The bungalow is a classic home design that Floridians have historically embraced. They’re cozy and bring out elegance through simplicity. It’s almost impossible to drive around the Tampa Bay Area without seeing one. Let’s learn a little about the origin of this popular design, and tips for decorating the Florida bungalow.
What is a bungalow?
If you think the word “bungalow” doesn’t really sound English, then you’re on the right track. It’s actually derived from the Hindustani term “bangala” which means “belonging to Bengal.” Originally, they were constructed by the British as rest houses in India. Some of the key design features, such as being built low to the ground, the spacious porch, and long overhanging eaves make them ideal for warm climates.
Bungalows however, didn’t reach the United States until the early 1900’s. When they did, they were not just embraced by Florida, but the entire country. They were simple, inexpensive, and flexible with style. Many first-time homeowners and and young families found homes in bungalows.
Historic Kenwood, a neighborhood in St. Pete, which hosts a yearly Bungalow Fest is a product of this housing turn of the century trend. In 1913, Charles R. Hall, a developer, built 10 houses on Central Avenue. The neighborhood was originally near an avocado grove. By the 1930’s, there were about 170 bungalows in Kenwood alone!
Bungalows are small houses. At their largest, they’ll only be around 1.5 stories. Your main challenge is to make the most of that space, and avoid feeling cramped. Here are just a few tips:
- Furniture Placement. Your first instinct might be to push your couch directly against the wall. This makes sense, but will also make your room feel more compacted. Instead, try pulling it just a few inches away or even put a console table behind it.
- Multifunctional Pieces. Coffee tables and ottomans that open up for storage are great assets for a small living room. A vintage trunk can serve as both and add more style to your room.
- Monochromatic Color Schemes. When designing any room in a small house, pick one color, but use many shades of it from the paint to the furniture. It will look more cohesive and spacious. Lighter shades will also makes rooms look more airy.
- Window Treatments. Do away with the heavy curtains and let some natural light in. Having a view of outside will also make you feel less cramped. Place a mirror parallel to a window to create the effect of an extra window.
- Draw the Eye Upwards. Any detail that lures your attention near or to the ceiling will create the illusion of a bigger room. Installing a ceiling book shelf, or even painting designs on your ceiling can help achieve this effect.
Suiting Your Needs and Style
Designing an interior of a small house comes with more of a risk. Something that you ordered from a big box store furniture online can end up feeling “bigger” in a small house. There are also many solutions you might not know of when consolidating space. That’s why it’s always good to call in the experts.
At Tampa Bay Furnishings, we have experience working with spaces of all sizes. We will personally cater to your specific home needs and unique style with our interior design services. Our attention to detail comes down to every material used for your furniture. If you’re in the process of moving into a bungalow, or think it’s time for some interior renovation, contact us today. We’ll be glad to make you feel at home in a piece of Florida history!