What Are The Design Tips For Tiny Houses?

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    Long before your dreams of living in a tiny house can ever come true, you need to plan the thing. While you can purchase ready-made designs or even prefab models, many got into tiny houses because they had ideas unique to themselves. So while it's important you keep those personal touches, think about the following design tips.

    Tape The Design Out

    There are several different ways to design your tiny home without spending a lot of money on professionals. The software has become an incredibly easy and affordable way to create your own home from scratch.

    It helps to get a feel for your creation before you spend too much time and money on it. One way to do this is to tape out what your home will entail on the floor of either the trailer you'll be building it on or the home you're currently living in.

    Tape out the areas where you'll be able to walk, so you know how comfortable it will be to move around. Otherwise, you may finish building the house of your dreams only to realise it's a nightmare.

    Use Fold Down Options

    One standby of tiny house architecture is fold-down furniture. It generally refers to desks and tables, though with a little imagination, you can probably think of all kinds of ways this particular feature would be beneficial.

    For example, think about how much space you'd need for a dining table. If you could fold it into the wall when you're not using it, though, suddenly, space isn't such an issue. Many people do this with benches, though there are no limitations.

    Best of all, this is an easy DIY solution to saving space. All you need is the wood for the desk/table/bench, a couple of hinges and a locking mechanism to keep it in place.

    Use Your Walls Efficiently

    Don't forget how helpful your walls can be along the same lines. The tiny houses with the most going on inside them tend to be the ones with walls designed to play a vital role.

    Your kitchen is a great example of this. The more items you can hang or otherwise store on the wall, the less clutter you'll have on your kitchen countertop. It means less mess and more room to do your cooking. But also think about how much drawer space you would need for your utensils when it would be so much more efficient to store them vertically.

    Any wall that isn't serving a practical purpose should be made into shelving. It will put it to good use, even if it means holding onto a few books or tools.

    Kitchen Wall Storage

    Keep Things Clear Above The Waist

    Although the kitchen may be an acceptable exception, it's generally good advice to keep "clutter" below waist level in your tiny house. It will give you a greater sense of space and move without your shoulders and arms constantly running into things.

    Go With High Ceilings

    trendy modern interior living room with blue walls white windows

    Similarly, be creative with your ceilings. If you're building on a trailer, you'll need to pick one that allows you to give extra height to your tiny house, but the effects will be well worth it. A Shed, roof, or any ceiling that reaches as high as possible will make any tiny house feel bigger. However, it will also give you more space to install windows and bring in natural light, saving you money and making for a charming appearance.

    Low-sitting furniture will go a long way toward giving you the feeling of greater space too and more real-estate on your walls.

    Install Plenty Of Windows

    Aside from bringing in natural light, windows will also help make the home feel bigger. If you plan to build your home on wheels and travel with it often or have it parked out in a rural area, windows are a great way of enjoying Mother Nature from the comfort of your tiny house.

    Choose Light Colours

    Many tiny house owners also use light colours to help their inner space feel more expansive. So while the floor and exterior can be any colour you want, make the ceiling and walls something a bit light.

    Use Mirrors

    Yet another way to keep your tiny house feeling large is with strategically placed mirrors. You'll want at least one option that can show you from head-to-toe, but this can also increase your home's visual size. Some tiny house owners have even made an entire wall a mirror. They're also great ways to help spread light throughout the tiny house.

    Give Every Space More Than One Purpose

    Another common trait of tiny houses with a lot to offer is that no space is given, just one job. So, for example, you may have a couch area for relaxing during the day or sitting to do work on your computer. At night, though, you might be able to flip it out into a bed. With a kitchen table that folds into the wall, you could also have another area where seats can flip out into a guest bed or the cushions are removed for extra storage space.

    The idea isn't to use all your space for as many purposes as possible so that you can fit more clutter and things you won't need, of course. Instead, be mindful of making the most out of every space in your tiny house so day-to-day activities don't become an unnecessary challenge.


    It is probably a good place to talk about the importance of downsizing. So many people invest in tiny houses because they want to eliminate the unnecessary elements in their lives that take them away from what matters.

    By itself, living in a tiny house is generally considered "downsizing" one's life. But when designing your new home, keep in mind that the less you bring into it, the more you can do with it.

    Designing a home will be much more difficult if you're constantly thinking about where all your books will go, how you need a spot for the sewing machine and more room to hang all your pictures. Be courageous in getting rid of the unnecessary, and you'll get a better tiny house in return.

    Avoid Partitions

    You can get more from the space in your tiny house by keeping unnecessary partitions out of it. It is how you get a home office, dining room and guest bedroom. But, for the most part, try to keep permanent walls to the ones that surround your tiny house and the one or two you need for a bathroom.

    Utilise Sliding Walls

    However, if you decide more walls are necessary (for example, if you need more than one bedroom), consider using collapsible or sliding walls. When people need their privacy, the walls are there to help. When privacy isn't necessary, having mobile walls means your square footage feels much greater.

    Curtains can also be used for this same purpose. They'll be far more affordable too.

    Don't Forget About Storage

    Even though we belaboured the point about cutting down on what you don't need, you'll still need enough to make storage an important part of your tiny house. Remembering the importance of storage is considered important advice any time you build or buy a home, no matter the size.

    Think about all the possessions you plan on bringing into the tiny house with you, and then add a little extra space. As we touched on earlier, you can hide your storage all over, from the floorboards to your seating options to under your bed. Again, though, don't let your storage become a crutch for keeping/buying items you don't need.

    Consider A Deck

    While it may take away some of the square footage from inside your tiny house, having a deck can make a huge difference too. For one thing, it gives you an easy way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. It also functions as an extra room if you need a little time by yourself. Decks also provide a natural connection to the outside world, which can help fight off any impending feelings of claustrophobia.

    Odourless Composting

    Composting has become a popular method of waste management for tiny house owners. While many people may do it for "green" reasons, it makes a lot of sense for those living in tiny houses. Many of them don't own the land their tiny house is on or otherwise have restrictions on what they can do with it. Keeping a compost pile or otherwise productively dealing with garbage is a real challenge.

    However, if you make room for a small self-contained compost bin in your kitchen design, your problem is solved. You can purchase a bacteria composting bucket, like the Bokashi Bucket, and compost most of your kitchen scraps, including meat and fish, dinner leftovers, eggshells, dairy, and coffee grounds. These systems won't attract rodents or insects, not even fruit flies. In addition, the odour from the bin is very low, and most people describe it as a sweet smell similar to the odour from winemaking.

    If you have a larger space that you'd like to dedicate to composting, give worm composting a try. You can purchase red wiggler worms online or find them after most storms on the pavement, and they'll throw anything. They operate without odour, and you can even seal the container (with air holes, of course) to assuage any worries you may have about them escaping. Then slide the container under a bench, in a cupboard, or wherever convenient.

    Loft Beds

    One very common design technique for tiny homes is the loft bed. It's an especially attractive feature for those homes on trailers because they don't need a whole top floor, yet they can still give enough space to sleep comfortably.

    This way, if your spouse wants to sleep while you wish to stay up a while longer, this doesn't have to be an issue. In addition, loft beds are almost always the way to go because your bedroom is the one place you don't need to be standing up to use.

    Use Space Under The Stairs

    If your tiny house is big enough to include a second level, you might be using stairs to get there. In that case, make sure you optimise the space below the stairs, too, instead of just installing a solid staircase. For example, you can have simple crawlspace drawers that extend or leave the area wide open.

    Combine The Bathroom And Shower

    Taking a note from many rooms on trains, many tiny house owners have combined their bathroom with their shower. After all, both are necessary to home, but they can take up a lot of space when separated.

    Fortunately, using your toilet while it's in a shower is no harder than the conventional way and taking a shower with a toilet in the stall isn't difficult either. In fact, with the seat down, you can enjoy your showering while sitting.

    Explore What Others Have Done

    There's no plagiarism in the world of tiny house design. Every year, as the culture grows, more and more tiny house owners find awesome ways to do more or better with their houses. So although you may have your "dream house" already outlined in your head, you don't want to kick yourself later when you realise an opportunity you missed out on. Thanks to the Internet, it couldn't be easier to explore all the available options for you.

    It also means connecting with others. For example, if you'd like to figure out a way to have a desk in your home office, a dining room table and an ironing board but can't find a solution for your space, you're almost guaranteed that someone online will have an idea. Tiny house owners love to help each other out, especially those just getting started.

    One of the best parts about building your own tiny house is a few rules you need to play by. So the above advice should be seen as that and nothing more. Build the home you're excited to live in, but at least consider how these tips may help make life in your tiny house more enjoyable.

    Check Local Laws Before You Start Designing

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    Often, tiny houses are built on trailers to eliminate the need for building permits.

    However, local laws can vary, so it is important to check them before you start designing. It will also help determine the size of your tiny house and whether there are any regulations regarding certain materials or where you can place them.

    A Good Plan Is A Good Building

    The plan of any building is important, but this is especially true regarding tiny houses, where every square centimetre of space matters. With careful and clever planning, a 20-square-metre tiny house can feel much larger and more comfortable to live in.

    One key way to achieve this is through sliding doors, eliminating the space taken up by the swing of a traditional door; in fact, it is important to get rid of all unnecessary doors in the first place to open up the limited space. Another way to create a more spacious environment is to maximise window space (although be careful of insulation issues). By bringing in natural light and views to the outdoors, it allows the inhabitant to feel like the outside is an extension to the tiny home.

    Don't Simply Shrink Everything.

    An easy mistake is to correlate "tiny house" with "tiny everything," which couldn't be more wrong.

    For example, shrinking bathroom space or bed sizes too extensively affect the quality of the living space. A better way to go about things would be to explore multifunctionality, asking whether each piece of furniture could have multiple uses, such as storage beds or a bookshelf that transforms into a desk.

    The adaptability of the spaces could also extend to the architecture itself, with adaptable walls pulling out to become seating and slotted back when not in use. The possibilities are endless, and you can extend the potential for tiny houses through innovative architecture.


    So, whether you're just starting to think about building a tiny house or have been at it for a while, hopefully, these design tips will help you out. If you're still not sure where to start, check out some of the many resources available online and in print. There's no need to reinvent the wheel when designing your tiny home – with a little bit of research and planning, you can create a perfect space for you and your needs. Are there any other design tips that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

    You can purchase designs from builders and buy the materials to build them yourself. Other manufacturers will include the framing in their plans, so all you have to do is assemble. There are endless options for DIY-ing tiny homes, but our favourite one has to be creating it from the ground up.

    It, of course, can vary depending on size, skill level, and complexity, but 500 hours to build a tiny house is often a good rule of thumb for the average DIYer.

    Building a small cottage ranges from $75,000 to $250,000, depending on the size and materials. A small cottage is usually defined as 1,000 sq. ft. or smaller. Most small cottages typically fall between 400 sq.

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