Ready to Downsize? These House Plans Under 1,800 Square Feet Are Perfect for Empty Nesters

Nautical Cottage, Plan #224
Photo: Southern Living

Your flock has emptied the nest. You're looking around a big, quiet house that is full of memories, to be sure, but that is suddenly too big and quiet. What does that mean? It might be time to downsize. Let's make something clear: Downsizing doesn't need to feel like downgrading. It's all about making the most of your square footage with smart design, which is just what Southern Living House Plans do best.These house plans all fall under 1,800 square feet, which is really all you need for easy living. Do you want somewhere cozy to take your coffee in the morning? Try a house plan like Hawthorn Cottage with screened-in porch space that lives larger than the biggest living room. Are you worried about enough sleep space for family visits? Pick a house plan like Cloudland Cottage that incorporates bunk bed nooks in otherwise-unused spaces. These small house plans are perfect for downsizing in style. Whether you're ready now or you're just window shopping, here are our top picks for empty nesters.

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Hawthorn Cottage, Plan #2004

Hawthorn Cottage, Plan #2004
Southern Living House Plans; Photo: Lake and Land Studio, LLC

This cottage is made for easy living, from the large shared space to the private bedrooms to the cozy screened-in porch (that preferably overlooks gorgeous Southern scenery).

2 bedroom/2 bath
1,611 square feet
See Plan: Hawthorn Cottage

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Fontanel Carriage House, Plan #1856

Fontanel Carriage House, Plan #1856
Southern Living

Tiny house lovers, rejoice! This Fontanel carriage house plan packs its 1,099 square-feet full of country farmhouse charm.

2 bedroom/2 bath
1,099 square feet
See Plan: Fontanel Carriage House

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Beaufort Cottage, Plan #1136

Beaufort Cottage, Plan #1136
Southern Living House Plans

This Carolina-inspired cottage is a beautiful blend of past and present. A galley-style kitchen and fireplace-focused living space makes the house plan feel warm and welcoming.

3 bedroom/2.5 bath
1,720 square feet
See Plan: Beaufort Cottage

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Palmetto Cottage, Plan #2009

Palmetto Cottage, Plan #2009
Southern Living House Plans; Photo: John McManus

Want something extra small? Look no further than this Lowcountry-inspired guest cottage with an eat-in kitchen, a private bedroom suite, and gracious front porch living. It's perfect for those who travel often and desire little-to-no upkeep.

1 bedroom/1.5 bath
656 square feet
See Plan: Palmetto Cottage

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Canton Row, Plan #1938

Canton Row, Plan #1938
Southern Living

An open kitchen-dining-living space allows for entertaining and family time when hosting, but your favorite part will be the side screened porch. It's the perfect little nook.

3 bedroom/2.5 bath
1,623 square feet
See Plan: Canton Row

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Shoreline Cottage, Plan #490

Shoreline Cottage, Plan #490
Southern Living

If you want something simple that still lets you capture serene views from all sides, this house plan is the way to go. The board-and-batten exterior, gabled roof, and generous porch set a traditional tone, while tall windows and an open interior make the home more modern.

3 bedroom/1 bath
930 square feet
See Plan: Shoreline Cottage

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Nautical Cottage, Plan #224

Nautical Cottage, Plan #224
Southern Living

Inspired by small summer cottages in the South, this house plan with an open living-dining-kitchen space is basically made for those who love relaxing at home.

3 bedroom/2 bath
1,315 square feet
See Plan: Nautical Cottage

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Randolph Cottage, Plan #1861

Randolph Cottage, Plan #1861
Southern Living

Mix your Southern charm with a little bit of New England style. This cottage lives bigger than its just-right size, thanks to an open floor plan.

3 bedroom/2.5 bath
1,800 square feet
See Plan: Randolph Cottage

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St. George Cottage, Plan #1906

St. George Cottage, Plan #1906
Southern Living

This coastal-inspired cottage makes the most of its compact square footage with an open layout. May we suggest positioning the full-width rear covered porch in front of bay or ocean views?

3 bedroom/3 bath
1,581 square feet
See Plan: St. George Cottage

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Whisper Creek, Plan #1653

Whisper Creek
Southern Living

If this isn't the perfect house plan for a empty nesters' mountain or lake escape, we don't know what is.

2 bedroom/2.5 bath
1,555 square feet
See Plan: Whisper Creek

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Cloudland Cottage, Plan #1894

Cloudland Cottage, Plan #1894
Southern Living

Who said you have to sacrifice sleep space? This cottage makes use of its small square footage with smart bunk bed nooks (apart from the two bedrooms) for when you're hosting family in town. A nearly 200-square-foot back porch makes a perfect place to hang.

2 bedroom/2 bath
1,200 square feet
See Plan: Cloudland Cottage

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Sparta II, Plan #1810

Sparta II, Plan #1810
Southern Living House Plans

For those having a hard time giving up the square footage, explore this Colonial-inspired house plan at the tippety-top of our range.

3 bedroom/3.5 bath
1,804 square feet
See Plan: Sparta II

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Rustic Beach Cottage, Plan #360

Rustic Beach Cottage, Plan #360
Southern Living

We made sure to give this beach cottage a touch of Southern charm with its large covered porch with lattice detail. The back deck area is perfect for summer cookouts with your family or neighbors.

2 bedroom/2 bath
1,398 square feet
See Plan: Rustic Beach Cottage

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Sugarberry Cottage, Plan #1648

Sugarberry Cottage, Plan #1648
Southern Living

The layout of this two-floor house plan will feel similar to a traditional family home, which will make the empty nester transition easier. Plenty of covered and screened porch space helps the space live larger than its not-too-big size.

3 bedroom/2.5 bath
1,679 square feet
See Plan: Sugarberry Cottage

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Deer Run, Plan #731

Deer Run Plan #731
Southern Living

This house plans shows cabin living at its best. It makes for the perfect hideaway for the lake or mountains, with a design that combines compactness and rustic styling. The front porch looks like just the place to set up a couple of chairs—or hanging swing—and take a load off, don't y'all think?

2 bedroom/2 bath
972 square feet
See Plan: Deer Run

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River's Edge, Plan #1977

River's Edge, Plan #1977
Southern Living House Plans

You'll find rest and relaxation is easy to come by in a small but spacious house plan.

3 bedroom/2.5 bath
1,721 square feet
See Plan: River's Edge

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