Small house floor plans are the most sought-after comparing with other home sizes. If you have a limited budget and are skilled enough to take on a DIY building project then this is a post for you!
We compiled a list of the most affordable cabins, cottages, and A-Frame homes that you can build yourself. These small house floor plans come from a group of professional architects and designers – “Pin-Up House” located in the EU. All construction estimates are based on the actual building costs.
1. “Dolores” A-Frame Small Cabin Plans
DIY building cost $7, 400
Total: 183 sq. ft. including loft 41 sq.ft and porch 51 sq.ft
Who doesn’t like cute A-Frame small houses like the one above? Extremely affordable and aesthetically gorgeous, this small house floor plan is inviting you finally to get off your couch and build something practical that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.
Yes, building your own small A-frame cabin is a useful skill but it can also be a lot of fun.
The floor plan is so simple that it doesn’t need any explanation. The only thing that comes to mind would be extending the roof over the porch 1-2 feet in case you’d want to sit there during the rain or have some shade on a hot sunny day. Planning on having some extra protection from the elements wouldn’t blow your budget.
Another idea would be an additional window on one of the sides of the roof. Having more natural light never hurts plus the room will look less gloomy in the winter.
Building a pyramid would be the safest for seismically-active areas but can become a lot more challenging project.
2. “Aiko” Wood Cabin Floor Plans
DIY building cost $8, 900
Total Floor Area 241 sq. ft.
What sets Aiko apart from other small cabin homes? Firstly, skylight and, secondly, huge sliding doors on 2 adjacent sides. Though these features are super nice, they probably are not particularly practical for northern countries with harsh winters.
On the other hand, this small cabin design is perfect for other seasons. Did you notice the gutters and the barrel for rainwater collection? It means that your little garden will not be suffering from chlorinated municipal water giving you perfect greens and veggies for healthy meals even when you are on vacation.
Rain barrels are also a handy green feature if you want to cut on your water bill and make your little A-frame cabin living more self-efficient. Even a small rain fills up the rain barrel and you would have plenty of water for your garden.
Although small cabin homes like Aiko are used primarily as vacation homes, they also can be used for all seasons’ if you plan on living in warmer climate zones. Due to Aiko’s energy-efficient design, this nice cabin can be pretty economical and comfortable for a single person.
With a growing trend of job automation, building such an economical place to live in can be a smart move for many who are aiming to be location-independent and cut the housing budget to a minimum.
Of course, if you are not going to be one of those people replaced by robots you can still build this cabin for your perfect get-away paradise, right?
3. “Emily” Coastal Cottage Floor Plans
DIY building cost $29, 500
Total Area 410 sq. ft.
1st. floor 303 sq. ft.
Loft, 161 sq. ft.
Porch 54 sq. ft.
A-frame small house Emily is a two-story, two-bedroom tiny house that you can build in a few weeks. The ground floor has a porch and the house itself can be a comfortable dwelling for 2 or even 3 people.
Utilizing an open floor concept, the ground level provides enough space for regular small family activities. The second floor has two rooms that can be used as bedrooms.
Can this small house floor plan be improved? If one is going to actually live in this tiny house comfortably, then it should be a bit redesigned. For starters, the kitchen would definitely benefit from having a window by the sink. The second floor looks rather small to have 2 bedrooms each close in size to the bed itself, with no way to go around.
It’s fine to spend a few nights like this but to live in it? Though, it could be perfectly fine if you are a minimalist on a quest for simplicity.
If the stairs can be relocated across the bathroom door then downstairs space can look larger. Plus, the bedroom upstairs would get a lot of livable space around the bed. Having steep stairs is fun when you are young and healthy. Imagine yourself crawling downstairs in the middle of the night without rails or a sturdy wall to hold on to…
The nice thing is that you can contact the architect and ask him to modify the design to your specs.
4. “Esther” Small Lake House Floor Plans
DIY building cost $21, 200
Total floor area 405 sq. ft.
1st. floor 243 sq.ft.
Loft 140 sq.ft.
Porch 310 sq.ft.
This small cabin plan is designed to attract attention. At $21,200 estimated construction cost for ~400 sq. ft. of livable space, it’s not bad Return On Investment. You also can’t deny that the whole thing looks like one-half of an actual A-frame small house that was sawed in two.
You know that A-frame cabins are popular and cool. Here is your chance to be cool in this spacious A-frame for half the cost. With a few designer features in this lake house, this plan is nice. In some climates, the extended rafter beams are perfect for a tight mosquito net around the patio.
For Southern states in the US, plan on installing retractable sun-shades. This huge window can be blinding on hot summer days, especially with southern exposure.
Overall, this small cabin is well-designed and, of course, you may build the second half and have a complete A-frame tiny house! That bare wall is clearly suggesting this, don’t you think?
5. “Alice” Modern Tiny House Plans
DIY building cost $24,600
Comparing with some other small house designs, Alice screams sophistication. You simply cannot build this structure and have a chicken coup, pigs, or veggie beds with carrots in your back yard. Plan on getting one of the rare Japanese trees or exquisite French grape vines to plant around.
The living room is simply stunning – high ceilings and huge glass opening bring a lot of light and air to the interior of the house.
One wall in the initial design is dedicated to the storage space. For some unknown reason, shelves and cabinets have rounded corners although the exterior of this tiny house doesn’t have any. Depending on your preferences, you may go with trendy open shelves or keep this “Swiss Cheese” design – it is easy to tweak the details.
On the upper back of the house, there is a three section window in the loft area. The loft is accessible with the ladder. You may consider replacing the ladder with something more permanent, like the stairs with the rail on one side. The upper top of the bathroom can be sacrificed to accommodate the top steps with some built-in storage, for example.
The lower steps themselves can be made like movable storage boxes that can be taken away in case you’ll need more room for daily activities or evening parties downstairs.
As we have mentioned above, all the storage space is located on the left side of the house from the floor to the ceiling. You’ll definitely need a stable ladder to reach the very top compartments. Having open style shelves on the lower part of the wall would solve this problem and open up the living room’s space.
6. Yvonne” Modern Tiny Cabin Plans
DIY building cost $8,700
Total Floor Area 237 sq. ft.
Porch 73 sq.ft.
This small cabin home has it all – the loft with a bed and the balcony, a tiny kitchen and a bathroom with the shower! The best part of all is the estimated building cost for this tiny treasure – $8,700!
Due to minimalistic design, the cabin is super easy to build. If you are able to use advanced constructions tools like the plumb bob (plummet) and steel square, for example, then your cabin will have a 99% chance of looking exactly like the rendering above.
Small cabin homes, like Yvonne, can be perfect for retired couples who wish to spend a few months far away from the noisy and polluted cities. As a recreational cabin, Yvonne offers everything you’d wish for, except extra storage.
The balcony offers enough room to have your morning coffee or watch sunsets over a cup of Jasmin or Asitaba tea. The roof can be extended a bit over the balcony or you may consider putting a sunshade over it.
7. “Julia” Shipping Container Home Design
DIY building cost $14,500
Total Area 229 sq. ft.
Porch 69 sq. ft.
Do you like traveling with all your possessions? All airlines are putting more and more restrictions on what you can’t take with you and how many pieces of luggage you’re allowed to take. Here a workaround – get shipped to any country with all your stuff!
A lot of space-saving solutions went into this shipping container home project. The result is a treasure trove of ideas for those who are looking for alternative housing based on converting shipping containers into homes.
The strongest feature of the proposed design of this particular shipping container house is its structural integrity. It looks like a pretty solid steel container with most of the metal walls left intact. In case of a global natural disaster or zombie attack, you simply close the main entrance by lifting up the solid deck and the original side doors. No other points of entry, zombie-losers!
If you don’t worry about these things and want to “live dangerously,” install a couple of windows.
As with the previous tiny house plan, we see a lot of rounded corners in the interior rendering. Remember, you don’t have to round up the shelves but it would be a nice idea to round corners of the console table or other protruding furniture pieces. They tend to hurt tiny homeowners from time to time…
One important thing about living in the shipping container house that needs to be investigated. We all have heard about the Faraday cage. Shipping containers made out of solid metal act pretty close to Faraday cage shielding the inside from all electromagnetic fields.
What does it mean to you?
A lot! We are not qualified to talk about the potential health issues from living in all-metal structures. Let’s say that submarine sailors are not particularly famous for their longevity…
Below is an actual experience of a person who works in the office made out of a metal shipping container:
The walls and doors are 4″ thick metal. There are no windows. The doors are always closed and must weight about 400 pounds. To give you an idea, the box I “live” in for 9 hours every day is blast rated to withstand an 11.25 psi outside pressure differential, and an impulse of 337 psi-ms.
Very little sound, ZERO cell phone reception, and limited utility radio. The company has strong radio repeaters around the plant, so enough gets through that we can hear people calling us over the radio, but our signals don’t reach anyone else from inside the box. No AM or FM reception either.
The nearest cell tower is less than a mile away.
How to build a shipping container home the safe way?
Cut out as many windows as you can. Our advice – stick with the wood if you are planning to be inside of your shipping container home for more than 12 hours a day!
Nevertheless, these shipping container homes may prove themselves handy in case of natural disaster preparedness.
Get these shipping container house plans and report to us if the above quote holds any truth!
8. “Megan” A-Frame Small House Floor Plans
DIY building cost $33, 400
Total Area 488 sq. ft.
1st. floor 370 sq. ft.
Loft 161 sq. ft.
Porch 54 sq. ft.
Back to the wood we go! What a nice A-frame small house floor plan! By European standards, the square footage of this floor plan is plentiful for a family of three.
In the US, most of the people would consider this to be a tiny vacation home for two. It would be interesting to hear what people from Japan think of it, considering that some of them are comfortable sleeping in capsule hotels like this.
These A-frame small house plans look pretty simple and offer efficient use of space. Since the building cost is very low considering the impressive look and square footage, we give this house two thumbs up!
Nice and cozy interior, winter garden, and warm wooden interior? This may be a perfect solution for a relaxing retirement dwelling for empty-nesters or a comfortable vacation cottage for people who are budget-conscious.
9. “Anita” Clerestory Small Cabin Floor Plans
DIY building cost $7, 300
Total Floor Area 173 sq. ft.
Porch 80 sq.ft.
This small cabin whispers: “I’m so affordable! Build me!” But why would you choose this tiny cabin over other ones?
The answer is obvious – if you are too lazy or too old to climb to the loft or the second-floor using steep ladders of stairs.
Clerestory feature (the windows on the top) make the interior more spacious and fill it with light. This small cabin is a good choice for a vacation home or a small get-away cabin to build on vacant land. You can’t go wrong with a roof over your head for $7,300.
Building a small cabin like Anita on your own land is very realistic. All you need is a clear step-by-step guide plus materials. Outsourcing the construction process should not be that expensive either if you are not a DIY-er at heart.
10. “Jane” Small Log Cabin Floor Plans
DIY building cost $8,500
Total floor area 293 sq. ft.
1st. floor 177 sq. ft.
Loft 116 sq. ft.
Porch 48 sq. ft.
It’s cozy, it has thick walls, and all the facilities are inside. You can get plenty of rest sleeping on the loft and go hunting, fishing, picking up wild berries – whatever your heart desires. The total building cost: $8,500; peace of mind: priceless.
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