How do I Build a Cheap 1 Bedroom House?

A small house can live large by adding on a porch or deck.

An affordable dwelling can be built in areas where it's acceptable to build a home with 1,200 square feet or less. In some rural or mountain areas you may find that even fewer restriction will allow you to build a home of 600 to 1,000 feet using inexpensive and recycled material. Check local building regulations and talk with city and county officials to make sure you can get a building permit for the house you envision.


Step 1

Talk with city or county officials to review codes and restrictions before buying land to build your home. Create a detailed building plan and obtain a permit before starting construction. Look at homes in the immediate area to determine the best way to construct the inexpensive one-bedroom home. Create, for example, a nice cottage that will fit in well with more upscale homes nearby.


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Step 2

Develop a floor plan that is 600 to 1,000 square feet for your house. Sketch a living room that is open to a small kitchen, along with a bedroom and bathroom area. Experiment with various ways to lay out the plan, so that privacy can be maintained if more than one person will live there. Consider, for example, constructing a wall four-feet high to separate a sleeping space and sitting area.


Step 3

Construct the basic foundation and framing. Build footings for the house by using 2-by-8 inch boards to construct framing for a concrete pour. Lay cinder blocks at least three feet high on top of the footings to create a crawl space. Frame the home with 2-by-4 inch boards on 16-inch centers. Consider vaulting the ceilings throughout the house to give a spacious feel.



Step 4

Cover the exterior of the house with recycled siding to save money. Install 1/2-inch plywood to cover the roof area. Add asphalt shingles to the roof, and install windows. Paint or stain the exterior of the home, and add guttering to skirt rain away from the building.

Step 5

Finish the interior of the home as your budget permits. Run all plumbing lines, drains and electrical wiring before covering interior walls. Install roll-type fiberglass insulation and drywall sheets. Install bath and kitchen cabinets and fixtures purchased at close-out sales. Use inexpensive flooring, such as linoleum, vinyl or tile purchased at close-out sales.


Spend time to give a small house big style. Create a nice ranch-type house or cottage with a redwood finish and white painted trim, for example. Add shutters and window boxes, a small deck or porch and a few nice trees and plants in strategic yard spaces. Build the house with as much visual appeal as possible, regardless of your budget.

Things You'll Need

  • Physical building property

  • House plan

  • Building permit

  • 2-by-8-inch framing boards

  • Concrete

  • Cinder blocks

  • 2-by-4-inch framing boards

  • Exterior siding

  • 1/2-inch plywood

  • Asphalt shingles

  • Windows

  • Insulation

  • Dry wall sheets

  • Guttering

  • Paint or stain


Consult with a building expert to ensure the house will pass any required inspections. Don’t assume that just because a house is small or built with recycled materials local building codes will not apply. Getting in a hurry may result in a failed building inspection and the added expense of re-doing some of your work.

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