A Complete Guide To Cottage-Style Homes | Quicken Loans (2024)

Few types of homes hold such timeless appeal as the cottage. If you’re ready to buy a house, and quaint and cozy design elements are high on your list of must-haves, a cottage-style home may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Of course, these homes offer more than their aesthetic charm. Let’s take a look at different types of cottages, cottage-style homes’ interior and exterior characteristics, and the pros and cons of buying a cottage.

What Is A Cottage?

A cottage is a term often used to describe any small home with cozy and rustic design elements. While most cottages tend to be on the not-so-large side, they often boast functional layouts and charming architectural details that more than make up for their sparse square footage.

The term “cottage” might conjure up images of a stone house in the countryside, but these homes are built in a wide range of cottage architectural styles and can be found all throughout the country.

History Of The Cottage Home Style

The term “cottage” dates back to the Middle Ages when farmers were known as “cotters” and their homes as “cottages.” The typical medieval English cottage featured a thatched roof with stone or brick walls, and the style was well known from the Tudor era through the Victorian era.

Characteristics Of A Cottage-Style House

Because a cottage-style home is defined more by its size and general charm, no hard and fast rule determines what makes a home a cottage. However, some general design elements should come to mind for home buyers when they think of the word “cottage.”

These include:

  • Natural elements such as exposed beams, wood floors, brick and stone
  • Fireplaces
  • Built-in cabinets or bookshelves
  • Thatch, gable, shingle or tile roofing
  • Cozy, closed-off layouts with small rooms
  • Stone walkways or patios
  • Small front porches

Types Of Cottages

Here are a few of the different types of cottages you might see on the market.

Coastal Cottage

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Sometimes known as Cape Cod or American cottages, coastal cottages originated in the Northeastern United States. Typically, one to one-and-a-half stories, these homes are often located near a beach and boast features such as bay windows, wooden shingles and whitewashed trim.

French Cottage

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A French cottage can also be referred to as a Creole cottage due to its popularity in New Orleans. In keeping with the traditional architectural style of that area, French cottages often have a long, narrow layout along with a long front porch and a sloped, gable roof.

Nordic Cottage

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You can find this type of cottage in Nordic regions such as Norway or Sweden. These homes are most famous for their bright red exterior and minimalistic style.

English Cottage

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This style of home is what most people think of when they hear or see the word “cottage.” Features you’re likely to find when exploring the English cottage include gable or thatched roofs, sprawling gardens, and stone walls covered in ivy or other creeping greenery.

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Pros And Cons Of Buying A Cottage-Style Home

Now that we know the basics of cottages, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages that go along with buying this type of home.

Pros

  • Relatively little square footage makes upkeep easy.
  • Rustic elements and closed layouts make for a cozy aesthetic.
  • Many cottages are older homes, making them perfect for buyers who appreciate vintage design elements.
  • The smaller size of cottages makes them more affordable than most single-family homes in the same area.

Cons

  • The small size and tight rooms may be a challenge for those who need extra living space.
  • Historic structures may make expanding or renovating a challenge.
  • Cottages are typically located outside of major cities, potentially resulting in inconveniences with regard to accessibility.

The Bottom Line

A cottage-style house might be the perfect fit for you if you value a home with a cozy vibe and a bit of history and don’t feel cramped by a lack of square footage. But if modern conveniences like open kitchens and sprawling floor plans are your preference, you may be better off with a more traditional home that incorporates cottage-like touches – such as exposed beams and wooden shingles – for a bit of country charm.

Ready to begin looking for the home of your dreams? with us today to speak with a Home Loan Expert and embark on your home buying journey.

A Complete Guide To Cottage-Style Homes | Quicken Loans (2024)

FAQs

What size house is considered a cottage? ›

But cottages are still defined by their cozy size — no more than 1,000 to 1,200 square feet, roughly half the size of the average American house.

Are cottage homes worth it? ›

By buying instead of renting, you can customize and build onto the property as you make it yours over the years. Plus, you'll likely build equity (although it's not guaranteed) and you may make a nice profit if you sell your cottage after owning it for several years.

What makes a house a cottage style? ›

Cottages are typically asymmetrical, one-to-one-and-a-half-story homes with low-pitched gable roofs, prominent chimneys, small covered porches, and more. Initially, cottage roofs were thatched; however, that skill is uncommon in the U.S., so many have cedar or wood shingle roofs.

What is a cottage house plan? ›

Cottage house plans are informal and woodsy, evoking a picturesque storybook charm. Cottage style homes have vertical board-and-batten, shingle, or stucco walls, gable roofs, balconies, small porches, and bay windows.

What are the disadvantages of a cottage house? ›

Answer: Owning a cottage comes with several disadvantages, including ongoing maintenance costs, property taxes, the potential for vandalism or break-ins during the off-season, and limited accessibility during certain times of the year, especially in remote locations.

Is a cottage cheaper than a house? ›

Cottages are a type of house. They tend to be smaller than the average house and may be more frequently found in rural areas, but they share building codes, parameters, and techniques. Because cottages are smaller, they cost less to build.

Is cottage the same as farmhouse? ›

Cottagecore is traditionally a less spacious floor plan than modern farmhouse, which makes sense if you think of a cottage as cozy and a farmhouse as traditionally more spacious. Cottagecore decorating combines slightly more romantic and antique elements; think vintage suitcases, milk pitchers, and old books.

What is the ideal size of a cottage? ›

The square footage of a cottage can range from as little as 400 square feet to as much as 2,000 square feet or more.

Can you permanently live in a cottage? ›

Question: Can You Permanently Live in a Cottage? Answer: In most cases, cottages are not designed for permanent living due to their seasonal or recreational zoning restrictions. However, some people choose to convert their cottages into year-round homes by making necessary renovations and obtaining proper permits.

What are cottage style homes called? ›

Sometimes known as Cape Cod or American cottages, coastal cottages originated in the Northeastern United States. Typically, one to one-and-a-half stories, these homes are often located near a beach and boast features such as bay windows, wooden shingles and whitewashed trim.

What are the advantages of a cottage house? ›

Apart from all the financial, social and ecological benefits, cottages simply emanate warmth, comfort and welcome. Maybe it's because they tend to be unique rather than cookie cutter, and compact rather than vast. Whatever the reason, the cottage-size home offers enough benefits to make it a move worth considering.

What is another name for a cottage style home? ›

What is another word for cottage?
cabinlodge
retreatvilla
abodebach
bothybower
bungalowcamp
45 more rows

How many bedrooms are in a cottage? ›

They may contain 1–3 small bedrooms and also a small bathroom. In the combined kitchen and living room (storstuga) there is usually a fireplace. Today, many cottages have been extended with "outdoor rooms" (semi-heated external rooms with glass walls and a thin roof) and large wood terraces.

How to design a cottage home? ›

Cottage Style Is Cozy

Pattern pairings. Namely florals against stripes or plaid. For extra comfort accessorize further with fluffy pillows, cheerful art, woven accents and flowers from the yard — like Bria Hammel did in this cheerful breakfast nook.

What is modern cottage style? ›

This style uses dainty and antique-like pieces to establish an environment that's homey and welcoming. It feels traditional and historical but uses modern elements such as gold finishes and a neutral color palette to keep it fresh. With the inviting feel in mind, this aesthetic loves a lived-in look.

What defines a home as a cottage? ›

They are small homes, intended to house a single family. Cottages are typically asymmetrical, one to one-and-a-half story dwellings with low-pitched gable roofs and small covered porches.

How do I know if my house is a cottage? ›

Size and Scale: Cottages are generally smaller and more intimate compared to the average house. They typically feature one to two storeys, making them quaint and cosy. Roof and Chimney: A classic cottage often has a steep, gabled roof, sometimes thatched, adding to its rustic appeal.

Can any house be called a cottage? ›

A cottage is a term often used to describe any small home with cozy and rustic design elements. While most cottages tend to be on the not-so-large side, they often boast functional layouts and charming architectural details that more than make up for their sparse square footage.

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