11 Beautiful Types of Houses in Olden Days

There are many types of modern houses but what about homes in the olden days? What did they look like? Here are 20 traditional housing types from around the world with name, picture, and definition (wherever possible). Most of these houses can still be found in different countries today!

A Honai

Thatched Cottages

Thatched cottages are traditional English houses that became popular and are still seen in the rural areas. Straw, palm fronds, reeds, or some other dried plant material were used to create the roof of the house.


A traditional yurt (also known as ger) is a movable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling place for nomadic people.


A longhouse or long house is a type of long, proportionately narrow, single-room house. Many longhouses were built using timber and were the earliest form of a permanent building in many cultures including Asia, Europe, and North America.


These are traditional Indonesian homes that can still be found in some parts of the islands today. Honai is built of wooden slats and has thatched roofs. It is usually narrow and has no windows which help keep the inside warm.

Siheyuan House

A siheyuan is a traditional type of home that was commonly found throughout China. It was most popular in Beijing and rural Shanxi. The typical design is four buildings, arranged in a rectangular shape, with a courtyard or garden in the center.

Adobe Houses

Adobe is a building material made from earth and organic material. It is also known as mudbrick. They were mostly constructed in Mexico and the southern United States. However, the use of similar techniques to construct houses has also been used in Asia, South America, and parts of Europe.

The citadel of Bam, Iran, or Arg-é Bam, in Kerman Province, Iran: The world's largest adobe structure, dating to at least 500 BC.
The citadel of Bam, Iran, or Arg-é Bam, in Kerman Province, Iran: The world’s largest adobe structure, dating to at least 500 BC

Bamboo Houses

Many houses in Thailand are still made of wood and bamboo with posts raising them off the ground. On the top, there is a steep gabled roof.

Log House

This was the most common kind of house in Nothern Europe where lumber was plentiful. A log house features horizontal logs fit together securely at the corners with notches.

Turf Houses

Icelandic turf houses were built due to the challenging climate. These houses provided superior insulation compared to buildings solely made of wood or stone, and the relative difficulty in obtaining other construction materials in sufficient quantities. 

Modern Design (click image for more info)

The traditional Icelandic turf house had a large foundation made of flat stones and a wooden frame to hold the weight of the turf. The floor of a turf house was covered with wood, stone or earth depending on the purpose. They also featured grassy roofs.

Icelandic Turf Houses


An izba is a traditional Russian countryside abode. Usually, it is a log house that forms the living quarters of a typical Russian farmstead.

Rock-cut Architecture

Rock-cut architecture is where solid rock is excavated (in its natural location) to create structures, buildings, and sculpture. The ancient Egyptians constructed the Great Temple of Ramses II using this method.

Great Temple of Ramses II

Depending on where you are in the world, housing types can look different or share similarities. Modern housing structures are quickly erasing the houses of ancient times in urban areas, however, in the countryside and remote areas of some places you can still see traditional homes and lodging. There are even places where these kinds of buildings are protected by law so they’ll be there for future generations to see.