When it comes to architecture, few styles and types of houses exude the timeless charm and simple elegance quite like the colonial design. Rooted in history and desired by homeowners for centuries, colonial-style homes are an instantly recognizable part of American architecture. This enduring aesthetic — marked by its symmetry and functionality — reflects a blend of tradition, practicality and cultural influences dating back to the beginnings of our nation.
The colonial style originated in the early days of America's history, emerging under the influence of British colonists in the 1600s and 1700s. While it first appeared in the United States during a period of colonial rule, its popularity has continued to flourish to this day.
From the historical architectural style introduced by British settlers in New England to the Colonial Revival movement of the 20th century, the term "colonial" has become synonymous with enduring design.
However, the term encompasses more than a singular architectural template. It embraces a diverse range of styles that reflect the cultural melting pot of early American settlers.
At the heart of the colonial style is a commitment to simplicity and symmetry. Colonial-style homes are known for their plain exteriors, minimal embellishments, and rectangular, symmetrical shapes. They’re often constructed using wood, brick, or stone, depending on the region and time period. Central doors, symmetrical front entrance columns, double sash windows and decorative window shutters are some of the hallmarks of colonial homes. These homes typically span two to three stories and are distinguished by their steeply pitched roofs and central chimneys.
Inside a colonial-style home, you'll find a grand entrance hall, polished wood floors, and carefully crafted millwork. Fireplaces serve as focal points, bridging the gap between aesthetics and functionality. While early colonial style was characterized by simplicity and rusticity, later variations embraced more ornate elements. Furniture evolved from handmade wooden pieces to include cabriole chairs and claw-foot tables.
Colonial-style decor trades on stately elegance, often featuring wood beam architecture, wood tones, and muted color palettes. Interior shutters, draperies, and valances frame windows.
European influences might introduce velvets, damasks, and brocades. The iconic 17th-century French-style toile wallpaper often adorns walls, adding pastoral scenes and patterns to the living spaces.
The colonial style is not a monolithic entity. It encompasses a rich tapestry of sub-styles, each with its own unique characteristics:
The allure of colonial-style homes lies in their timeless appeal, spacious rooms, and classic design. Their straightforward layouts make them easy to decorate, whether with modern or period furniture. However, these homes may not be ideal for everyone.
Colonial homes are popular for a reason. Here are some of the factors buyers consider when buying a colonial-style house:
The history of colonial-style homes is a journey through time, reflecting the evolution of architectural tastes, needs, and influences. From the original timber-framed houses of British settlers to the Colonial Revival movement and the subsequent waves of Neo-Colonial variations, these homes have remained a constant presence in the American architectural landscape.
While adaptations have taken place to suit changing climates and contemporary preferences, the core essence of colonial style, marked by symmetry, practicality, and elegance, continues to captivate homeowners, designers, and architectural enthusiasts alike.
Here’s more information about colonial homes.
Colonial homes can be found in various regions across the United States. They are most commonly associated with the northeastern states, such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Virginia, where historical settlements were established during the colonial era. However, Colonial-style homes can also be found in other parts of the country, as they gained popularity and spread throughout different regions over time.
The price of Colonial homes can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, size, condition, and market conditions. Colonial homes that are well-preserved and located in sought-after historic districts or upscale neighborhoods tend to have higher price tags. On average, a Colonial-style home can range from several hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars, with prices varying greatly depending on the specific property and its features.
These styles include saltbox, Georgian, Cape Cod, French Colonial, Spanish Colonial and Dutch Colonial, among others. Each style paints a unique picture of the historical and cultural influences that have shaped their architectural identity.
When you list with Orchard, we’ll get your home show-ready and make repairs to increase your home’s value at no upfront cost.
Orchard guarantees your home will sell, so you can buy your next one worry-free.
We provide peace of mind that your home will sell, plus list your home on the market to maximize your earnings.
Use our home sale calculator to estimate your net proceeds.
Our Home Advisors are experienced local agents who know how to sell for top dollar and help win your dream home.
All Orchard Home Advisors are experienced agents who know your local market inside and out. Request a consult today.
Did you know cash offers are 4x more likely to be chosen by a seller? Let us help you make one on your next home.
Get the most accurate free home valuation — in minutes
Orchard Home Loans shops the market to find your best rates.
A cash offer is 4x more likely to be chosen by a seller. Get qualified today.
Make a cash offer now, and Orchard will sell your old home after you move.
Tell us your must-haves to see personalized home recommendations that meet your criteria.