The old village was designated a conservation area in 1968.
Before this time, Houston was the site of a Roman fort, on Barochan Hill to the north-east of the village. A Bronze Age burial site was unearthed in South Mound, part of the western edge of the village.
The village's mercat cross has a shaft dating back to the 14th century. It is at a peculiar angle as it incorporates a large sundial and was moved from its original site on Main Street. The object has become something of a symbol for the village
In July 2007, Houston was featured prominently in news reports around the United Kingdom after it was discovered that inhabitants of a house in the village were linked to the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack of June 30.
Houston, at one time, was served by two railway lines, with two stations both named Houston. The nearest station to Houston itself, Houston and Crosslee Station, which opened in 1868, was on the Glasgow and South Western Railway line. The line originally running between Glasgow St Enoch station and Greenock Princes Pier, via Paisley Canal station. It was later known as the Paisley Canal Railway line and at the time of its closure in 1986, ran between Glasgow Central station and Kilmacolm. The line was reopened in 1990 between Glasgow Central Station and Paisley Canal Station; and it may reach Houston and Kilmacolm again by 2020.
The earlier Houston station, which opened in March 1841, was on the Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway (Caledonian Railway) line, at Houston Road, near the south-southeast corner of ROF Bishopton. The station being roughly midway between Paisley St James railway station and Bishopton railway station on what is now the Inverclyde Line. The line is still open but Houston station has long been closed.
Neither of the stations were actually within the village itself, but in the rural areas surrounding it.
With the decline of significance of the civil parish, this area has largely become part of the Houston Community Council area The community council is chiefly a consultative body, forming a focus for local views, and has no statutory powers of its own.
Houston and its parish form part of the Renfrewshire council area. For the 2007 local authority elections in Scotland, Houston was entered into a new four-councillor ward, Ward 9, alongside Crosslee and the town of Linwood (Ward 9).
St. Fillan's Roman Catholic Church on Main Street was established in 1841 on a property called "Four Windings" now remembered in the name of an adjacent street.
Some remains of the 16th century Houston Castle still exist largely in the grounds of the newer Houston House. The area sits beside the Houston and Killellan Kirk, the Parish's only Church of Scotland church. It is possible that Lord Darnley, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots resided at the castle for some years.
The Barochan Cross, an 11 ft tall Celtic structure carved by the Knights Templar, was to be found on the hill to the north of the village. It has now been moved to Paisley Abbey to keep it from further exposure to the elements, although a war memorial also of a Celtic cross design lies slightly south of its former position.
There were two ancient wells in Houston considered to have healing powers. St Fillan's Well no longer exists, but St Peter's Well remains and gives its name to a locally brewed ale.
Roman Catholic pupils from St. Fillan's Primary School can transfer for secondary education to St. Benedict's High School, Linwood, but some choose to go to Gryffe High.
The 'old schoolhouse' at the north end of Main Street in the old village centre has been converted into bed and breakfast accommodation and the former school at the south end of Main Street now exists as a community building known as the Carrick Centre.
A process of renovation on both Gryffe High School and Houston Primary School was completed in the second half of 2007.