Bungalow vs. Cottage: What’s the Difference & Is One Better Than the Other?
Bungalows and cottages are both small, yet very popular house styles in the United States and beyond. However, their names aren’t exactly interchangeable. That is, small bungalows can be cottages, but not all cottages are bungalows.
Feeling a bit confused?
Don’t worry! You don’t have to be. We’re here to walk you through all the differences between bungalows and cottages, as well as highlighting the pros and cons of each as an architectural style and living space. This way, you’ll have all the information you need to choose which house style is right for you based on your budget and current needs.
But, whether you choose a bungalow style or a cottage style, we have hundreds of house plans to choose from to match your every need.
Bungalow vs. Cottage: The Main Differences
These are the big differences to look out for when deciding between bungalows and cottages.
This classic Bungalow-style home has 890 square feet, 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. Enjoy relaxing or entertaining on the large front or back porch. Plan #123-1109
What is a bungalow?
A bungalow is a style of house that was first created hundreds of years ago in the Bengali region of India. There, the weather is so hot and humid that residents needed to find a way to encourage circulation within their homes and keep things cool. In addition, they needed to prevent water from entering the home during the floods of monsoon season.
Because of this, bungalows typically sit at least two feet above ground level and have large windows. That way, they are cool inside and are less likely to flood. The homes also tend to have wrap-around porches for their inhabitants to sit outside and enjoy the breeze. In Asia, traditional bungalows are just one story tall, but as the style made its way across the world, different cultures have adapted the original style. To this end, bungalows outside of India occasionally have multiple stories instead of just one. This switch started happening around the end of World War II when the style really picked up steam abroad.
In addition, Bungalows also usually have sloping roofs that overhang their porches by a few inches. And, if they have a second floor, the newest bungalows have dormer windows nestled within it. In the United States, most bungalows are brightly painted.
This lovely 1064 square foot Cottage has 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. The spacious open floor plan includes a living/dining room with vaulted ceiling and a large kitchen with center island. Plan #142-1417
What is a cottage?
A cottage is a small house. They are typically old-fashioned, as they became popular in England during the Middle Ages. Back then, poor peasants were often called “cotters” so their places of residence then gained the name cottage. During that time, it meant “hut.” Although they were small, many people tended to live in these tiny cottages together. Because of the type of people who lived in them, cottages started off only really being built in rural areas.
These original cottages had high-pitched, gabled roofs and exteriors of wood or stone. The walls were very thick to keep the inhabitants nice and warm during the English winter. Because of this, the windows were often very small as well, as a means of temperature control. The entryway was always in the shape of an arch and has a nice brick walkway leading up to it.
Original cottages tended to have a large central living room combined with a dining room and then two bedrooms. But now, they can run a bit larger and have a little bit more living space. This is especially true because of all of the space available in the attic of a cottage. This room is almost always made into a loft of some sort.
Bungalow vs. Cottage: Pros and Cons
Here’s what people tend to really like and dislike about each style of home when making their choice.
What are the pros of a bungalow?
Bungalows are a great option for first-time homebuyers, as well as those dipping their toes into investing in real estate. This is because they typically aren’t as expensive as larger homes, but still meet all the needs of a family and are very stylish.
In addition, since bungalows have wrap-around porches, they tend to be very popular with parents of young children because there are plenty of great vantage points to keep an eye on the kids playing in the yard. The porches are also just a great spot to hang out and relax.
Finally, the original two purposes of a bungalow still stand: they tend to have great circulation, so they are great for warmer regions. And, they won’t flood as easily as other homes will since they are elevated. So, if you live in the southern United States, which tends to be warmer all year, and live in an area prone to flooding, they are a very viable option as the perfect home.
The inviting front porch of this 1853 square foot bungalow is one of the many great features of this 4-bedroom 3 bath home. Other great amenities include a main floor master, walk-in pantry, eat-in kitchen and optional flex space/bonus room. Plan #104-1122
What are the pros of a cottage?
Most people who live in cottages tend to choose them because they are a part of a lifestyle. Whether you have a cottage in the countryside or near the ocean, most residents enjoy the break from urban life. They enjoy the chance to slow down, relax, and birdwatch from their front porch with a morning cup of coffee. These homeowners like the quiet and privacy of being so far away from everyone else, but not too far, as it is nice to have helpful neighbors somewhat close by should they really need a hand.
However, if you just love the cottage-style home but don’t want to build in the countryside, you can still enjoy all a cottage has to offer but in an urban setting. And, when doing so, homeowners report that they enjoy bringing a slice of the countryside into the city with them. This is because many who build cottages enjoy the aesthetic of them: the storied stone walls covered in ivy, or the cozy rooms filled with warmth and family memories.
The layout of this 3 bedroom, 2 bath cottage is sure to please. With 1275 square feet of living space, a living room, a dining room, covered front and rear porches, and a spacious kitchen, you will have plenty of room to relax. Plan #108-1793
What are the cons of a bungalow?
The only real cons of the bungalow are the very low potential security risks. This is because a one-story house might seem just a little bit easier to break into than a larger home. Since they are low to the ground, someone might be able to just “hop inside.”
However, in most neighborhoods, this isn’t likely, and installing a simple home alarm system or adopting a pet dog would solve most of these problems outright.
In addition, their one-story layout sometimes makes things a little tight. If you have a large family or entertain often, the restricted nature of the space might not be the best fit for you.
This spacious bungalow has 2358 square feet, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. It features a main floor master, hearth room, mudroom, flex space, and loft. With an optional bonus room and optional garage, this wonderful home has it all! Plan #193-1156
What are the cons of a cottage?
Cottages tend to carry a higher price tag than bungalows. This is typical because they are larger and have more intricate floor plans. So, if you are saving up to purchase your first home or are just starting to think about purchasing a place to rent out, a cottage might not be the best first choice. However, if you are looking for a family home or a private holiday home, then the higher price tag might not put you off.
In addition, because cottages tend to be located in pretty regional areas, you can typically expect that the maintenance and overall upkeep of the place is going to be rather expensive. This might be for no other reason than the distance from which you have to source supplies and labor to fix the problems. In addition, you can experience unique problems like having critters turn your cottage into their home during the off-season, as well as the roads to your home being impassable at certain points of the year.
Considering all of this, you might also find yourself paying higher home insurance premiums.
This smartly designed cottage has over 900 square feet of living space and offers wonderful amenities such as an eat-in kitchen, walk-in pantry, and front and rear porches in addition to 1 bedroom and 1.5 baths. Plan #141-1325
Which house style should you choose?
In the great bungalow vs. cottage debate, the home style you end up choosing really just comes down to two things: your overall budget and your style preferences. Neither style is better than the other, only different.
Think about the weather patterns and overall climate of where you plan to build, as well as house much space you would like to have. Then, consider your budget and aesthetic preferences. Only then will you be able to choose the style of home that is best for you.
And, remember: small bungalows can be cottages, but not all cottages are bungalows.
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