How to Perfectly Pair Your Décor With Your Home’s Architectural Style

Finding a home requires trade-offs, whether in the house or neighborhood. And though it’s not easy to change your neighborhood, you can certainly change the way your home looks and feels. From mid-century to Victorian, these expert tips will help you create a cohesive look outside in.

America’s Most Popular Architectural Styles

What architectural style do Americans love most, and where are they most likely to find those homes? A surey of more than 2,000 Americans age 18 and older asked and found that the top home styles Americans cite as their favorites are craftsman (43%), ranch (41%), and colonial (36%). However, this varies by age. Millennials, age 18–34, were more likely to favor craftsman-style homes (52% vs. 36% of those age 55+), while older adults, age 55+, were more likely favor ranch-style homes (52% vs. 28% of millennials).

Despite the overwhelming popularity of craftsman-style homes, ranch homes are much easier to find on the market. Among all the for-sale home listings, the most common architectural styles are colonial, ranch, Cape Cod, Victorian, and mid-century. Though, state by state, it definitely varies.

There are local surprises as well. Although brownstones are practically synonymous with New York City, colonial houses are actually more common in the city. Similarly, although art deco is Miami‘s best-known architectural feature, mid-century homes are by far the most common throughout the city. And if you’re looking for a ranch-style home, Colorado Springs, CO, has the highest proportion of them in the country.

Given the five most common architectural styles in America, the ones that buyers are more likely to find, the Trulia Design Panel offered their tips on how to decorate for each type of home. Here’s what they suggested:


Try augmenting your home’s classic style with textured, woven baskets of natural materials like rattan, sisal, or water hyacinth. Houseplants, including dramatic palms and ferns, are also good options to create this effect.

You can also add nodding to the colonial style’s spartan take on neoclassical grandeur. Collect handcrafted wooden bowls and ladles, and seek art that involves the crude human figures of the colonial period.

You can take a more counterintuitive approach, pairing modern light fixtures and furniture with your home’s traditional architecture. “I find the juxtaposition between the two styles to be endlessly intriguing and interesting.”

The colonial style emphasizes wood tones and handcrafted elements. You can keep those features feeling fresh with dramatic bright or dark paint choices on walls or furniture.


Embrace the rustic inspiration behind the ranch style with Western-flavored elements like cowhide and leather ottomans, rugs, and pillows. Wood elements like floating shelves, trays, and coat racks also help.

Ranch style emphasizes social space and natural light. To capitalize on those elements, they recommend using neutrals with no heavy patterns and grabbing a bar cart and serve-ware for entertaining.

Make modern statements on the style with elements like cement floor tiles, light floor stains, and minimalist trim and molding.

The ranch looks best when you embrace its modern simplicity. Stick to clean-lined furniture but adding personality through rattan accents and an eclectic mix of metals.

Cape Cod

Take a nod to the Cape Cod style’s East Coast origins with vignettes of nautical items or vintage hardcover books. Accent your home’s cozy simplicity with white or light bedding, sofa slipcovers, and pillows.

Emulate the simplicity and function of architectural style in your décor. Try painting walls in “tried-and-true” neutrals.

Embrace the unexpected and keep original moldings and details while adding aesthetic surprises, such as modern tiling, windows, and furnishings.

Take advantage of a Cape Cod’s charming, symmetrical exterior by focusing on curb appeal with floral boxes or large planters.


Hearken back to this architectural style’s namesake era by choosing lace, ribbon, or embroidered linens in neutral or white for tablecloths, curtains, and bedding. Mismatched antique furnishings are also a good look.

Paint baseboards dark espresso or high-gloss black to mimic the dark wood elements that were popular in the era. To add personality, follow another Victorian tradition and fill a curio with collectibles.

Victorians enthusiastically embraced patterns, but try modernizing by wallpapering one feature wall while keeping others neutral. An ornate furniture piece can also make a nice accent.



Start simply and inexpensively by swapping out the legs on your existing furniture for the tapered legs characteristic of the mid-century style. A low-profile sofa or arched floor lamp are other easy ways to achieve this style.

The right furniture is crucial, but price can be an issue. Don’t go for original. Instead, find modern designers and stores whose products mimic the style of the time period.

Give your a mid-century home an update with a new paint job. White always looks fresh, or consider a dramatic, dark tone paired with medium wood accents.

(Courtesy of Trulia…)