House vs Home

The difference between HOUSE and HOME

Something that confuses people learning English is the difference between HOUSE and HOME

A HOUSE is the BUILDING where the majority of people live. It normally has bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a bathroom and a dining room.

A HOME is a PLACE where someone lives. Normally it is a house but it can be other things too: a narrowboat (a boat on a canal which someone lives in), a caravan (a house which is similar to a van or truck, which can be driven around) or an apartment (a kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom(s) in a building that has other apartments in it). Home is often associated with a family and/or the place you feel attached to.


Types of Houses

There are many types of houses. One of the most common is a detached house – a house which stands on its own and touches nothing else).

Another type of house is a semi-detached house (called a duplex in the US). This type of house touches another house on one side, and they share the wall between them.

A common house in London is a terrace house (called a row house in the US) which touches another house on both sides.

A fourth type of house is a bungalow (called a ranch house in the US). This type of house only has one floor and doesn’t have any stairs. They are uncommon in the UK because they take up a lot of land but they are more common in the US.


So a HOUSE is a building where many people live and a HOME is the place you live.

Animals have homes but they don’t have houses (apart from dogs – a doghouse is the small wooden house where a dog sleeps outside).
What do we call a fox’s home? A den (the hole in the ground where a fox lives).
And a rabbit? A warren (the maze of tunnels underground where a large group of rabbits live).


Phrases and Idioms associated with Houses and Homes

There are many phrases and idioms associated with houses and homes. Here are some of them:

Home Sweet Home
It means that the best and most comfortable place is your home. When arriving home from a long day at work you might think ‘Ahh… Home Sweet Home’.

Make a house a home
This means to change a house (just a building) into a home (somewhere comfortable where you can relax). People often say that it takes a woman to make a house a home!

To move house
This means to change the house that you live in. For example: ‘We used to live in New York but we moved house. Now we live in Chicago.’

To call somewhere home
A common phrase is ‘So, where do you call home?’. This means where do you come from? or where is your home? You might be living in another city or a foreign country for a while (months or years) though you may not consider it your home, just somewhere where you are living for now.

You might want to see our English Vocabulary notes and games about Parts of the House in English.


Where do you call home?
What type of home do you live in?
What is the most common type of house in your country?


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