Bungalow renovation gives you many more options than renovation of any house with two floors. You can swap rooms around much more easily if all the rooms are on the same floor. Extending a bungalow is easier too, as long as the land is there.

Planning Your Bungalow Renovation

Decide what rooms you would like where. If you were designing your bungalow from scratch, which rooms would you have at the front of the house and which at the back?

  • Would you like a door from your living room onto the yard or garden?
  • Do you really need a back door from the kitchen onto the yard?
  • Can you put a door into the bathroom from your bedroom?
  • Is there space for an en-suite bathroom?
  • What about a wet room?
  • Do you want to knock any walls down?
  • Are you likely to need wheelchair access?

Once you have decided exactly how you would like to use all the rooms in your bungalow, you can make more detailed plans.

Do Your Bungalow Renovation Plans Necessitate an Extension?

It is easiest to obtain planning permission for extensions to the rear of any property.

Putting in upstairs rooms is another possibility and planning permission is easy as long as there is no change to the roofline or front elevation of the bungalow.

If you do need extra rooms then you need to decide whether to extend upwards or outwards.

Building an Upstairs Extension on Your Bungalow

Adding rooms upstairs means that you lose space downstairs because you have to accommodate a staircase. Another factor to consider is whether you will be able to climb the stairs as you become older.

If you plan to put your main bedroom upstairs then you will need an upstairs bathroom too, probably en-suite, but this will need extra plumbing.

Windows will need to be installed. Your architect will guide you but you will have three choices; install dormer window, install windows in an outside wall or fit a window flush with the slope of the roof.

Dormer windows do not give as much light as you would expect and rain noise on Velux, flush windows is horrendous and will wake you up at night. Installing windows in an outside wall is the best option, but planning permission will be difficult to obtain if the new window will overlook your neighbour's house.

Extending Your Bungalow Outwards

You need to be aware of where drains run through your yard. These will need to be moved before any extension is built. This is not a problem, but any additional groundwork your bungalow renovation entails will add to the cost.

Remember that any extension will mean that light to your current rooms will be blocked. Adding new rooms is not as simple as it first sounds. Ideally an extension will be on a "blind" wall, one without any windows, but that usually means extending sideways, and planning permission will not be automatic.

Most extensions make current rooms larger, rather than adding rooms, unless you have a large plot. You might consider asking for planning permission to build new windows to give light to the original bungalow rooms that have been made deeper or darker with your renovations. Be guided by your architect or builder.

Renovating the Original Internal Rooms of Your Bungalow

Consider making doorways wider to accommodate wheelchair users more easily. This is much easier when your bungalow is a building site anyway, than at a later date if it ever becomes necessary.

Do you want to remove or install a chimney? Now is the time to do it.

Do you need three bedrooms? Would it be better to knock a wall down and make one large room, either a bedroom, or as a new kitchen?

Install a new heating system. Any plumbing you do at a later date will destroy your newly decorated rooms, do it now. Look at dual-fuel systems, possibly including a solid fuel option or wood pellet furnace as well as a natural gas or oil-burning furnace.

Consider replacing your hot water tank with a modern, efficient instant hot water system.

Flexibility is the name of the heating game. Remember though, more complicated means more to go wrong. Make sure that any heating controls, motorized valves and as much pipe-work as possible is accessible, without taking up floors. Make a diagram of the heating circuit pipe-work; it will help you if you ever need to add more radiators in the future.

As part of any bungalow renovation, you must add extra electrical outlets in every room. A living room needs at least six sockets near where the television will go. A kitchen needs four sockets along any six foot length of counter-top. Install a modern consumer unit with trip switches to replace any old fuseboard.

Add ceiling recessed lighting in hallways. If you plan to use the most efficient, LED lights then you need a fitting for every square foot of ceiling to give you enough light.

Any room that might be an office with a computer needs at least ten electrical outlets to accommodate computers, printers and other assorted computer equipmet.

You will probably want to fit replacement double-glazed windows and doors as part of your renovation. Make sure the window company also provide PVC window sill mouldings to cover or replace old wooden window sills.

Does Your Bungalow Renovation Plan Include a Conservatory?

A conservatory often counts as a temporary building for planning permission purposes, so is something you should always consider adding, especially to a bungalow. A large conservatory is sometimes the easiest way of adding extra living space. Make sure it is designed for year-round use, with a heating system and excellent insulation.

When people install small conservatories, they usually wish they had decided on a larger one, so build as large a conservatory as your budget will stand.

The modern trend is for a large kitchen across the back of the bungalow, with a full width conservatory added on to make one very large open plan kitchen and family living area. This will certainly add value o your property if you ever sell it and make sure you have plenty of potential buyers.