5 Most Popular D.C. Architectural Styles


From traditional colonials to neoclassical monuments, here are five of the most popular architectural styles you’ll find in Washington, D.C.

The nation’s capital reflects over 200 hundred years of home design in America. From traditional colonials to neoclassical monuments, here are five of the most popular architectural styles you’ll find in Washington, D.C.


When imagining American architecture, American Colonial is likely one of the first styles that comes to mind. These picturesque homes are recognizable by their flat front facade with symmetrical windows, centered doors, and often brick finishes. Some of D.C.’s oldest colonial homes date back to the mid-18th century. No matter where you turn, every corner in Washington is spotted with these charming houses, but the northwest quadrant of the city is especially saturated with colonial-style architecture.


Very prominent in Georgetown, this boxy, rectangular style is named after the Federalist Era, making it one of the earliest national styles. Mostly built between 1785 and 1815, Federal homes are inspired by Roman classicism and characterized by plainer, smoother surfaces with subtler details. Both ellipses and bald eagles are commonly integrated into the design.


Like Colonial homes, Italianate homes can be found throughout the entire city; however, many are concentrated around the downtown areas and Capitol Hill. This architectural style is part of the Classical movement and reached the peak of its popularity in the 19th century. Unlike the clean lines of other styles, Italianate houses have sloping roofs and decorative brackets. The exteriors are comprised of brick, stone, or stucco.

Second Empire

Second Empire architecture stems from French design and was most common in the U.S. between 1865 and 1900. With mansard roofs, pavilions, and massing, Second Empire homes tend to be rather large. Ranging from highly ornamented to more on the plain side, there isn’t one particular decorative feature than reigns supreme when it comes to these homes, which are prevalent in the downtown areas of the city.

Mid-Century Modern

Evident by its name, Mid-Century Modern homes are most frequently found in areas that have been developed in the past 70 years. Taking on a contemporary (and sometimes even a seemingly futuristic aesthetic), Mid-Century Modern architecture tends to be minimalistic and angular with a focus on nature.

Whether you’re hunting for something classic or a striking new take on home design, the District of Columbia has something incredible to offer. If you’re interested in purchasing Washington, D.C., real estate, contact me today for more information.


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