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Houses are building structures with the main function of being a home for an individual, family, multiple families, or a community. The structures can range between simple dwellings, such as nomadic tribe huts to shacks, to larger complex structures made from bricks, wood, concrete, among other materials. Complex structures can include electric, plumbing and ventilation features. Houses use various types of roofing systems to maintain structure and resist precipitation, rain, and other causes of wetness to enter the living space.

Depending on the structure, houses can have locks or doors which secure the living area while protecting the contents and inhabitants from trespassers or burglars. The majority of conventional modern houses within Western cultures often have a single bedroom or multiple bedrooms, and can have many bathrooms, along with a living area and kitchen for preparing food. In addition, a house could have a dining room for the purpose of eating a prepared meal, which can be a separate room or attached to another room. In North America, some larger houses may offer a recreation room as well.

Within more traditional societies that are agriculture-oriented domesticate animals, such as chicken to cattle or other livestock, which could also share living space with humans. Units are socially referred to as a household.

A household is typically a family, but the term can be used to describe various types of households, including roommates or a social group, as well as individuals. Meanwhile, there are houses that only have enough space for a single family, or smaller group of people. Larger houses are referred to commonly as row houses or townhouses, and can have enough space for multiple families within the same structure. Houses may or may not have a separate or attached building, such as a storage shed a garage for vehicle parking. Houses can have a front and/or back yard, serving as extra space for residents to eat, play and relax.


The term House is an English word origination from Old English “hus”, which means “shelter, dwelling, house, home”. This term was derived from Proto-Germanic “husan”, which has no known origination. In addition, an early Proto-Semitic hieroglyphic symbol uses the letter ‘B’ as depicting a house, which became known as the ‘bet’, ‘bayt’, or ‘beth’ symbol between languages, and eventually became the Greek letter for “beta” prior to being used by Romans.

Elements of a House

A house begins with a layout, often referred to as a blueprint today. Architects commonly design rooms based on the needs and desires of those that will be living in the space. Interior design is part of this goal, which has increased in popularity over recent decades. In addition, the Chinese method of Feng shui, a term for moving houses based around certain factors as micro-climates and rain, has expanded and reached a larger scope that includes the interior space design, with the purpose of promoting a living space that is harmonious for those living there. However, there is no effects been proven to come from Feng shui, many still enjoy this approach. Furthermore, Feng shui may be viewed as the dwellings ‘aura’, which can increase the real estate sales by having what is known as an ‘indoor-outdoor flow’.

In the United States, a house’s sq. footage is the reported ‘living space’ available, excluding that of non-living areas, such as a garage. Whereas, in Europe, the term ‘square metres’ is used for reporting the space of walls that enclose a house, which includes non-living spaces and garages that are attached. In addition, a house’s square footage can be impacted by the number of floors it has.


Today, there are various house designs that include multiple large sized rooms which have a specialized function, while a house can have many smaller rooms for different purposes. These different sections can include the eating area, living area, sleeping area, along with combined or separate lavatory and washing areas. Meanwhile. Larger properties can provide featured rooms, including indoor pool, spa room, or an indoor basketball court among other non-essential sections.

Within traditional societies that are agriculture-oriented, domesticated animals, such as chickens and hens, to larger livestock such as cattle may commonly share a section of a house with the human inhabitants.

Today, the majority of conventional modern style houses are constructed with at least one bathroom, one bedroom, a living area, and kitchen. During early U.S history, a ‘foursquare’ house was a commonly built style with a staircase within the house’s center, being surrounded by four rooms, being connected to other parts of the house, such as a garage in more recent decades.

Interior History

When it comes to the history of interiors of a house, little is known of the earliest origins, but it may be traced as far back to the simplest form of shelter. Vitruvius, the Roman architect had theories which claim the initial forms of architecture as being a timber frame of branches, with a mud finish commonly known as ‘primitive hut’ finish. Later, it was stated by Philip Tabor that Dutch houses in the 17th century contributed to the foundation of modern houses today.

During the Middle Ages, various events and activities where facilitated by Manor Houses. This style of house was constructed to accommodate a number of people, including the inhabiting family and their relatives, servants, employees and guests. During this time, lifestyles were greatly communal, while areas were enforced with customs, such as the Great Hall for dining, meetings, or the Solar which was for sleeping quarters for multiple people.

Interconnecting Rooms

Originating during the 15th to 16th century, the connectivity of rooms was introduced by the Italian Renaissance Palazzo.


The earliest example of segregated rooms with enhancements towards privacy dates back to 1597, where a Beaufort House was constructed in Chelsea, designed by John Thorpe, an English architect.

Employment Free House

By the 17th Century, smaller Dutch style houses were being built to accommodate up to 4 to 5 inhabitants, as ‘self-reliance’ was increasing in popularity, eliminating the need of additional space for employees and servants.