Small Cabin Picture

Small Cabin Design Options

Small Cabin Layout Design  Picture

Choosing Small Cabin Structure Type

There are numerous options to choose from when selecting the type of your small cabin structure:
  • Pre-fabricated building kits
  • Log cabins
  • Wooden frame
  • Stone, concrete blocks or bricks
  • Recycled materials
  • Mud and Straw ;-)

When selecting a structure type for my small cabin, the following factors were considered:
  • How best to minimize cost
  • How best to minimize the amount of labor and skills required
  • Ready availability of all necessary building materials
Although I found the idea of a log cabin quite appealing, the cost of materials (quality log timber) is fairly high. In addition, I would have needed help carrying heavy logs. I also decided against a pre-fabricated small cabin/shed kit, as they are usually limited in design choice once your specific requirements (size/square footage, location, number of windows, etc.) are applied. They are also usually more expensive than purchasing the same materials on your own. Lastly, I rejected the idea of a larger pre-fabricated house kit due to cost and permit restrictions.
It is not always clearly stated, but most cabin building kits usually do not include the foundation! Keep this in mind when calculating the total cost.

The small cabin structure type I selected was a wooden frame based design.

Small Cabin Structure Based on Wooden Frame Picture Because of this choice, all further discussion on this website will focus on this type of structure design.
You have full flexibility with this design option, plus this is by far the least expensive option available.

Frame Stud Spacing

Generally, wooden frame structures are built using either 16" or 24" spacing between frame studs. "Spacing" means "at centers" (or "off centers") of the studs (O.C.).
Obviously, since 16" spacing uses more studs, it is somewhat more expensive and requires more work. It is stronger.
I used 16" stud spacing when building my small cabin.

The selected cabin frame stud spacing will have to persist throughout the entire cabin frame structure - floor, walls, and roofing.
I.e., a floor joist will be under a wall stud, which in turn will be under a roof joist.

Small Cabin Structure Design Layout Picture

Small Cabin Layout

When building a simple rectangular 8x12 foot small cabin, the layout choices are fairly straightforward: Select the amount and location of windows, choose door location, draw all on paper.

For a homier feel in your cabin, select larger windows. The additional light they provide will also make the space feel bigger.

Find the door and windows you are going to use first. The number and size of them will drive your frame design/layout.

Small Cabin Floor Plan Design Layout Picture

Small Cabin Floor Plan

Here is the sketch of my small cabin floor plan / layout:

  • It's a small cabin, so its door opens outward
  • Use of sofa bed saves space
  • Battery unit is located under the table at the entrance (left side)
  • Wood stove is surrounded by a metal heat shield
  • Lots of windows

Have a look at other cabin floor layouts on our Small Cabin Forum: