The style of pillar that you choose for your front porch will make a big difference in first impressions of your home. It's important to match the pillars to the rest of the house; grand, neoclassical columns on the front of a bungalow would look extremely out of place. For any type of house, there is a style of porch pillar that will look appropriate.
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Craftsman-style pillars are appropriate for arts and crafts-style homes and bungalows from the 1920s and 1930s. These pillars are characterised by a tapered shape that is narrower at the top than at the bottom, and by profiled trim that accents the rectangularity and straightforward design of the pillars. The Craftsman style, very popular in the early 20th century, developed as a reaction to what was seen as the excessive ornateness and decoration of Victorian architecture. Craftsman homes use a minimum of applied decoration, relying on the visually pleasing composition of the building's structure to create its style.
The Tuscan style originated in Tuscany, a part of Italy that is famous for its beautiful vernacular architecture. Tuscan columns, like Craftsman columns, are narrower at the top than at the bottom, giving a porch a solid and anchored appearance. Unlike Craftsman columns, which are always square, Tuscan columns are turned on a lathe to create a tapered cylindrical shape. The distinctive look of turned Tuscan columns can be combined with terra cotta roof tiles and stucco siding to create an appealing Mediterranean feel.
Neoclassical porch columns have become synonymous with Southern plantations in the United States. Neoclassical columns are usually two or more stories tall, arrayed in a line across the front of the building's facade. Monolithic, painted white and either smooth surfaced or punctuated by fluting, neoclassical columns are a conscious homage to the architecture of ancient Greece. Neoclassical architecture experienced a revival in the United States in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as an architectural reflection of the new country's belief in democratic principles.
Minimalist columns can be seen on stripped-down examples of modern architecture as a statement, as well as on simple bungalows as a result of financial limitations. A minimalist porch column may consist of a simple square post with no decoration whatsoever, its purpose solely to support the roof, not to add to the aesthetics or composition of the building.
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