Dutch Colonial house plans share many features common to other Colonial styles: a simple rectangular footprint, a side-gabled roof, and a symmetrical exterior with windows aligned in rows and a central door, often leading to a central hallway with flanking rooms. The primary difference is the shape of the roof: the eaves may flare out, or the roof may have dual pitches. This is called a gambrel roof; it is commonly seen on barns (where it creates extra space in the hay loft). The roof shape is so distinctive that nearly any home displaying a gambrel roof, even more complex Colonial Revival house plans, may be classified as Dutch. In many Dutch Colonial designs, the eaves extend over a full-width front porch.
Historically constructed of brick or stone, modern Dutch home plans may have brick, stone, clapboard, or shingle siding. Dutch floor plans typically open to a central hall, though both traditional and open layouts available. Their solid shape and substantial construction give Dutch house plans the essence of home.