Nowadays cottages are often used as summer or weekend getaways - often by lakes or the seaside - by urban dwellers seeking to escape the noise and rat race. They are often built as rental properties in popular tourist areas. But usually when people think of a cottage they mean a rural dwelling in the traditional English country cottage house plans style with stone or stucco siding, asymmetrical lines, one-and-a-half stories high, and with hip roof and steep gables - the overall impression being a cozy, storybook appearance.
Although the traditional English style of cottage is most typical in America, cottages can be built in a variety of styles depending upon location and the builder's tastes, ranging from Spanish house floor plan designs of the Southwest, which typically have single stories, stucco exteriors, and tile roofs; to Cape Cod cottages which are usually box-like, timber-framed structures two-stories high, with steep roofs to shed rain and snow.
Some small homes have two floors and come with or without a basement. Some more common small homes have crawlspaces for extra storage. Traditionally they have a room off the kitchen which you can place a washer and dryer. These house are frequently Cottage or Bungalow style.
A few questions you will need to answer will include: how many bedrooms, whether or not to have a family room, if a separate study room is valuable, and if internal garage access will be important. Plans come in both 2D and 3D versions for you to review before building begins. You will want to go over these with a fine toothed comb, as changes are much easier to make on the blue prints then once actually constructed on the ground.