What Is a Colonial Style House?

Colonial style architecture was developed in America from the early 1600s through 1850. There is not one specific Colonial style when it comes to architecture, but rather many different types of Colonial style. From Georgian Colonial to Spanish Colonial, Colonial style architecture is found from coast to coast and from north to south in in the United States.

Typical Colonial Style

The typical Colonial style home is a one-room deep, two-stories high home with a steep pitched roof. This type of house is often referred to as a "salt box."


Colonial homes tend to center around the fireplace, with either one chimney in the center of a home, or two chimneys at either end of the home.


There are different types of Colonial architecture stemming from the different cultures that developed their communities. Among the different styles of Colonial architecture are Dutch Colonial, Spanish Colonial, French Colonial, German Colonial and Georgian Colonial.

Common Thread

No matter the style of Colonial architecture, the common trait of Colonial homes is the simplicity and symmetry of the architecture.


The main differences in Colonial style architecture are found in the construction materials. Where the traditional salt box colonial home is a clapboard home with wood siding and a flat front, the typical Dutch colonial is stone and has an overhang in front, often covering a porch.


Colonial style architecture has had a great influence on American architecture, and can still be seen reproduced today across the United States. The simple, symmetrical nature of Colonial architecture is classic American style.