InSite | How Britain’s Homes Have Changed Over Time

How Britain’s Homes Have Changed Over Time


As the saying goes, there’s no place like home. Over the past 500 years, Britain’s homes have changed drastically, as a result of the ever-changing architectural styles. Much like fashion choices, many home styles and appearances have come and gone. In this blog, we go through the timeline of Britain’s homes, starting with the Tudor period and ending with today’s top housing desires. To learn more about the home styles that reside in our streets and how past eras have had an effect the desired styles, just continue reading.  


  • 1485 – 1560


During this time, the Tudor architectural period takes place, largely defined by Henry VII’s reign. Houses were small in scale and fairly basic, with thatched roofs and exposed timber frames. During the 15th century, not many people could afford glass and windows were very rare.


  • Early 1600s


This was known as the Stuart Period. The Stuart Kings were open to architectural fashions and trends from Europe, therefore, from 1660 onwards, once the Royal Family embraced new styles, timber was swapped for brick and a number of bedrooms were added to a second floor.


  • Early 1700s


In 1714, Georgian design started to come into play, as middle-class members of Britain wanted something more innovative. During this time, architectural symmetry became a must, based on the classic architecture of Greece and Rome. To ensure proportion and balance, simple mathematical ratios were used to determine the height of a window in relation to its width, or the shape of a room.


  • 1839 – 1900


Victorian homes of this era were design asymmetrically, with brick being the material of choice. Families who were growing in both size and wealth would often choose to show their status through lavish decorations, ornate designs, and colourful brickwork. Even to this day, this era is seen as pivotal in terms of British architecture. Although this is the case, at the time, most of the population lived in small cottages or houses. 


  • 1880 – 1900


The houses within this time period were famous for the Queen Anne Style, which were mostly popular in London, featuring windows with glazing bars and, commonly, terracotta tiles and panels, as well as rich red brickwork.


  • 1900 – 1918


During this time, Edwardian homes became popular. Although these homes were both colourful and decorative, with intricate carvings and patterns, they were less ornate in comparison to Victorian architecture. Interiors became much lighter, brighter and cleaner, as a result of electric lighting.


  • 1919


After the First World War, housing for working class families became a government issue. In 1919, Christopher Addison passed the Housing Act and, afterwards, homes were designed to allow for lots of natural light. Properties were also often organised along avenues, crescents, and cul-de-sacs.


  • 1918 – 1939


At this time, semi-detached homes started to increase in popularity, being one of the most common housing styles you see in Britain today. Houses of this type are recognised by their hipped roofs and curved bay windows.


  • 1920 – 1940


The era of the Art Deco homes. At this time, architects were experimental with new materials and ideas, designing homes to welcome sunlight, provide open interiors, and include flat roofs, white walls, and Egyptian style motifs.


  • 1940s


After the Second World War, materials were running low and, as a result of the bombings, thousands of homes needed to be rebuilt. As a result, houses were mass produced in factories and set up on-site to save time.


  • 1970s


In the 1960s and 70s, affordable terraced homes became popular, coming with central heating and, in some cases, a garage. The exterior of these terraces included clad, with traditional hanging tiles and weatherboarding.


  • 1990s


By this time, many Britons wanted their homes to have traditional features. As a result, many new-builds reflected older styles, built with mock timber framing, rendered walls, and cottage features. Features, such as double-glazing and insulation were also coming as standard during this time period.


  • Present Day


Today, modernist architecture is making a comeback, with eco-friendly and minimalist living being sought after. As a result, many of today’s homes are built with solar panels, open plan interiors, and lots of glass. Top priorities for home-buyers include energy efficient homes, a minimum need for home maintenance, and off-road parking options.