How Much Does it Cost to Build a Cottage?

Typical Range:

$175,000 - $350,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Published February 10, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Cottages have long been a popular choice for smaller home layouts and vacation destinations. If you’re looking to build a new cottage, you’ll want to get a sense of the main cost factors. The typical cost of building a cottage runs between $175,000 and $350,000. Most homeowners pay around $260,000 for a 1,500 square foot 1.5-story cottage with a slab foundation. On the lower end, you can build an 800 square foot prefab cottage with a slab foundation for $120,000. And on the higher end, you can build a 2,000 square foot, 2-story cottage with a basement for $500,000.

Average Cost to Build a Cottage

Average Cost


Average Range

$175,000 – $350,000 

High Cost


Low Cost


Estimating Cottage-Building Costs

Most custom-built cottages cost $150 to $250 per square foot, while prefab cottages cost around $125 and $175 a square foot. The average size of a cottage is between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet.

Site Preparation

Prepping the land costs start at $1,600 to $8,000. It includes excavation and clearing the area for the foundation. 


A slab foundation for a 1,000 square foot cottage averages $5,000 to $9,000


Depending on the framing material, framing a cottage runs $9,000 to $22,000.

Interior Finishing

To finish the interior of a cottage, expect to pay between $57,000 to $106,000, including insulation, flooring, drywall, and painting.

Exterior Finishing

Exterior work can cost between $30,000 to $70,000, and includes tasks, such as sheathing, siding, and roofing.

Major Systems (HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical)

Plumbing, electric, and HVAC for a new cottage runs between $21,000 to $30,000.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Cottage?

Building a small cottage of 600 square feet starts at around $75,000, depending on the size and materials. Most small cottages are 1- or 1.5-story with a slab foundation.

Square Feet

Average Range 


$75,000 – $150,000


$100,000 – $200,000


$125,000 – $250,000


$187,500 – $375,000


$250,000 – $500,000

The average size of cottages is between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet, but they can be smaller. The cottage’s size directly affects the overall price to build a cottage, with larger cottages costing more per square feet than smaller cottages. 

Average Cost by Location

While a cottage can pop up anywhere, they are typically found in more rural areas or destination communities; the availability of materials, delivery costs, professional labor costs, and home-building demand will all impact the cost by location. Here are some locations and their average cost to build a home:

  • Sequim, WA: $373,000

  • Sun Valley, ID: $283,000

  • Cedar City, UT: $426,000

  • New Buffalo, MI: $212,000

  • Breckenridge, CO: $409,000

  • Orange Beach, AL: $283,000

  • Farmington, PA: $365,000

  • Bretton Woods, NH: $327,000

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Cottage Yourself?

A cottage is smaller than an average-sized home but it still entails many of the same elements; home-building is an involved process that requires expert contractors and tradespeople to handle various aspects of the process. Therefore, you should work with a general contractor near you to manage and complete the project. To save 15% to 25% on project costs, you can handle some interior and exterior finishing projects like painting, flooring, and landscaping.

How Much Does Cottage Construction Cost by Type?

There are two main construction types to choose from when it comes to building a cottage.

Prefab Cottages

A prefab cottage costs between $125 and $175 per square foot. Prefab cottages are faster to build since they are fabricated off-site in a factory. After picking from model plans and features, the cottage is built in one, two, or more pieces. Your home’s building materials are then transported to the site, where the pieces are assembled and connected to the foundation on-site.

Custom Built Cottages

A custom cottage costs between $150 and $250 per square foot. Custom building is a process where your home is completely custom-built, from design to building it on-site on top of the foundation. The building is framed and finished in one area with the freedom to change and make customized choices for the design and materials. 

What Factors Influence the Cost to Build a Cottage?

Most cottages have a similar building process, but some factors contribute to the final cost of building a cottage.


A cottage build requires a building permit. To obtain a permit, you will first need to work with an architect or a designer to help design and draw the plans before construction begins. These plans are then turned in to your local municipality for approval. 


The cottage location determines many factors. Building a cottage in the city is different from building a cottage off the grid. 

Off-Grid Cottage

If you want to build a cottage in a remote area, this means your cottage won’t depend on public utilities and will need to be self-sufficient. This entails installing on-site utilities, such as a solar system, private roads and driveways, a natural gas source, and other arrangements, which means more cost.


If your cottage was built near a body of water, a slab foundation is the most practical. But, if your cottage is built in an urban or suburban area, then a full basement foundation is possible. Consult with a local structural engineer about the foundation type that best fits your cottage and location. 

Codes and Zoning

Your location will also determine whether you need to follow certain regional regulations, such as insulation, seismic, or flooding proof requirements. Meeting these zoning requirements may add more cost to your budget, so verify with your local building department for more details. 

Building and Finishing Materials

There is a wide variety of materials to choose from for every part of the construction. Better quality materials will likely last longer and cost more than lower-quality materials; less expensive materials will also be more susceptible to repair in the long run.

Home Additions 

Thoughtful additions that work well with the environment surrounding your cottage add functionality, improve the property’s appearance, and enhance the property’s value. Some of these additions could include:

  • A dock if your cottage is located next to a body of water

  • A porch for sitting on and relaxing

  • A shed or detached garage for additional storage


What is a cottage?

Cottages are often associated with vacations and rural abodes. Traditionally, cottages were smaller homes built from materials found locally on the land. Eventually, they became the cottage style we know today—an eclectic, cozy home with amenities designed for a comfortable living.

What is the difference between a bungalow and a cottage?

Bungalows and cottages have many things in common. Both are smaller homes that are typically 1 story, but now it’s common for some bungalows to have a second partial floor as part of the slope, frequently known as 1.5-story homes.

Bungalows have specific styles and architectural elements, including a unique front porch and Craftsman-style details. Cottages don’t have a distinctive style and often lack a porch, and have different window styles, making them easier to build than bungalows.

What materials are used to build cottages?

Cottages are usually made completely with native materials and local labor. Most cottages are wood-framed but can be made of any material, such as logs, hemp, concrete blocks\ and other materials.

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