The Tiny House Movement has become increasingly more popular in recent years with exposure from shows such as FYI’s Tiny House Nation and HGTV’s Tiny House Hunters. There’s now a plethora of companies that specialize in building custom tiny houses out of various types of material from scratch such as metal and wood and even industrial shipping containers. These houses may be small but often times they have very chic and cozy interiors. Some tiny houses have remarkable features that allow homeowners to entertain, host guests, store & display their valuables and do their laundry. In order to take advantage of available space, furniture often has dual purposes by acting as both storage or a bed for guests.
A driving factor for those who chose to live in these small spaces is the ability to downsize and live more economically in cities where monthly rents or mortgages are rising beyond their reach. Of course this type of living isn’t for everyone, especially if you suffer from claustrophobia or have a large family. These homes are suited for singles, couples and small families. Some even make it work with pets included. Personal space is wonderful but since tiny houses offer very little of this, folks have to be sure they’re on good terms with your housemates or don’t mind being in close proximity to others when everyone’s inside.
Despite what may appear to be obvious drawbacks, there are a few fascinating quirks that add to our growing fascination this trend. Want to build your own tiny house? Follow these plans from morningchores.com to build an awesome place that doesn’t take up much space!
10. They’re Now Available on Airbnb
Airbnb is a new phenomenon that’s becoming increasingly more popular. Fortunately, you can now rent tiny houses through this popular service. Options are available globally which cater to various needs and range in styles from the typical tiny houses seen on TV to unique dwellings such as treehouses and converted wagons and barns. Hosts upload enticing and whimsical descriptions along with glamour shots of their rentals. Be warned that some homes are very small and consist only of a bedroom with amenities nearby while others rely on outdoor kitchens and eating spaces or vegetable gardens. Some are a little more secluded than others, but there’s something for everyone.
This is a great way to experiment with this form of living before taking the plunge. For many, the emphasis is simply enjoying nature that surrounds the house.
9. Tiny House Communities Exist for the Homeless
These homes have the potential to solve homelessness by providing an alternative to shelters, which afford very little privacy and don’t allow individuals to stay there all day. Tiny homes offer the safety and stability that some shelters don’t. More importantly, they offer privacy. Tiny house communities are popping up all over North America in cities such are Portland, Oregon.
An additional benefit to these communities is that they replace tent cities that tend to develop in open lot spaces (think Occupy Wall Street circa 2011) or in forests. These settlements are illegal and don’t offer any plumbing, electrical wiring, or heating for their residents. With this alternative, residents have their own sleeping quarters but the bathroom and kitchen are typically communal, which is much better than having nothing at all. In order to save money during development, the tiny house communities are built in less densely populated areas where land values are a little lower. Overall, this gives the homeless a place to call home until their circumstances improve.
8. Home is Anywhere You Want it to Be
The benefit of tiny houses is that they can be built almost anywhere, provided permits are in order. Mobile tiny houses are just as common as stationary tiny houses but because these homes are customizable, there’s no limit to how creative one can get during the planning phase. For example, in Japan, there’s a 594-square-foot tiny house built on an irregularly shaped lot. It’s basically a triangle. Despite the awkward site, the home boasts three levels and is home to a family of 3. Despite its small square footage, it feels spacious with a play room, a fully equipped kitchen and a spacious bathroom.
7. They Allow You to Live Mortgage-Free
Homeowners with large homes and matching debt can choose to downsize to free up some extra money. With this extra money, they’re able to travel more and participate in activities that bring them joy versus working at a job they hate because they’ve got bills to pay. Tiny houses provide affordable living and ownership can be achieved if homeowners sell their large homes for quick cash to purchase or build a tiny house and the land the home will sit on. In downsizing, owners have to decide how small they want to go since tiny houses can range from about 80 square-feet to no larger than 500 square-feet and can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $80,000 to build (or buy resale) depending on individual needs (from basic necessities to luxury finishes and features).
6. They’re Not Your Typical Mobile Home
To allow for added flexibility, some of these homes are built on trailers and can be moved almost anywhere. There are height restrictions for these houses to ensure that they can clear overpasses but if you prefer to live a nomad lifestyle this is a great option. Built to be more durable and long-lasting compared to traditional RVs, homeowners can travel with their home in tow especially if they have flexible careers that require occasional travel. They never have to leave the comforts of home when they travel because the comforts are always with them. Fortunately, these homes can be parked in RV or trailer parks so that homeowners can take advantage of water and electricity hookups if their home doesn’t have a composting toilet or solar panels for electricity.
5. They Make the World a Better Place…Literally
These homes are great for the environment since they use less energy (less electricity is needed since there’s less square footage) and produce less waste since homeowners buy less food. There’s less storage space available so homeowners have to be very picky about what they bring home. Also, less energy such as fuel and materials such as wood are needed to build them. Often times these homes rely a great deal on recycled materials during the build.
As previously mentioned, some tiny houses rely on solar panels for energy and use composting toilets which go a long way in successfully operating off the grid. Another bonus is they produce a fraction of greenhouse gases when compared to the average American home. Less emissions goes a long way to reducing global warming.
4. Minimal Maintenance Required
Because these homes are so small, cleaning up is very easy. Most homes are one level, open concept versus multiple rooms and levels in standard houses that need to be cleaned. Due to their small footprint, tiny homes require creative storage solutions, very little space is wasted, which allows for reduced clutter therefore less picking up after oneself. For those who don’t enjoy outdoor maintenance, there’s often little to no yard work needed depending on where homes are located, for instance, natural green space versus industrial land.
The cost of utilities such as heating and cooling decrease depending on the type of hookup the house has. With a self sustained house these costs are greatly reduced after initial investment costs. Another great benefit? There’s zero property tax if the land is owned by the homeowner.
3. Can be Expensive Relative to Their Size
Down-sizing to save money is a major motivating factor for many who choose to partake in the Tiny House Movement. However, depending on individual tastes and necessities, these homes can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. A 270 square-foot home can cost $65,000 to start and climb as high as $82,000 depending on level of customization. While still considered inexpensive when compared to average sized homes that are around 2,000 square-feet, the price per square foot can be a little higher in some cases. Also worth noting, these prices typically don’t include the cost of land to park the home on. If money is of no object, then there’s no limit to what your dollars can get you. What exactly can you get for a higher price tag you ask? You can expect to get modern designs, discreet storage, a full kitchen, a toilet that flushes versus a compostable one and an alarm system.
2. Celebs are Getting into it
It should come as no surprise that celebs are also getting in on the action. They may be used to sprawling 10,000 square-foot mansions but some are taking an interest because these homes have the potential to provide a little escape from their everyday grind. For instance, NBA player Matt Bonner, who plays forward for the San Antonio Spurs, was featured on Tiny House Nation last Fall. He stands an impressive 6 feet 10 inches but decided to have a custom 276 square-foot tiny house built for his family of 4. To accommodate his height, doors and ceiling heights had to be adjusted. The bed in the master bedroom was also modified to prevent his feet from hanging off the edge, no doubt a nuisance when you’re living in a world not built for your size.
Impressively, the house also comes with a pop-up basketball net for hoop practice out back. The finished product has a very stylish and rustic interior and meets their needs. This may have been an exciting endeavor for Matt and his wife but they still have a house in San Antonio for when they need a little more space.
1. Tiny Means Micro in Some Cases
If you thought the concept of tiny house living was mind blowing, consider just how small some of these homes can get. While the agreed upper size limit is usually around 500 square-feet, the lower limit is a little more negotiable. Known as micro homes, they can be as small as 80 square-feet but are typically closer to about 160 square-feet on average. Surprisingly these incredibly small abodes still offer up lots of style and comfort. There are companies that will build micro houses that amazingly still feature the basic comforts of a home such as a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.