Bungalows are one of the most popular styles of homes in North America, and for good reason. They are typically small and cozy, with a lot of character. But what if you want to add an outdoor living space to your bungalow? You’ll want to make sure it complements the architecture, rather than detracting from it. Keep reading for tips on how to design the best outdoor space for your bungalow home.
Enhancing a Bungalow Porch
Porches covered by overhanging roofs are one of the standout features of bungalow architecture. Often, these porch roofs are supported by tapered columns in the Craftsman style or other attractive column and fence combos. Be sure to highlight these; it makes the porch an incredible asset to your bungalow’s curb appeal.
Consider bringing the materials of these columns further into your design. If the columns are partly stonework, consider using similar stone as a garden path. Brick columns echoed in the home’s foundation tie things together nicely. Wooden columns can be left in natural hues or painted; you can match the paint colors to porch furniture or choose a bright contrasting hue to make the architecture stand out.
When choosing outdoor porch furniture, remember to keep the weather in mind. Even with a roof, the furniture should be able to stand up to moisture, wind, and possible animal visitors. Wicker and rattan are popular for their durability and style; they come in many different colors, so it’s easy to find a set that will complement your bungalow’s exterior. Natural wood can also enhance the natural elements popular in the Craftsman style.
With a bit of seating and a side table or two, a bungalow porch is a ready-made outdoor living room.
Bringing the Indoors Outside: Indoor-Outdoor Living Spaces
Bungalows are typically single-story, low-profile homes with large windows and an open concept interior. These qualities all contribute toward making an indoor-outdoor flow not only practical but a natural extension of the architecture.
“Bringing the outside in” is a popular concept for creating natural interiors, but what about bringing the inside out? To visually encourage a seamless indoor-outdoor integration, consider continuing the interior flooring outdoors. Use the same color of wood and board width for the hardwood floors and the deck, for example. If you have stone or tile floors indoors, use a patio material in a similar style and color.
Indoor-outdoor living is all about blurring the lines between the two spaces, so make the most of large windows. French doors are a popular way to achieve indoor-outdoor living, but if your budget doesn’t allow for them, large sliding glass doors or windows can also do the trick. Make it easy for someone outdoors to catch the attention of someone indoors, and vice versa—think of what makes a backyard party more convenient when it’s time to call people together when the food is ready.
Of course, if you have everything you need outdoors, this is much easier. Consider an outdoor kitchen that fits into the landscaping. Another way to achieve indoor-outdoor living is by using a pergola, gazebo, or another type of outdoor structure to create a “room” with a ceiling. These provide both shade and protection from the elements, while still allowing you to enjoy the outdoors, much like the porch around the front does.
It’s also a good idea to define spaces the same way you would an open-concept interior. Separate the dining area from the conversation area with an outdoor rug, for example. Cushioned chairs and couches around a focal point like a fire pit provide comfortable places to relax and enjoy a glass of lemonade while chatting with friends. Consider changes in elevation; taking a step up or down can visually define spaces with no walls involved. An elevated deck, for example, can be designed as a separate space from an outdoor dining set in the garden at ground level.
When it comes to landscaping a bungalow, there are two schools of thought: either follow the lead of the home’s architecture, or go for a more natural look.
The former approach tends to be more structured, with paths and gardens that reflect the home’s clean lines and simple shapes. This can be achieved with a variety of different materials; concrete pavers are a popular choice because they come in many colors and shapes, which allows for a great deal of creativity.
For a more natural look, use stone or gravel for paths and plantings that reflect the relaxed, comfortable feel of the bungalow style. This can be as simple as a few potted plants on the porch or an expansive garden with a variety of different flowers and trees. No matter what approach you take, remember that less can be more—a few well-placed plants can go a long way.
Let Function Inspire Design
When designing an outdoor living space, think about how you want to use the space. Do you want a place to entertain guests? A cozy spot to enjoy your morning coffee? A dining area for al fresco meals? All of the above? By thinking about how you’ll use the space, you can better design a layout that matches both your needs and your bungalow’s architecture.
For entertaining guests, you’ll want to consider both seating and dining options. If you have the space, include a mix of both large and small table options, as well as comfortable lounge-type seating for conversation. Incorporate string lights or lanterns for evening get-togethers, and don’t forget about a source of music—whether it’s a Bluetooth speaker or a built-in sound system. If you can, choose seating options that can be moved around easily and mixed and matched between different areas, so no matter where people naturally gather, they can easily borrow a seat if necessary.
If you’re looking for a cozy spot to relax, consider a porch swing or glider. These classic pieces of outdoor furniture can provide hours of relaxation, and can be easily incorporated into any bungalow-style porch. Add some cushions for comfort, and throw in a few colorful pillows for a touch of personality. For reading, a hammock might be more your style.
When it comes to choosing materials, there are many different options that will complement your bungalow’s style. For a Craftsman-style bungalow, opt for natural materials like stone, brick, or wood. And don’t forget about plants! Flowers and greenery can add color and life to any space.
Beautiful Outdoor Living Spaces Are Within Your Reach
No matter what your bungalow’s style is, there are plenty of ways to design an outdoor space that complements it. By thinking about how you want to use the space and choosing materials that match your bungalow’s architecture, you can create an outdoor living area that is both stylish and functional.
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