What is a Cottage Home? (2024)

Cottages are not only one of the most recognizable and beloved home design styles in history, but they’ve also managed to become synonymous with all things cozy, comfortable, and peaceful in home life. When we think of cottages, we think of grassy knolls in the countryside, moss-covered rooftops, and a steady billow of smoke pouring out the chimney of a small dwelling. Known for their simple design and comfortable accommodations, they remain popular today.

History of the Cottage Home

Commonly found in rural or semi-rural areas, what we know today as ‘cottages’ housed English farmers—or ‘cotters’—as far back as the Middle Ages. Simple in design, their small, compact footprint made for intimate living conditions for the families that inhabited them. They became increasingly more common in the countryside, but as time went on and the style made its way to the United States, their popularity began to spread. They became so popular, in fact, that in the early 1900s, Sears and Roebuck sold ready-made kits to homebuyers in their mail order catalog. Nowadays, cottages are found around the world, both in city settings and the countryside.

What is a Cottage Home? (1)

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What is a Cottage Home?

Cottages are known for their distinct architectural style. 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. The chimney is often a central feature of the interior living space, a feature that greatly contributes to that cozy charm they are known for. The cottage represents an important evolution in home design, as they are often considered the precursor to the Craftsman home.

Head to our Architectural Styles page to learn more about the history and characteristics of various home designs, from A-Frame to Victorian.

What is a Cottage Home? (2024)


What classifies a house as 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. Who might be looking for such a residence?

How do you describe a cottage house? ›

Cottages are known for their distinct architectural style. 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.

What is a cottage answer? ›

: the dwelling of a farm laborer or small farmer. 2. : a usually small frame one-family house. 3. : a small detached dwelling unit at an institution.

What is technically a cottage? ›

Architectural Characteristics

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. The presence of a prominent chimney, often made of brick or stone, is another hallmark.

What makes it a cottage? ›

A cottage was originally a word to describe a small home with low ceilings. Usually found in the villages dotted around the country, these homes differed according to the area they were in. Most would make use of local stone and timber creating a unique look that often came to define parts of the country.

How many rooms is a cottage? ›

Small cottage house plans may have just one or two rooms, while a larger cottage may have three or four rooms, including bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. Despite their typically smaller size, cottage-style homes can be designed to feel spacious and inviting.

What does a cottage home look like? ›

Characteristics Of A Cottage-Style House

Natural elements such as exposed beams, wood floors, brick and stone. Fireplaces. Built-in cabinets or bookshelves. Thatch, gable, shingle or tile roofing.

What is a cottage classified as? ›

Various editions of the quintessentially American Webster's Dictionary define it as "a small house; any modest country or suburban dwelling," (fifth edition) with the eleventh edition describing even a vacation cottage as "a usu. small house for vacation use."

What are the characteristics of cottages? ›

The term “cottage” referred to homes where farmers called “cotters” resided. These quaint houses featured stone facades, gabled rooflines, brick pathways, oversized chimneys, and thatched roofs. The cottage look has become synonymous with the English countryside, where many cottage-style homes still dot the landscape.

Can you call your house a cottage? ›

Because a cottage is more than likely to be over one floor, and it is often used for short term accommodation, this is why they are given different definitions. However, going by a definition, it is perfectly fine for a cottage to also be classed as a house as it can still be used as a building for human habitation.

What is cottage and examples? ›

A cottage is a small house, particularly a traditional or old-fashioned house, or one that is used seasonally. Your family might rent a cottage near the beach every summer. In the US, a cottage typically has only one story, while in Canada a house can be much larger and still be called a cottage.

What is the best definition of the term cottage? ›

noun. a small house, usually of only one story. a small, modest house at a lake, mountain resort, etc., owned or rented as a vacation home. one of a group of small, separate houses, as for patients at a hospital, guests at a hotel, or students at a boarding school.

What is the full meaning of cottage? ›

(kɒtɪdʒ ) Word forms: plural cottages. countable noun. A cottage is a small house, usually in the country.

What size house is considered a cottage? ›

Cottages are traditionally smaller than 2,000 square feet. You can certainly build a bigger cottage, but traditionally these homes aren't overwhelmingly large. Their quaint size is partly why couples, young and old, and small families love living in cottages.

What is cottage lifestyle? ›

Cottagecore is a lifestyle movement based on the ideas of simplicity, slow living, sustainability and a deep connection to nature. It's a state of mind, like most of the time we see something and instantly gush over it and yearn for it, and that longing gives a subtle joy - pretty hard to put words to this feeling.

What defines cottage-style? ›

Cottage design is a culmination of French vintage, shabby chic and rustic, though how much of each style influences your preferred cottage ambiance is up to you. Whether you lean traditional or rustic, it's about creating a natural, vintage-y space — but in the lightest, airiest way possible.

What is the difference between a cottage and a tiny home? ›

Difference Between a Cottage and a Tiny Home

A cottage is also a permeant structure, which differs from a tiny home, which is typically on wheels and is meant to be mobile and easily moved from location to location.

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