An image of a family room that looks out to the outdoor dining area.

Modern home styles

Less is more when it comes to modern home styles. Modern architecture emphasizes function and a simplified design over ornate features. Features that best describe the modern home style include clean lines, natural colors, open floor plans, large floor-to-ceiling windows and a connection with the outdoors. Elements of modern home styles can be incorporated into other popular home styles such as craftsman, farmhouse and ranch.

The history of modern style homes

Believe it or not, modern is not modern at all. Some experts trace the history of modern style architecture to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, where American architect Louis Sullivan unveiled the first skyscrapers. It was Sullivan who coined the motto of the modern movement, “form follows function.” Meaning that the design of a building should be based on its function or purpose.

Characteristics of modern home styles

Modernism is different from contemporary style, which evolves with the architecture of the time and focuses on current trends. While most modern homes have a unique look, there are common style characteristics.

  • 1. Clean lines and geometric shapes

    Custom homebuilder Schumacher Homes writes that features such as arches, ornate columns and window shutters are out when it comes to modern style. In their place are clean lines and geometric shapes. “Ultimately, the aim of modern design is to simplify the home, emphasize function, and remove any unnecessary frills. With the constant distraction and bombardment of technology and stress in our modern lives, simplicity is a calming and welcoming moment in our homes.”

  • 2. Unconventional or flat roofs

    A prominent feature of many modern homes are low, horizontal roofs with broad overhangs in stark contrast to Tudor, Gothic or Victorian-style architecture styles. Rooftops may also include usable space for terraces or gardens.

  • 3. Lots of natural light

    According to The Spruce, modern home style includes floor-to-ceiling windows, which allow “a significant amount of natural light into the interior.”

  • 4. Open-concept floor plans

    The open-concept floor plan is a key feature of modern house design. Modern interior design includes fewer walls and wide, open living spaces that flow together.

  • 5. Natural and modern materials

    Modern materials such as steel, iron, concrete and glass, and stone replace the traditional materials of stucco, plaster and brick. In addition, modern house design often includes neutral colors which complement natural materials.

  • 6. Integration of indoor and outdoor spaces

    A common theme of modern home style is how a home relates to the surrounding natural landscape and the land’s topography.

  • 7. Use of sun and shade

    As a2modern explains, “The best modern homes are efficient.” They’re oriented to take advantage of the sun, which provides “passive solar heating in the winter, while long overhangs and recessed openings provide shading to keep homes cool in the summer.”

Examples of modern style homes

Not every home has to incorporate all seven modern home style characteristics to be considered modern. Instead, modern features can be incorporated into other popular home styles.

  • Mid-century modern style homes

    Mid-century modern is considered modern with its own twist. Characteristics of this retro style include sharp angles and boxy shapes, flat, angled roofs, floor-to-ceiling windows and emphasis on integrating the outdoors. Wide-open floor plans are a hallmark of mid-century modern homes, as with most modern styles.

  • Modern style colonial homes

    One of the oldest styles in the United States, classic colonial is simple and rectangular. Colonial-style is traditionally two- to three-story, with a front door in the center of the home and balanced window placement. To modernize colonial homes, Better Homes & Gardens recommends a fresh color palette along with front porches or sunrooms to connect the indoors and outdoors and boost available living space.

  • Modern style craftsman homes

    The classic American craftsman home has been popular since the mid-1800s. This quaint design is characterized by low-pitched rooflines, covered front porches with an entryway lined with columns, overhanging eaves and wide dormers. Modern style craftsman homes retain these same exterior features but may be updated on the inside with open floor plan living and ample natural lighting. Designing Idea lists other features of modern craftsman homes such as open-concept kitchens, calm neutral colors and large, spacious rooms.

  • Modern farmhouse

    According to, the modern farmhouse is the most favored home style in the United States and can be found in cities as well as the country. This type of home architecture is a blend of modern and traditional, with horizontal siding, metal roofs, dark shutters and wraparound front porch. Interior elements include vaulted ceilings, an open kitchen which is the heart of the home and lots of natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows.

  • Modern style ranch homes

    Dating back to its widespread appearance in the suburbs from the 1940s, Dwell declares this style of home to be “one of America’s most important contributions to residential architecture.” Modern style ranch homes are typically single-story, rectangular, U- or L-shaped with open layouts. They were inspired by the Spanish-style homes of the 19th century found on the ranches of the West. Outdoors, ranch homes often utilize outdoor space with patios, pools, porches and large driveways.

  • Modern style Tudor homes

    Tudor style goes back to the 15th century in England. This type of British architecture includes steep pitched roofs and gables, brickwork and decorated half-timbering—meaning wooden boards with stucco or stone in between them. The modern twist on the classic English Tudor features traditional elements such as decorative timber facades on the second story. To add the Tudor storybook look and feel to a modern home, Bob Vila recommends adding elements such as roof gable dormers, tall windows with multiple panes and a neutral color palette.

If you’re considering buying a modern style home, there’s an essential step to take before touring available homes for sale. Apply for pre-approval by submitting a loan application. Pre-approval provides clarity on the home you may be able to afford, as well as how much you may need to save for a down payment.

The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.

By |Published On: May 20th, 2022|Categories: Guild Blog, Lifestyle|Tags: , , |

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