Bungalow vs Cottage: What’s the Difference?

By: ROS Team

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You might love bungalows. Or maybe­ cottages steal your heart. Both of the­se single-story homes have­ a lot of charm and have been like­d for a very long time. They se­em similar at first. But, they have­ some notable difference­s. Let’s look at what makes each one­ special.

What Is a Bungalow?

Bungalows are characterized by their single-story layout, low-pitched roofs, and wide, overhanging eaves. The term “bungalow” originated in India and was adopted by British colonists to describe a type of thatched, one-story house. In the early 20th century, bungalows gained popularity in Western countries, particularly in the United States and Europe.

What Is a Bungalow
Photo Credit: Canva

Key Features of Bungalows:

Single-Story Layout: Bungalows are single­-story homes, making them convenie­nt without requiring stair use.

Open Floor Plans: Bungalows de­sign often includes open floor plans. This links living space­s together, perfe­ct for those liking a smooth transition from room to room.

Front Porch or Veranda: Many bungalows have a front porch or veranda, providing a welcoming outdoor space for relaxation and socializing.

Low-Pitched Roofs: Usually, bungalows show off low-pitched roofs with broad eave­s. This makes them look snug and small.

Craftsman Details: Some bungalows exhibit Craftsman-style architectural details, such as exposed rafters, built-in furniture, and decorative woodwork.

What Are Cottages?

Cottages are­ usually quaint, small homes. They’re mostly found in countryside­ locations, giving off a comfy, rustic vibe. They have a rich history and you’ll see them diffe­r in size and style based on whe­re and when they we­re built.

What Are Cottages
Photo Credit: Canva

Key Features of Cottages:

Size and Coziness: Cottages are typically smaller than bungalows, emphasizing a cozy and intimate atmosphere.

Storybook Aesthetics: Cottages often feature storybook aesthetics, with irregular rooflines, dormer windows, and a mix of materials to create a charming and picturesque appearance.

Rural and Coastal Settings: Cottages are commonly associated with rural or coastal settings, reflecting their historical origins as humble dwellings in scenic landscapes.

Versatile Architecture: While cottages may be one or two stories, they can vary widely in architectural style, incorporating elements from different periods and regions.

Garden and Outdoor Spaces: Cottages often have well-tended gardens and outdoor spaces, contributing to their idyllic and serene ambiance.

Bungalow vs. Cottage: Pros and Cons



  • Single-Story Living: Ideal for young families, downsizers, or those with mobility concerns, eliminating stairs and promoting accessibility.
  • Low Maintenance: Smaller size translates to less cleaning and upkeep, perfect for busy individuals or those seeking a simple lifestyle.
  • Energy Efficiency: Compactness often means lower heating and cooling costs, making bungalows eco-friendly and budget-friendly.
  • Cozy Atmosphere: Bungalows often have an intimate and inviting feel, fostered by open floor plans and close proximity between rooms.
  • Affordability: Generally less expensive than cottages due to smaller size and simpler construction.


  • Limited Space: This may feel cramped for larger families or those who require dedicated workspaces or guest rooms.
  • Privacy Concerns: Large windows at ground level can lead to privacy issues, especially in urban settings.
  • Lack of Separation: Open floor plans might not offer enough separation between living areas and bedrooms, which some may find disruptive.
  • Limited Storage: Smaller size often means less built-in storage, requiring creative solutions for organization.
  • Resale Value: While popular, bungalows might not appreciate as much as larger homes in certain markets.



  • Spaciousness: Typically larger than bungalows, offering more room for families, hobbies, or entertaining guests.
  • Versatility: Additional bedrooms, bathrooms, or dedicated spaces like home offices or dens can be accommodated.
  • Privacy: Often nestled in scenic locations or featuring secluded outdoor areas, cottages offer enhanced privacy and connection to nature.
  • Character and Charm: Architectural details like exposed beams, thatched roofs, or stonework add a unique and timeless appeal.
  • Investment Potential: In desirable locations, cottages can hold significant resale value, making them potentially good investments.


  • Higher Cost: Larger size and potentially intricate architectural features translate to a higher price tag compared to bungalows.
  • Maintenance Demands: Larger footprint and potentially older construction could mean more upkeep and renovation costs.
  • Stairs and Accessibility: Multi-story layouts might not be suitable for everyone, especially those with mobility limitations.
  • Isolation: Secluded locations, while charming, can feel isolating for some, especially those who crave easy access to amenities.
  • Energy Efficiency: Larger sizes can lead to higher heating and cooling costs compared to compact bungalows.

Is a Bungalow Bigger Than a Cottage?

Generally, yes. Bungalows tend to be larger than cottages, with bungalows ranging from 600-1000 square feet and cottages from 400-800 square feet. While some large cottages and small bungalows might overlap, bungalows will usually have more floor space and larger rooms.

Can a Bungalow Be Called a Cottage?

Not all bungalows are cottages, but some can! The key thing to remember is that “cottage” refers more to a general size and feel (small, cozy, rustic), while “bungalow” is a specific architectural style (single-story, often with Craftsman features).

So, a small bungalow with a thatched roof and stone walls could definitely be called a cottage, but a larger bungalow with multiple stories and a modern facade wouldn’t. It’s all about the specific characteristics!

Cottage vs Bungalow: Key Differences

LayoutUsually smaller, may have one or two storiesTypically single-story, promoting accessibility
AestheticsStorybook charm, irregular rooflinesClean lines, open spaces, low-pitched roofs
SizeGenerally smallerCan be larger, providing more living space
Outdoor SpacesEmphasis on gardens and picturesque settingsOften features a front porch or veranda
Architectural StylesVaried, may incorporate eclectic elementsCraftsman details, with built-in furniture
SettingOften associated with rural or coastal areasVersatile, can fit into various settings
Roof TypeVaried, may include thatched roofsLow-pitched roofs with wide overhanging eaves
Historical OriginOriginated as small rural dwellingsOriginated in India and gained popularity in the West
Common FeaturesDormer windows, cozy atmosphereOpen floor plans, front porch, craftsman details

Cottage vs Bungalow: Which Is Right For You?

What’s best for you depends on your personal needs and tastes. Ne­ed an affordable, little house­ that’s cozy and warm? A bungalow could be for you. Seeking a quaint re­treat in an idyllic spot? Consider a cottage as your pe­rfect sanctuary.