Queen Anne houses are distinguished by irregularity in overall shape and in wall surface texture. The asymmetrical form of the Queen Anne house is emphasized by bays, overhangs, cantilevered wall extensions, cutaway bays, and a round or polygonal tower. Irregularity in wall surface is achieved through the use of different types of wall cladding. In wood houses, decorative wood shingles in gables or in horizontal bands are combined with clapboard. Masonry houses feature patterned brickwork and inset panels of terra-cotta or stone.
Most Queen Anne houses have a partial or full-façade porch, which may extend along one or both side walls. Spindlework detailing is found on many Queen Anne houses, in porch balustrades, in friezes suspended from the porch ceiling, on gables, and under wall overhangs.