Cottage Style Home – Meaning, Characteristics, Pros, & Cons

Architectural Styles, Blog

In the Middle Ages, cottars (agricultural laborers otherwise known as farmers) used cottage-style homes. They constructed these dwellings from local materials to fit into the landscape. As time passed, these generic small homes were used as houses by others and not just agricultural workers. They became multi-roomed structures and magnified over time.

Today, the cottage architectural style is a popular choice in the United States and many other countries. These homes are celebrated for their simple design, cozy feel, charming aesthetic, and effective use of space. It’s no surprise that over 100 years later, this architectural style is still trending.

The cottage architectural style has many distinct features, including size, exterior, and interior details. Let’s discuss the characteristics, pros, cons, and more about this home style. Let’s get started.

What is a cottage-style home?

Cottage-style homes date back to England in the Middle Ages when they served as homes for farmers. These homes are typically asymmetrical, one to one and a half story, with steep gable roofs and oversized chimneys. They are typically around half the square footage (usually 1,000 to 1,200 square feet) of most houses in the United States (about 2,300 square feet). But this doesn’t make them less fabulous.

What are the defining features of the cottage architectural style?

The true definition of an architectural style falls on the features or elements. Here are a few defining elements of the cottage architectural style.

1. Natural materials and color palette

Cottage-style homes are generally designed to reminisce or highlight natural materials. Natural materials like wood shingles, brick, stucco sidings, thatch roofing, and wood grain paneling are common materials found in the architectural style.

Additionally, natural colors such as brown, beige, washed-out gray, or darker gray blends are common to help blend with the surroundings.

2. Asymmetrical design

Unlike most other home styles (like the Colonial or the Cape Code architectural style) that traditionally feature symmetrical designs, the cottage home strongly relies on asymmetrical elevations. This is evident in the placements of oversize chimneys, porches, gables, and garages/carports.

3. Steep gable rooflines with a large front peak

The steep gable rooflines come from the Tudor architectural style, but it is also a common feature of the Cottage architectural style. In some cases, the steep roofline slopes all the way down the side of the home, getting very close to the ground level.

4. One and a half story construction

Due to the unique steep gable roofline associated with this architectural style, they often include a second floor or at least half a floor. This second-story loft or attic can serve various purposes, including storage or living space, you name it. However, you must bear in mind that because of the sloping roof, it will not be as spacious as the first floor.

Other defining features of the Cottage architectural style include;

  • An oversized chimney
  • Exposed beams
  • Rustic and charming appearance
  • Wraparound porches
  • Back decks
  • Fireplace
  • Arched beams
  • Built-in shelves and nooks

What are the benefits of the Cottage architectural style?

There are many benefits of this home style; some notable ones include;

1.  Fairly affordable

One major advantage of this home style is that it is very affordable to build and maintain. Because of its small size, it requires little cost to build compared to other home architectural styles. Additionally, you will also spend less on maintenance and upkeep with this home style as they are rare, but when they do happen, they can be costly.

2. Saves cost in the long run

As I have mentioned earlier, Cottage homes are roughly around the square footage of average homes in the United States. But this doesn’t make them less fabulous because it means you will have lower property taxes, lower insurance, lower mortgages, etc.

3. Open floor plans

Another major advantage of this home style is that it maximizes space effectively and efficiently. Even though it is small in size, it has an open floor plan. So you need not worry about comfort because this home style has smaller square footage that seems more significant than it really is.

What are the drawbacks to the cottage architectural style?

It is also advised to consider the pros and cons of any home style before deciding on it. Some notable drawbacks to this home style include;

1. Often built in secluded areas

Because of the nature of this architectural style, they are often found in secluded country areas. This means that it will typically be a long walk to commute to work, the grocery stores, or to get other necessities. Although some owners actually prefer this, it can also be an advantage if you prefer this.

2. The size

The size of the home can be a disadvantage to many homeowners, especially ones with large families. They will typically want more room for privacy, for the kids to be able to play in, or for storage. Even with the open floor plan, this might still be a thing of concern.

3. Repairs can be costly

Although the maintenance and repair needed for the cottage home style is not as common as others, when it does happen, it can be costly. Also, remember that most of these homes are built in secluded regions, so it might be costly to get someone to come out to fix any problems that may arise.


How can you identify the cottage’s architectural style?

The cottage architecture is set apart by its unique style, prominent chimney, steep gabled roof, cedar shingles, asymmetrical design, stone accents, etc.

Is a cottage home different from a bungalow?

Yes, it is. Bungalows often have a second story and different architectural designs and elements that set them apart from the cottage architectural style.

Can the cottage home style carry modern appliances?

Absolutely. Architects have found various ways to outfit cottage homes with various modern appliances to improve their functionality.


A cottage-style home boosts a comfortable and inviting space, always making you feel cozy and your guests welcome.  However, this home style might not be the right choice for everybody, especially larger families. However, it can be the right choice for smaller-sized families or families who are on a tighter budget.

If you are looking to commence your build process and are wondering where to start, you are at the right place. See our Custom Home Build Process, and also see some of our Completed Projects. Inspired yet? Get in touch with us now.

Thanks for reading.

About Samkins

Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


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