A bungalow house is a small one-story house with a covered front porch. It remains one of the hottest-selling house on the market.
A bungalow house is rooted in the idea that simplicity and art can create an affordable home. Bungalows offered the middle-class opportunities to afford stylish and sturdy homes – the crowning achievement of the American dream.
The History of Bungalows
Bungalow houses originated in Bengali, India, in the 1800s as single-story huts.
During the British colonial era, English soldiers instructed Indians to build Bengali-style houses. Bangla (or Bangala) is a Hindustani phrase that means “belonging to Bengal.” The British took the architectural design to their homeland in the late 1800s.
In the early 1900s, bungalow architectural styles became popular in the United States. The houses were modest in height, with covered porches to provide shade from the sun.
Architect brothers Henry Mather Green and Charles Summer Green popularized Bungalow architectural style in the United States. Their designs were featured in Good Housekeeping and House Beautiful magazines.
Bungalows Home Features
Bungalow designs embrace simplicity, artisanship, and the use of natural materials. But since there are multiple Bungalow styles, features vary from home to home.
Here are the most common interior features of Bungalows:
- Center living room layout
- Open floor plans with limited storage space
- Earthy neutral colors
- Built-in cabinets
- Stylish moldings and baseboard trim
Here’s a look at common exterior features of Bungalow-style homes:
- Detailed woodwork on window frames and doors
- Front porch with a pitched roof
- Low-pitched gable or hipped roofs
- Low-profile exterior design
- Sloping roofs that face the street
- Building materials that favor a region’s climate
- Lots of windows
- Raised front steps
- A proportionate front appearance
Top 5 Bungalow House Styles
While a Bungalow is a small, 1 to 1.5-story home, there are variations based on the region. Let’s explore them to learn more about the house style.
- Craftsman bungalow is the classic bungalow most people think of.
- California bungalow is a single-story with a porch and sloping roof.
- Chicago bungalows are single-family homes. While they have a low-pitched roof with overhanging eaves, they also feature a full basement and wide window bay.
- Tudor bungalows feature Tudor home details like half-timbering and pitched roofs.
- Prairie school-style bungalows have dominant horizontal narrow windows.
Bungalow House Traits
The bungalow continues its natural evolution. Let’s look closer at their defining characteristics.
This 1921 American bungalow home in Houston, Texas, was renovated to feature some of the in-demand Craftsman bungalow-style details on the front facade. These include the columns and knee braces as well as the brick construction for the base. Casement windows are also common.
Designed by Marie Flanigan Interiors, the updated space is a renovation dream come true.
A low profile is a distinction of the bungalow house. With a raised floor, front steps are necessary. The porpose was to get all the living space on the main floor, which makes the house plans easier to build, says American Bungalow.
When the modern bungalow house became popular, the American Craftsman movement was gaining steam.
The distinction between a Craftsman bungalow and a generic bungalow is their detail and workmanship. Bungalows possess vernacular architecture characteristics as their designs are influenced according to region. For example, there’s the Chicago bungalow, the Tudor bungalow, and the California bungalow.
Bungalow Sears kit homes 1920 was a generic kit bungalow home. The kits were popular because they were affordable and easy to assemble, just like their A-frame home cousin.
Bungalow Open Floor Plan
The bungalow conjures images of efficient and open floor plans. Interior characteristics of bungalows are small closets and built-in cabinets and shelving.
The smaller size makes these houses ideal for couples, singles, and those who want to downsize. However, the small square footage is also what diminished their popularity when larger homes came into vogue.
Today, homeowners want more efficient homes with a smaller footprint and less maintenance, making it logical that demand is resurging.
Backyard Bungalow Setting
The backyard has plenty of private space, while the porch has a wide section ideal for outdoor seating.
The bungalow kitchen space is quaint and compact. Part of the bungalow experience is how cooking and eating are meant to be shared.
According to Antique Home, low-pitched roofs are characteristic of this architectural style. They can be gabled roofs or hipped roofs. Bungalows feature overhanging eaves with exposed rafters. The larger overhangs shield the house from sunlight and function as porch roofs while allowing for an additional half-story.
By design, the bungalow is the cousin to the A-frame house. It has a triangular knee brace joining the roof to the façade. According to Wentworth Design, the braces suggest the beams support the roof rafters.
Front Porch Design
The most well-known feature of a bungalow is its large porch. A big porch on a small house might seem out of place. But, the Bungalow Company said,
“When built onto a small house, a porch needs to serve as additional living space to justify its use of the limited square footage.”
Today, bungalows connect the indoors with the outdoors. A bungalow’s overhanging eaves make the porch space feel organic.
Bungalows and craftsman-style homes often have a fireplace as the focal point in the living area. Most bungalow homes have flat chimneys located at the side of the house. Elaborate chimneys would interfere with the roofline.
Advantages Of Bungalows
Located on Tybee Island, Savannah, Georgia, this beach town bungalow is named “Surf Puppy.” The 1950s home has been renovated and decorated. As a rental property, it has bungalow characteristics. The open-plan space living room is ideal for a vacation community because it leaves plenty of time for leisure pursuits.
A street lined with bungalow homes offers homeowners a good deal of privacy. Thanks to their low profile, AntiqueHome.org says that well-placed plants and shrubs shield the narrow windows from view. The smaller footprint leaves more space around the sides of the home.
Great For Older Adults
Having all the main space on a single story defines what is a bungalow home and makes it great for older adults or those with mobility issues. Many older people end up living in homes where they can no longer access the second floor, meaning that much of their homes are unused.
More advantages for bungalow style houses:
- Child-Friendly – Families that have young children appreciate having all the communal space on one floor in an open plan. Stairs to a second story can be a hazard for youngsters, so choosing a bungalow layout is an ideal option.
- Room For More – Single-floor bungalows occupy expansive lots. If you want to add an extension, you’ll have plenty of room to do so.
- High Resale Value – Bungalows are in high demand. The home is a wise investment for those who plan on flipping the property in the long term. In today’s market, this has proven to be true among millennials who prefer smaller homes.
Bungalows have their drawbacks. Let’s take a look at a few of them to help you gain a well-rounded understanding of what the homes entail.
What started out as a bungalow with only 850 square feet built in the 40s eventually became a modest home. With this example, from Bay Street Bungalows, adding to a bungalow is a good drawback to have.
The designers turned the abandoned Charlotte, North Carolina house into a prime piece of real estate. On the exterior, the color highlights the contrasting wall cladding.
Bungalows are popular and easy to sell, making them scarce. In today’s housing market, a bungalow is a diamond in the rough.
If you have an opportunity to buy one, do not hesitate. Their house plans carry a premium price.
Bungalows were once considered an affordable housing option, but those days are over. Bungalows are smaller in square footage but more expensive than traditional homes.
Too Much Togetherness
A single-story house from the 70s can be a challenging space for families. Bungalows weren’t made to house multiple people. Similar to the A-frame home, bungalows offer little indoor privacy. Noise, clutter, and a lack of spatial division offer a cramped environment. The bathrooms sit close to the living room and bedrooms.
Just like any home sold by long-time residents, bungalow houses might need major upgrades. People who buy bungalows love them and tend to stay put.
But, not all bungalows meet today’s expectations, even with the natural materials inside.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What makes a house a bungalow?
A bungalow-style house generally is a one or one-and-a-half-story structure. These homes have a low-pitched, sloped roof. Defining characteristics include dormer windows and a front porch or veranda with overhanging eaves. Many have brick construction or stone for the porch and flat chimneys instead of elaborate chimneys.
Bungalows are small in square footage compared to the average home. They are common in urban areas and not as popular in rural areas. The interiors typically include lots of natural materials like wood or stone.
What is the difference between bungalow and craftsman home?
Most people use “craftsman” and “bungalow” interchangeably but there is a difference. The term “Craftsman” relates to the Arts and Crafts movement. Craftsman is also an interior style as well as an architectural style. Otherwise, the term bungalow describes the structure and layout in general
Why is it called a bungalow?
The word bungalow comes from India. It’s rooted in a Hindustani word meaning “a house in the Bengali style.” It became common in English during the era of British rule over India.
Are bungalows hard to sell?
True bungalows are very popular and will hold or increase their value. This is because older homeowners are looking to downsize and first-time homebuyers love them. On the other hand, the tide could turn if downsizing becomes less popular and bungalow floor plans lose popularity.