When you build a home based on custom house plans, the sky’s the limit when it comes to layout and design. Still, there are several popular architectural styles that have stood the test of time that you may want to consider. These styles for custom homes can serve you well in their classic iterations or as inspiration for a whole new design.

Check out five of the most popular styles for custom homes below.

  1. The Ranch

Single-story living was made popular in the post-WWII era as people moved to California and the Southwest in droves. Many ranch designs keep bedrooms separated from public living areas, while others incorporate a central courtyard to let additional light into the surrounding rooms. Modern takes on ranch designs often add angled branches and large, open-concept floor plans to the basic rectangular design.

Advantages: Easy to age in place; works well in every region of the country.

  1. The Craftsman

Craftsman-style homes were originally built at the turn of the century, and they were largely a repudiation of stuffy, overly ornate Victorian homes. Craftsman bungalows feature handmade elements like stone foundations and fireplaces, oak floors and paneling and built-in shelving and furniture. They often feature low, sloping grooves and dormers on the second story.

Advantages: Striking attention to interior detail; bungalow design often work well on narrow lots while still providing roomy interiors.

  1. The Cape Cod

Ask a child to draw a picture of a house, and you’ll probably get a rendering of a Cape Cod style home. These houses were originally squares with a steeply sloped roof to shed heavy New England snow. Because their geometry is so basic, it’s very easy to add on to the basic plan off the sides or back, and second stories are often made more spacious with individual dormer windows or a full dormer along the back. Cape Cods are usually clad in clapboards or cedar shakes.

Advantages: Compact footprint; easy to modify interior for nearly endless combinations of rooms.

  1. The Tudor

Tudor home has the romantic feel of old England thanks to steeply pitched roof lines and mixed exterior finishes. Gables ends typically face front and are decorated with half timbers for an Old World look. Windows may feature classic diamond-shaped panes, while brickwork could be patterned in interesting ways for a decorative touch. Tudor homes provide two full stories of space.

Advantages: Large layouts with private, upstairs bedrooms; a great design for avid gardeners, since these homes look best when surrounded by plants than emulate an English garden.

  1. The Colonial

A classic, two-story Colonial is a fully American house style. There are many variations on the theme, but most have a central entryway flanked by at least two windows on each side. A stairwell often leads up the center of the house to bedrooms on the second floor. Gable ends are often on the sides of the house, though modern roof lines add dormers and unusual peaks for added interest.

Advantages: Full two-story living with a bonus attic; modern versions often spacious entryways and open-concept family areas for dining, cooking and recreation.

No matter what your taste, you’re sure to find that one of these popular house styles fits your life and your neighborhood. The “good bones” of these architectural styles make it possible to add on or modify the general concept to get the dream house you’ve always wanted.