Early colonial homes

The type of home that was built in the early colonial times depended on different things, such as what kind of resources were available at the time and how rich the families were.


Most of the first homes in the colonies were small and were built from wood.  They would have wood frames, and then they would be held together by clay and mud.  The colonists would collect dirt and grass and make it into a thick mixture with water, and this would make the clay.

The roof would be made from wood and from dry grass to try to keep the rain out, but the roof would often leak.

The floors of these homes were made out of dirt, and instead of windows, the colonists would use paper to cover the windows to keep some of the wind out.

Most of the earlier homes were one-room houses, and they were called wattle and daub houses because of the materials used to make them.

Inside the Home

Inside of the homes was usually a fireplace.  This fireplace was used not only to keep the house warm, but it was used for cooking as well.

Even though the richer families would have more furniture, most of the homes did not have a lot of furniture.  Most of the homes only had a small table, a bench or two, some chests that were used to put stuff in, and a bed.

The bed was usually made of straw and sat on the floor and not on a frame like we have today.

Homes on the Plantation

As the cities and colonies got bigger, there were bigger homes that were built.  Many of these bigger homes were built on plantations.

The plantations were large farms where were owned by the wealthy or the gentry class.  These plantations were used to grow a large number of crops, and then the farmers would sell the crops, and so they had a lot of money coming in.

The homes that were built on the plantations were much bigger.  These homes had many different rooms, and sometimes the rooms were used for certain things such as a kitchen to cook in and a dining room just to eat in.

The homes had windows that were made of glass, fireplaces to keep individual rooms warm and a lot of furniture.

These homes were built the way that the homeowner wanted, and many of them followed the English styles.  Some of the homes were styled like Dutch, English, German, and Spanish homes.

Homes in the City

Many of the homes in the cities were large, like the plantation homes, but most of these homes did not have a lot of outside land around them.

The city homes were large and would have different rooms.  Many of these homes had wood floors, and they would put rugs on the floor.

These homeowners were rich and were able to have much more furniture, and they even had beds that sat on frames and mattresses that were made of feathers.

Some of the city homes had more than one floor.


Most of the people that lived in the colonial times were not super-rich and had homes that might have one or two small rooms, but some of the really rich people lived there too, and their homes were very large.

The governor, for example, had a palace that was found in Virginia.  This house had three different stories and was over 10,000 square feet.  Most homes today do not have that many square feet.

The governor was so wealthy that he had more than 20 different indentured servants and slaves that helped to keep the house clean.

Most people did not own mansions during this time.

More Facts About Early Colonial Homes:

  • One famous kind of house was called a Georgian Colonial Home.  This was named after George III of England.
  • The Georgian home was found in many of the colonies and was a rectangle home.
  • Many of the richer homes were built with a brick instead of wood.
  • Some homes had a roof that was slanted, and it was called a saltbox home because it looked like a box that the colonists kept their salt in.
  • Log cabins were sometimes built because they were fast and easy to build.
  • The homes in early colonial times were nice, but they had no electricity or running water in the homes yet.

What Did You Learn?

What did the poorer class and meddling class sometimes live in?
The poorer and the meddling class often lived in one or two-room homes.

How were the poor and middling class homes different than the gentry homes?
The gentry homes had many rooms and sometimes many different levels.  They also had a lot of things in their homes,

What were some things that the richer people had in their homes?
The richer colonists had real beds, nice furniture, rugs, wood floors, and more.

What were things that would be found in a poor or meddling class home?
The poor and middling class homes had dirt floors, a fireplace, and a bed that was made of straw.

What was a popular home in the early colonial times?
One of the popular types of homes in the early colonial times was the Georgian Colonial.