What is a Bungalow?

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Definition:

A bungalow is typically a single-family, single-story house with a low-pitched roof and a large front porch that has its origins in India.

🤔 Understanding bungalows

Bungalows are a popular type of single-story residence, although some may have an extra half story built as part of the roof. They get their name from Bengal, India, where many were built to accommodate British colonialists in the 18th century. Fast forward over 200 years, and bungalows are still popular housing options. They are often considered to be great first homes — They can sometimes be more economical than multi-level homes since they’re often simpler to maintain. Because they usually don’t have stairs, they can make good homes for the elderly and disabled. Typical features of a bungalow include a large veranda or porch, a low-pitched roof, and a single-story or one-and-a-half story design.

Example

Imagine a couple, Dan and Stacy, are looking for their first home. They want to keep costs low, so they decide to purchase a bungalow.

The house is on a single level and relatively small, which makes it easier to maintain. They let their shrubs grow to conceal the windows, providing some extra privacy. And they envision many pleasant afternoons on the wide veranda. In the long run, they figure a bungalow will be cheaper than many other homes on the market.

Takeaway

Bungalows are kind of like a Mini Cooper . . .

They may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a car, but Mini Coopers are a popular option. They provide all the benefits of car ownership, but in a bite-sized package. Similarly, bungalows provide the benefits of homeownership on a slightly smaller scale.

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What is a bungalow?

A bungalow is typically a single-story house that features a low-pitched (nearly level) roof, an open floor plan, and a sizable front porch. Because bungalows are low to the ground, they are often popular homes for elderly or disabled residents who have trouble going up and down stairs.

Their low-to-the-ground design can also provide extra privacy, making it easy to grow shrubs or trees high enough to cover the windows. Alternatively, owners can install a fence.

Bungalows tend to be reasonably small houses, which can make them a budget-friendly option for those looking to achieve the American Dream of homeownership. However, compared to a multi-level house with the same amount of living space, a bungalow may or may not be cheaper, despite having a more straightforward, single-level construction. Since multi-level homes have more vertical real estate, they can fit more square feet onto a smaller plot of land, which can decrease costs in some cases. Bungalows have to spread out more to achieve the same amount of living space.

Bungalows are also generally pretty easy to maintain, thanks to their simple floor plans and structure. Homebuyers interested in keeping maintenance to a minimum may also consider condominiums for the same reason.

For homeowners who plan to renovate or expand their houses, bungalows can be an excellent choice. Their single-story floor plan can make renovations easier, as it’s less likely that there will be a conflict between a desired improvement and a critical beam that’s supporting an upper level. And there may be more room to build vertically.

Although bungalows are known for being single-story homes, some have an additional partial story or a half story, generally as part of the roof. Some may also have a basement that is partially underground.

Why is it called a bungalow?

A bungalow is a type of real property that originated in the Bengal region of India in the 18th century, when British colonialists tried to incorporate elements of local architectural design.

In some of the languages native to the area, “Bangla” means “belonging to Bengal.” From there, it’s a short step to “bungalow.”

It appears likely that European settlers adopted a variation on this pronunciation to describe the houses they lived in.

What is the history of bungalows?

In the 1700s, the British East India Company was trading textiles and tea in Asia. The cultural exchange between the colonialists and natives resulted in the birth of what we know as bungalows: single-story houses with stylistic influences from the Bengal (“Bangla”) region of India.

Large verandas allowed bungalow dwellers to cool down the interior and provided a buffer against the natives — A mainstay of the style that, unfortunately, has racist origins.

Sometime during the 1800s, when Britons who had been living in the Bengal region began returning home, they imported the style with them.

As the British economy grew and railway travel expanded during the 19th century, seaside bungalows became popular among Britons who idealized the lifestyle of colonialists. As cars became more common, bungalows made their way into the suburbs.

Eventually, the bungalow made its way across the pond. In the US, bungalows were also first used as seaside homes.

Bungalows became particularly popular in the US starting in the 20th century, when they were incorporated into the Arts and Crafts and Craftsman architectural movements. These stylistic movements valued handiwork over mass production in the face of growing industrialization.

Today, there are many variations on the original bungalow style, displaying influences from all over the world. For example, in some regions of the US, such as the Southwest and California, some bungalows show Spanish influence. In other areas, bungalows have some elements of the Tudor style.

What are the characteristics of a bungalow?

Bungalows are usually defined by their relatively low-to-the-ground design and the fact that they stick to just one story (additional partial and half stories are also common).

Generally, bungalows have large porches or verandas that provide ample sitting space. Roofs are usually low-pitched, which means they range from nearly flat to moderately sloped, and may be supported by columns at the front of the house. Originally, they were located in a spacious, landscaped plot.

The interior typically follows an open floor plan, with the main entrance opening into the living room. Some bungalow homes may also have basements that are slightly below or at ground level, allowing sunlight to peek through the windows.

There are many different styles of bungalow houses, so the exact characteristics vary from property to property.

What are the different bungalow styles?

Like all houses, bungalows come in many different shapes and sizes. Bungalow styles include:

  • Craftsman: These are the bungalows that became popular in the US. Craftsman bungalows feature handcrafted woodwork and often prominent dormers (windows built into the roof).
  • Tudor Revival: These bungalows display influences from Tudor England. They tend to feature stucco paneling with wooden accent lines.
  • Prairie: Prairie bungalows were pioneered by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his Prairie school. They often combine several different materials for the exterior, feature window boxes, and have flat chimneys.
  • Mission: Mission-style bungalows take their influence from Spanish missionary buildings. They can look like churches, with roofs punctuated by ornate parapets (protective walls).
  • Cape Cod: This style bucks the low-pitched roof trend and instead has a deeply slanted roof. The main entrance typically lies in the middle of two windows, and the exterior often features wood paneling.
  • Chicago: These bungalows are known for their brick exteriors and usually have a small, covered porch.

What are the different house styles?

Outside of bungalows, there are lots of different types of houses to look into. Here are a few examples:

  • Raised ranches, also known as split-level homes, became popular during the 1950s and 1960s. They have two stories and often feature an attached garage, shallow roof, and brick or stone veneer.
  • Victorian homes demonstrate some of the architectural stylings that were popular in Victorian England (1837 to 1901). They often have multiple stories, very slanted roofs, and turrets. Porches are also popular. Picture a classic haunted house — minus all the spooky stuff.
  • Colonial homes are often rectangularly shaped and have two or three stories. There may be decorative features over the front door, which typically opens into the main living area. Bedrooms are usually located on the higher levels.
  • Tudor homes typically have an asymmetrical design with steeply pitched roofs, arched doorways, huge chimneys, and brick or white stucco exteriors with decorative half-timbers.
  • Mediterranean homes are influenced by Spanish and Mediterranean architecture. They often have arches, stucco walls, red tile roofs, and wrought iron details. They are most popular in the Southwestern states and California.
  • Mid-century modern homes emerged between the 1930s and 1960s. They tend to have flat and clean lines, open floor plans, and floor-to-ceiling windows that erode the distinction between interior and exterior. They often have little ornamentation and exude minimalism and elegance. They may be single-story or multi-story homes.
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This information is educational, and is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. This information is not a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell an investment or financial product, or take any action. This information is neither individualized nor a research report, and must not serve as the basis for any investment decision. All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of capital. Past performance does not guarantee future results or returns. Before making decisions with legal, tax, or accounting effects, you should consult appropriate professionals. Information is from sources deemed reliable on the date of publication, but Robinhood does not guarantee its accuracy.

Robinhood Financial LLC (member SIPC), is a registered broker dealer. Robinhood Securities, LLC (member SIPC), provides brokerage clearing services. Robinhood Crypto, LLC provides crypto currency trading. All are subsidiaries of Robinhood Markets, Inc. (‘Robinhood’).

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© 2022 Robinhood. All rights reserved.