Bungalow Renovations: The Beginner's Guide

Considering a home improvement to your bungalow? We've got you covered as the experts in bungalow renovations!

A large bungalow from outside

Bungalows often sit on larger plots than traditional home buildings and so despite the common misconception that they’re only of use to people with mobility issues, they actually make the ideal property to renovate and extend. Space can be easily opened with bungalows and many such renovations sit under Permitted Development Rights rather than requiring full local authority permissions. However, renovations to bungalows should be approached differently to those on more standard homes as there are varying considerations to make – but don’t worry, Refresh knows bungalow renos well, so we have you covered!
A modern bungalow from outside

Choosing a layout

With all rooms on the same floor, it can be tricky to establish a decent degree of privacy in bungalows through the areas that need it. This means that careful thought needs to be given to the orientation and positioning of rooms within a layout to keep things appropriate.
Rooms visible from the road or main entrance of the home will need suitable window dressing and/or glazing as well as clever furniture placement and lighting schemes to avoid unwelcome eyes. Open-plan layouts tend not to work particularly well in bungalows as social spaces such as living rooms, eating areas and kitchens, need to be distinct from quieter spaces such as bathrooms and bedrooms. Ideally, bedrooms should be set as far away from louder spaces as possible.
Most bungalows are designed into two wings in place of two storeys; with a central space (usually a hallway) separating social rooms on one side and private spaces on another. This can also work front-to-back rather than side-to-side with bedrooms toward the back of the property and other rooms toward the front.

Extending a bungalow

Single storey extensions on bungalows can often be completed under Permitted Development Rights, provided that the new extension is less than 8m deep (on a fully detached property). When extending a bungalow outward, it’s important to be clever with the design to ensure that it doesn’t look out-of-proportion – as even when surrounded by a spacious garden, large single storey buildings can present as off-scale. 
For bungalows with low rooflines, a flat roof extension is often the favoured option; built as a standalone structure and then connected to the rest of the building underneath the existing eaves. This ensures the extension is self-supporting and bears no additional load on the home. Extensions can be attached at the same height as the existing eaves, but this may present a design challenge – in consistency, if not structure.
When extending to the side or rear, bungalows benefit from additional light sources. This may be in the form of larger windows than the rest of the property or glass doors, but skylights can also help bring in the brightness required to not darken the rest of the home as it moves away from the edges of the property.
A living area with dining table and chairs

Converting a loft

Although many bungalows are entirely single storey homes, lots do have a loft – and this can be converted to create more living space.
Provided there as 2.3m of head height at the attic’s highest point, a standard loft conversion can usually be completed under homeowners’ Permitted Development Rights. Dormer windows can be added, rooflights installed and then the room itself converted into just about anything you can think of – an extra bedroom, living room or workshop/studio. The property will still technically be a bungalow but the value of the home should be greatly increased.

Incorporating a balcony

A balcony or roof terrace adds interest to a bungalow and provides a view that isn’t otherwise obtainable from the home. A loft conversion may be allowed under Permitted Development Rights but a balcony usually isn’t, so formal planning permission may need to be filed for (and additional consideration given if your property overlooks others).
Balconies on a loft conversion in a bungalow are unusual but not unheard of and certainly lend an air of grace to these buildings that is often lacking. A balcony or roof terrace will further increase the value of the property on top of that gained through the conversion of the loft. 

Making a bungalow… not a bungalow

Perhaps the most obvious way to re-order a bungalow’s layout and increase the living space within it is to convert it from a bungalow to a two-storey home, maximising the footprint of the building without having to cost out and build new foundations to extend.
Bungalows can be converted into more traditional homes and indeed often end up being very spacious as a result (as they tend to have a larger ground floor than most traditional properties anyway), but there are additional planning concerns that must be taken into serious consideration. This includes the overlooking of neighbouring properties, the existing continued aesthetic of other properties in the local area, the depth and type of the existing foundations and which internal walls are load-bearing.
A row of bungalows with converted lofts
All the information required to confirm the feasibility of a second storey extension will be available on the original construction drawings found with the property deeds, but if these aren’t readily  available, local building control should have a copy. A structural engineer will be able to advise and consult on the project and should no documents be available at all, tests with trial holes can be carried out to judge the depth of and assess the condition of the existing foundations. If the foundations aren’t considered adequate, don’t panic – they can be strengthened or underpinned in strategic areas to bear more load.
Bungalows do present some different challenges when it comes to renovations but there is plenty that can be done. Refresh Renovations have worked on some beautiful conversions, extensions and renovations on single storey properties all around the world and the result never ceases to amaze their homeowners. With a little imagination and some creativity, the possibilities are endless.

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To find out how we can help you with your bungalow transformation, get in touch today for a free no obligation chat.

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