A few tips to identify and stage some of the most popular architectural home styles

As a realtor, interior designer, or stager, it helps to know the style of the house you are working with. We love to continuously educate ourselves on this topic as it helps set us apart and provide a competitive advantage to our clients. Knowing how to enhance a homes’ key features and hide those less desirable ones, elevates the value of the property, and makes it more memorable and desirable. 

For example, home styles with small windows call for light colors to accentuate the interiors and brighten up the spaces. Home styles with dramatic architectural features like an imposing chimney, call for the area to be enhanced with a wraparound rug, a comfortable couch, and armchairs surrounding it. 

That said, we also love to break the rules sometimes. While knowing a home’s style is important, it is not always necessary to follow established rules when decorating or staging, it’s more of an art than a science!


It’s impossible not to adore Chip and Joana Gaines from HGTV. Most of their renovations are farmhouse style. These houses started to appear in rural areas, and have large lots that used to serve the purpose of caring for animals. They are very prominent in the South, although can also be found in the Northeast. 

Farmhouses usually have a rectangular or basic shape, and a simple roof structure. The exterior walls are lined by clapboard siding, and they have a functional porch with simple columns that typically extend around the house. Inside, paneled wood walls, wide-plank floors, and exposed wood beams are some of the main features. Butcher blocks as countertops and apron sinks in the kitchen are some of the most distinct and loved features of this style.

Our favorite room to stage: the mudroom, featuring white built-in cabinets with plenty of hooks, and a nook with decorative cushions.

Photo Credit: Tennessean.com


This style originated in the middle of the 19th century in the UK during Queen Victoria’s reign and the Industrial Revolution, which was an era of opulence and mass production. It became very popular in some areas of the US, and the best example are San Francisco’s painted ladies. 

There are different types of Victorian: Gothic Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, and all of them remind us of the romanticism of dollhouses with bright colors and asymmetrical shapes. Victorian style often features detailed ornamentation, mansard roofs, towers, turrets and dormers, steep gable roofs, round angles, and a partial or full-width asymmetrical porch. 

Our favorite room to stage: The parlor room featuring draperies, cloth wall-coverings, and rugs surrounded by fashion chairs and cool art-work.

Photo Credit: Compass Real Estate

Victorian Style San Francisco Row Houses


This house style emerged in the U.S. in the mid 19th century and became more popular in the early 20th century. Just like the Victorian, this style originated in England with its rainy and snowy weather and is more popular in cities with similar characteristics in the Northeast and Midwest.

This style is easily recognizable for its prominent cross gables, steeply pitched roof, asymmetrical front facade with tall and narrow windows with small window panes, brick chimney, and solid masonry with elaborate decorations. 

Our favorite room to stage: We can’t resist decorating the upper-level bedrooms with exposed beams on the ceilings, with plush beds and pristine white linens, and add plenty of cushions in different textures, a luxurious throw, bedside tables with lamps, a candle, a book, and a furry rug.

Photo Credit: Nimvo.com


Founded in California at the beginning of the 20th century, the Craftsman movement emphasized hand-worked goods and construction over mass-production, using local materials. 

The clues to identify Craftsman houses include the open porches framed with tapered square columns, the horizontal lines and simplicity in form, low pitched roofs with wide eave overhangs, and low-pitched gables with decorative beams. 

Our favorite room to stage: With an interior with plenty of built-in shelving and seating, we love staging the dining/breakfast area with a large table around the built-in seats, nicely ordered with plates and glasses, vases with fresh flowers, and comfortable cushions.

Photo Credit: Tollbrothers.com


This house style emerged in Southern California around the 1920s, thanks to the Spanish influence and warm weather. 

Its most important or usual feature is its U-shaped floor plan with rooms opening to a central patio, promoting indoor-outdoor living with low pitched tiled roofs, arches, and exterior walls in stucco or adobe. Balconies and low ceilings, fountains, and grillwork are also popular features.

Our favorite room to stage: The patio. We would accent it with nice landscaping surrounded by lush plants and flowers, fashion and comfortable outdoor sofas, large lanterns, a tray with glasses, and a bottle of wine.

Photo Credit: alvarezhomes.com


With roots in both the Italian Renaissance and the classical architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, colonial style reached peak popularity at the end of the 19th century and is today one of the most common in the U.S. 

This style stands out for its symmetrical, rectangular, and simple facade in wood or brick with a central front door beneath a majestic columned or pedimented portico. An equal amount of multi-paneled windows lie on each side.

Our favorite room to stage: The entry hall surrounded by the center stairs is our favorite spot to stage with a massive console and a spectacular mirror or art-work, some vases with flowers, and a table lamp. With this style of home, we also wouldn’t resist staging the sun room. 

Photo Credit: Veranda.com


Contemporary homes reflect the style of the moment and evolve accordingly. They typically have geometric lines and simple forms, flat or low pitched roofs, and eliminate all kinds of ornamental or unnecessary details. They feature open floor plans, usually in L, U or H shapes that allow the indoors to blend with the outdoors. There’s vast use of glass, iron, and concrete and utilization of energy-efficient elements and recyclable materials.

Our favorite room to stage: For this style, we love to call attention to the oversized owner’s retreat bathroom and accentuate it with beautiful white orchids, apothecary glass vases with cottons and soaps, and soft white towels.

Photo Credit: Home-designing.com


This movement arrived in the 18th century to Eastern North America due to the French occupancy/settlements. 

The hints to recognize this style are the elegance and refinement of its façade, with a dramatic and enchanting mood, commonly adorned with asymmetrical exteriors and plenty of ornate elements. A mansard roof or a high and steeply pitched roof of clay tiles are true to this style. The walls are usually in brick, stone, or stucco and have narrow windows and sometimes shutters. Perfectly manicured yards complement this style. 

Our favorite room to stage: This style calls for making the kitchen our focal point, and we love decorating it with a big statement island filled with delicious patisseries, fruit, a coffee or tea set, nice napkins, and wildflowers.

Photo credit: homesoftherich.com


And last but not least, as Texans, we couldn’t miss the ever-popular ranch style. These one-story homes feature low-pitch roofs with wide-eave overhangs and typically have asymmetrical U or L-shaped floor plans, sliding glass doors and large windows are often accents of the style.

Our favorite place to stage:  The living/family-room, which is typically the center of the house. We love to be true to its origins and give it a modern twist by staging it with soft caramel leather furniture, a solid wood statement coffee table paired with glass side tables with metallic accents, add a cowhide rug and modern oversized artwork with scenes of Texas land or cattle, for a true to Texas chic feel.

Photo credit: Architecturaldesigns.com

January 2021 

Collaboration between Jennifer Alonso & Delia Villalonga 

Certified HSR Stagers