16 Best Free Cabin Plans With Detailed Instructions
When it comes to building your dream log cabin, the design of your cabin plan is an essential ingredient.
Not all plans are designed equal…
Cabins come in many different sizes, shapes, styles, and configurations. The design of your log home can help to maximise living space and reduce unnecessary effort during the notching and building phases.
From log cabins with a loft, to A-frame cabins with 3-bedrooms, you will certainly find a perfect design from these beautiful log cabins.
Take a look through our 16 hand selected cabin plans and then read what you need to know.
16 Cabin Plans
Cozy Cabin For Under $500
Built by The Outsider and his youth group, this cabin was constructed for less than $500, and took around 8 months to complete.
The YouTube video talks you through the step by step process of the build.
If you are looking for simple cabin plans, which you can build completely from scratch on a very small budget, this cabin is the ideal one to follow. The low budget is dependent on sourcing your own lumber, or else the price will increase largely.
Cabin on a Budget
The cabin on a budget is a tiny cabin measuring just 20 x 12 foot and can be built for under $2500.
These cabin plans are also much easier to build from than a traditional log cabin, as it uses a framing and siding technique.
To the exterior there is a small porch area, and on the interior there is enough space for a small kitchen and living space.
Rosefield is a classic traditional cabin, which can be built for less than $6,000.
The cabin is open plan, which has the advantage of making it far easier, cheaper and quicker to build than more intricate cabins with separate rooms.
These particular cabin plans also come with a detailed cabin assembly diagram and step-by-step instructions, which includes a foundation guide.
Three Bed Cabin
Designed to be highly energy efficient, this three bedroom, two bath cabin is two stories tall with dormer windows built into the second floor.
The windows are cleverly placed to minimize the direct sunlight on the cabin, and it is built up off the ground to allow plenty of airflow underneath.
Alaskan Cabin Plans
Alaskan cabin is a small home built over a 5 month period on weekends only.
The cabin has a porch area at the front, great sized windows which let in lots of natural light, and a loft space which acts as a bedroom.
To the ground floor there is space for a table and chairs, a kitchen and a living area. The stairs up to the loft are spiralled to allow for maximum space downstairs.
One Room Log Home
Built mainly from pine wood which was sourced locally, this is a small one roomed cabin which would serve as a guest cabin or weekend getaway.
The cabin plans are very detailed and take you through step by step, how to build this cabin with supporting photographs.
Wooden Cottage Cabin
Perfect as a guest cabin, a hunting lodge or just a getaway, this set of free cabin plans comes complete with a materials list and extremely detailed instructions with drawings to accompany each step.
At a tiny 108 square feet, this cabin was designed to be just small enough to not require a building permit, and so would make the ideal cabin for those not wanting to apply for building permission.
The Norwegian Cabin
The Norwegian Cabin is a tiny home based on the Norwegian ‘stabbur,’ a storehouse built on stilts.
To avoid having to handle large logs, this cabin only uses logs of less than 16 feet and the home measures 10 foot by 13 foot.
These cabin plans include an open plan room on the ground floor and a bedroom in the loft space.
This simple A-frame cabin plan has a porch to the front, which opens onto an open plan living and dining room.
Towards the back of the cabin is the bathroom and kitchen, with another door which leads out to a second porch at the rear end of the home.
On the second floor are two bedrooms each with their own balcony.
The Lookout Cabin
The Lookout Cabin is a small two-story plan which is perfect for those who have a narrow piece of land.
Spread over 500 square feet, downstairs, you will find a living space, kitchen and bathroom.
Whilst, upstairs has a bedroom with an en-suite and a balcony.
Whitfield is a tiny cabin with a sleeping loft. The entrance to the cabin is through the sheltered front porch and it leads directly into an open plan area and kitchen.
The loft can be accessed by ladders where you will find the sleeping space. This plan also includes a complete cutting list, floor, rafter, and floor beam calculations.
The Stealth Cabin is a tiny 8×8 cabin which is designed to look like regular garden storage to avoid any unwanted attention.
To the interior, there is space for a small kitchen, a toilet and shower and a two seater sofa.
These cabin plans are ideal for those who are looking for an off-grid cabin; it has no power, water or sewer connection.
Simple Log Cabin
This is a simple and ruggish traditional log home, which can be built for $30,000. The rustic home provides electrical and foundation plans too; giving the builder the advantage of building the cabin far easier.
The plan consists of two spacious bedrooms, with a single bathroom and an open plan living area.
This cabin is perfect for someone looking to live off grid in the forest.
The Chesterfield is a good sized family home which has porches to both the front and the back.
Upon entrance, the first room is the large living room, which opens up onto the dining room and kitchen.
Also on the ground floor are two bedrooms and a bathroom. To the first floor, you’ll find a third bedroom and bathroom and plenty of storage space. Half of the upstairs is open to the living room below.
Lilly Cabin Plans
Lilly is a three story home, perfect for an expanding family. The basement houses the garage, two bedrooms and a laundry room.
Up to the main floor, you will find the great room, a kitchen and dining area and two more bedrooms. The second floor, which is loft space, has room for a bedroom and a second bathroom.
Tom’s Cabin, named after its owner and maker, is one of the most thorough plans presented here.
This cabin can be built for $1000 and features a bedroom and bathroom. In my opinion the plan is best suited to either a hunting or camping cabin.
The plan includes detailed elevations and roof designs.
What You Should Know About Log Cabin Plans
When it comes to building a log cabin, there are many factors you will be unsure about such as notching techniques, lumber selection, golden ratios, foundations and general best practice.
Below, we have compiled the best pieces of advice and snippets of expert guidance that will be very helpful to you when it comes to selecting a log home.
Once you can understand the different notching and construction techniques available to you, you will be far better informed to select the best log cabin for you!
Log Cabin Costs
You should familiarise yourself with basic costs for log cabins. In order to select a log home plan you should be able to answer:
- What’s the typical cost per square foot of a log home?
- Is there a ratio used for kit cost to completion cost?
In this example a 800 square feet log cabin was built for $20,000. Having undertaken industry research on log cabin kits, we discovered a typical log cabin (1,100 square feet) costs $58,000 to build from start to finish.
If you’re looking for fast and easy numbers to use for a budget:
- Self-build log cabin price per square foot is $125 per foot.
- The Golden Ratio of 1:3 for log cabin kits (e.g. if a kit costs $50,000 the finished price, including labor, will be $150,000).
- The Golden Ratio is 1:2 for log cabin kits excluding labor.
To correctly plan and budget for your log cabin, read How Much Does it Cost to Build a Log Cabin.
Tips and tricks come in many forms, but the experts have lots of advice for you when it comes to selecting cabin plans and building your log cabin. We’ve interviewed 21 leading experts in log home construction and have summarised their guidance into bullet points below:
- Design prudence. Make sure your log plan has large overhangs, covered decking areas and good landscaping to slope the grade away from your cabin.
- Select a plan based on your lifestyle! Log cabins can be very unique and they should be as unique as the person living in that log home.
- Find the best physical location to build your cabin. The best tip is to ensure your log home is protected from natural elements such as rain, water and wind.
- Position your cabin correctly. Ideally, you will want to position your log cabin south facing so the sun goes from east to west.
- Natural air-dried logs are superior to anything else when properly dried (typically 6-8 months to acclimatize). This will reduce vertical wall shrinkage and settling.
- Source the highest quality materials you can afford. It will make a large difference to the longevity of your home and the amount of maintenance you will undertake.
- Getting the design right for your log cabin is important for the following reason: It will enable you to get your cabin to work better on your land for energy efficiency and future maintenance.
So, what do the experts want you to learn?
TOP TIP: A design is the single most important decision for the longevity, maintenance and efficiency of your log cabin.
Log Cabin Notching Techniques
A detail often forgotten about during a planning and design stage is the notch type you will use for your log cabin.
If you haven’t built a log home before, a notch is a construction technique that enables two logs to intersect each other forming an air-tight seal which weatherproofs the cabin.
What’s important is that you understand which notch type the cabin is using. That’s because different notches require different wood working ability levels and cost. There are four major classifications of notches for a log home:
- Traditional Notch – minimal maintenance and finishes looking like a Scandinavian Saddle Notch.
- Dovetail Notch – requires a high ability level and finishes looking like an Appalachian style log home.
- Corner Post Notch – requires the highest skill level and finishes looking like a rounded corner log cabin.
- Butt and Pass Notch – requires a minimal skill level and finishes looking like a traditional hunting cabin.
If you’re interested and want to learn more about log cabin notches then try reading Log Cabin Notches for Beginners.
Cabin plans can be used for a wide range of purposes, from a main home to a holiday lodge, or perhaps a hunting cabin or guest house.
Whatever you want to build a cabin for, we hope these sixteen free plans have got you thinking about the different types of cabins, and ways of building.
Did any of these cabins make you want to get out and build your own? We’d love to hear from you if you have any questions. Let us know in the comments below.