Pueblo-Style Home

What is pueblo style?

Updated March 9, 2023

Pueblo and Pueblo Revival (often used interchangeably) are architectural styles prominent in the American Southwest. Inspired by native Pueblo culture and early Spanish architecture, these simple homes have become a regional expression in places like New Mexico and Arizona. Earthy stucco exteriors, terracotta shingles, heavy wooden doors and enclosed courtyards make these homes a unique style inspired by Southwestern history and its desert surroundings.  

Pueblo-style homes reflect the Southwestern United States’ rich history and natural landscapes. Credit: Raychel Sanner/Unsplash

How did Pueblo Revival architecture become popular?

At the turn of the 19th century and into the 1940s, Pueblo Revival homes became popular in Santa Fe, New Mexico., and eventually in Arizona and other parts of the West. These homes were inspired by southwestern Native American tribes living in cliff dwellings centuries ago. Pueblo people built these cliff dwellings using local materials such as clay, mud and stone bricks. When Spanish settlers arrived in the Southwest, natives added traditional Spanish elements to their homes including arches, columns and brick floors. 

What are the characteristics of a Pueblo Revival home?

Pueblo Revival homes are typically built using traditional and natural materials such as adobe— a sun-dried mix of earth, water and other organic matter. But, stucco and mortar have also become prevalent in newer pueblo-style homes. Shades of simple ivories, sandy-browns and deep ochres are popular exterior hues.

Among the most distinct features of a pueblo-style home are its thick, low-profile and earth-toned walls. Early southwestern natives built their cliff dwellings with thick walls to withstand the fluctuating desert temperatures. The sturdy walls would retain and disperse heat, blocking out high temperatures during the day while keeping the interior warm during cooler nights. Modern home builders have kept these low-profile and rounded walls to pay homage to the region’s architectural history. The color of the clay used to build these homes and walls mattered, too. Lighter-colored materials were used to reflect light as darker clay was used to absorb heat. If you prefer a more insulated home, a Pueblo Revival style is a great option. 

Roof rafters known as “vigas” are also seen frequently in pueblo-style homes. Vigas protrude from the walls near the roofline and are sometimes purely decorative, giving the home a rustic and natural feel. Other characteristics of these homes include rounded exteriors, tile shingles, simple windows, flat roofs and asymmetrical designs. Interior details such as warm colors with bright accents, stone tiles, wooden furniture and ornate rugs reflect the desert landscapes and Native American influences.