15 Jan 2024

Creating Practical Spaces for Bungalows

Victoria Brocklesby, COO at Origin, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of aluminium windows and doors, explains how renovators can make practical spaces in their properties without eliminating natural light.


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The way we use our homes has changed significantly in the past four years. Home and work life have crashed into each other, and the need for separate work and entertaining spaces remains even now that the pandemic is behind us.

This means that many people living in bungalows are looking to change the way they use their home’s floorplan. Traditionally, bungalows were split into lots of smaller, separate rooms to maximise bedroom space. Those built more recently tend to have favoured a more modern, open-plan layout, which has been popular since the 1970s. However, neither of these two extremes offer the optimal living space for modern homeowners. Instead, self-builders and renovators are increasingly looking to create ‘broken-plan’, flexible spaces, which offer the best of both worlds.

The allure of broken-plan living

Broken-plan living is quickly gaining favour amongst homeowners as it addresses the growing need for separate functional areas without compromising the inherent charm of one-storey living.

As families spend more time at home, the demand for privacy, individual space and the ability to work or study without interruption has become more important. Homeowners are seeking a balance between the connectedness fostered by open living plans and the need for dedicated zones for work, relaxation and leisure activities. That’s where broken-living plans enable the flexibility of creating secluded areas when needed and then they can be opened up for entertaining.

For those looking to renovate their current bungalows, the broken-plan living style means that redesigning a home’s current footprint creates a sense of more space without it costing significant amounts, too. Instead of adding more square footage, homeowners are fully optimising the space they already own.

Broken-plan layouts also work well for those living in bungalows who are older or have mobility challenges, as the home’s footprint works harder for them. Older bungalows often have a poor floorplan with several unnecessary separate spaces that are typically unused by homeowners. By optimising the footprint of a bungalow, the space will remain broken plan, but will have a heavier emphasis on providing functional ‘zones’ with enough room for space.

Creating broken space

Broken-plan bungalows can be built or renovated using solid walls or screens to divide rooms and living space. However, particularly in more compact bungalows, this can lead to dark rooms. When designing such spaces, it’s vital to prioritise bringing in natural light.

An alternative to building new solid walls is installing internal glazed walls and doors to create broken-living spaces. These walls and doors, characterised by large glass panels, serve as both functional dividers and as a channel for natural light. This approach creates the separate living areas required but maintains an open feeling that allows for lots of natural light to flow throughout the home.

Internal glazed doors, such as the Origin Internal Door (OI-30), are a great option to achieve this. The Origin Internal Door is suitable for all property types, including bungalows, as they can be configured as a single door, a French door or a fixed screen.

Costing up

Whilst on the surface, open-plan layouts may seem like the most flexible for a home, broken-plan layouts can act as a futureproofed footprint for your home. How flexible a home is to all styles of living and generations should be considered during the initial planning stages.

With bungalows traditionally being seen as homes for life thanks to their one-storey living, it’s vital that builders and renovators ensure their space is flexible enough for every stage of their lives. This will also save money reconfiguring a property later down the line.

Looking at the costs of an internal glazed wall or door, it ultimately depends on the quality of the product and the material it’s made from. The ultra-traditional steel options look fantastic but will often come with a high price point. A more affordable option is products made from aluminium as these still offer a sleek aesthetic and the robustness to handle everyday life but are more affordable. Plus, aluminium is inherently lightweight, making the doors easier to operate.

Summing up

Designing or renovating a bungalow for modern lifestyles can present challenges. Homeowners don’t want a property that has smaller, separate rooms that have no functionality, and they also aren’t favouring the open-plan layout. The use of internal glazed walls and doors is the best option for achieving this delicate balance, allowing homeowners to revel in the natural light whilst ensuring that the footprint of their home is working harder and smarter for them.

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