Small Cabin Ideas For Healthy Off Grid Living

Living in a small cabin in the woods seems like a fantasy. It’s one of those things that many people dream about but only a few achieve. In recent years, more people are living off grid in tiny homes, but that could be a passing fad. 

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If you don’t want a traditional log cabin, but you’re serious about living in a small wood cabin, we want to help you make it happen. Here, we’ll provide helpful information to get you started plus pertinent information that you may not know.

We found a few examples of small cabins that we’d like to share with you. Each example illustrates a lifestyle that can be achieved with the right cabin plans.

Small Cabin Dimensions

We’ve heard enough about tiny homes, but not enough about small cabins. The smallest cabins measure around 100 to 400 square feet, but bigger cabins are often labeled as being “small.”

What Are the Minimum Dimensions for a CabinView in gallery

There are numerous little cabin styles available for easy interior design customization within all of this. Avoid feeling constrained by starting with small cabin ideas; there are numerous options to extend and add on additional space to construct your ideal cabin. 

Benefits Of Small Cabin Living

What to Expect From a Small CabinView in gallery

There are many reasons why people want a dream retreat. When you live in the perfect space, life is better. Although most tiny homes and smaller cabins are less than 500 square feet, new cabin owners are discovering that’s all the space they need.  

Less Clutter

Most tiny homes are filled with “things.” It’s not hard to create a space filled with clutter. However, smaller cabins offer a different aesthetic. There’s something about their classic design and natural materials that make people think twice about accumulating unnecessary decor. 

Utility Savings

Small cabins often rely on renewable energy sources. Solar panel grids will help you save money as you won’t be reliant on a power grid. Living in a small space saves money in a variety of ways.

With things like composting toilet sewage, you become more aware of your natural environment.

Less Cleaning

Cleaning tiny rooms takes less time than it would to clean seven or eight large rooms. Also, it takes less time when there are no knickknacks cluttering your space.

Improved Life Quality

Tiny homeowners report an increase in personal happiness and quality of life once they downsized their belongings and began living small. There are numerous reasons for this: they are no longer burdened by useless objects or neverending mortgage payments. 

DIY Small Cabin Ideas

1. Log Cabin With Classic Framework

How To Plan And Build A Small Cabin View in gallery

Log cabins are amazing, especially when the overall design follows the classic framework with small windows and a pitched roof. However, building a log cabin from scratch and with natural materials is no easy task, especially compared to how easy it is to buy a tiny home.

Check out this YouTube video to see the entire process from start to finish.

2. Log Cabin Design

Use Huge Logs to Build Your Own CabinView in gallery

You might enjoy this YouTube video which lets you follow the progress of a DIY log cabin project. The video shows in detail how the walls are built, the construction crew, and the whole structure takes shape. It’s almost as good as the log house building scene in the film “Witness.”

3. Small Cabin Project

A Three-Year Log Cabin ProjectView in gallery

Building a traditional small cabin from scratch can take time. This example was built in three years. The small windows that you see outside without exposing the interior.

The interior is almost entirely made of wood, with a lot of handmade furniture pieces and accessories. Check out this YouTube video to find out more about this project.

4. Small Cabin With Front Porch

A Cabin in the Woods with a Small PlatformView in gallery

This is another small cabin in the woods project, this time with a platform that evens out the sloping ground and a tiny porch that frames the entrance. The small cabin has a classic pitched roof and is clad in wood, with a warm attic for more space and minimal interior design. The chimney completes the look. Check out the YouTube video to see how it was planned and built.

5. Minimalist Cabin Design

Use Pallet Wood to Build a Minimalist CabinView in gallery

Building a small cabin doesn’t have to be a very expensive project. Pallet wood might be the cheapest option of all building materials. For starters, consider using pallet wood. Check out this adorable little cabin and its minimalist design. It was built out of reclaimed pallets and it’s a very inspiring project.

Find out more about in this YouTube video.

6. Flat Foundation

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The main steps to follow when building a small cabin include finding a suitable site. You’ll need to make sure it’s flat, which could require tree removal efforts on your part. Each step is more complicated than that and requires careful planning.

Check out Instructables to find out a bit more about that.

7. Small Cabin In The Mountains

A Cozy-Looking Cabin In The Wood Or In The MountainsView in gallery

Here’s another video tutorial that takes you through every step of building a small cabin:  Instructables. It offers a more in-depth look at how to maximize space and put everything together. It also reveals how natural elements interact with each other. In the end, you have a  small cabin you’d expect to find in the woods or mountains.

8. Try Small Cabin Rental 

Consider Trying a Cabin Rental FirstView in gallery

To better understand what it takes to build a small cabin and how living or spending time in one actually is it can be a good idea to rent such a structure for a short period of time and do some research.

This can later give you ideas about how you want your cabin to look or to be structured. Check the cabin rentals on bluemoonrising for example.

9. Small Cabin Design Plans 

Use Small Cabin Plans For Your ProjectView in gallery

Naturally, every bit of help matters when taking on a big project such as building a cabin. If you’re looking for specifics perhaps these small cabin plans would be ideal for your project. The PDF shows a small porch and a multifunctional indoor space.

You can find more house plans here.

10. Small Cabin With Living Space

A Little Cabin With A Main Living SpaceView in gallery

You can also find complete and detailed plans on cabinplans123 which will guide you through every step of the process. Follow them to build your own little cabin with main living space at the bottom and a loft that you can turn into a sleeping nook.

11. Contemporary A-Frame Small Cabin

A Contemporary A-Frame CabinView in gallery

A-frame cabins have a contemporary allure and the design usually allows for large glass surfaces to be included which is really great if you want to frame a beautiful view or to bring the outdoors in.

You can find plans for such a cabin on lsuagcenter.

12. A Traditional-Looking Cabin

A Traditional-Looking CabinView in gallery

You can also find plans for a more traditional-looking cabin on lsuagcenter. The design is simple with many familiar features reminiscent of rustic houses and mountain retreats. As always, there’s room for customization so don’t hesitate to add your own signature to the project.

13. Small Cabin With Symmetrical Frame

Tiny cabin plans made from wood logsView in gallery

A lot of cabins have symmetrical frames which in some ways makes the project easier yet a slightly different approach can make a big difference and can give the cabin lots of character while also giving it the contemporary vibe you’re looking for. Assuming this is the case, we suggest checking out the cabin plans featured on lsuagcenter.

14. Small Cabin With Basement/Loft

Tiny cabin plans made from wood logsView in gallery

How about a small cabin with a basement and a loft? Building this small cabin would be fun and easy to organize the different functions even if the overall floor plan is small. On todaysplans you can find detailed plans for the cabin and each floor section separately.

15. Small Cabin Design With Basement 

Tiny cabin plans made from wood logsView in gallery

Here’s another example of a cabin design that has a basement level, the main floor, and a loft area. The plans are similar to the ones shown above with a few structural differences. As you can see, these are detailed plans which reveal a design focused on functionality.

The plans can be adapted and you can choose to repurpose some of the spaces to better suit your own lifestyle. Check out the details on todaysplans.

16. Guest Cabin Adult Loft

Tiny cabin plans made from wood logsView in gallery
Building a small cabin is much simpler when you have detailed instructions. Timber Mart provides this full PDF which details everything you would need to know about building a guest cabin. This cabin is ideal for a small family, and there’s even an adult-sized loft included. 

17. Lookout Cabin

Tiny cabin plans made from wood logsView in gallery

If you are looking to take on a big challenge this year, you’ll love this lookout cabin from Today’s Plans. We believe this cabin is more like a small house than the traditional cabin style, thanks to the two-story design.

The PDF will guide you through everything you need to know to get started and offers the plans and blueprints to get started. 

18. Build Small Cabin In The Wilderness

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This 14 x 20 ft small cabin includes a sleeping loft over the porch for you to enjoy spending time outdoors in nature. While it’s certainly not a quick or inexpensive project, it’s a stunning design that you’ll get years of use out of.

Mother Earth News shares the plans to assemble this cabin and encourages you to work to the same standards as you would if you were building a full-size home.

19. Small Cabin On A Budget

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After seeing some of the extravagant projects listed here, it would be a safe assumption that the projects would cost a small fortune to build. Instructables shows us that it’s possible to build a small cabin on a budget.

This 12 x 20 small cabin costs around $2,200 to build, which is a significant saving in comparison to purchasing one from a company. 

20. Solar Powered Small Cabin

A Solar-Powered CabinView in gallery

Solar-powered homes are becoming more popular than ever before, and there’s no reason this technology can’t be applied to your cabin project. Instructables shares this small off-grid cabin that you can enjoy living in even if you don’t have water or power.

21. Two-Story Contemporary Cabin Design

A Two-Story Contemporary Cabin PlanView in gallery

If you are looking for a contemporary small cabin plan, consider this extravagant guide from Pin-Up Houses. The Yvonne cabin is a two-story family home that has a living room, bedroom, and balcony. It’s perfect for either year round living or as a recreational cabin.

It offers an eco-friendly yet modern cabin design, and you’ll enjoy the incredible views from the living room. The balcony can easily be turned into a porch if you prefer, and you’ll love sitting outside and enjoying the stunning views that surround you.

22. Fancy Small Cabin Design

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Drummond House Plans shows us how to make this small but fancy contemporary cabin with their detailed plan. This one-bedroom cabin has three or four-season options, which are included as part of the plans. You’ll make the most of the space available to you with these plans, building a bedroom and a shower room within the cabin. 

23. Modern Small Cabin Design

Plans For A Modern Small CabinView in gallery

This small cabin from House Plans is more like a mini-cottage than a cabin. Inside, you’ll find it includes an L-shaped kitchenette and a full bathroom. Making the most of the space that’s available to you, the design combines the living and sleeping space into one.

As well as acting as a guest cottage in your backyard, this would be an excellent studio cabin or office for anyone who needs an extra room in their home. The great thing about these plans is that they can be fully customized to your needs.

When taking on such a big project, we always recommend planning out everything well in advance to ensure you add all of the features you’ll want to use further down the line.

24. Build A Small Cabin in 55 Days

Tiny cabin plans made from wood logsView in gallery

Many of the projects on our list today would take the average person a year or two to build. We love this feature from Field Mag, which shares how a cabin was built in just 55 days. It’s a 240 square ft cabin, which is 12 x 20 in size. It’s the perfect home office or extra outdoor space but could easily be transformed into a guest bedroom.

25. Small Pallet Cabin

Tiny cabin plans made from wood logsView in gallery

For anyone looking for a tiny cabin or shed for their garden, this DIY project from Easy Pallet Ideas is a great option. This is the perfect solution for anyone looking to add a workshop or office to their home, but it could also make a small guest bedroom.

Small Cabin Heating

When you live in a small cabin, heating is essential. When building a small cabin, you’ll want to choose the best heating option for your home.  

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Electric Heaters

Probably the simplest, cheapest method available at the moment, and fairly efficient at heating a place our size. We might survive the remainder of Vermont’s winter easily with our current electric heater, but it is unattractive and takes up valuable floor space. 

This alternative also needs to be connected to the grid; the majority of these heaters begin at 1,500 watts for approximately 5,000 BTUs and increase in size from there. With those types of electrical loads, you’d need an expensive solar array to run them over the winter.

Wood Stove

There are a few factors to consider when installing a wood stove in your compact house. The first step is to find a stove that is small enough for your tiny house. 

If it is not properly sized, it can have a very high BTU output and leave your home feeling way too hot. This is what happens to the majority of people when they attempt to heat their small house with wood due to the difficulty of finding a small enough wood stove.

Kerosene Heaters

We’ve heard from many small cabin owners that kerosene is worth the setup and fuel expenditure. It burns hot and is 90 percent efficient. While kerosene outperforms propane in terms of BTU output, it does not burn clean.

What you may not know is that it’s harmful to the environment. However, there are filters you can use that minimize pollutants.

Propane Heaters

Plenty of people choose the propane alternative because it’s clean burning, efficient, reasonably inexpensive, and readily available. 

Propane is popular because it’s cheap. Additionally, you can replenish the tanks almost anywhere. Twenty-pound tanks are common because they are easy to refill and lightweight. 

Heat Pumps

This is an alternative for grid-connected residents, as heat pumps continue to improve in efficiency. This should be avoided in cold places because the system works by gathering available heat from the air and using it for the home.

Once the temperature reaches 30 degrees, most systems feature electric heating coils, however, this returns you to conventional electric heating.

What Does It Mean To Live Off Grid?

What Does Off-grid Mean and What Does It EntailView in gallery

Off-grid is a term that refers to buildings and a way of living that are self-sufficient and do not rely on one or more public services. The term “off-the-grid” mean disconnecting from the electrical grid.

However, it’s an expression that implies a complete disconnect from society rather than a power source. Ironically, people who say they live off grid live on their own grid.

Off-the-grid living enables buildings and individuals to be self-sufficient. In remote areas where utilities are inaccessible, it’s appealing to those seeking to minimize their environmental effect and expense of living. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How Much Does It Cost to Build A Small Cabin?

The cost of building a cabin is normally between $125 and $175 per square foot but can be as low as $100 or as much as $300 per square foot.

Is It Cheaper To Buy Or Build A Small Cabin?

While building a log cabin is not inexpensive, it is substantially less expensive than purchasing one. When you’re on a limited budget and want to save a considerable amount of money, consider building your own log cabin rather than paying someone else to do it for you.

Often, the cost of a log house exceeds $200 per square foot. If you purchase a 2000 square foot log home, you can expect to pay between $400,000 and $500,000 for it.

How Much Does It Cost To Build An Off Grid Cabin?

Off grid cabins cost $70,000 to build. This is an approximation and doesn’t factor in the cost of energy and water that you will be responsible for. 

When you factor in the cost of those parts, your pricing rises to approximately $140,000. Additional costs include livestock, garden tools, and supplies, a septic system, bringing the typical total to over $300,000.

Can You Live In An Off-Grid Cabin?

In the simplest terms, “off-grid” living refers to living independently of the public electrical grid. It is a pleasure and challenge, but you have to examine off-grid living from a legal point of view.

Off-grid life is not technically unlawful in and of itself. Producing your own energy is a totally legal way to live off the grid. Growing your own food is a form of self-sufficiency that is both legal and ethical. 

Small Cabin Conclusion

You should have everything you need to know to pursue your small cabin dream. With interior design cabin plans, building a small cabin is easier than should you build one from scratch. While  not an easy task, with patience, you’ll find it’s a fulfilling DIY project.

If a small cabin is unattainable, then you have plenty of tiny homes to choose from. Living in the outdoors isn’t hard, but it will require dedication. Nothing is ever as expected, and cabin living may seem cool, but it’s not for everyone.