What Is the Difference Between a House and a Cottage?

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A cottage is a small house, and it is often distinguished as a modest or cozy type of house with one or two stories. In the United States, the word “cottage” is sometimes used to describe a vacation home of even moderate size, but in the United Kingdom, referring to a home as a “cottage” typically means that the building uses traditional construction techniques rather than modern ones.

The larger category of “house,” which refers to structures providing shelter for human beings, subsumes the smaller category of “cottage.” Cottages traditionally were small homes in rural environments or small villages, often with farmland or barns attached. Cottages are always small, even if they are found on large plots of land. It is rare in modern times for an urban home of any size to be considered a cottage, since they are seen as existing primarily in the countryside or at the seaside. However, real estate professionals may at times use the word “cottage” to impart a sense of comfort and coziness. The word “house,” on the other hand, can be used to describe any single-family dwelling that is usually unattached to any other dwellings on its own plot of land regardless of the size of the building. All cottages are houses, but very few houses are cottages.