Last Updated on: 14th June 2024, 01:37 am

The term “bungalow” generally describes a compact, one-story residence with distinct features such as a low-pitched roof and a large front porch. Bungalows offer an appealing Craftsman style within their interior through built-ins like cabinets and shelving1. These homes are prevalent throughout the United States, maintaining popularity due to their affordability, unique characteristics, and potential for expansions2. Historically, bungalow houses trace back to the mid-17th century in the Bengal region and made their journey to America by the early 20th century, initially gaining traction in California1. The architectural style of bungalows marries form with function, housing open floor plans, front porches, and a connection with urban areas1. Despite being smaller in size, bungalows provide a cozy, inviting atmosphere and are often considered a viable option for first-time homebuyers and those looking to downsize2.

Key Takeaways

  • Bungalow homes are compact, often featuring a single-story layout.
  • Popular for their affordability and unique Craftsman style.
  • Historically originated in the Bengal region and became popular in America in the early 20th century.
  • Characterized by open floor plans, wide front porches, and connection with urban areas.
  • Ideal for first-time homebuyers and those looking to downsize.

Understanding Bungalow Homes

Bungalow homes offer a unique architectural charm that distinguishes them from other housing styles. Typically, these dwellings are single-story with a focus on functionality and simplicity. Let’s delve deeper into what defines a bungalow, its primary features, and how it compares to other house styles.

Defining a Bungalow

The definition of a bungalow centers on its compact, primarily one-story layout, though some designs include extra levels like half stories or lofts to maximize space3. Originating from South Asia and gaining popularity in the U.S. in the early 1900s, bungalows are known for their efficiency in climate control, shielding homes from the hot sun4. They can range from very small to quite large, depending on the needs of the homeowner3. Bungalow architecture harmonizes form and function, making it a versatile choice for various living situations.

Primary Features of Bungalows

Bungalows boast several typical bungalow features that make them appealing. Notable bungalow design elements include open floor plans that create a spacious and inviting atmosphere35. These homes often have low-pitched roofs, covered porches, and utilize natural materials like wood, stone, and stucco, contributing to their aesthetic appeal and functional design4. Additionally, raised bungalows with basements partially above ground are common, allowing more natural light to enter the lower levels3. Bungalow house plans also highlight efficiency, offering smaller, fewer rooms with more space concentrated in the living room3. Moreover, the affordability and efficient use of space are significant advantages; the average cost of construction ranges from $125,500 to $345,000, a more economical option compared to multi-story homes4.

Bungalow vs Other House Styles

When comparing bungalows to other house styles, several distinctions arise. Bungalows occupy more square footage on the first floor compared to multi-story homes, enhancing accessibility and reducing heating and cooling costs3. Unlike many tiny homes, bungalows allow for additions like lofts or sunrooms, making them more adaptable to a homeowner’s evolving needs5. The Craftsman influence in bungalow architecture is evident through the use of natural materials and detailed woodwork4. This stands in contrast to the vertical orientation and smaller initial footprint of multi-story dwellings, which typically require navigating stairs and managing multiple levels. Bungalows may offer potential expansion areas, such as adding a garage or a dormer to the existing structure5. They emphasize a connection with nature, often featuring wide front porches that act as transitional spaces between the outdoors and indoors, fostering a sense of community and relaxation.

History of Bungalow Houses

Bungalow history

The bungalow history starts in the mid-17th century in the Bengal region of South Asia.

Origins in the Bengal Region

Bungalow-style homes originated as compact, single-story houses in Bengal, India during the mid-1800s6. These were characterized by their simplicity and practicality, which made them suitable choices for various climates.

Spread to the Western World

The origins of bungalows can be traced to their introduction to the western world through British colonization in the early 19th century7. The first bungalows in England were built in 1869 in Westgate-on-Sea7. These homes were designed to accommodate the working class, mirroring their Indian counterparts in their functional yet appealing design. British colonizers brought this architectural style to England, where it quickly became popular.

Bungalow-style homes became a favored option for the working class in both England and the United States6. The design’s adaptability allowed it to thrive in various Western climates and geographies, making it a prominent fixture in residential building trends. Companies like Sears, Roebuck & Company and the Aladdin Company further promoted the spread by selling mail-order bungalow kits starting from the early 20th century8.

Popularity in America

The early 20th century saw the rise of bungalow-style homes in America, particularly in California. These homes gained immense popularity due to their budget-friendly, easy-to-build designs. When Sears began offering ready-built bungalow kits, their popularity skyrocketed6. This period between 1900 and 1918, especially marked by the Arts and Crafts Movement, saw a surge in bungalow architecture7.

After World War II, many veterans utilized their G.I. Bill funds to purchase bungalow-style homes6, further cementing their place in American residential culture. Bungalows are spread widely across the United States, with regional variations such as the California bungalows on the West Coast and Tudors in the Midwest6. This not only showcases the versatility of bungalows but also their enduring charm and functionality in various American landscapes.

In summary, the evolution of bungalow houses from their origins in Bengal to their widespread adoption in Western architecture highlights their timeless appeal and adaptability.

Bungalow Architectural Style

architecture of bungalows

The architecture of bungalows is a testament to simplicity and functionality, evidenced by their distinct features and design elements.

Open Floor Plans

Bungalow floor plans often include open layouts that promote ease of movement and communication within the home, making them ideal for families and social gatherings. This open-concept design naturally fosters a sense of togetherness and maximizes the use of space, creating a cozy and inviting environment.

Low-Pitched Roofs

A signature element of bungalow construction is the low-pitched roof with deep overhangs. This design not only provides aesthetic appeal but also offers practical benefits such as enhanced protection from rain and sun.8 The low-pitched gable roof is often accompanied by exposed rafters and distinctive triangular knee braces, adding to the architectural charm of the Craftsman bungalow style.8 Moreover, these roofs contribute to the bungalow’s emphasis on blending with the natural landscape.

Wide Front Porches

Wide front porches are a hallmark of bungalow architecture, serving as a transitional space between the indoors and outdoors. These spacious porches foster community engagement and relaxation, providing an inviting area for homeowners to interact with their neighbors.8 The front porch is not only an aesthetic feature but also a functional one that enhances the overall livability of the bungalow.

Craftsman Influence

The Craftsman influence is deeply ingrained in the architecture of bungalows, particularly through the use of natural materials and intricate woodwork. Features such as built-in cabinetry, wood-paneled doors, and simple window trims exemplify the meticulous attention to detail found in these homes.8 This handcrafted quality brings a warmth and personality to the interiors, making the Craftsman bungalow style both beautiful and practical.6 The use of materials like cedar shingles, stone, and stucco further enhances the home’s connection to its surroundings.

Types of Bungalow Homes

California bungalow

Bungalow homes come in various styles, each offering unique features that cater to different tastes. In this section, we explore six popular types of bungalow homes: California bungalows, Chicago bungalows, Mission bungalows, Craftsman bungalows, Tudor bungalows, and Prairie bungalows.

California Bungalow

The California bungalow is renowned for its distinctive blend of wood, stucco, and shingle siding, which often incorporates elements of the Craftsman style. These houses typically feature wide front porches and expansive windows, creating a welcoming ambiance. The California bungalow remains a favorite for its aesthetic appeal and seamless integration with the natural surroundings.

Chicago Bungalow

Characterized by their sturdy brick construction, Chicago bungalows are known for their one-and-a-half stories and significant roof overhangs. These bungalows are a staple in Chicago, representing nearly a third of the city’s single-family home stock9. The brick exterior and practical design make the Chicago bungalow both durable and charming.

Mission Bungalow

Mission bungalows draw inspiration from Spanish Colonial architecture, showcasing rounded archways, tile roofs, and stucco exteriors. This style emerged as part of the broader bungalow craze in the 1920s, reflecting a fascination with Mediterranean influences9. The Mission bungalow combines historical elements with a comfortable living space.

Craftsman Bungalow

The Craftsman bungalow is perhaps the most iconic of all bungalow styles. These homes are distinguished by their detailed woodwork, shingled roofs, and wide front windows. Typically painted in neutral colors, Craftsman bungalows emphasize natural materials and architectural simplicity while offering a cozy yet elegant living environment.

Tudor Bungalow

Tudor bungalows are a unique blend of medieval architectural cues with traditional bungalow features. These homes often showcase steep gable roofs, decorative half-timbering, and brick exteriors. The Tudor bungalow offers a charming, historical aesthetic combined with the practicality of bungalow design.

Prairie Bungalow

Prairie bungalows are known for their horizontal lines, extensive eaves, and prominent window designs. Supported by piers, these homes stand out for their unique architectural elements. The Prairie bungalow is a timeless choice for those seeking a distinct and open living space that connects seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.

Each of these bungalow styles offers its own unique charm and practical benefits, reflecting the diverse tastes and needs of homeowners. Whether you’re drawn to the rustic appeal of a California bungalow or the historical elegance of a Mission bungalow, there’s a bungalow style perfect for every preference and lifestyle. For more insights on these varieties, you can explore this comprehensive guide to bungalow varieties.

Pros and Cons of Bungalow Homes

Bungalow homes offer a charming blend of affordability and unique architectural features that attract many prospective buyers. However, it is essential to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of bungalow homes when making a purchase decision.


One of the notable advantages of bungalows is their affordability. These homes are often priced lower than multi-story houses, making them accessible to first-time buyers and those looking to downsize. Additionally, bungalow affordability is coupled with lower bungalow maintenance demands, especially appealing to older property buyers10. The single-story design means fewer repairs and easier upkeep, further adding to their charm.

Bungalows also offer significant flexibility with fewer supporting walls, allowing for open-plan living configurations that are harder to achieve in multi-story houses10. The quiet neighborhoods where bungalows are often found are another plus, as fewer cars and detached properties contribute to a peaceful living environment10. The larger gardens typically associated with these homes also provide ample space for families with young children, promoting safe play and exploration10.


Despite the many advantages, there are several disadvantages of bungalow homes to consider. One significant drawback is their tendency to be more expensive per square foot compared to multi-story houses10. This higher cost does not always correspond to greater living space, making them less space-efficient. Another common issue is the need for renovations and modernizations. Older bungalows often require updates to meet the needs of younger residents, adding to the overall cost10.

Privacy can also be a concern, as the ground-floor design leads to worries about open windows and potential security risks10. The lack of separation between living areas and bedrooms may be off-putting for some buyers who prefer distinct spaces for different activities10. Moreover, the lower ceilings and smaller rooms can make bungalows feel more cramped compared to their multi-story counterparts, sometimes requiring creative solutions to maximize space.

Understanding these points will help potential buyers make an informed decision when considering all aspects of living in a bungalow.

What is a Bungalow and Why It’s Popular

benefits of bungalow-style homes

Bungalow popularity has sustained due to a combination of simplicity, artisanal craftsmanship, and potential for personalization. These homes are versatile, making them ideal for a range of homeowners, from first-time buyers to those looking to downsize or opt for more minimalistic bungalow living.

The benefits of bungalow-style homes are manifold. Bungalows are typically cost-efficient, with lower heating and cooling costs, contributing to their appeal and maintaining higher property values3. They are ideal for individuals seeking spacious setups since they tend to occupy more square footage compared to multi-story homes, allowing for easier modifications and additions3.

One of the primary reasons to choose a bungalow is its straightforward, open layout that promotes a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. This layout, coupled with the low-level structure of the home, makes them accessible, especially for older adults and those with mobility issues. Moreover, the architectural elegance combining a large porch, low-pitched roofs, and often detailed woodworks, seamlessly blends functionality with aesthetics4.

Bungalow living offers a unique neighborhood charm, as bungalows are frequently grouped together in quaint areas. Notable neighborhoods with bungalow clusters include Long Beach’s Belmont Heights, Pasadena’s Bungalow Heaven, Seminole Heights in Tampa, and Junius Heights in Dallas11. This creates a cohesive community feeling that many homeowners find appealing.

While bungalows originated in South Asia and were first identified by British sailors in the 18th century3, they became notably popular in the U.S. around the early 1900s, especially in California4. Styles such as the California bungalow and Chicago bungalow emerged, each with its distinctive features and charm3. Today, California, Chicago, and chalet bungalows stand out as particularly favored styles3.

Despite their myriad benefits, there are practical concerns. Bungalows tend to occupy a larger land area than multi-story homes, resulting in higher initial costs3. They can also be more vulnerable to break-ins due to their low positioning3. Nonetheless, for many, the blend of cost-efficiency, ease of access, and architectural charm continues to affirm the long-lasting popularity of bungalows.


Bungalows are more than just homes; they are a lifestyle choice that balances simplicity, craftsmanship, and aesthetic appeal. As discussed, bungalow home ownership offers a unique blend of historical richness and modern living. One key aspect that enhances their charm is their typically smaller size and square footage, making them cozy and manageable living spaces3. Whether you are choosing the right bungalow for your first home or seeking to downsize, these homes provide a snug retreat with manageable heating and cooling costs3.

Choosing the right bungalow involves understanding its architecture and the types of bungalows that are available. For instance, California and Chicago bungalows are currently popular styles, each offering distinct features like the large porch and sloping roof of the California bungalow3. These homes are ideal for those who value a more laid-back, community-oriented lifestyle, and their ground-level access makes them a good option for buyers in various life stages.

Despite some drawbacks, such as a higher initial cost per square foot and increased vulnerability to break-ins due to their low ground position3, bungalows remain an enduring choice for many. Their wide front porches, open floor plans, and artisanal design elements contribute to their everlasting appeal. As you consider bungalow dwellings, remember that these homes embody a timeless charm worth embracing. From historical significance to modern-day conveniences, bungalows continue to offer a compelling living experience for diverse homebuyers.


What defines a bungalow?

A bungalow is typically a one-story home characterized by features such as an open floor plan, low-pitched roofs, covered porches, and natural materials like wood, stone, and stucco. This style is often linked with the Craftsman movement, emphasizing artisanal craftsmanship and built-in furniture.

Where did bungalows originate?

Bungalows originated in the mid-17th century in the Bengal region of South Asia. They gained popularity in the Western world, particularly in the United States, during the early 20th century, starting in California.

What are the primary features of bungalow homes?

Key features of bungalows include open floor plans, low-pitched roofs, large front porches, and exquisite woodwork. The architecture often integrates built-in cabinetry and shelving, providing both functionality and aesthetic appeal.

How do bungalows differ from other house styles?

Bungalows differ from other house styles primarily in their single-story layout, use of natural materials, and integration with the surrounding environment. Unlike multi-story homes, bungalows are designed to be close to the ground with an emphasis on horizontal lines and natural finishes.

Why are bungalows popular in America?

Bungalows gained popularity in America during the early 20th century, especially in California, because of their affordability, charm, and the Arts and Crafts movement. Their practical design and cozy layout appeal to a wide spectrum of homeowners, including first-time buyers and those looking to downsize.

What are the different types of bungalow homes?

There are various types of bungalow homes, including California bungalows, Chicago bungalows, Mission bungalows, Craftsman bungalows, Tudor bungalows, and Prairie bungalows. Each type has unique architectural elements, catering to different tastes and preferences.

What are the pros of owning a bungalow?

Bungalows offer several advantages such as affordability, ease of maintenance, and unique architectural features like expansive porches and built-in furniture. They are ideal for those seeking a cozy and inviting home with potential for expansions.

What are the cons of owning a bungalow?

While bungalows are charming, they do have drawbacks, including limited internal space, darker interiors due to design, smaller bedrooms and bathrooms, and potential privacy concerns due to ground-level windows.

What makes bungalow homes so appealing?

The appeal of bungalow homes lies in their simplicity, artisanal craftsmanship, and the potential for personalization. They provide an inviting atmosphere with open layouts, outdoor space integration, and minimalistic design, making them a popular choice for a wide range of homeowners.

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