Popular Home Styles in Oahu, Hawaii – A Complete Guide

Hawaii is known for its diverse architectural style and island appeal. With so many architectural influences present on the island, deciding what Hawaii home design to choose for your house can be a challenge. In this article, we’ll discuss the top Hawaiian house plans and the characteristics of each. We’ll also touch on the history behind Hawaii’s architectural diversity and why TAL Builders is the best home builder for your Hawaii home.

History of Oahu Homes & Architecture Over Time

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Oahu, Hawaii has a unique architectural landscape that has continued to evolve over time. It’s a place that celebrates the diversity of different architectural styles, giving Hawaii its own flavour. Many of these home designs are taken from different parts of the world and have created a beautiful architectural landscape that merges borrowed architectural styles with local influences.

There has been much change in Hawaii’s architecture design within the past century. Many of its styles combine traditional elements with contemporary styles that embrace natural, eco-friendly elements and sustainability. Traditional Hawaiian Hale was the first style to emerge and was inspired by missionary plantations and European estates. As time progressed, architectural designs of homes evolved to accommodate the climate in Hawaii. Homes are now built with the goal of maximizing floor plans and using materials that keep homes cool while incorporating elements of natural living.

Popular Hawaii Home Designs

People planning to build a home in Oahu may wonder which style to choose. With so many options, it may be difficult to decide on the best one for you. Many island homes still feature many different types of architectural design. So here are the top five home designs in Hawaii.

This is a popular home style that has been adopted by the island since the beginning of the 20th century. It is heavily influenced by American and European styles that include columns, cornices, and arcs. The “Dickey roof,” a signature feature of designer Charles W. Dickey, is designed specifically for the Hawaii heat.

Traditional Hawaiian house design is a popular choice because it incorporates the natural world in indoor living spaces and features open-air designs, exposed wood, matted bamboo ceilings, and thatched roofs. This home style also often has beautiful wood carvings and is decorated with seashells, feathers, and other natural elements.

 Old Hawaiian plantation homes are a favourite and are inspired by homes on pineapple and sugar plantations. This home style features wooden frames, a high-pitched roof, and rectangular shapes. These types of homes are often elevated a few feet above ground for improved ventilation and protection against flooding. The also often have large porches.

 Coming into prominence in the mid-20th century, this home design focuses on function and incorporates natural materials. The goal is an eco-friendly design that supports eco-conscious living, energy saving, and being one with nature. These designs often feature courtyards and lanais and are often built with local materials, including ohia wood and volcanic stone.

This is one of the newer Hawaiian interior design styles that has emerged in Oahu in recent decades. This home design is not limited to local design ideas and incorporates materials and resources from different parts of the world. It is a celebration of creativity and combines various shapes, textures, and colours.

Custom Home Services at TAL Builders


TAL Builders is a custom home builder in Hawaii offering design-build services. We specialize in creating stunning living spaces and delivering beautiful custom homes to our clients. Our team consists of top-notch designers, architects, and contractors. With over 20 years of experience designing and building custom homes, our team has the expertise to customize your dream home to your liking.

We are an award-winning home builder committed to exceeding your expectations. From custom home building to home additions and home renovations, we believe every square foot of your home should complement your lifestyle. Trust TAL Builders with your custom Oahu home. We’re fully licensed and insured and offer a warranty on workmanship.


The amount of time it takes to build a home in Hawaii ranges from 6 to 24 months. With good planning, your home can be up in just months. The timeline depends on the availability of contractors, materials, subcontractors, the permit approval process, and financial resources.

On average, building a house in Hawaii will cost about $206 per square foot, with the total average being approximately $412,840. This amount does not include expenses like acquiring permits, purchasing land, excavation, and other costs. There are quite a number of factors that will influence the cost of your Hawaii home, including customization.  

There are different building requirements and guidelines in Hawaii compared to those on the mainland. This is why it’s imperative that you work with experienced homebuilders who are qualified and experienced in building homes in Hawaii. This will ensure that you never have to worry about noncompliance with building codes and zoning regulations.

 First, look for inspiration on social media, Pinterest, or magazines and determine what you like. Keep in mind that this is your home, and you don’t have to stick to a particular design like traditional Hawaiian house design; rather, you can incorporate elements of different homes you like. Give yourself permission to change your mind during the brainstorming stage and incorporate design elements you love.

Let’s Start Building Your Custom Home

TAL Builders is your preferred custom home builder in Oahu, Hawaii. We have experience building custom homes of various styles and are happy to help you decide on a Hawaii home design that caters to your personal taste and style. Trust our team with your dream home. Getting started with us is straightforward. Simply contact us and our team will take it from there!

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