How to Choose the Best Prefab Cottage Design For You

Thinking about buying a prefabricated cottage? With so many prefab cottage designs to choose from, it’s not always easy to decide which one is right for you. There’s no right or wrong way to go about choosing a design, but these tips will help you get started!

1. Consider Your Building Lot

First thing first: is your land narrow, sloping, or near a waterway? Which direction offers the best view? Are there any special features, like a forest, lake or cliffside, that you want to draw attention to?

Choose your cottage design in accordance with the features of your building lot. For example, a wide cottage design like the Bala LE might not work on a narrow building lot, but models like the Portland or Lynden would be perfect!

If your cottage will sit by the lake, a design like the Lakeview or Bluewater will take full advantage of the picturesque view and natural light.

Speaking of natural light, it’s important to think about where the sun’s rays will fall on your lot at different times of the day.  Then, you will be able to place your windows to make the most of the morning and evening light. You can usually have windows moved or resized later on if you need to, but it pays to get it right the first time!

A walk-out basement can be a great choice if your land slopes, especially towards the waterfront. This style of cottage is very popular in Muskoka and northern Ontario. In fact, the Algonquin cottage was designed with just this in mind!

2. Bungalow, or Bigger?

It is no wonder that so many people go with bungalow cottage designs. They’re stylish, affordable, and so simple to maintain!

Plus, if you have family members with mobility issues or expect to entertain older guests at the cottage, a bungalow is perfect. Having everyone on one level also makes it easier to keep a watchful eye on little kids.

On the other hand, if you do have kids, you might consider a cottage design with a second floor. That way, the little ones can sleep in the bedrooms upstairs while the grown-ups stay up and socialize on the main floor.

Adding a second story to a cottage will allow you to increase its square footage without encroaching too much on the landscape. Just keep in mind that zoning and local regulations may limit your cottage’s height, or the minimum and maximum size of the cottage relative to the lot size.

3. Make Room to Grow

The question of square footage really comes down to your cottage’s purpose. Sure, a smaller cottage will be cheaper to heat and have a smaller tax bill, but there’s a lot more to it than that!

Are you mainly thinking of the cottage as a romantic getaway, or do you plan to host large family reunions? Have the kids left the nest, or do you plan on sharing your cottage with them? The answers to these questions will help you settle on the square footage you need

One thing to remember: a cottage that’s just the right size for you now may not be so forever. It’s not a bad idea to include an extra bedroom or two in your cottage design as a ‘flexible’ space. A spare bedroom can serve as an office or den for a few years, then become an additional bedroom when another child or grandchild is born.

4. Be a Good Neighbour

Sure, nobody wants to live in a home exactly like the one next door. That’s part of the reason to have your prefab cottage custom-designed by a builder like Royal Homes! That said, the prefab cottage design you choose should be compatible with its future neighbourhood.

This holds true whether you’re building in a new area or in a neighbourhood with long-established cottages. Either way, the exterior of your cottage will form part of the neighbourhood’s character.

Consider the design and colour schemes of nearby homes and cottages, as well as the surrounding landscape. Which colours stand out? Which would be complementary, and which colours might clash?

You don’t have to be a copycat. Just don’t pick something that sticks out like a sore thumb! You and your neighbours will all be happier about it.

5. Choose Your Architecture

On the topic of neighbourhood fit, these considerations should apply to your cottage’s architectural style as well.

Does the neighbourhood have a contemporary or classic feel? Would an ultra-modern cottage look out of place?

It’s possible to combine different architectural styles to get something that fits the neighbourhood and still speaks to you. That’s the best part of our model home catalogue: if you like the gables of one house and the porch of another, you can combine them!

Unlike most prefab home builders in Ontario, our designers and architects will work with you to custom-design the perfect cottage for your needs. Learn more about our one-of-a-kind building process.

6. What Are Your Must-Haves?

A custom-built prefab cottage gives you the opportunity to include all the things you’ve always wanted in a home.

Want to relax on a wrap-around porch with your book? You can do that. What about a massive dining room with a lake view? It’s yours. Is a gourmet kitchen a must? Go ahead and add it to the list!

While you may not find a cottage model that suits your every need right off the bat, our team can help you customize any of our designs to your heart’s content. The sky’s the limit!


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