Defining Style: Georgian

by Jeff Smith

The strictly symmetrical Georgian style migrated from England and became prominent in Colonial America before the Revolutionary War. Its simple rectangular shape typically is topped with a hipped or gabled roof with minimal overhang. The Georgian style is largely distinguished by symmetrical rows of single windows, often with a row of five windows above a row of four plus a centered door. This configuration sparked a familiar term of “five, four and a door.” Its paneled front door often has a decorative crown flanked by pilasters. Another defining feature is a cornice frequently embellished with dentil or other decorative molding. Clapboard is a common choice of siding profile for the style’s typically wide expanse of exterior walls.


Georgian houses frequently feature clapboard as the dominant exterior cladding. Durable vinyl siding clapboard comes in a variety of configurations including 3″ to 8″ reveals. Beaded and Dutchlap styles are also used.


Cladding shapes are not typical for the Georgian style. In rare cases, shakes or shingles may be found as the primary exterior cladding.


Traditionally, a light to medium palette is used. Modern variations use deeper colors, including reds, greens and browns. Dark gray or blue may also be used in the rare instances of shake or shingle cladding. Among a wide spectrum, vinyl siding offers more than 350 colors.

Trim and Accessories:

A wide selection of attractive trim and accessories are available for use with vinyl and other polymeric siding. Options suited for Georgian style include a heavy cornice with crown or dentil molding on fascia or frieze [or both]; decorative front door surrounds with triangular or broken pediments and pilasters; window crowns or pediments and lineals; shutters; band boards at foundation; beaded soffit; and roof balustrade.

Customizing Style:

Designers are using vinyl and other polymeric siding, trim and accessories to achieve the clean lines inspired by the Georgian style. Vinyl siding enables attractive recreations of historic looks, with a modern advantage of virtually carefree durability.

Topics: design   performance