Difference Between Cabin and Cottage

Key Difference – Cabin vs Cottage

The difference between cabin and cottage is not very clear since both of them share many similar characteristics. Both these terms cabin and cottage refer to small, simple house or shelter. The key difference between cabin and cottage seems to depend on the building materials; cabins are always made of wood whereas cottages can be made out of several materials.

What is a Cabin?

A cabin is a small dwelling constructed of wood. To be more specific, they are constructed of logs. The term cabin is often used to refer to less finished and architecturally simple structures. Cabins have a very long history; in American history, they are often associated with first generation homes built by settlers.

Cabins have a rustic look and are cruder than cottages. Cabins are often found nestled in the remote or wooded areas. They may not come with modern conveniences like electricity.

The term cabin can also refer to a private room or compartment on a ship or airplane. (e.g. captain’s cabin)

Key Difference - Cabin vs Cottage

What is a Cottage?

A cottage is a small, simple house, typically in the countryside. The word cottage also carries the connotations of being old or old-fashioned. Cottages can be made out of a variety of materials including wood, brick, mud and stone. In English architecture, a cottage has have a ground floor and an upper floor of one or more bedrooms under the roof.

The term cottage can also apply to a simple house forming part of a farm, which is used by a worker. In Canada and the US, cottages are also thought of as holiday homes by a body of water such as a lake or the sea. When compared with cabins, cottages may look more ‘finished’ and sophisticated. They will often have painted or papered walls, and modern conveniences like water and electricity.

Difference Between Cabin and Cottage

A typical English thatched cottage

What is the difference between Cabin and Cottage?


Cabins are always made of wood.

Cottages can be made of a variety of materials such as wood, brick, stones, etc.


Cabins look more crude and unfinished compared to cottages.

Cottages look more sophisticated than cabins.


Cabins are usually located in remote and wooded areas.

Cottages are usually located in waterfronts (in the Canadian and American sense of the word). In the British sense of the word, cottages are often found in the countryside.


Cabins may not modern facilities.

Cottages are usually equipped with facilities like electricity and water.

 Image Courtesy:

“Lower East Fork Patrol Cabin” By National Park Service inventory – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 

“Ten Penny Cottage, Welford on Avon – geograph.org.uk – 1227222″ By Philip Halling (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia