DEFINITION of 'Bungalow'

A bungalow is a one-story house, cottage or cabin. Bungalows are generally small in terms of square footage, but it is not uncommon to see very large bungalows. Bungalows were originally designed to provide affordable, modern housing for the working class.

BREAKING DOWN 'Bungalow'

There are various types of bungalows, including raised bungalows that have basements with partially above ground to let in additional light. There are also bungalows that branch away from the original definition by adding additional levels such as lofts and half levels. Common features of the bungalow include a dormer window and a veranda.

Pros and Cons of the Bungalow

Bungalows are most often one-story houses, although they often also include a half second story, usually with a sloped roof. They are small and easy to maintain, and are therefore great homes for elderly or disabled people. Bungalows are also cost-efficient after the initial purchase; for example, heating and cooling costs tend to be lower, and the property value tends to remain relatively high. Since bungalows occupy more square footage than multi-story homes, they tend to allow more space for modifications and additions. They also afford more privacy than most traditional homes, as they're low to the ground and the windows can easily be blocked by trees, shrubs, and fences. 

On the other hand, bungalows tend to occupy a larger area of land than their multi-story counterparts since they don't extend up, they take up more square footage on the first floor. This means that the initial costs are higher, since they cost more per square foot, and they also require more material for roofing. Bungalows also tend to have smaller and fewer rooms extending off a larger living room, as opposed to large bedrooms or an open floor plan. Also, since they're so low to the ground, they're more susceptible to break-ins; therefore, it's a good idea to invest in a home security system if you purchase a bungalow.

History of Bungalows

Bungalows were first built in the Bengal region of South Asia, and the term originated in India. Bungalows were first identified as such by British sailors of the East India Company in the late 17th century. In the 19th century in both Britain and America, a bungalow referred to a large dwelling, and it often represented high social status.

The term bungalow as we now know it – a small dwelling, typically one-story – developed in the 20th century. However, the definition of bungalow varies in different areas of the world. For example, in India today, the term generally refers to any single-family dwelling, regardless of how many stories it has. In Canada and the United Kingdom, a bungalow almost exclusively refers to one-story units. Australia tends toward the California bungalow, a type of bungalow that was popular in the United States from about 1910 to 1940 and moved to Australia in 1913 as Hollywood became popular and increased the desirability of American-made products. The California bungalow is one to one and a half stories and features a large porch, sloping roof, and Spanish-inspired details.

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