For anyone building their own property, or even purchasing a new build home from a developer – you’ve got your pick of architectural styles.
What styles do you like?
Do you love Victorian decorative detailing, the bold geometry of Art Deco, smooth contemporary lines or the refined elegance of the Georgian period? Finding it hard to decide?
Well you’re not alone!
Just about everything, from the scope and shapes of windows and doors, to slope of the roof, construction materials and decorative detailing impacts how a house looks and feels. With so many options, there are lots of decisions to be made.
Today, we explore some of the most popular house styles in the UK – to provide an overview of the best-loved architectural designs. Learn what defines an architectural style, some interesting history and details you can emulate from looks you love.
Whether you’re building, renovating or buying, we’ve got all the inspiration you need…
Tudor and Mock-Tudor Styles.
Many UK developers and architects continue to borrow detailing from the Tudor period – and for good reason! Originating in the 1500s, this style is instantly recognizable for its black and white façades with exposed beams and overhanging second stories.
Original Tudor buildings were usually half-timbered, constructed using a wooden frame packed with wattle and daub. The “daub” filling would be whitewashed, giving the houses their unique monochrome appearance.
Whilst building methods have changed, the look has remained popular ever since, with mock-Tudor becoming a style in its own right.
Key elements incorporate:
- Exposed beams and decorative timbers
- Steeply pitched gabled roofs
- Tall, narrow windows with small leaded panes
- Arched doorways (often using stone)
- Red brick walls and chimneys
Georgian Architectural Styles.
Georgian homes (a style which began in the 1700s) are classically elegant. They were inspired by the graceful designs of the Italian architect, Andrea Palladio, as well as the classical work of Inigo Jones.
This stylistic revolution saw grand homes built largely out of stone, with symmetrical façades and ornate decorative flourishes. Greek motifs (such as pillars and porticos) became a popular part of later homes built in this style.
Georgian architecture remains one of the most popular and sought-after architectural styles to this day.
- Tall sash windows with lots of smaller panes
- Smaller windows on third storey and above
- Symmetrical exteriors with the front door in the centre
- Classical elements such as columns, porticoes and pediments
- Often featuring steps to the main entrance
Victorian Architectural Styles.
Who doesn’t love a Victorian gem? Even if you’re building from scratch, there’s lots of detail you can borrow from the Victorians. Roughly defined as 1830-1900, houses built during this period (a time of rapid population growth) mix a whole range of styling to great effect.
These ornate designs allowed the newly affluent middle and upper classes to show off their prosperity. So look out for stone detailing (especially pineapples – a sign of welcome and wealth) topping gateposts in particular!
Popular features include:
- High-pitched roofs with ornate detailing
- Patterned brickwork
- Front doors to one side of the front façade
- Porches with decorative detailing over front doors
- Sash and bay, or arched windows
Arts and Crafts Styles.
The Arts and Crafts Movement (best exemplified by the author, artist and political theorist William Morris) had a profound impact on architectural styles in the UK.
Expressive, functional and free of unnecessary decoration – Arts and Crafts principles were adopted in the Edwardian era. These homes were much less showy than their Victorian counterparts, with lighter, brighter interiors. This resulted in architecture with a simpler, more pared-back appearance.
The Edwardian Arts and Craft styling also inspired the design of Addison Homes and later 1940s semis after the destruction of the First and Second World Wars.
Defining characteristics include:
- Wider and lower than Victorian buildings
- Frequent use of red brickwork or pebbledash
- Painted porches and verandas with wooden supports
- Curved, bay windows with small panes
- Use of mock-Tudor elements such as cladding and tapestries
Art Deco Styles.
Art Deco burst onto the artistic and architectural stage with the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, which took place in Paris in 1925. In this period of social and political upheaval, young designers wanted to create a brand new style – and they succeeded.
The style is sometimes confused with modernism (popular in the US and expanding through Europe at this time), but it actually contrasts with the strongly functional designs of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier.
Characterised by strong geometric shapes and bold colours (and adored by modern builders), Art Deco architecture celebrates sunlight and open interiors.
Common features comprise:
- Flat roofs and stepped outlines
- Windows wrapping around the edges of buildings
- Plain white walls, mixing curved and straight forms
- Egyptian-style motifs and sunburst detailing
- Sleek linear and geometric elements
Contemporary Home Styles.
Whereas many architectural styles directly go against what’s come before (i.e. Edwardian simplicity after Victorian opulence) – contemporary homes build on twentieth century modernism.
Combining the best of modern and contemporary, this style emphasizes individuality.
Despite this, certain trends are apparent. Sustainability is a large concern, with solar panels, natural materials, neutral colour palettes and a focus on energy efficiency common.
Simple, smooth and understated façades define the aesthetic, often mixing old and new. You’ll find juxtapositions of materials, for instance sleek glass or concrete contrasted with traditional stone or brick buildings.
Popular features encompass:
- Asymmetrical façades with unconventional roof shapes
- Contrasting materials (for instance, stone and wood with steel and glass)
- Open spaces and large windows
- Environmentally-friendly design and construction
- Pared-back decorative detailing
Whether you are building a completely new home or purchasing a property from a developer, there are so many styles to choose from. With such a rich architectural history, homebuilders continue to take inspiration from our past – to create the future of housing.
The best way to decide what’s right for you is to get out there and look at different styles. What details do you like and dislike, and do you notice any patterns emerging? With a little bit of research, you’ll soon find an architectural style that matches your tastes perfectly. Good luck, and happy exploring!
About EV Architects.
EV Architects is a London-based multidisciplinary architectural practice that provides design, plan and build services for residential projects of all types and sizes across the capital and the immediate surrounding counties. We’ve completed hundreds of new build, extension and rebuild projects of all types, sizes and styles (including all of the examples in this article!)
If you’re thinking about expanding your existing property, or embarking on a new build project, then we can turn your vision into a reality! Simply call 020 8531 4441 for a no-obligation chat with a member of our team today.