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Bungalow Definition: What Makes a House a Bungalow?


A bungalow is a type of residential structure that originated in South Asia, typically characterized by its single-story design, compact size, and a porch or veranda. They often feature open floor plans and are generally smaller when compared to other modern homes. The term ‘bungalow’ refers more to the form and function of the house rather than its size or other stylistic features.


The phonetics for the keyword “Bungalow” is /ˈbʌŋɡəloʊ/ and for “Definition: What Makes a House a Bungalow?” is /ˌdɛfɪˈnɪʃən: wɑt meɪks ə haʊs ə ˈbʌŋɡəˌloʊ/.

Key Takeaways

  1. Design and Structure: A bungalow is a low-built house, often single-story with large porches and overhanging eaves. It typically has a compact floor plan, and the rooms are organized for efficiency and comfort. The living areas are often located at the front of the house and the bedrooms at the back, or on the top under the roof in case of expanded bungalows.
  2. Origination and History: The term Bungalow originates from India, denoting a small, single-story dwelling for British officials during the colonial period. In later years, the concept of a bungalow was adopted and modified in many parts of the world, including the United States, where it became a popular choice for residential architecture in the 20th century.
  3. Modern Adaptation: Despite their traditional design, bungalows continue to be a popular choice of home due to their flexible and open plan layout. Modern adaptations often include extensions into the loft space or at the rear to provide additional living spaces, while maintaining the key features that define a bungalow.


Understanding the term “Bungalow” is important in the realm of business and finance, particularly for real estate developers, investors, brokers, and buyers as it describes a specific type of residential structure. A bungalow, typically a one-story or one-and-a-half-story house, distinguishes itself with its compact size, straightforward design, and low-pitched roofs, often with wide overhangs. Knowing what makes a house a bungalow can impact several business decisions such as pricing, marketing, investment strategy, or renovation planning. Furthermore, this knowledge assists buyers in understanding property listings better, which consequently aids in making informed purchasing decisions or personal preferences for a specific architectural style.


A bungalow is a type of residential structure that originated in South Asia but has evolved and is now quite popular across various regions of the world, including Europe, North America and Australia. Distinguished by its single-story design or, at most, one-and-a-half stories, a bungalow’s purpose is to provide comfortable living spaces that are practical, efficient and easy to maintain. The term “bungalow” often implies a small footprint, but this isn’t necessarily a rule. Bungalows can be quite spacious and luxurious, depending on the architectural design, size of the plot, and the builder’s vision.The purpose of a bungalow extends beyond its architectural design alone. While it affords homeowners convenience due to its absence of stairs—making it suitable for the elderly, disabled, or those with mobility issues—it also embodies a lifestyle that promotes simplicity, practicality, and intimacy. Often designed with an open floor plan, bungalows encourages family unity by offering shared spaces for interaction. The smaller size often means less cleaning and maintenance both indoors and outdoors, which frees up homeowners’ time for other pursuits. Bungalows also often feature wide verandas or porches, which serve to extend the living spaces into the outdoors subtly blending the lines between the interior and exterior spaces.


1. Craftsman Bungalow Home in Pasadena, California: One of the most classic examples of a bungalow in the real world, this house presents the key features that define a bungalow. This includes a compact size, a single story, low-pitched roof, and a welcoming front porch. The Craftsman style is reflected in details like built-in bookcases and rich woodwork. The architectural design is efficient with space, with easy connections between rooms and more of an open floor plan, which is a great feature for smaller homes. 2. Beach Bungalow in Malibu, California: This is a more modern interpretation of a bungalow, and shows how the term can be adapted to different contexts. Here, the small size, simplicity of design, single story, and front porch are in keeping with the definition of a bungalow. However, its location on the beach and the use of large windows to maximize views reflect a modern sensibility.3. Historic Bungalow in Portland, Oregon: This example shows how bungalows are not just found in one region but can be part of urban landscapes across the country. The house fits the criteria of a bungalow with its compact one-and-a-half-story structure, covered front porch, and an emphasis on simple, practical design. The house’s age and classic design elements like wood flooring offer a sense of charm and historic character.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a bungalow?

A bungalow is a style of house or cottage that is typically either a single story or has a second, half or partial story built into a sloped roof, usually with dormer windows.

What are the characteristics of a bungalow?

The key characteristics of a bungalow include a low-pitched roof, a small front porch, dormer windows if it is a 1.5 story structure, and an open floor plan inside.

Why is it called a bungalow?

The term ‘bungalow’ originates from the Indian word ‘bangla’ , which refers to homes built in the Bengal style. This architectural style became popular in the west during the late 19th and early 20th century.

In what regions are bungalows most commonly found?

While bungalows can be found worldwide, they are most prevalent in countries like India, the United Kingdom, and the United States, especially in California and other areas where there was significant architectural influence by the Arts and Crafts movement.

How does a bungalow differ from a traditional two-story house?

Aside from being a single or 1.5 story structure, bungalows tend to have an open floor plan with fewer walls separating spaces. In contrast, two-story homes often have more distinct, separate rooms and of course, are structured over two levels.

Are bungalows less expensive than other types of homes?

This can depend on various factors such as the location, size, condition, and the real estate market at the time of purchase. However, due to their smaller size, bungalows often tend to be less expensive than larger, multi-story homes.

What kinds of people or families are bungalows ideal for?

Bungalows can be great options for first-time buyers, small families, or older homeowners given their typically smaller size, lower maintenance, and minimal stairs. However, they can also be desirable for anyone who appreciates their specific architectural style.

Are bungalows typically older homes?

Many original bungalows are indeed older homes built in the early 20th century. However, given their continuing popularity, new bungalows are still being built today—often with updated features but maintaining the traditional style and aesthetics.

Related Finance Terms

  • Single Storey: A bungalow usually consists of a single storey. This is one of the basic elements that differentiates a bungalow from other types of houses.
  • Compact Size: Bungalows are often compact in size, typically contain fewer rooms, and are ideal for small families or individuals.
  • Veranda: Bungalows often have a veranda, or covered porch, which can wrap around the sides or front of the house.
  • Low-Pitched Roofs: Bungalows often feature low-pitched roofs and wide overhangs, emphasizing the horizontal rather than vertical nature of the house.
  • Open Floor Plan: Bungalows typically have open floor plans, which create a sense of spaciousness inside despite the compact exterior.

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