A modern cottage is typically a simple, intimate dwelling often found in rural or somewhat rural areas.

However, cottage style houses are still found within cities. In certain countries, such as Canada, the term is defined loosely and not associated with a certain size. Cottages found in the United Kingdom tend to have more traditional traits and are more commonly found in rural areas. Modern cottages are often constructed to resemble traditional ones.

In particular regions a "cottage can be connoted more closely to a summer or vacation dwelling rather than a residential one. In the US these homes are more often referred to as "cabins, or "chalets.