What is a Spanish Style Home?

A Spanish style home is perhaps one of the most identifiable and remarkable piece of architecture. Such houses have many easily identifiable characteristics that make them stand out. These characteristics have a deep-rooted history and share remarkable cultural and traditional values.

Not only are Spanish style homes aesthetically pleasing, they’re also built with a purpose. Most Spanish style homes in North America can be found in California, Florida, and Texas. Zumbly offers home scores for all kinds of homes, including Spanish style houses. Read more about this kind of architecture to see if it’s right for you.

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History of Spanish Style Houses

The introduction of Spanish style houses can be dated back to the period of the 1600s to 1800s. This is when Spaniards began to settle in temperate parts of the USA like California and Florida. They constructed houses similar to what they were used to, in styles that they were used to and materials that they were familiar with. This style of architecture was popularized in the 1900s with the Colonial Revival Movement. The influence of the architecture persists to this day and has ingrained itself into the Californian casual style.

The details in these houses, right from the architecture to design, is suitable for the climates in the states they’re popular in and that’s where they function the best.

There’s a reason why this style is popular to this day and the popularity doesn’t seem to be dying down. Here are some characteristics that have popularized Spanish style homes and have given them the unique look that everyone seems to love, admire and replicate.

Characteristics of Spanish Style Houses

Tile Roof

Not only does the red-tile roof serve as a distinguishing factor, but it also serves a purpose. The ‘S’ shaped tiles, which are usually red or maroon in color are arranged in a downward slope. These clay tiles help with keeping the house cool and also measure up against harsh climates. The clay-tiles are durable and last a lifetime while requiring only periodic maintenance.

Many houses also have flat roofs with the same red clay tiles, which require extra attention to drainage.

Arches and Arcades

Arches are an indisputable element of a Spanish style house. Many homes also have an arcade, which is a series of arches held together with columns. The arches are often seen in doorways or passages, while the arcades are often used for sheltered patios or courtyard boundaries.

White Stucco Exterior

White stucco exteriors are a mix of cement, water and sand or lime that are often applied by nad which gives a house an old-world charm. The earthy or white tone is what distinguishes Spanish style homes and gives them a distinct look. White is also said to be a cooler color that keeps the temperature under control as it reflects heat rather than absorb it. The thick walls also absorb the heat and store it in them and slowly release them all over the house during nighttime.

Painted tiles

Patterned and painted tiles decorated with ornate patterns can be found in the interiors of Spanish style homes. Usually, in bright colors, the tiles either have a glossy or matte finish. Walls and floors are often covered with patterned tiles and can also be found in staircases and kitchens.


Ornamental ironwork has a deep-rooted space in Spanish style homes. Wrought iron has made its mark as a unique characteristic that is almost exclusive to Spanish style homes. It often graces stair railings, gates, window grilles, lanterns and can be found in different corners of the house.

Ironwork is also prominent in the small windows of Spanish style homes which replace glass panes as a medium of sealing the windows.

Tower Chimnies

Another characteristic that gives Spanish style homes an old-world edge is tower chimnies. These functional chimnies give Spanish style homes a castle-like appearance and provide the perfect balance between form and function. Not only that, but they also give a sense of dominion to an otherwise one-storeyed architecture.

Guest Casitas

Casitas in Spanish translates to “little houses”. In a Spanish style home, these guest houses serve the purpose of a mother-in-law suite. They are either located in the front or back of the house and have a separate entrance.

Inner Courtyard

What used to be a space for open-cooking, the inner courtyard is now a space used for informal gatherings and events. Regardless, it is still an indisputable part of a Spanish style house and often incorporates shaded areas, which are perfect for summers and serve as a space for setting up fireplaces and barbeques for moderate winters.

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One-Story Houses

Spanish style homes are attributed to be the predecessor of modern ranch style homes. These houses are often one story. While modern Spanish style homes do have multiple floors, one-story houses remain to be the popular choice. The houses with multiple floors are often part of the Spanish Colonial Revival movement.

Use of Indigenous Components

Spanish style homes are known for their use of indigenous components. Right from the clay tile for roofs to the material used for the construction of the house. This varies from location to location. Spanish style homes in the Southwest are made of adobe, while those in Florida often use coquina rock.

The reason why these are used is because of their resistance to heat and harsh temperate climates. The same adobe walls in wetter and colder climates tend to shrink and swell while in warm climates are incredibly long-lasting.


It’s no surprise that the attention to detail when it comes to Spanish style homes is immaculate. There’s no stone left unturned when it comes to bringing together form and functionality along with cultural elements. The houses are built for the environment they’re in and fit perfectly.

In today’s times, inclusion of these characteristics is more of a choice and is done keeping both the aesthetic and functionality in mind. Check out Spanish style homes and more at Zumbly.

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