A house is a dwelling place for human beings, usually consisting of one or more rooms and a kitchen. Houses vary in size and style from rudimentary huts to complex structures of wood, masonry, or concrete, often equipped with plumbing, electrical wiring, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Houses may be built for the shelter and protection of a family, or to serve as a status symbol and a means of acquiring wealth and social standing. Houses are also used to accommodate family members who cannot support themselves financially, such as orphaned children, the elderly and widowed adults, and people with disabilities.

The term house is also applied to places of worship and to groups of persons, such as fraternities or sororities, that live together as a unit: a sorority house; the lion house at the zoo. House is also a name for a legislative assembly, in which the members represent their constituents: the House of Representatives; the House of Lords; the House of Commons. The term is also applied to the collections of money other than legislative bodies, such as a savings bank or a trust company, and to certain institutions, such as a publishing house or an insurance firm. The term is also used colloquially to refer to a group of persons, such as an association of voters or a political party.

In addition to providing living space, a house can include a garage for a car and other non-living spaces. The area of a house is commonly measured in square feet or meters.

Many families with children prefer to live in houses, as they can provide a safe environment where family members can develop their personalities, attitudes, values, and interests in the company of loved ones. It is in the home that children acquire the habits and traditions of their family, including their language, culture, and religion.

Living in a house also gives people the freedom to customize their living quarters according to their own preferences. They can paint their walls, erect garden sheds, and plant gardens without having to seek permission from the homeowner’s association. They can also raise pets in their homes, which is not permitted in apartments.

In addition, most of the time, houses are located close to schools, public transportation, grocery stores, and hospitals. This convenience can be beneficial to those with young children, who may have difficulty traveling long distances. Moreover, they can build relationships with their neighbors more easily than people who live in apartments, as they will not have to travel far for playdates or errands. This is particularly important for single parents or those who work from home. Nonetheless, the sense of community that is formed in a house can be lessened by the growing distances between families due to technology and advances in communications. This can lead to an imbalance between work life and family life. For example, the ability to communicate and collaborate with colleagues remotely can erode the traditional boundaries between work and home life.