Bungalows are very convenient for the homeowner in that all living areas are on a single-story and there are no stairs between living areas. A bungalow is well suited to persons with impaired mobility, such as the elderly or those in wheelchairs.
A bungalow is a type of building. Across the world, the meaning of the word bungalow varies. Common features of many bungalows include verandas and being low-rise. In Australia, the California bungalow was popular after the First World War. In North America and the United Kingdom, a bungalow today is a residential building, normally detached, which is either single-story or has a second story built into a sloping roof, usually with dormer windows. Full vertical walls are therefore only seen on one story, at least on the front and rear elevations. Usually the buildings are relatively small, especially from recent decades, however, early examples may be large, in which case the term bungalow tends not to be used today.
The term “bungalow” originated in India, deriving from the word baṅgalo, meaning "Bengali" and used elliptically for a "house in the Bengal style". Such houses were traditionally small, only one story, and had a wide veranda. The term was first found in English from 1696, where it was used to describe "bungales or hovells" in India for English sailors of the East India Company, which do not sound like very grand lodgings. Later it became used for the spacious homes or official lodgings of officials of the British Raj. It was well known in Britain and later America, where it initially had high status and exotic connotations, and began to be used in the late 19th century for large country or suburban houses built in an Arts and Crafts or other Western vernacular style—essentially as large cottages, a term also sometimes used. Later developers began to use the term for smaller houses.
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. They are a very cost-effective way of living. On the other hand, even closely spaced bungalows make for quite low-density neighborhoods, contributing to urban sprawl. In Australia, bungalows have broad verandas and as a result are often excessively dark inside, requiring artificial light even in daytime.