A house is a building that functions as a shelter for people, often also serving as the central hub of a family’s social and cultural life. It can be built in many different shapes and sizes, from tiny houses with just a single room to large mansions. Houses may be occupied by a single family, or they may be shared between multiple families like in boarding houses or group homes. Houses can be located in the middle of cities, in rural areas, or on the edge of the wilderness. People can choose to build their own homes, or they may rent or purchase them from a landlord. Some people prefer to live in apartments, while others choose to live in single-family houses.

A common misconception is that a house refers to a particular dwelling in a suburban neighborhood, but in reality the term can include any structure that serves as shelter. Many different cultures and societies around the world use a variety of methods to identify houses, from simple ways of naming individual buildings to elaborate architectural styles and identifying marks.

Whether they are built of brick or wood, in modern or traditional style, and in urban or rural settings, houses provide an essential sense of security and stability for their inhabitants. They are a place where children grow up, couples start their families, and older people retire to.

In some cultures, a house is considered to be the main source of income, and in this case it would be called a “home” or “family home”. A typical family would have one or more bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and yards. Many large houses in the US and Europe have basements for laundry, storage, and recreation. In poorer countries, small houses can be crowded together as people try to make ends meet and survive. These houses might be made from mud bricks, straw, or second-hand materials that can be used to make repairs as needed.

When architects design houses, they usually begin by doing sketches of the design to convey their ideas to clients. These sketches are known as concepts. They can be as simple as hand-drawn paper sketches, or as professionally illustrated as full-color designs. The idea behind a concept is to help the client visualize how their house will function and look, and how it can fit into their lifestyle and surroundings. From there, the architects can make changes to the concept until it meets the client’s vision and needs. In addition to the functional elements, a house can be designed with aesthetic features that create a relaxing and calming environment. Some examples of these include seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces, natural materials, and a minimalist design.