What is a Bungalow? Everything You Need to Know About Bungalows

Are you curious about bungalows, those charming, single-storey homes that dot the UK’s residential landscape? Whether you’re considering purchasing, renting, or just expanding your property knowledge, this article will explore everything about bungalows, from their unique features to their market value. So, let’s dive into the world of bungalows, a property type that continues to fascinate and attract buyers and renters alike.

What is a Bungalow?

A bungalow is a compact, single-storey dwelling known for its convenience, accessibility, and quaint charm. Characterised by their low-rise profile, these homes often feature a simple layout with living spaces primarily on one level. Bungalows can range from traditional designs to modern interpretations, making them a versatile choice for many homeowners.

A bungalow is more than just a single-storey home; it’s an epitome of comfort and accessibility, blending quaint charm with practical design. Characterised by their low-rise profile, bungalows typically feature a straightforward and efficient layout with living spaces conveniently located on one level. This architectural style makes them particularly appealing to a variety of individuals, especially those who prioritise ease of movement and accessibility within their living space.

Who are Bungalows Ideal For?

  1. Individuals with Limited Mobility: The single-storey design of bungalows eliminates the need for stairs, making them ideal for people with mobility issues, including the elderly and those with disabilities.
  2. Retirees: Bungalows are a popular choice among retirees, offering a manageable living space that’s easier to maintain than a multi-level home.
  3. Families: They also appeal to families who appreciate the ease of having all living spaces on one level, especially those with young children or elderly relatives.
  4. First-Time Buyers: The simplicity and affordability of some bungalows make them a good starter home for first-time buyers.

Why is a Bungalow Called a Bungalow?

The term “bungalow” has an interesting origin, tracing back to the 19th century in the Indian subcontinent. Derived from the Bengali term “bangla”, it initially referred to the Bengali style of rural homes, designed to be practical and airy in a tropical climate. This style was adapted by the British in India and later brought back to the UK, evolving into the bungalows we see today. In essence, the word “bungalow” embodies a fusion of cultural architectural practices, tailored to meet the specific needs of its inhabitants in different environments. This historical blend has given rise to a diverse range of bungalow styles, each maintaining the core principle of single-storey, accessible living.

What is the Difference Between a House and a Bungalow?

Understanding the difference between a house and a bungalow is crucial for prospective homeowners and renters in making informed decisions. While the term “house” can refer to various types of residential buildings, a “bungalow” is a specific category within the broader housing spectrum. Here are the key distinctions:

Architectural Design

  • Storeys: The most significant difference lies in the number of storeys. A bungalow is typically a single-storey structure, although some may have a partial second floor or loft space. In contrast, houses can be single-storey but often have multiple levels, including two-storey, three-storey, and even taller structures.
  • Layout: Bungalows generally have a compact and efficient layout with most living areas on the ground level. Houses, especially those with multiple storeys, tend to have more segmented layouts, with living spaces spread across different levels.

Accessibility and Mobility

  • Ease of Access: Bungalows are renowned for their accessibility, making them ideal for the elderly, those with mobility issues, or families with young children. Houses with multiple storeys may pose challenges for accessibility and require stair navigation.

Space and Land Use

  • Land Footprint: Bungalows typically occupy a larger land area for the same amount of living space, given their single-storey nature. Multi-storey houses can provide more living space on a smaller land footprint.
  • Garden and Outdoor Space: Bungalows often come with larger gardens and outdoor spaces, as they usually spread horizontally.

Style and Character

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Bungalows often have a distinctive architectural style, with many featuring traditional designs, front porches, and dormer windows. Houses, particularly modern ones, can vary widely in architectural styles and features.

Market Perception and Value

  • Market Demand: Bungalows often have a specific market appeal, particularly among older buyers and those seeking a simpler, more accessible lifestyle. Houses, depending on their size and location, cater to a broader market range, including families looking for more space and privacy.
  • Price Points: In many markets, bungalows can be more expensive per square foot due to their land usage and the desirability of single-level living. Houses, especially those with multiple storeys, might offer more living space for a similar or lower price.

While both houses and bungalows provide comfortable living spaces, they cater to different needs and preferences. Bungalows offer the ease of single-level living with a focus on accessibility and simplicity, often accompanied by larger outdoor spaces. Houses, particularly multi-storey ones, provide more living space and can be more adaptable to growing families or those needing extra room. Understanding these differences is key to choosing the right type of property that aligns with individual lifestyle needs and preferences.

Different Types of Bungalows

Bungalows come in various styles, each offering unique features and aesthetic appeal. From the classic charm of traditional layouts to more modern adaptations, these diverse bungalow types cater to a range of tastes and needs. Let’s explore some of the most popular bungalow styles:

  • Traditional Bungalow: A classic design with a horizontal profile and often a front porch.
  • Chalet Bungalow: Features a sloping roof and often includes dormer windows.
  • Dormer Bungalow: Includes one or more dormer windows that protrude from a sloping roof, adding space and light.
  • Semi-Detached Bungalow: A bungalow attached to another in a pair, sharing a common wall.

Whether you’re drawn to the traditional elegance of a classic bungalow or the practicality of a semi-detached design, there is a bungalow style to suit every preference and lifestyle. Understanding these variations can help you identify the type of bungalow that aligns best with your personal needs and aesthetic desires. Let’s look at these variations in ore detail.

What is a Chalet Bungalow?

A chalet bungalow represents a unique and charming blend of architectural styles, combining elements of traditional bungalows and chalet designs. This type of bungalow is particularly distinct for its aesthetic and structural features, which set it apart from other single-storey dwellings.

Defining Features of a Chalet Bungalow

  1. Sloping Roofs: One of the most noticeable features of a chalet bungalow is its steep, sloping roof. This design element not only adds a visual appeal but is also practical, aiding in efficient drainage and providing additional headroom in the upper areas of the home.
  2. Dormer Windows: Often, chalet bungalows include dormer windows that protrude from the roof. These windows not only enhance the external appearance but also bring in more natural light and can create additional usable space within the roof area, often used for bedrooms or storage.
  3. Versatile Space: The interior of a chalet bungalow typically features a flexible layout. The ground floor usually houses the main living areas, such as the living room, kitchen, and sometimes bedrooms. The upper sections, beneath the sloping roof, can be used for additional bedrooms or as a loft space, offering versatility to homeowners.

What is a Dormer Bungalow?

A dormer bungalow is a specific style of bungalow that incorporates dormer windows into its design. This architectural feature significantly enhances both the functionality and aesthetic appeal of the property, making dormer bungalows a popular choice in various housing markets.

Key Characteristics of a Dormer Bungalow

  1. Dormer Windows: The defining feature of a dormer bungalow is the presence of one or more dormer windows. These are vertical windows set into the sloping roof, often protruding outward to create additional headroom and space on the upper floor.
  2. Increased Space: Unlike traditional bungalows which are solely single-storey, dormer bungalows often utilise the space under the roof more effectively. The added space provided by the dormer can accommodate additional rooms such as bedrooms, bathrooms, or even a small study area, making these bungalows more spacious.
  3. Versatile Design: The design of dormer bungalows allows for a great deal of versatility. The interior can be configured in various ways, depending on the number and size of the dormer windows. This flexibility makes them an attractive option for a wide range of buyers.

What is a Semi-Detached Bungalow?

A semi-detached bungalow is a type of residential property that combines the features of a bungalow with the semi-detached housing style. This specific architectural form offers the benefits of bungalow living while also incorporating aspects of shared-wall housing, making it a unique and efficient residential choice.

Characteristics of a Semi-Detached Bungalow

  1. Shared Wall Design: The key feature of a semi-detached bungalow is that it shares one common wall with another property. This design halves the building’s footprint, making it an efficient use of space in residential areas.
  2. Single-Storey Layout: Like other bungalows, semi-detached bungalows are primarily single-storey. This design ensures ease of access and mobility, making them suitable for those who prefer living without the challenge of stairs.
  3. Compact and Efficient: These bungalows often have a more compact layout compared to detached bungalows. However, they still provide sufficient living space, often including a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and one or more bedrooms.

Advantages of a Semi-Detached Bungalow

  • Cost-Effective: Generally, more affordable than fully detached bungalows.
  • Energy Efficiency: The shared wall can help reduce heating costs, as it provides additional insulation.
  • Space-Efficient: Ideal for areas where land is at a premium, offering a comfortable living space without a large footprint.

Why Are Bungalows More Expensive Than Houses?

The question of why bungalows are often more expensive than houses, particularly when considering per square foot costs, is an intriguing one. Several factors contribute to the higher market value of bungalows, each linked to their unique characteristics and the demands of the housing market.

Land Usage

  • Larger Footprint: Bungalows typically occupy more land than multi-storey houses with the same internal square footage. This larger footprint means they use up more land, which is a significant factor in areas where land is at a premium.

Scarcity and Demand

  • Less Common: Bungalows are less commonly built than multi-storey houses. This scarcity increases their demand, particularly among specific demographics like retirees or those with mobility issues.
  • High Demand in Certain Markets: There’s often a high demand for bungalows in many areas, partly due to their accessibility features and the ageing population.

Construction and Design Costs

  • Construction Costs: The cost of constructing a bungalow can be higher than a two-storey house. This is because the single-storey layout requires more extensive foundations and roof structures, which can be more expensive to build.
  • Design Elements: Many bungalows come with unique architectural features and quality construction materials, adding to their cost.

Desirability and Lifestyle

  • Appeal to Specific Lifestyles: Bungalows often appeal to those seeking a simpler, more accessible lifestyle, which can make them more desirable in certain markets.
  • Garden Space: Bungalows typically have larger gardens, which adds to their desirability and value.

Aging Population

  • Suitability for Older Adults: As populations age, the demand for single-storey living increases. Bungalows are particularly appealing to older adults, driving up prices due to increased demand.

While bungalows might seem more expensive than houses, especially when considering the cost per square foot, this price difference is attributed to various factors including land usage, construction costs, scarcity, and high demand among specific buyer groups. The unique appeal of bungalows, combined with these market dynamics, contributes to their higher value in the UK property market.

What to Look for When Buying a Bungalow

Purchasing a bungalow requires careful consideration of various factors. Whether you’re drawn to the charm and accessibility of a bungalow or seeking a practical and comfortable living space, knowing what to look for can help ensure you make a wise investment. Here are key aspects to consider when buying a bungalow:

Structural Integrity

  • Roof Condition: Check for signs of wear, leaks, or needed repairs, as bungalow roofs can be particularly susceptible to weathering.
  • Foundations: Ensure the foundations are sound, especially as bungalows can have a broader footprint.

Layout and Space Utilisation

  • Efficient Use of Space: Assess how well the space is utilised. Bungalows can vary greatly in layout efficiency.
  • Room Sizes and Configuration: Consider if the room sizes and layout meet your current and future needs.

Accessibility Features

  • Ease of Access: Look for features that enhance accessibility, such as wider doorways or no-step entryways, especially if mobility is a concern.

Insulation and Energy Efficiency

  • Insulation Quality: Since bungalows can be prone to heat loss, check the insulation in walls and ceilings.
  • Energy Efficiency: Evaluate the heating system, windows, and doors for energy efficiency.

Potential for Expansion or Renovation

  • Extension Possibilities: Consider the potential for extensions or loft conversions and be aware of any planning restrictions.
  • Renovation Needs: Assess the need for renovations and the potential cost involved.

Location and Surroundings

  • Neighbourhood: Research the local area, amenities, and transport links.
  • Garden and Outdoor Space: Bungalows often come with larger gardens, so consider the maintenance and potential of the outdoor space.

Market Trends and Resale Value

  • Local Market Conditions: Understand the demand for bungalows in the area and how it might affect future resale value.
  • Investment Potential: Consider the long-term investment potential of the bungalow.

Legal and Regulatory Aspects

  • Planning Permissions: Verify any modifications or extensions have the necessary planning permissions.
  • Building Regulations: Ensure all building works comply with local building regulations.

Buying a bungalow involves a blend of practical considerations and personal preferences. By carefully evaluating these key factors, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your lifestyle needs and investment goals. Remember, a bungalow is not just a home; it’s a lifestyle choice that offers unique benefits and opportunities.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Bungalow?

Building a bungalow in the UK involves various costs, and the total expense can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, design, materials, and the size of the plot. Let’s break down some of the key cost considerations for building a bungalow, drawing insights from a detailed guide provided by Checkatrade.

Key Cost Factors

Size and Design: The overall size and design complexity of the bungalow play a crucial role in determining the cost. More elaborate designs with custom features will naturally be more expensive.

Materials: The choice of building materials impacts the cost. High-quality, durable materials might be more costly upfront but can offer long-term savings in maintenance.

Location: Building costs can vary significantly across different regions in the UK, with areas like London typically being more expensive.

Labour Costs: The cost of hiring builders and other tradespeople will contribute a significant portion of the overall expense.

Additional Features: Incorporating features like energy-efficient windows, high-quality insulation, or bespoke fittings can increase the cost.

Average Cost Estimates

According to the information provided by Checkatrade, the average total cost to build a bungalow in the UK can range significantly from anywhere between £181,000 and £552,000 depending on the factors mentioned above, such as size, location, and design specifications.

Additional Expenses

  • Planning and Permissions: Budget for planning applications and any necessary surveys.
  • Utilities and Services: Connecting to utilities and services can also incur costs, depending on the location of the plot.

Building a bungalow offers the opportunity to create a customised, efficient living space. While the cost can vary, understanding these key factors can help in planning and budgeting for your bungalow construction project. 

What are the Advantages of a Bungalow?

Bungalows offer a range of benefits that make them a popular choice among various groups of homeowners. From their architectural charm to practical advantages, here are some key benefits of living in a bungalow:


  • Single-Storey Layout: The absence of stairs makes bungalows ideal for people with mobility issues, including the elderly and those with disabilities.
  • Ease of Movement: The layout typically allows for easier movement around the house, beneficial for families with young children or anyone preferring single-level living.


  • Fewer Shared Walls: Detached and semi-detached bungalows often have fewer shared walls than multi-storey houses, enhancing privacy.
  • Lower Profile: The lower height of bungalows can mean less exposure to neighbouring properties.

Outdoor Access

  • Direct Garden Access: Bungalows often come with substantial garden space, offering direct and convenient access to outdoor areas.
  • Enhanced Outdoor Living: The layout of bungalows encourages a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living spaces.


  • Reduced Risk of Falls: With no stairs to navigate, the risk of falls and related accidents is significantly reduced, making bungalows a safer option for many.
  • Easier to Evacuate: In case of emergencies, being on one level makes it easier to evacuate the property.

Design and Modification Potential

  • Renovation Flexibility: Bungalows can be easier to modify and renovate due to their single-level structure. Extensions and loft conversions are popular options for adding space.
  • Customisation Opportunities: The simpler architecture of bungalows allows for greater customisation to suit personal tastes and needs.

Resale Value

  • High Demand: Bungalows often have a high demand in the property market, especially among older buyers and those looking for accessible homes.
  • Strong Resale Value: Due to their appeal and scarcity, bungalows can maintain strong resale values.

Community Feel

  • Neighbourhood Dynamics: Bungalow communities often have a close-knit feel, appealing to those who value a sense of community.

The advantages of a bungalow extend from practical aspects like accessibility and safety to lifestyle benefits such as privacy and outdoor living. These features, combined with the architectural charm and potential for customisation, make bungalows an attractive option for a wide range of homeowners.

What is Negative About a Bungalow?

While bungalows offer several advantages, like any property type, they also come with certain drawbacks. Being aware of these potential negatives is essential for anyone considering a bungalow purchase or rental. Here are some of the common concerns associated with bungalow living:

Limited Space

  • Single Storey Limitation: The single-storey nature of bungalows means they may have less living space compared to multi-storey houses, particularly vertical space.
  • Potential for Cramped Layouts: Some bungalows, especially older models, might have a more compact and confined interior layout.

Higher Cost Per Square Foot

  • Expensive Land Usage: Bungalows can be more expensive per square foot due to their larger land footprint and the style’s general popularity.
  • Higher Purchase Price: In some areas, the high demand for bungalows, coupled with their relative scarcity, can drive up purchase prices.

Maintenance and Upkeep

  • Roof and Gutter Maintenance: The broader roof area of a bungalow can sometimes lead to higher maintenance requirements, particularly in older properties.
  • Garden Upkeep: Larger garden spaces, common with bungalows, require more upkeep, which might be a challenge for some homeowners.

Heating and Insulation

  • Potential for Heat Loss: Some bungalows, particularly older ones, may have less effective insulation, leading to higher heating costs.
  • Energy Efficiency Concerns: Ensuring energy efficiency can be more challenging in single-storey homes with larger footprints.

Privacy Concerns

  • Proximity to Neighbours: In some bungalow developments, the proximity to neighbours can be closer than in detached houses, potentially impacting privacy.
  • Window Placement: Depending on the design, windows at ground level may lead to privacy concerns if they face public areas or neighbour’s properties.

Resale and Market Demand

  • Variable Market Demand: While generally popular, the market demand for bungalows can vary by location, potentially affecting resale value and ease of sale.
  • Perceived as Older Style: Some buyers might perceive bungalows as an older, less modern style of housing, which can impact appeal to certain demographics.

Bungalows offer a unique living experience with their own set of benefits and challenges. Prospective buyers or renters should weigh these negative aspects against the positives to determine if a bungalow suits their lifestyle and housing needs. Being informed about both sides of bungalow living can lead to a more satisfactory and informed decision.

How Many Rooms Does a Bungalow Have?

The number of rooms in a bungalow can vary widely, depending on the size and design of the property. Typically, a bungalow will have a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and at least one bedroom. However, the exact number of rooms can differ based on the individual layout and style of the bungalow. Here are some common configurations:

Standard Layouts

  • Smaller Bungalows: Often have one or two bedrooms, making them ideal for individuals or small families.
  • Larger Bungalows: Can have three or more bedrooms, along with multiple bathrooms, a larger living area, and sometimes additional spaces like a dining room or a study.


  • Open Plan Designs: Some modern bungalows feature open-plan living areas, combining the kitchen, dining, and living spaces into one large room.
  • Additional Rooms: Depending on the size, some bungalows may include extra rooms like a utility room, a conservatory, or even a loft space if the bungalow has a dormer.

Are Bungalows Good for Buy-to-Let?

Bungalows can be an excellent choice for buy-to-let investments, offering unique advantages that appeal to a specific tenant demographic. Here’s an analysis of why bungalows might be a wise choice for property investors:

Target Demographic

  • Appealing to Older Tenants: Bungalows are particularly attractive to older renters who prefer homes without stairs and with easier accessibility.
  • Attracting Small Families: Their typically safe, community-oriented locations make bungalows appealing to small families.

Market Demand

  • High Demand in Certain Areas: In areas with an aging population or where single-storey living is in short supply, bungalows can be highly sought after.
  • Stable Rental Market: Bungalows often attract long-term tenants, particularly older individuals or retirees, leading to stable rental income.

Investment Considerations

  • Higher Initial Cost: The purchase price of bungalows can be higher due to their demand and land usage, which should be factored into the investment decision.
  • Maintenance and Upkeep: Single-storey homes can have different maintenance requirements, especially if the property has a large garden or an older structure.

Potential for Appreciation

  • Strong Resale Value: Bungalows often maintain a strong resale value, making them a potentially lucrative long-term investment.
  • Opportunity for Value Addition: There is often scope for enhancing a bungalow through renovations or extensions, subject to planning permissions, which can increase its value.

Practical Benefits

  • Ease of Management: The single-storey layout can make maintenance and management more straightforward for landlords.
  • Versatile Tenant Base: Bungalows can appeal to a wide range of tenants, from young professionals to elderly couples, enhancing rental opportunities.

Bungalows can be a solid choice for buy-to-let investments, particularly in markets where their unique features align with tenant demands. As with any property investment, it’s important to consider the local market dynamics, property condition, and long-term investment goals before proceeding. Bungalows offer a blend of stability, potential for appreciation, and appeal to a diverse tenant base, making them a worthy consideration for property investors.

How Much is My Bungalow Worth?

Determining the value of your bungalow is an important step if you’re considering selling, renting, or simply assessing your property’s market value. Belvoir offers comprehensive valuation services that can help you understand the worth of your bungalow. Here’s how you can get an accurate valuation and a brief overview of the options available:

Valuation Options at Belvoir

Online Valuation Tool:

  • Convenience: This tool offers a quick and convenient way to get an estimated value of your bungalow.
  • How it Works: By inputting some basic details about your property, the tool uses market data and recent sales to provide an estimated valuation.
  • Best for: Ideal for getting a quick ballpark figure or for initial planning purposes.

In-Person Valuation:

  • Personalised Assessment: A more detailed and accurate valuation conducted by a Belvoir expert.
  • Benefits: An in-person valuation considers unique features of your bungalow, its condition, location, and current market trends.
  • Best for: Recommended for those seriously considering selling or renting out their property and wanting a comprehensive market analysis.

Factors Influencing Bungalow Value

  • Location: The desirability of your bungalow’s location greatly affects its value.
  • Condition and Age: The overall state and age of your bungalow can influence its worth.
  • Size and Layout: Larger bungalows with efficient layouts typically command higher prices.
  • Market Trends: Current real estate market trends in your area will play a significant role.

Understanding the value of your bungalow is crucial for making informed property decisions. Whether you’re looking for a quick estimate or a detailed assessment, Belvoir’s valuation services cater to your needs. Start by using the online valuation tool for an immediate estimate. For a more detailed valuation that considers the unique aspects of your bungalow, find your nearest Belvoir estate agent office and arrange an in-person appraisal. Trust Belvoir to provide expert advice and support at every step of your property journey.