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8 Trends in Home Architecture for 2020

The Most Livable and Aesthetic Features Appearing in 2020 Homes


Housing starts are up; the real estate industry is booming; more people are searching for and focusing on their “dream home” – and to add to his mix, 2020 has been an interesting year for architecture trends.

While there are certain home styles that have made comebacks this year (as in past years), there are also many smaller elements from these trends being incorporated into existing builds and merged with other styles.

Here are the most interesting, useful, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing design trends and home designs in use in 2020.

White Cottage style home with timber accents, large windows and shed dormer

Incorporating many of the trending features mentioned below, the 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath, 2880-square-foot Cottage style home had vertical siding (mixed with horizontal siding) in white with white trim for a light color palette, partial metal roof, rustic natural wood timber accents, and steep roof – making the one-story home look like a 2-story (Plan #198-1140).


1.  Light Color Palette

Lighter colors are a popular design trend this year. We have noticed many homes using an exclusive palette of creams, off-whites, and whites for exteriors, as well as beiges and light, grays for flooring, cabinetry, painting, and even decoration.

Outside, an all-white treatment, including trim or white with black or dark window shutters, brings a contemporary feeling to traditional style like Farmhouse. Inside, light colors tend to open a room and create more visual space, even if the actual square footage is limited.

While “plain white” might have seemed boring in the past, light gray walls, white statement furniture, and marble countertops combine for an aesthetically pleasing, light look that is popping up everywhere – although not always in this exact combination.

Farmhouse style home with white vertical siding and metal rood

With white-on-white siding and trim and a sleek light gray standin-seam metal roof, this 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath, 2489-square-foot home is a quintessential example of the modern Farmhouse style (Plan #142-1238).


2.  Steep Roof

Steep roof lines aren’t just aesthetically pleasing – they also have practical applications. While some roof pitches might only create enough extra space for a little bit of extra storage, some might be such that homeowners could convert the space into an extra living area.

But that’s not it! If the space is smaller, homeowners can still install extra insulation in the attic. This prevents heat loss and improves a home’s energy efficiency – thus improving its future resale value.

Steep roofs are also a great design trend to incorporate because they assist with abating elemental damage. That is, snow is less likely to build up on a steeply pitched roof in a colder climate, and when it rains, the pitch greatly aids in effective drainage. Last but not least, steep roofs give certain house styles, such as Ranch, Cottage, or Bungalow, an imposing character that they otherwise would lack.

Ranch style home with steep roof, giving it the look of a two-story farmhouse

The roof of this 5-bedroom, 3.5 bath Colonial style Ranch home is extra steep, giving the 1-story home a more imposing appearance and the look of a traditional farmhouse (Plan #206-1015).


3.  Vertical Siding

Vertical siding makes your home stand out from the crowd.

This is because homes more typically employ horizontal siding (as in classic Colonial-style houses). However, vertical siding tends to visually elongate a home’s profile – which many may enjoy.

There is one thing to be wary of, however, and that is a more complex installation process. Before you install the siding – especially if it’s traditional wood siding – be sure to discuss furring strips with your contractor. These are a kind of strip that makes sure that the surface for installation is smooth and flat, so the finished look is polished.

Additionally, the most popular form of vertical siding is known as “board and batten” siding. In this look, thin vertical filler strips are placed over the seams. The installation process for this may be even more intricate – so be sure your contractor has a good way forward before beginning.

White on white Country style home with contemporary look

Vertically applied siding on sections of this 3-bedroom, 2-bath 1486-square-foot Contemporary Country home gives the illusion of height and imparts a more contemporary feeling (Plan #117-1140).


4.  Stacked-Stone Siding and Accents

Stacked stone is one of the home design trends that we hope never goes out of style – and it’s unlikely to at that, as these durable, neutral stone treatments can stand the test of time.

The materials are often manufactured stone or stone veneer, so they are lighter in weight and can be used in more places (and by more people!) than full masonry stone. It’s an easy way to upgrade your home and can even be a DIY weekend project. They can be used as siding or as accents, such as porch column bases or facing for an inside or outside fireplace.

Traditional looking home with stacked-stone features and shingle siding

For an updated look to a traditional design with Craftsman features, this 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 2264-square-foot home uses stacked-stone siding on the lower floor and column bases (Plan #120-2637).


5.  Metal Roofing

Many are choosing metal roofing because, if it’s properly installed, it may be the only roof the house will ever need. It will seal out water, winds, and snow and is resistant to fire, mildew, insects, and rot.

There are also many other attractive features of a metal roof, like weight (metal is often hundreds of pounds lighter than a comparably sized tile roof) and style.

It’s important to know, however, that metal roofing is typically significantly more expensive than its more-traditional counterparts.

Though some houses use metal roofing on selected parts of the home, such as porch roofs, bump-out roofs, dormer roofs, etc., this 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath single-story Farmhouse has a standing-seam metal roof over the entire home (Plan #206-1020).


6.  Rustic Accents

It may be counterintuitive, but the use of rustic accents like exposed timber-framing on porches, decorative rafter tails in natural wood, decorative trim at the gable-end peak in natural wood, exposed roof beams, and stone siding and column bases actually points to contemporary treatment of traditional designs.

The trick is to use the accents as counterpoints to more contemporary treatments like all-white siding and trim, vertical siding, and standing-seam metal roofs, giving the rustic accents a fresh appearance and imparting an eclectic aesthetic to the home’s style.

Country style home with rustic timber accents, partial vertical siding, and metal porch roof

The rustic features – timber-framed entrance, natural timber porch columns, and 3-part natural-wood window shutters – along with the vertical siding accents and metal porch roof allows this 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath, 2629-square-foot home to check many boxes typical of contemporary approach (Plan #206-1002).


7.  High Ceilings

This design element goes hand in hand with steep roofs. High ceilings are a favorite among home builders, especially when creating single-story homes. This is because higher ceilings are one of the easiest ways to create a feeling of spaciousness in otherwise limited square footage. They really tend to open up a room. You are less likely to feel cramped in a room with high ceilings.

Another distinct advantage of high ceilings is that they are a “green” element in the home. That is, especially in warmer climates, it’s easier to keep a home with high ceilings cool because heat rises. This makes the entire building more energy efficient.

All of these elements ensure that this home design trend really adds to the resale value of your home.

Contemporary Cottage style home with large front porch and gable overhang brackets for a rustic touch

Floor plan layout of Cottage style plan #204-1017 showing tall ceiling heights

Top: This 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath contemporary country home with a large front porch appears larger than it might otherwise look because of its high ceilings on the ground floor. Bottom: The main level loof plan denotes the ceiling heights, which range from 10 to 11 to 12 feet high, with a vaulted ceiling in the covered rear porch (Plan #204-1017).


8.  Large Walk-in Kitchen Pantries

Storage solutions are an important consideration when designing a home. The kitchen is a room in which we hardly ever seem to have enough space available to us.

To improve this, one of the most popular architectural trends is to include a generous “walk-in pantry” in the kitchen area, similar to the walk-in closet that might be present in a master suite and harking back to the days before the use of extensive wall and base kitchen cabinets.

Depending on the space available to you in your home’s design, you might forgo a hall closet in favor of more food and small appliance storage space. In fact, some home renovators are choosing to transform the “under the stairs” closet space into a fully functional pantry.

Thanks to this design trend, gone are the days of limited kitchen storage.

White Contemporary Farmhouse style home with standing-seam metal roof

Floor plan of Contemporary Farmhouse style home  plan #142-1243

 Top: The kitchen pantry 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath modern farmhouse style home is just to the right of the dining, which in turn is just to the right of the double front door. Bottom: This floor plan shows that the pantry is at the front of the home, between the dining room and the master bedroom, and is approximately 11.5 feet wide by 5.5 feet deep – which stores a lot of food and small appliances and frees up space in the main kitchen (Plan #142-1243).


Popular Home Styles

While the aforementioned home design trends seem to be popping up in all sorts of new construction and remodels in 2020, these following home design trends are the most popular for the entire home.


Modern / Contemporary Farmhouse Style

This style takes the beautiful simplicity of a classic farmhouse and upgrades it for modern living. This could be by using a more neutral color palette (as mentioned above) or by including standing-seam metal roofs, vertical siding, less fussy ornamentation for the front porch, and accents of natural materials.

In addition, where farmhouses were traditionally two (or 1½) stories – with living areas downstairs and sleeping areas upstairs – it’s not unusual to find a single-story home in the Contemporary Farmhouse style. And where they may be more than one story, you’re sure to find a master suite on the first floor. These homes are a little bit less rustic than their traditional counterparts but every bit as cozy.

Light yellow-sided Farmhouse style home with white trim and standing-seam metal roof

The attractive 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath single-story home – with its light color scheme and steep metal roof – is a beautiful example of the Contemporary Farmhouse style (Plan #206-1018).


Mid-Century Modern Revival

Mid-Century Modern style homes draw on the clean lines of the Bauhaus movement with a twist (eliminating the flat roof, boxy style, and reliance on concrete, steel, and glass) and were originally in American home design from the 1950s well into the 1960s and ‘70s.

Essentially, the style’s hallmarks are sleek lines (like skinny legs on furniture) with more organic shapes. Shed, double shed, and even gull-wing roofs are common. Other features include floor-to-ceiling windows, sliding doors, open floor plans (which were rare at the time of the style’s introduction, atriums, skylights, and indoor and/or outdoor pools.

In recent years, the style has experienced a renaissance in both home design and designs within a home (like furniture, art, and lighting choices).

Mid-Century Modern style home with double shed roof and large expanses of windows

View of shed roofs as a dramatic design element in Mid-Century Modern style home

Top: This rear view of a 3-bedroom, 3.5 bath Mid-Century Modern style home shows the extensive use of extra-large windows and fixed glass as well as the double-shed roof. Bottom: This view shows the effective use of the shed roof style as a design element in the contemporary home (Plan #202-1001).


Transitional (Contemporary) Craftsman

The Craftsman style emerged at the turn of the 20th century, and has a few extremely recognizable elements based on the Bungalow “bones” of the style:

  • A covered front porch
  • Tapered columns (larger at the bottom, smaller at the top)
  • Deep overhanging roof eaves
  • Built-in cabinetry, shelves, and other features like window seats
  • Natural materials such as wood, stone, and brick
  • A grand fireplace

The “new” Craftsman house designs of more recent times include steeper rooflines, contemporary siding treatments such as vertical siding and stark white or light exteriors, and expansion into other house styles such as Ranch and Farmhouse.

These strong, stylish new homes have created a comeback of sorts for the Craftsman style as they emphasize handiwork, detail, and a commitment to craft.

Beautiful Ranch home with stacked-stone accents and other contemporary Craftsman features

This 2–4 bedroom, 2–4 bath, 1–2 half bath single-story home incorporates features like a large front porch, tapered porch columns, and stone porch column bases in a basic Ranch design to make a true Contemporary Craftsman style home (Plan #161-1133).


Rustic Suburban

A rustic suburban house encompasses many different types of home, but with “rustic” accents. They are popular in 2020 because of the wide range of designs available, which can appeal to a variety of tastes.

These rustic accents could include things like repurposed old ladders, kitchen runners, table islands, kitchen storage that features exposed cookware, driftwood, wide-planked flooring, and more.


  • Traditional Homes

These types of homes are a broad category containing many sub-genres like Colonial homes, Cottage (below), Farmhouse, and Log or Lodge style homes.

Cottage style home that displays rustic features to tweak its traditional style in a Rustic way


  • Ranch Homes

These homes have a long, close-to-the-ground profile. They also have wide-open layouts, as they were popular during the “American Western” period defined by the wide-open spaces of the West. The Ranch style home below, shown from the front and the rear, is a great example of rustic treatment.

Ranch style home with stone siding, timber-frame entrance, and other rustic features

Rear of a single-story Ranch home showing the rustic influence on its design


  • Country Homes

Again, a Country style home (below) encompasses a broad range of styles like the American farmhouse, English cottage style, and Country Ranch.

A Country style home that takes on a fairy-tale vibe with its rustic accents


These 2020 architecture trends build on centuries of American living to create the most durable, affordable, eco-friendly, and stylish options for homeowners across all price points. While these home designs are “on trend” for 2020, they are sure to stay in style long after the new year – making them a great investment.


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