Style Ideas for Your Bungalow Home

Posted by Edmonton on Monday, August 15th, 2022 at 11:51am.

Design Ideas for a Bungalow

Bungalows are popular all across Canada, although their history can be traced back to India when they were used to house British troops. The style truly began to gain North American popularity around the late 1880s and was most popularized in California in the early 19th century. Bungalow style homes caught on with builders in Canada post-1910.

While there are many ways to design and decorate bungalows, there are a few tried and true tricks of the trade to maintain their authentic, charming feel. Keep reading to learn about a few bungalow design tips that will make any bungalow home feel cozy and authentic.

Look to the Craftsman Aesthetic

The terms "bungalow" and "craftsman" are often used interchangeably when referencing architecture and design. While they have a few differences and fundamental distinctions, the similarities of bungalows and craftsman-style homes often coincide. Craftsman-style homes typically refer to the Arts and Crafts movement, which is more commonplace when discussing interior style or architectural design. In essence, the movement attempted to create a sense of more basic designs in contrast to the extravagance of Victorian styles of previous eras.

The word "bungalow" is used in reference to a particular form of a building or house. That being said, bungalows often exhibit the craftsman aesthetic, and many are inspired by similar motifs. Common characteristics of bungalow architecture include:

  • Low-pitched front, side, or cross-gabled roofs
  • Wide overhanging eaves & under eaves with decorative brackets
  • Exposed rafters
  • Front or corner porch under the roofline
  • Tapered or square columns supporting the roof or porch
  • Large dormer or sash windows

Other characteristics of bungalows are hand-crafted woodwork, local stonework or woodwork, and mixed materials throughout the structure.

Bungalow Porches Are Great for Outdoor Living

One of the best features of bungalow architecture is a broad, open front porch that adds curb appeal and allows for indoor-outdoor living. Big, bulky, tapered, or battered column posts stand out as a primary defining element of a bungalow's porch, giving the impression of the home being anchored to the earth.

Porches are traditionally placed beneath a side-facing gabled roof or a dedicated front-facing gable in warmer climates. However, in colder climates like Canada and the northern US, porches may be smaller and feature a modest portico entry. Many bungalow porches enjoy greater shelter and warmth with solid wall enclosures often crafted in the same material employed in the home's cladding.

Balustrades are common porch features and are presented in several styles that range in composition from basic square balusters to custom-sawn ones that showcase decorative motifs. These outdoor living spaces have an entrance to the living room or a small foyer. Double wooden doors with glass panes that invite natural light indoors.

Take Advantage of Natural Light in Bungalows

Bay Windows with FlowersBungalow-style homes often have large or oversized front windows with plenty of natural light. Numerous styles of windows can be suitable for bungalows, but some are more popular with owners seeking to be truly traditional to the craftsman look. In general, large and high windows are the best options.

Casement windows are a solid choice, and they can be opened to allow both fresh air to flow in and natural light. These windows also give bungalow occupants the chance to add window ledges, sills, or planter boxes for small plants or flowers outside the home.

Double-hung windows, also known as double-sash windows, have two operable sashes that both slide up and down, increase ventilation, and are large enough to let in natural light. Bay windows are a popular option for smaller and moderately sized bungalow homes, and their height and shape provide almost as much light as a floor-to-ceiling window.

Homes with a surplus of natural lighting are typically more appealing for those indoors, and knowing how to use it right can highlight decor details owners want to stand out. This is a crucial point for those who use traditional earthy tones and natural materials in the home.

Try Using Natural Materials and Earthy Tones

When envisioning the craftsman style, one often thinks of handmade or artisan decor. This is because traditional arts-and-crafts homes predominantly focused on using natural materials. It's not unusual to see gorgeous hardwood flooring and other wooden details along with other natural materials on the interior and exterior of bungalows as well. These features are often visually present in anchoring columns, low-pitched roofs, and exposed beams.

Many bungalow design efforts adhere to a simple colour palette of grays, whites, and earthy tones such as beiges and greens. Softer palettes complement the exposed wood and various natural elements often found in these homes.

Natural elements like plants or decor like cotton, jute, seagrass, and wood can highlight interiors while still representing the occupants' style. Natural rock walls, wicker baskets, and other organic accessories combined with stylistic artwork can make a bungalow complementary to the best of nature.

Turn an ordinary bathroom into a spa-like sanctuary with natural materials. Wood walls inspired by a dry heat sauna or rock walls or flooring bring the outdoors. Make use of natural lighting and clean, minimal lines with fixtures and cleverly placed windows and mirrors to create a one-of-a-kind bathing experience with nature.

Want Something Different? Try a Modern Bungalow

Modern bungalows are less common than traditional bungalows but can bring some contemporary flare to a classic style. Where a traditional bungalow is defined by its compact size and lack of a second story, a modern bungalow is more likely to make use of clean lines and open spaces. Additionally, traditional craftsman bungalows often have porches or verandas, while modern bungalows may incorporate balconies or patios instead. 

When it comes to windows, traditional bungalows tend to have large, single-paned windows, while modern bungalows might make use of skylights or floor-to-ceiling glass. Ultimately, the defining feature of a modern bungalow is its ability to marry the best of both worlds—the charm of a traditional bungalow with the sophistication of contemporary design.

Ready to Spruce Up Your Bungalow-Style Home?

Neighbourhoods with bungalow-style homes can be found all across Canada. Along with these quick tips, design professionals and dozens of magazine publications can help bungalow owners succeed in their quest for the perfect design. If buying a bungalow-style home is in the works, or a renovation is desired, that dream can become a reality with these easy tips.

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