The Most Popular House Designs in the Philippines

Architecture in the Philippines

It is easy to find a home suited for almost any lifestyle and budget, or choosing to build a completely new home with one of the following popular designs:

  1.     Townhouse
  2.     Minimalist
  3.     Bungalow
  4.     Mediterranean
  5.     Country-Style
  6.     Mid-Century Modern
  7.     Contemporary

House design in the Philippines has experienced a drastic change. It all began with the traditional bahay kubo that has become a symbol of our culture. The pre-colonial houses in the country were structured using plant materials, including bamboo. 

But when the Spaniards arrived in the country, Filipinos saw a transition to bahay na bato, which had colonial influence. It was an upgrade from the traditional nipa hut as an additional floor was introduced. The foundation was made out of stone blocks or bricks, while the upper floor retained the nipa hut appearance. The upper floor was meant to promote ventilation inside the house since the Philippines has a tropical climate most of the year. 

Since then, new materials and other countries have influenced house design in the Philippines, and homes were built with tropical architecture to address weather-related problems that may occur due to the country’s climate. The economic condition also plays a vital role in developing house designs in the country. It can be highly observed through the homes of affluent families living in upscale gated communities or through celebrity homes posted on social media.

Tumultuous as its current political landscape may be, the Philippines continues to have one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia despite a presently struggling foreign exchange rate. In fact, the Philippine economy is the 10th largest in Asia, with a GDP by purchasing power parity that ranked 18th in the world as estimated in 2021.

Like in most other countries, house design in the Philippines reflects its history and culture, as well as the aforementioned financial advances experienced by Filipinos. A key contributor to the economy, the local real estate market is one of the most competitive in Asia. 

In the Philippines, buyers can invest in two types of real estate properties, either a house and lot or a condominium unit. Houses and lots are usually found in villages or subdivisions. They can be classified into four main types: single-detached, single-attached, duplex, and townhouses. 

When building your dream home, you should consider the different types of house designs before landing on a specific one. The facade of your home will dictate the overall theme of your home, especially the interior design. The good news is housing here is relatively low priced, making it reasonably easy to find a home suited for almost any lifestyle and budget or choose to build an entirely new home with one of the following popular designs.


Townhouse The Most Popular House Designs in the Philippines
Townhouse design in the Philippines

Commonly known in the West as terraced houses or row houses, the townhouses are often inaccurately referred to as row houses or door apartments here in the Philippines. Townhouses are typical in urban areas because it requires relatively smaller lot areas (per unit) compared to traditional houses and lots, making them the most viable option for property-seekers with budgets that are not enough for large properties but would prefer a bigger space than a condominium unit.

Along with being more economical, townhouses are also popular rental properties, with many starting families often opting to buy or lease townhouses before moving into more expansive properties later on. The livability of townhouses has been furthered by their commonly prominently featured in subdivisions with central locations and featuring a myriad of amenities. Despite the minimal space, you still get a personal garage to safely house your car.


Minimalist The Most Popular House Designs in the Philippines
A minimalist house design in the Philippines

Modern minimalist homes have become popular in the Philippines, especially in the past decade. The design typically features a boxy-type structure with floor-length glass walls replacing the typical brick stones. This allows more light to enter the home, giving the illusion of more space. 

The term “minimalism” was coined for home design during the late 1960s. It was mainly used to describe architecture with natural and pared-down design elements highlighted by simple silhouettes and lines. Minimalist homes have gained popularity over the years in the Philippines, likely due to how it fuses perfectly with our traditional architecture with its color palette of earthy tones like rich browns, ecru, and brassy colors.

In addition to this, minimalism is also literal in nature, as the style also aims to make the most of limited space, addressing typical residential problems like clutter and having to make do with smaller-than-average spaces like that in costly and densely populated areas like Metro Manila.


Bungalow The Most Popular House Designs in the Philippines
A bungalow house design in the Philippines

“Bungalow” comes from a Bengali term that roughly translates to “house in the Bengal style.” The absence of a second floor characterizes this, or it is built into a sloping roof in that the home looks like it has one-and-a-half floors. Quite common in gated communities in the Philippines, many old houses in Makati’s famed exclusive villages were built as such and are often referred to as sprawling bungalows because of their size.

Bungalows are popular among retirees and persons with disabilities as the home’s low design and all living areas being all in one area make it easy to move around. The payak, or simple, lifestyle embodied by bungalows and often associated with the traditional bahay kubo, is one that indeed speaks to most Filipinos.


Mediterranean The Most Popular House Designs in the Philippines
A Mediterranean house design in the Philippines

Heavily influenced by the region from which the home design was named, Mediterranean-style home designs have gained popularity over the years in upmarket resorts and beach-side properties. It has also been getting quite popular with homebuilders and architects because of the refreshing vibe this house design exudes, especially if it is built in the middle of a busy city.

Mediterranean-style houses are commonly characterized by wrought-iron balconies, terracotta exteriors, heavy wooden doors, tegola stone roofs, and colorful tiles as accents. While the style is typical in some of the most upscale neighborhoods in the Philippines, it allows for each property to be unique in its own right as it is hardly a cookie-cutter-type house design.

Country Style

Country style The Most Popular House Designs in the Philippines
A country style house design in the Philippines

Country-style homes evoke an understated charm reminiscent of cottage-style houses in Old America, which were influenced by 18th-century European colonists. It has since been deeply ingrained in American architecture and is now a classic template for homes in the United States.

In the Philippines, country themes in cafés, coffee shops, and other commercial spaces have recently become popular. Homebuilders have not been far behind, favoring the design and incorporating shabby chic or vintage elements into the overall style of the property. On the other hand, some homeowners have taken to the country style as it furthers their inclination for antiques and rustic furnishings.

Mid-Century Modern

Alt-text: Mid century modern The Most Popular House Designs in the Philippines
A Mid-century Modern house design in the Philippines

Although a contrast to the country style, the mid-century modern design is another concept Filipinos adopted from American architecture. This design flourished from the 1940s, which was an era when two new materials utilized in this type of house design were introduced: steel and plywood.

Marked by simplistic and symmetrical patterns (though it should not be confused with minimalism), mid-century modern design is marked by open spaces, huge glass windows, and the flawless incorporation of nature. The design, like the Mediterranean-style homes, has seen a notable increase in popularity in posh subdivisions and upscale gated communities, especially in newly developed communities outside Metro Manila.

There is a common interchange that occurs between modern and contemporary house designs. Although both feature very similar architectural styles, contemporary houses make use of sustainable and non-toxic materials with the goal of energy efficiency


Sample exterior of a contemporary house in the Philippines
Contemporary house design in the Philippines. Photo from Pinoyeplans

The term “contemporary” now refers to a broad spectrum of recent modern home designs emphasizing clean, geometric lines and basic forms. The modern architecture reflects inventiveness and energy. Numerous modern homes have open floor layouts, a lot of glass, and creative features. The exteriors of contemporary homes frequently have a dynamic combination of contrasting materials and textures, flat or low-pitched roofs, and exposed roof beams, without costly ornamentation and pointless detail.

After a long time of dreaming of building your own house, you finally get the chance to select a design that fits your family’s needs, lifestyle, and personality. Surely, the house can’t only be stylish but must also be practical and livable. As the owner, your primary role will be to make the house feel like home.

Main image via Deposit Photos


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