A bungalow (બંગલો baṅglo, बंगला baṅglā) is a type of single-storey house that originated in India. The word derives from the Gujarati word baṅglo, which in turn came from Hindustani baṅglā. It means "Bengali", used elliptically for a "house in the Bengal style". However, some people also attribute the origin of this word to Bangalore. Such houses were traditionally small, only one story, thatched and had a wide veranda. Bungalows today are a type of house that is usually single story or one and a half stories, and can be quite large.
In India and Pakistan, the term bungalow refers to any single-family unit (i.e., a house), as opposed to an apartment building, which is the norm for Indian and Pakistani middle-class city living. The Indian sub-continent usage is different from the North American and United Kingdom usage insofar as a bungalow can be a quite large, multi-storied building which houses a single extended family. In India and Pakistan, owning a bungalow is a highly significant status symbol.
In Singapore and Malaysia, the term bungalow was originally made popular by the British who popularized this building typology (though the British use of Bungalow strictly refers to single-story houses). It is now used to refer to a detached, single family residential dwelling usually of two to three story with its own compound.
In South Africa, the term bungalow never refers to a residential house but means a small holiday house, a small log house or a wooden beach house.
Neighborhoods of only bungalows offer more privacy than similar neighborhoods with two-story houses. With bungalows, strategically planted trees and shrubs are usually sufficient to block the view of neighbors. With two-story houses, the extra height requires much taller trees to accomplish the same, and it may not be practical to place such tall trees close to the house to obscure the view from the second floor of the next door neighbor. On the other hand, even closely spaced bungalows make for quite low density neighborhoods, contributing to urban sprawl.
On a per unit area basis (e.g. per square foot or per square metre), bungalows are more expensive to construct than two story houses because a larger foundation and roof area is required for the same living area. The larger foundation will often translate into larger lot size requirements as well. This is why bungalows are typically fully detached from other houses and do not share a common foundation nor party wall: if the homeowner can afford the extra expense of a bungalow relative to a two-story house, they can typically afford to be fully detached as well.
The smaller size however may be desirable for elderly people (perhaps with grown children) as it requires less cleaning, etc.
Though the 'footprint' of a bungalow is often a simple rectangle, any foundation is possible. For bungalows with brick walls, the windows are often positioned high and are right to the roof. This avoids the need for special arches or lintels to support the brick wall above the windows. In two-story houses, there is no choice but to continue the brick wall above the window (and the second story windows may be positioned high and right to the roof.)
While the concept of a bungalow is simple, there are a number of variations upon the term, often describing where floor-space is extended above, or below the primary floor.
A ranch bungalow is a bungalow organized so that bedrooms are on one side and "public" areas (kitchen, living/dining/family rooms) are on the other side. If there is an attached garage, the garage is on the public side of the house so that a direct entrance to the house is possible, when this is allowed by legislation. On narrower lots, public areas are at the front of the house and such an organization is typically not called a "ranch" bungalow. Such houses are often smaller and have only two bedrooms in the back.
A raised bungalow is one in which the basement is partially above ground. The benefit is that more light can enter the basement with above ground windows in the basement. A raised bungalow typically has a foyer at ground level that is half-way between the first floor and the basement. This further has the advantage of creating a foyer with a very high ceiling without the expense of raising the roof or creating a skylight. Raised bungalows often have the garage in the basement. Because the basement is not that deep, and the ground must slope downwards away from the house, the slope of the driveway is quite shallow. This avoids the disadvantage of steep driveways found in most other basement garages. Bungalows without basements can still be raised, but the advantages of raising the bungalow are much less.
A bungalow with loft comes with a second story loft. The loft may be extra space over the garage. It is often space to the side of a great room with a vaulted ceiling area. The house is still classified and marketed as a bungalow with loft because the main living areas of the house are on one floor. All the convenience of single floor living still applies and the loft is not expected to be accessed on a daily basis.
Some houses have extra bedrooms in the loft or attic area. Such houses are really "one and half" stories and not a bungalow, and are described in British English as a chalet bungalow or dormer bungalow. "Chalet Bungalow" is also used in British English for where the area enclosed within pitched roof contains rooms, even if this comprises a large part of the living area and is fully integrated into the fabric of the property.
True bungalows do not use the attic. Because the attic is not used, the roof pitch can be quite shallow, constrained only by snow load considerations.
The California Bungalow was a widely popular 1 1/2 story variation on the bungalow in America from 1910 to 1925. It was also widely popular in Australia within the period 1910-1940.
The outer boroughs of Toronto are home to hundreds of thousands of bungalows, usually lining tree-dotted side-streets. Once the city ran out of room, the prices of such houses rapidly increased due to their proximity to downtown, effect of condensing neighborhoods, and being situated on massive lots. East York, Scarborough, York and North York lead in large-scale gentrification and story-addition of these bungalows, leading to neighborhoods excelling from Middle-Class (and even Lower-Middle-Class) areas to Upper-Middle-Class and Upper-Class neighborhoods. This is exemplified around North York Centre and Scarborough City Centre.
Old Toronto has very few bungalows and Etobicoke is mixed, since some areas are becoming the richest in the city, and some are becoming the poorest, leading to city blocks that can go from upper-middle-class to poverty.
Bungalows were also popular in Calgary and Edmonton from the late 1940s through the 1960s. Albertan bungalows are single-level wooden structures, typically less than , and normally feature a detached garage facing onto a back alley, a single bathroom, two or three bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, and a small living room. In Calgary, most are located in the neighbourhoods immediately surrounding the inner city, such as Marda Loop, Radisson Heights, Crescent Heights, and Killarney. As property values have skyrocketed, developers have been purchasing the old bungalows and replacing them with luxury duplexes, each side of which may sell for upwards of $750,000 each.
The bungalow is the most common house built in the Irish countryside. In the 1990s though, there has been a decline in the number of bungalows for the more favorable 2-storey or dormer bungalows.
Bungalows became popular in England between the Wars, and very large numbers were built, particularly in coastal resorts, giving rise to the phrase, "bungaloid growth". Many villages and seaside resorts have large estates of bungalows, usually occupied by retired people. The typical 1930s bungalow is square in plan, with 1960s ones more likely to be oblong. Nearly all are brick built.