The benefits of small cabin living are robust. Not only does a smaller home mean fewer building and upkeep expenses, but cabin living coincides with a simpler, return-to-nature lifestyle.
Whether you want a cabin to live in or one to house guests, these 25 small cabin plans are sure to inspire. The smallest cabins measure around 100 to 400 square feet, but cabins up to 1,000 sq. ft. are often labeled as “small.”
There are many little cabin styles available with easy interior design customizations. Avoid feeling constrained by starting with tiny cabin plans; you can always add additional space.
What is an Off-Grid Cabin?
Off-grid refers to a self-sufficient way of living that doesn’t rely on one or more public services. The term “off-the-grid” means disconnecting from the electrical grid. In an off-grid setting, you may not have access to electricity, internet, or public water.
But you don’t have to live off-grid to build a cabin. You can use these small cabin plans to create a guest house in your backyard, a hunting cabin, or to experience rustic tiny house living.
25 Best DIY Small Cabin Ideas
1. DIY Log Cabin With Classic Framework
Compared to using a kit, building a log cabin from scratch and with natural resources is no easy feat. A single person built this cabin using self-harvested materials. The design follows a classic pattern with a gable-style roof, log walls and wooden shutters.
Check out this YouTube video to watch how one man built a cabin in the forest by himself.
2. Building Off Grid Log Cabin
If you’re considering building your own cabin, you might enjoy this YouTube video which follows the progress of a DIY log cabin project. The video shows in detail how the walls are built and how the structure takes shape.
3. Building a Traditional Log Cabin
Building a traditional cabin from scratch can take time – this example was built in three years.
The interior is almost entirely made of wood, with a lot of handmade furniture and accessories. Check out this YouTube video to learn more about this project.
4. Small Cabin With Front Porch
This small cabin in the woods has a platform that evens out the sloping ground and a tiny porch that frames the entrance. It has a classic pitched roof and wood cladding, 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. Pallet Wood Cabin
Pallet wood is the cheapest option of all cabin building materials. You can use a minimal cabin like this as a hunting shed, woods retreat, or even a playhouse.
Learn how to build an inexpensive pallet-wood cabin in this YouTube video.
6. Flat Foundation Cabin
The first step in building a cabin is finding a suitable site. You’ll need to make sure there’s a flat spot for your foundation, which could require tree removal and excavation.
Learn the steps two-friends took to build this small, rustic cabin on Instructables.
7. Small Cabin In The Mountains
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 building materials 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. Small Cabin Rental
To better understand small cabin living, consider renting cabins as a test drive. You’ll get to experience a host of different layouts and test different sizes so you can determine what’s ideal for you.
Check the cabin rentals on Blue Moon Rising, AirBnB, or VRBO.
9. Small Cabin Design Plans
If you’re looking for specific instructions, check out these small cabin plans. The PDF shows a small porch and a multifunctional indoor space.
You can find more house plans here.
10. Small Cabin With Living Space
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 a main living space at the bottom and a loft you can turn into a sleeping nook.
11. Contemporary A-Frame Small Cabin
A-frame houses have a contemporary allure. The design allows for large glass surfaces to be included, which is ideal great if you want to frame a beautiful view or bring the outdoors in.
You can find plans for A-frame cabins on lsuagcenter.
12. A Traditional-Looking Cabin
You can also find plans for a traditional-looking cabin on lsuagcenter. The design is 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 a Symmetrical Frame
A lot of cabins have symmetrical frames, which can make for an easier project. If you prefer a simple look, check out the cabin plans featured on lsuagcenter.
14. Small Cabin With Basement/Loft
How about a small cabin with a basement and a loft? The multiple floors allow you to maximize the space. On todaysplans you can find detailed plans for the cabin and each floor section.
15. Small Cabin Design With Basement
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.
You can adapt these plans and repurpose the spaces to better suit your own lifestyle. Check out the details on todaysplans.
16. Guest Cabin Adult LoftBuilding a small cabin is much simpler when you have detailed instructions. Timber Mart provides a full PDF detailing how to build a guest cabin. This cabin is ideal for a small family, with an adult-sized loft included.
17. Lookout Cabin
If you’re ready to take on a big challenge, you’ll love this lookout cabin from Today’s Plans. This cabin is more like a small house than the traditional cabin style, thanks to the two-story design.
The PDF offers the plans and blueprints to get started.
18. Build a Small Cabin In The Wilderness
This 14 x 20 ft small cabin includes a sleeping loft over the porch for spending time 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 if you were building a full-size home.
19. Small Cabin On A Budget
Not ready to build an expensive structure? 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 a cabin kit.
20. Solar Powered Small Cabin
Solar-powered homes are more popular than ever, and there’s no reason you can’t apply this technology to your cabin project. Instructables shares this small off-grid cabin, perfect for a wooded setting.
21. Two-Story Contemporary Cabin Design
If you are looking for a contemporary small cabin plan, consider this 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 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. You can turn the balcony into a porch if you prefer.
22. Fancy Small Cabin Design
Drummond House Plans shows us how to make this small but contemporary cabin with their detailed plan. This one-bedroom cabin has three or four-season options. You’ll make the most of the space, building a bedroom and a shower room.
23. Modern Small Cabin Design
This small cabin from House Plans is reminiscent of a mini cottage. Inside, you’ll find an L-shaped kitchenette and a full bathroom. Making the most of the space, the design combines the living and sleeping spaces into one.
As well as acting as a guest cottage in your backyard, this would be an excellent studio cabin or office.
24. Build A Small Cabin in 55 Days
Many of the projects on our list would take the average person a year or two to build. We love this feature from Field Mag, which shares how to build a cabin 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 you could also transform it into a guest bedroom.
25. Small Pallet Cabin
For anyone looking for a tiny cabin or shed for their garden, this DIY project from Easy Pallet Ideas is a great option. It’s the perfect solution for a workshop or office, but could also make a small guest bedroom.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How Much Does It Cost to Build A Small Cabin?
The average cost of building a cabin is 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 an existing 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?
You can build an off-grid cabin for as little as a couple of thousand dollars and as much as several hundred thousand dollars. The cost depends on the size, materials, and labor source.