Small Floor Plan: Huge Comfort

Are you looking for the perfect floor plan for your cabin, cottage or tiny home?

If you’re short on space but still want a floor plan with lots of room to move about, a layout that’s highly functional, and one that’s actually comfortable to live in … then you’ll appreciate the planning that went into our 20ft X 24ft cabin floor plan.

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Measure Twice Cut Once

Measure twice, cut once!

We all have… I hope.

It can be a tough and very expensive lesson learned if you don’t follow it.

Hence the reason we’ve taken months to plan out our off grid cabin floor plans, tweak it, re-plan it, tweak it again until we found out what best suits our needs and our budget.

You should too.

Every project I’ve had the privilege to work on with my father growing up I must have heard him say “Make sure you check and recheck those measurements before you cut it.” a thousands times.


And for good reason.

It’s a lack of planning and forethought that gets most people in over their heads, way over budget, with inferior results, injured or worse… dead.

There’s NO “cutting corners” (pardon the pun) on this project. Out here when you waste lumber it can be an expensive delivery for just a few pieces that you should have otherwise not needed.

DISCLAIMER: We’re not off grid house building experts. We’re off grid house building enthusiasts.

I’m a retired military helicopter pilot. So what you’ll see is a man, just like you (or woman),  building an off grid home from scratch by hand.

We do however share a love of carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and everything related to construction and so I’ve spent many years building things and learning how to properly handle the tools you’ll see us using. Nothing complex but what I’ve learned is that safety out here off the grid is paramount!

Our intention is to build this cabin using standard building codes

Without focusing on cost or time let’s be clear that we’re not building a tree fort, a hunter’s cabin or a shack here.

This will be a small home fueled by the sun, gravity, mother nature and a whole lot of ingenuity.

We want it built using proper building techniques to ensure it’s sold, safe and lasts for generations.

We came up with a list of personal requirements that we wanted to incorporate into our off grid home.

All of this came into play when developing the square footage and the floor plan.

Consider someone these when developing your floor plan.

  • Year round usability
  • Hot & cold running water
  • Waterless toilet (no septic field required)
  • Separate master bedroom (possibly with a closet)
  • Open loft with retractable stairs
  • Cathedral ceiling in the living room
  • Full bathroom with standard size shower
  • Large front deck
  • Plenty of windows
  • Full kitchen with double sink and standard cupboards
  • Standard size fridge

Is that even possible?

While it might seem like an impossible task to tuck all that into a tight 20ft X 24ft cabin, rest assured that with careful planning and measuring twice cutting once… we’re able to make it all happen.

Here is what our floor plan looks like…

Building A Scale Model Cabin Mockup

We’re definitely one’s to go that extra mile beyond just a simple plan on paper (or a dry erase board) and so we built a scale model to give us some perspective on the floor plan, wall placement and room size..

This helps us reference exactly were inside the cabin we want things to go such as the kitchen cabinets, fridge, shower stall, water-less toilet, the fold down bed, microwave, stairs… etc.

Making a scale model isn’t something everyone will do but it can help you to understand a lot more than just the placement of items inside the home. You’ll understand why it was very helpful for us when you read our Ultimate Roof and Rafter Guide!

The Ultimate Roof and Rafter Guide For Cabins & Tiny Homes Featured Image

Here’s How We Built Our Model

Our cabin mockup was constructed of simple corrugated plastic from a couple sale signs we picked up at the local dollar store.

You can use cardboard, Bristol board, Legos… whatever you want or have available.

We’re looking to save money in each phase of the build but not because we want to built cheaply.

In fact, we’re putting in so many extras you won’t believe it. If we’re going to live here then we may as well be comfortable.

Plus, every penny saved allows us to get one or two extra special build tools, which we cover in the future, that allow us to same time and money! Without these tools we wouldn’t have been able to build the cabin in two weeks or with just two people.

How to make a 3D digital model

I am pleased to say that we have finally decided on the floor plan, the roof design, as well as the layout for all the facilities such as shower, sinks, doors, and heating unit… etc.

Floor Plan Tip: I found this handy free app for the iPad called Roomle.

It’s been indispensable in drafting up several versions of the cabin floor plans. This allowed us to make changes on the fly and seeing how it’ll comes together.

Best of all it allows you to fully furnish your home’s floor plan, take a virtual 3D tour around the inside, and even get a birds eye view from above.

This gives you an unimpeded view from every angle.

You can check out Roomle for yourself and download it for your tablet on iTunes.


Here's our floor plan using the Roomle app

The Big Conclusion!

Today, we showed you how we designed our off grid home’s floor plan using several different planning techniques.

It’s not just about a pencil, ruler and some graph paper. Although it’s still a great place to start 😉

Remember, normally the living space (square footage) of an off grid home is not at large as an on grid home. This is where it becomes critical you employ smart and strategic floor planning. Use all the tools we’ve shown you here today.

You’ll want to design a floor plan that provides room to move about easily, a layout that’s functional, and one that’s comfortable to live in long term.

OK It’s Your Turn… Ready Go!

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So let us know what you think of the cabin floor plan in the comments below.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our cabin floor plan post and if you liked that they you’ll want to head straight to out Cabin Build Section to see every phase of the cabin build so far.

Are you ready to get moving onto the next post…

Trail Blazing 101

Real Men live off the grid, step lightly, and carry a Husqvarna!

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P.S. If you enjoyed this post on the cabin floor plan then please share it.

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The Off Grid Cabin Design Floor Plans