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Cottage vs Cabin – What’s the difference?

Cottage vs Cabin – What’s the difference?

Fall and autumn are probably the best seasons to rent a vacation home and watch the leaves change – away from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life.

Cabin and cottages are some of the few abodes that offer peace and quiet that most hotels failed to do. These places are mostly hidden away from roads and highways, nestled in a tranquil natural scenery.

Whether you are stuck on which vacation home to get – a cottage vs cabin – or simply wondering the difference between the two, we got you covered! These two are both wonderful options. However, they carry different qualities and aesthetics you may want to consider to make the most of your stay.

What is a Cabin?

A cabin is a small shelter, usually made of wood and is situated in a wild or remote area. It came from the French word cabane, which means “small house or habitation.”

The earliest recorded history of cabins dates back to Bronze Age and the Roman Empire at about 3500 BC. These old cabins are made of logs and have their roots in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Later on, the log cabin designs also swept over Asia and the western hemisphere.

cabin in the woods

A city in Belarus called Gomel is where the earliest known square log cabins stood. Historians believed that it was built during the 1100s.

People found cabins extremely simple to construct as they only required no more than an ax and saw. Some Americans started building their cabins with timber, which later became a well-known architectural choice during the 1700s. 

Aside from those made of logs, there are also cabin designs for modern vacationers. Some of these are stick-built cabins, modular cabins and relocatable cabins.

What is a Cottage?

A cottage is a small house usually used for vacation. Dictionary.com defines a cottage as a modest house at a lake or mountain resort owned or rented during holidays. The word “cottage” is derived from Old French cote, which basically means “hut.” 

Cottages usually carry the impression of being an old-fashioned building. However, the appearances and uses of a cottage have greatly changed over time.

cottage vs cabin

In the Medieval period, cottages are built using the cheapest locally available materials. For instance, wheat-growing farmers use thatch as a roof, while those in stone-rich areas use rubble stone.

Fast forward today, the modern definition of a cottage represents a vacation residence located near countryside waterfronts. They have become holiday homes and are now common in resorts instead of residential places.

Cottage vs Cabin: The Difference


Cabins and cottages have similar appearances but only differ in their size and purpose.

Cabins are enclosed houses that are much smaller than cottages. Most cabins only have a single room and could fit two or three people. They have an unfinished and crude look. 

A cottage is much bigger and has a furnished look. They are more sophisticated houses and could fit an entire family.


Cabins are solely made of logs or wood. However, modern cabins are now made of shipping containers but are designed to retain the “rustic feel.”

Pine and cedar are among the most commonly used wood species for log cabins in America. Meanwhile, Redwood and Douglas Fir are the ones used in Europe and Australia.

Meanwhile, cottages are made up of various materials like sod, stones, mud, wood and bricks.


Cabin and cottages are both constructed in spaces surrounded by nature.

Cabins are usually built in the middle of woods, up the mountains or on grasslands. 

A cottage usually overlooks bodies of water like lakes, waterfalls and beaches. Most resorts build cottages instead of modern hotels.


Cabins do not have modern facilities like water and electricity. In fact, people who use cabins spend most of their time outside and simply need a space to take shelter, especially at night.

Cottages may have bigger rooms and are properly furnished. They have modern facilities like running water and electricity. They can also have dedicated rooms for the kitchen, toilet and shower.


Cabins are generally cheaper than cottages as they are only made of wood. Depending on the type of wood and your region, full logs can cost from $1.00 to $5.00 per square foot.

Meanwhile, cottages can be constructed using a variety of materials. You may opt for a brick and stone cottage, a wooden cottage or a concrete one.

Concretes cost $3 to $12 per square foot, depending on the type and where you bought it. They are much stronger and have noise-canceling properties. Brick cottages have high resistance against fire, snow and even molds. A single brick typically costs $0.50 – $0.60.


Cabins and cottages have various differences you may want to consider to make the most out of them. Some of these include the appearance, material, location, facilities, and the cost of building one.

One thought on “Cottage vs Cabin – What’s the difference?
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    […] homes, like their cousins, tiny houses, and cabins, are now prevalent choices for people who advocate a cost-effective, minimalistic way of living. […]

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