American Home Styles and Trends: A Visitor’s Perspective

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Source: via Kelly on Pinterest


Sometimes, we’re very aware of it as new and exciting styles and trends are always coming at us. But, with true and enduring styles, often we miss the subtleties just because we see them everyday. In our own regions, the subtle graces of style in interior design or in architecture, or even the breathtakingly stunning aspects of the same, often escape our notice.

They’re no big deal. That’s just the way things are. 

Yet, for the traveler, they can be a revelation. To prove the point, traveler and writer from the UK James Armstrong is here to talk about the home styles and design trends he’s seen in his travels in America. What has his designer’s eye noticed that perhaps we haven’t?  Well, take a look!


As a British man who’s traveled all over the USA, I have a unique view of America. I’ve been enchanted by the endless variety in trends when it comes to different home designs across the different states.

In the UK we have over 60 million people crammed on to an island, which in terms of raw land-mass, is about the same size as Oregon! There are roughly 315 million people in America with a lot more space to spread out, which has left me in awe of some of the space that American’s take for granted in their homes.

Home styles and trends in Florida

Some of the Florida houses I saw as a young boy seemed utterly massive to me! More than that, they were different in their color schemes and use of outside space to the buildings that I had grown up in. Clearly the climate lent itself to the warm bright yellows & oranges on the walls, and the pastel colors present on the outside of almost every house caught the sunlight while deflecting away much of the summer heat to keep the inside of each house cool.

Source: via Joanne on Pinterest


Porches, gardens and verandas were all well maintained and obviously saw a lot of use, and though there were lots of large windows and glass patio doors, you almost never saw one without some blinds, curtains or shutters that could be closed to keep the blazing heat of the midday sun out.

Home styles in the North Eastern states

My travels in the North Eastern states couldn’t have been more different in terms of how people lived! New York was unreal. Only in Japan have I ever known so many people to live in such close quarters! The buildings are so close (and all so high) that at times the atmosphere can feel oppressive.

Source: via Spencer on Pinterest


The color schemes and building styles in New England are radically different from their southern neighbours, a difference largely dictated by the climate, but also the variance in culture and history between the two areas of the country. Brick and stone is a much more common building material in the north, grays and whites are the prominent outside colors here, where the Cape Cod style houses seem more mature with their themed colour schemes and accented features. There’s a sense of history in these states, that’s almost comforting to a travelling Brit!

Source: via Little on Pinterest

Home styles and design trends in San Francisco

But 2500 miles away in California, it’s all change again! I could write an entire article on the many differences between different Californian homes. My favourite city here has to be San Francisco, a place that practically oozes character. It appears to be a younger ‘quirky’ sibling of a city compared to others in the US.


It’s only once you begin to look into Frisco’s past and discover the real impact of the devastating earthquake and fire of 1906 that you start to appreciate the way the city is built. Stone dominates the steep streets here. Residential buildings are rarely more than a few stories high, with the occasional obviously older buildings that survived the quake dotted throughout the city.

It’s impossible not to mention Chinatown; the place is a riot of color, sights and smells in the heart of San Fran! Reds and greens dominate here and the streets are kept constantly busy by both tourists and locals.

Source: via Mairi on Pinterest


The Pacific Northwest and Nevada

In the Pacific Northwest (where the weather certainly reminds me of home!) you’ll find yet more differing styles of building, decorated in increasingly individualistic ways! I remember driving down a long road near Salem with a wooden pastel blue & cream painted church at one end, while at the other was a cluster of bright green brick houses! Color and decoration feel playful and carefree here, but not ostentatious

Source: Jetson Green  via Sissy on Pinterest


… Unlike what is to be found in America’s playground!

Source: via Jeff on Pinterest


Las Vegas is an assault on the senses! I’ve spent enough time here to learn to love the unadulterated mood of excess the city evokes! Off the strip, homes here have to deal with the dry heat of the Nevada desert. Compact buildings with light shades of pastel coloured paint, coupled with reflective blinds and window coverings repel the worst of the sunlight and let the air-conditioning keep temperatures within at bearable levels.

I’ve fallen in love with the USA!

It’s fair to say I’ve fallen in love with the USA, and I’ve not even seen everything the country has to offer yet! America is one of the most fascinating and delightfully varied collections of peoples and cultures in the world, rivalling that found in Europe. I can’t wait to go back!


Thanks, James!

James Armstrong is an experienced Journalist and traveller writing this post on the BuildDirect blog on behalf of Vertical Blinds Direct.



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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.