inspired by the neoclassical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. The Federal Style is characterized by its symmetrical design, simple yet elegant details, and use of brick or stone as the primary building materials.

One of the most recognizable features of the Federal Style is the fan-shaped window above the front door, which is called a fanlight.

The fanlight is often flanked by sidelights, which are narrow windows on either side of the front door. The front door itself is usually paneled and has decorative crown molding.

The Federal Style also features a flat roof with a balustrade or parapet at the top. The windows are typically double-hung and have small panes of glass, which were easier to produce than larger panes at the time.

The Federal Style also makes use of decorative elements such as dentil molding, which is a series of small, rectangular blocks that resemble teeth.

SymmetryThe Federal Style is known for its symmetrical design, with evenly spaced windows and a centered front door.
Neoclassical DetailsThe Federal Style is inspired by the neoclassical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome and features simple yet elegant details such as dentil molding and fanlights.
Brick or StoneThe Federal Style often uses brick or stone as the primary building materials.

The Federal Style was popular among wealthy merchants and politicians in the early years of the United States. Many of the most famous buildings in Washington, D.C., such as the White House and the Capitol Building, were built in the Federal Style.

The Federal Style is still popular today, and many new homes are built in this style to evoke a sense of history and tradition.

Dutch Colonial Style

The Dutch Colonial style originated in the early 1600s and was popular in the Northeastern United States.

The style is characterized by its gambrel roof, which has two slopes on each side, with the lower slope being steeper than the upper one. The roof is usually covered with shingles, and the exterior is made of brick or stone.

One of the most recognizable features of a Dutch Colonial home is the front porch, which is typically covered and supported by columns. The porch often spans the entire front of the house and sometimes wraps around the sides.

Another notable feature of Dutch Colonial homes is the use of shutters on the windows. These shutters are often functional and can be closed to protect the windows from storms. The windows themselves are usually double-hung and have small panes of glass.

Inside, Dutch Colonial homes typically have a central hallway with rooms on either side. The rooms are often small and cozy, with low ceilings and exposed wooden beams.

The fireplace is usually the focal point of the living room, and the kitchen is typically located at the back of the house.

Overall, the Dutch Colonial style is a charming and cozy option for those looking for a historic home with plenty of character to go around!

Spanish Colonial Style

The Spanish Colonial style originated in the 1600s and was brought to the Americas by Spanish settlers. This style was popular in the southwestern United States, especially in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Spanish Colonial homes are known for their distinctive features, such as:

  • Flat roofs with red clay tiles
  • Stucco exteriors with decorative tiles or wrought-iron details
  • Arched doorways and windows
  • Central courtyards or patios

Spanish Colonial homes are typically one or two stories tall and have a rectangular or L-shaped floor plan. The interior of these homes often features high ceilings, exposed wooden beams, and ornate tile work.

The color palette for Spanish Colonial homes is typically warm and earthy, with shades of red, orange, and brown.

One iconic example of Spanish Colonial architecture is the San Diego Mission in California, which was built in 1769. Another famous example is the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, which was originally built as a Spanish mission in the 1700s.

French Colonial Style

The French Colonial style emerged in the late 17th century and was popularized in the French colonies of Louisiana, Haiti, and French Guiana. This style is characterized by a mix of French and Caribbean influences, resulting in a unique architectural style.

One of the defining features of French Colonial homes is the steeply pitched hipped roof, often made of clay tiles or slate. The roof overhangs are supported by brackets, which add an ornamental touch. The exterior walls are typically made of stucco or brick and may be painted in pastel colors.

Another key feature of French Colonial homes is the use of shutters on the windows. These shutters are not only decorative but also serve a practical purpose in protecting the home from hurricanes and tropical storms.

French Colonial homes often feature a large central hallway, with rooms branching off on either side. The interior is typically decorated with ornate moldings and trim and may feature high ceilings and large windows to allow for natural light.

Overall, the French Colonial style is a beautiful and unique architectural style that blends French and Caribbean influences to create a home that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Conclusion on Types of Colonial Homes

Colonial homes are a popular architectural style in the United States, and they come in different variations that reflect the cultural and historical influences of different regions and time periods.

From the simple and symmetrical Georgian style to the ornate and eclectic Victorian style, colonial homes offer a glimpse into the past and a sense of tradition and elegance that many homeowners appreciate.

Whether you are looking for a cozy and compact Cape Cod or a spacious and grand Dutch Colonial, there is a colonial home that can suit your needs and preferences. By understanding the key features and characteristics of each type of colonial home, you can make an informed decision about which style is right for you.

While colonial homes may have some similarities in terms of layout, materials, and design, each type has its own unique charm and appeal.

Whether you are drawn to the simplicity and symmetry of the Federal style or the whimsy and romance of the Queen Anne style, there is a colonial home that can capture your imagination and inspire your creativity.

If you found this article helpful, make sure to take a look at my other articles on Colonial homes linked below!

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.