We all have our own mental image of what a cottage should look like. Stone walls, possibly a thatched roof, and a rural location are necessary for most people’s cottage ideas to ring true. And while many cottages do look like that, there’s no technical definition of what makes a home a cottage.
So how many bedrooms is a cottage? Cottage specifications are reached by popular agreement. And popular opinion seems to agree that the maximum number of bedrooms a cottage can have is three.
Of course, we’re talking about cottages in the UK. Cottages elsewhere, particularly those in the US, are another story entirely. But for the British, our cottages tend to be on the small side.
The reason why a house can’t really be called a cottage if it has more than three bedrooms is because of this type of dwelling’s heritage.
What is the Average Size of a Cottage?
Cottages were traditionally the kind of property that was built swiftly and cheaply to house rural labourers. Providing accommodation for their workers, meant that larger farmers and landowners avoided losing their workforce at certain times of the year.
Because they were intended for some of the poorest people in the country at the time, older cottages are typically very small– really small in some cases. We’re talking single-roomed cottages for more remote locations.
Although, most traditional cottages have had at least two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs. The toilet, if they had one, would have been outside.
Over the last hundred years, most traditional cottages have been extended and all the modern conveniences you’d need have been added. And many of these renovated cottages now boast up to three bedrooms.
So if we blend traditional cottage amenities with those required by modern homeowners, we can sort estimate the average size of a cottage:
- One, two, or three bedrooms
- A kitchen
- A sitting room
- Dining room and/or parlour
- One main bathroom
- A small additional cloakroom/toilet (usually downstairs)
If a cottage has had an extension to include more rooms or a conservatory or sunroom, it can still call itself a cottage providing it retains its general façade and features.
But what other dimensions make a home a cottage?
How Many Square Feet Does a Cottage Have?
Sorry to disappoint you but, once again, there’s no definitive answer. We have to rely on more general statistics. Luckily, we do have the stats for the average size of houses in the UK.
The trouble is, that the figure is not broken down into dwelling types that include cottages.
But this may be down to the fact that cottages can be detached, semi-detached, and single or double-storied and so fits into many dwelling type definitions.
The average home size in the UK is 818 sq. ft. And as this total includes all types of homes, you can see it only gives us a ballpark figure.
This means flats, bungalows, and semi and detached houses are all included in that figure, and as we have established, a cottage could be any of these.
But it seems fair to say that the figure quoted could suggest the top end of square footage for a cottage. As cottages tend to be smaller dwellings, it seems likely that their square footage is not going to be more than the average for UK homes.
Small homes are not just a feature of Britain’s past, though. According to one national estate agent chain, Savill’s, English homes are significantly smaller than in most other European countries.
In fact, according to very recent statistics, Russia and Hong Kong are the only countries in the world that record smaller average home sizes. And considering the average US home size is just under three times bigger than those in the UK, it really makes our homes seem small.
Interestingly, the average size of new UK homes is decreasing so we may see a wave of new cottages or cottage-type dwellings hitting the property market in the near future.
So we can see cottages are not museum pieces. They can and are still being built to this day.
And as long as they conform to the general premise that they are in a rural or semi—rural location, are built to a traditional design and are relatively small, any home could claim to be a cottage. Especially if it has three bedrooms or fewer, of course!