Bungalow vs Cottage: Discover Their Unique Layout, Features & Style

    bungalow vs cottage

    Today, there’s a noticeable shift towards simpler living, with more people choosing smaller homes over big, sprawling ones. This trend isn’t something new. Throughout history, people have often lived in small homes, finding comfort and practicality in living spaces that are easy to manage and maintain. These homes have roots in various cultures and times, reflecting a universal desire for a lifestyle that values simplicity and closeness to nature.

    In recent years, the idea of living in smaller homes has become popular again. Many are drawn to this lifestyle because it offers a way to live more minimally, focusing on experiences rather than possessions. A survey found that about 73% of Americans are open to the idea of living in a tiny home. This shows a strong interest in reducing living spaces to increase happiness, lower costs, and live more intentionally.

    Bungalows and cottages are two types of small homes that many find appealing. Despite their different backgrounds, both offer a cozy living environment and a chance to enjoy a simpler, more connected life.

    Understanding Bungalows and Cottages

    When we talk about popular small homes, bungalows and cottages are often at the top of the list. Both have their own unique charm and features that appeal to people looking for a simpler, smaller living space.

    Bungalows are one-story houses that are all about practical living with a bit of style. They started in South Asia but have become popular all around the world, especially in places with warm weather.

    What makes bungalows stand out are their low roofs that extend far out, open layouts that connect different living areas smoothly, and often a porch at the front. They are usually between 600 and 1,000 square feet, offering a cozy but functional space for living.

    Cottages, meanwhile, capture that classic, charming look, making you think of peaceful countryside living. They’re known for their cute and quaint design, featuring uneven rooflines, small windows popping out of the roof (dormer windows), and a lot of wood or stone work.

    Cottages can be found in various sizes, but they typically offer a snug space, usually ranging from 400 to 800 square feet. This size is perfect for those who love a warm, intimate home vibe.

    Key Differences Between Bungalows and Cottages

    When looking into smaller homes, bungalows and cottages are two of the most popular choices. Each has its own set of characteristics that make it distinct, appealing to different preferences and needs. Here’s a breakdown of their main differences.

    Style and Origins

    • Bungalows are simple and functional homes that come from South Asia. They usually have one level with a straightforward layout, featuring big windows and often built-in storage spaces.
    • Cottages have a more traditional or country look, coming from Europe. They’re known for their quaint style, using lots of wood and stone, and typically have a cozy, charming feel.

    Inside Space and Design

    • Bungalows are designed with open spaces that connect the living room, dining area, and kitchen, making them feel spacious. This setup works well for families that like being together in the same space.
    • Cottages might have a more segmented layout with separate rooms and possibly more than one floor, offering private little spots throughout the home.

    Outdoor Connection

    • Bungalows often include outdoor features like a front porch or back deck, making it easy to enjoy the outside right from your home.
    • Cottages also value outdoor living, with gardens or patios that add to their charm, providing a peaceful place to relax in nature.


    • Bungalows tend to have a compact size but are designed efficiently to make the most of the space, which makes them easy to keep up.
    • Cottages vary in size and can be anything from a small, one-room house to a slightly bigger home with extra spaces like lofts.

    Location and Use

    • You’ll mostly find bungalows in cities or suburbs, serving as the main residence for people or families. Their design makes them accessible and practical for a broad audience, including those who might have trouble with stairs.
    • Cottages are often set in more rural or vacation areas and might be used as second homes or places to escape for a holiday. Their scenic settings make them ideal for those seeking a break from the city life.

    Bungalows vs. Cottages: Pros and Cons

    Choosing a home is a big decision, and if you’re stuck between a bungalow and a cottage, it helps to know what each offers and what challenges they might present.


    Good Points:

    • Easy to Move Around: With everything on one floor, bungalows are simple to navigate, making them great for anyone who doesn’t want stairs.
    • Open and Airy: The open plan design means the living, dining, and kitchen areas are connected, making the home feel spacious and social.
    • Outdoor Space: Many bungalows have porches or decks, adding extra room to relax outside.
    • Simple to Look After: With just one level, cleaning and maintenance are straightforward.

    Not-so-Good Points:

    • Space Might Be Tight: Bungalows can feel small, especially for larger families or those needing lots of storage.
    • Less Privacy: Being all on one level can mean less privacy, particularly in busy neighborhoods.


    Good Points:

    • Full of Character: Cottages are often loved for their cozy, welcoming look and feel.
    • Quiet and Secluded: Usually found in quieter areas, they offer a peaceful living environment.
    • More Privacy: The often rural or semi-rural setting of cottages means more privacy from neighbors.
    • Room to Personalize: Having a bit of land means there’s potential to add on or create beautiful gardens.

    Not-so-Good Points:

    • Upkeep: The charming details and sometimes older build of cottages might need more care and fixing up.
    • Could Be Cold or Drafty: Without modern heating or insulation, cottages might be less cozy in the colder months.
    • Not Always Easy to Access: Their cute, multi-level layouts might not suit everyone, especially if stairs are a problem.
    • Far from the City: The charm of being away from it all also means a longer trip to shops and services.

    Deciding What’s Best: Bungalow or Cottage?

    Deciding between a bungalow and a cottage really comes down to what’s important to you and your way of life. If you’re after something straightforward, with an easy flow from room to room and a place that’s not too hard to manage, a bungalow could be just right. It’s practical and convenient, especially if you like being closer to city amenities.

    But if your heart is set on a home with lots of character, surrounded by nature, and you don’t mind a bit of a commute to get back to civilization, a cottage could be your dream come true. It’s ideal for those looking for a quiet spot away from the busy world, offering privacy and a personal touch.

    In the end, it’s all about what feels like home to you. Whether it’s the uncomplicated charm of a bungalow or the cozy retreat of a cottage, thinking about your preferences and lifestyle will guide you to the right choice.