A house is a single-unit residential building that may range in complexity from a rudimentary hut to a complex structure of wood, masonry, concrete or other material outfitted with plumbing, electrical and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Most conventional modern houses contain one or more bedrooms and bathrooms, a kitchen or cooking area, and a living room. Some larger houses have a recreation room. In traditional agriculture-oriented societies, domestic animals like chickens or cattle may share part of the house with humans.
People may also use the term house to refer to any location that they think of as their home. For example, a person might say that they live in a house, but they could just as easily describe that they live in a tent or on a boat. The word house is more concrete than the term home, which can be any building or any location that a person thinks of as their home.
Houses are usually located on land, but some may be built on water or in a cave. The term house can also be used to refer to an apartment, a condominium or a townhouse.
A House may be a single-story or multi-story structure. Generally, it will have a roof to keep precipitation from entering the dwelling space. Depending on the climate and other environmental conditions, the type of roofing system chosen will vary. Houses are often built with doors to provide security for the inhabitants and to keep out intruders. Some houses are equipped with windows to allow sunlight and fresh air into the living spaces.
Dwellings that qualify as houses are found throughout the world and from every epoch of human existence. Anthropologists and archaeologists study the many different ways that people have adapted the environment to create homes for themselves, both in primitive and advanced societies.
The earliest houses were probably built from materials readily available in the vicinity of where the dwelling was located. Trees were commonly available for the construction of dwellings, and the bark from these trees was used to insulate the walls. Over time, the use of bricks to build houses became more common as technologies evolved to make these materials easier to obtain.
As civilizations developed, house size and shape began to evolve in response to the needs of the population. Today, the average size of a house in the United States has increased substantially since the early 20th century. The choice of whether to own or rent a house is usually made in light of a number of factors, such as the cost of maintaining a house and whether that expense is outweighed by the advantages of ownership. In addition, a person’s lifestyle and work responsibilities may factor into the decision as to whether it makes sense to own or rent a house.