Small Floor plan ideas for our cabin build — Meri go Round (2024)

Tiny House. Tiny Cabin.

Embracing a smaller living space doesn't mean sacrificing style or functionality. We want to create a beautiful practical design that doesn’t take up a large footprint on our land, or impede the views. So, we'll explore the art of small floor plans, uncovering the benefits, design strategies, and creative solutions that make compact living not just practical but truly delightful.

Small Floor plan ideas for our cabin build — Meri go Round (1)

There are a lot of benefits of small house plans. Two of the biggest ones for us are that it is more budget friendly and it can be more environmentally conscious. A smaller house usually means lower construction costs, but of course this depends on your materials and finishes; a tiny, but custom, top of the line/designer/high end house would likely cost more than a large builder’s grade house. For our case, we hope to find a sweet middle ground of a small footprint and a dash of higher end finishes in some areas. As our builder quoted us in cost per square foot, that is really driving us to keep the square footage down.

There are several reasons why small floor plans can be more environmentally friendly. Smaller houses can be more energy efficient, as they require less energy to heat or cool. They are less impactful to the surrounding land; we won’t have to clearcut or disturb a forest to build our tiny cabin, and may even be able to build in the area that has been partially cleared already. More natural habitat will be left in place, which is just how we want it. With smaller houses, we are using less materials to build a smaller house, less construction waste as well.

A few other benefites of a smaller house are that we are easily able to pursue off the grid energy sources. We don’t have to worry about generating enough power to heat a massive volume. In a small floorplan, there is not a lot of space that is dedicated to storage, which means you have to be selective about purchases, so you don’t run out of space for living.

We’ve done some research and planning, and have a good idea for our small cabin square footage. Our cabin will likely be in the range of 1000-1400 square feet. This includes 2 bedrooms, a kids bunk area, 2 bathrooms, and a large open concept living kitchen space. I’ve set aside over half of the floor space for the kitchen, living, dining area. We really want to focus on the main area as the way we live as a family, especially while we are on holiday, is all together in the living room. Sure we may retreat into our rooms when we need a moment or two, but for us right now, our bedrooms are for sleeping and getting ready for the day. As such, we wanted to make sure the living area had the most space. Our plan is to create zones within the public spaces so that we can each have our own little space if needed.

Small Floor plan ideas for our cabin build — Meri go Round (3)

Design Strategies for Small Spaces

So how do you create space for everything without taking up a lot of space? A few ideas . . .

  1. Open Concept Living: Create a sense of spaciousness by combining living, dining, and kitchen areas. This is a no brainer. I love open concept spaces so we knew we wanted this to be the main bulk of our squarefoot budget. We’ve created around 600 squarefeet for this area.

  2. Multi-Functional Furniture: Invest in pieces that serve multiple purposes, such as sofa beds or murphy beds. Our bunk area may not be entirely a separate room, but more of an open walk way with beds.

  3. Natural Light: Use large windows, sky lights, and mirrors to enhance natural light and create an airy atmosphere. This is key in modern design already, so it goes well with our plans.

Inspiration from other Small Floor Plans

Using inspiration from experts and professionals, I’ve gathered what I like and don’t like about certain small floor plans. And I encourage you to explore innovative small floor plans that showcase clever design ideas, such as the four we’ve outlined in the modern cabin designs post. Don’t just click on the flashy pinterest pin. Go to the architects’ websites that are linked in the post and see all the rooms and design features. This will help you build your own likes and dislikes.

Finland has quite a few modern cabins companies we pre-made plans, and a few of them even work in the US. Two of my favorites to browse are and Pluspuu. You can explore so many different layouts and designs on their site, and they even have a section on holiday homes, which is perfect for us as we won’t be living in it full time in the near future.

One of my key design tastes that I learned from this method is I prefer to have the living and sleeping areas separate as possible, or the public and private spaces. Sure, in theory, this sounds doable. This means i you want to minimize the use of hallways because they take up valuable space in your floor plan. So we had to come up with solutions that would allow the bedrooms to be located in another area of the house without long hallways. My daughter and I have created at least 30 different floor plans using this super fun tool. Here is one that I designed.

Small Floor plan ideas for our cabin build — Meri go Round (4)

This came in at around 1500 sqft, so it didn’t make the final cut. The long hallway took up too much valuable space. I do love the layout though, and appreciate that each bedroom will get a great view facing the trees. Besides being over our square foot budget, it also has a pretty long footprint, which really doesn’t work well on our site. You can also see what I mean about the private and public spaces being separate here.

Even though our house isn’t really a tiny home by any definition, it is on the smaller side. So we will definitely need to address some of the common challenges of small floor plans, such as storage limitations and potential feelings of confinement. The large open concept living area and tall windows will help with the later, and really, just step outside into the woods if you need some space ;) We are not creating closets in our tiny home in the bedrooms. Perhaps just one for utility and storage, but we are going to make use of wardrobes that we can customise and build in after determining the final layout. We are also going to use open storage, like hooks, and shelves, under-bed storage, and other clever furniture items like fold out desks, beds, etc.

We are happy with the idea of a smaller floor plan as there are really a lot of possibilities for a cozy, efficient, and stylish living space that doesn’t break the bank or require a massive footprint.

Do you have any tiny/small/efficient living floor plans that we ought to consider? Please share!

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tiny house, small cabin, cabin life, cabin diy, small floor plans, off-grid living, forest cabin, great lakes, cabin on the lake, cabin construction, modern cabin


Small Floor plan ideas for our cabin build — Meri go Round (2024)
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