Colonial Revival Home Architecture and Design Features

Ornate and elaborate front entry is typical of colonial revival home architecture.

Colonial Revival homes gained popularity in the late 1800s and remained popular through the mid 1900s.

Colonial Revival architecture was heavily influenced by earlier Georgian Colonials and Federal style homes.

This style is distinguished from the original Georgian Colonials by the elaborate front door, clustering of windows into groups, and addition of sun rooms or porches on the side of the home.

These homes were significantly different from the Victorian homes of that era.

They were much less ornate but still integrated classic elements.

Some subtypes of Colonial Revival design include the Dutch Colonial, Garrison Colonial, Spanish Colonial, and Saltbox Colonial.

They are characterized by a symmetrical rectangular layout and usually have two to three stories.

Colonial Revival Exterior Design Features:

  • A gable roof, sometimes accented with dormer windows
  • Brick and wood siding are common exterior materials
  • Double hung windows with shutters or decorative trim
  • Front door is often framed with a portico, pediment, and/or pillars
  • Doors are often paneled and flanked by sidelights

Stately and solid, the colonial home makes use of dormer windows, depending on the home and subtype of colonial style chosen.

Colonial Revival Interior Décor Features:

  • Common interior architectural details:
    • Crown molding
    • Dado board
    • Chair rails
  • Floor plan is generally arranged around a central entry hall
  • A fireplace or multiple fireplaces are common
  • Living areas are located on the first floor and bedrooms on the second
  • Linoleum, ceramic and wood are the most common flooring options
  • Laminate, granite, and soapstone countertops are most common in the kitchen
  • Cabinets are usually raised, curved panels which are either stained or painted. Cherry, oak and maple are common materials

Colonial Revival Decorating Suggestions:

  • Make the most of tall windows and ceilings by hanging ornate curtains up near the ceiling. Brocade is an attractive and historically accurate choice.
  • Colonial Revival homes provide a terrific backdrop to display and/or use antique furnishings. Hang a collection of china or hats on the wall or stack vintage suitcases as a unique side table. And if antique furniture is on your wish list but outside of your price range, consider reproductions. They’re particularly handy if you want to be able to use the furniture without worrying about damaging it.
  • The presence of a sunroom or side porch is an invitation to garden, and in fact, Colonial Revival gardening is a style onto its own. Consider implementing this semi-formal garden style edged with boxwood to make the most of your outdoor views.
  • Some decorating schemes that work particularly well with Colonial Revival architectural design include:
    • Colonial décor
    • French Country décor
  • Arts and Crafts style

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