In times when lifestyle is measured in expensive cars and waterfront villas spanning across several acres, the tiny house movement is all about living in spaces not more than a couple of hundred square feet. If you are planning to downsize, here are some best tiny house designs to fuel your inspiration and creativity.
Alongside the biggest advantage of portability, most tiny houses are eco-friendly and quite economical than traditional homes, making them an ideal choice for those who travel frequently. Another obvious advantage is a lesser amount of time required to maintain the overall space. Of course, there are some drawbacks as well, hitting the road makes you forget them all. Our list includes some of the best mobile tiny houses that might inspire you to take that once-in-a-lifetime road trip quicker and better.
This is a modern tiny house designed by Nashville-based New Frontier Tiny Homes (for the German children’s author Cornelia Funke) to be used as a writing studio, guest house, and library. Dubbed after her name, the Cornelia tiny house provides the writer with a peaceful environment to focus on her writing.
This brilliant tiny house on wheels by Idaho-based TAD Homes looks small on the outside but big enough on the inside to comfortably fit a family of three. Measuring 18L x 8W x 13H feet, it packs within a living room, kitchen, bathroom, a loft bedroom, storage, and other basic amenities needed to enjoy the tiny lifestyle. There is a rooftop deck and patio that retracts down from the garage door with a lot of glass windows to let plenty of natural light in.
The couple conceptualized the idea in 2016 and completed the tiny house for £36,000 ($A65,000). Sitting on a 9.6m long and 2.4m wide trailer, it uses a steel frame weighing 500kg and Silversark building wrap for its main structure. Externally the mini house is clad in cedar wood while a slightly tilted corrugated metal roof adds charm to the exterior. The self-made French door and double-glazed windows are also a worthy addition to the tiny house design.
Walmart’s mattress brand Allswell is making a foray into the tiny home movement with their 28-foot tiny house on wheels custom-built by Modern Tiny Living. The house has toured across America from New York to Seattle was revealed in New York in February. The tiny home is outfitted with modern amenities and of course, the brand’s signature mattresses. It features garage-style and French doors, which are particularly popular among tiny house enthusiasts.
The tiny house is built on a trailer measuring 16-foot long and about 9-foot wide and 12-foot high. There is a total of a 90-square-foot floor area, which is creatively utilized to incorporate amenities needed to make it a substitute home. The wood-paneled interior is equipped with lighting, heating, ventilation, AC, and other facilities to create a relaxing atmosphere. Inside, there is a living room with a convertible sofa bed, kitchen with a drop-down dining table, a spacious bedroom, and a bathroom complete with shower.
This 28-foot tiny house on wheels named Serenity is built by Ohio-based Modern Tiny Living – tiny house builders who were recently in news for their lavish 100K tiny house for Walmart-owned brand Allswell. The Serenity tiny house on wheels is customized out of their own 20-foot Point tiny trailer model with 8 feet added to the mainframe.
Having lived in Melbourne, Australia for three years, Filipino Dolly Rubiano planned to lead a rent-free life, thus she decided to move into her own tiny house on wheels, which is currently parked at farmland in Macedon Ranges, Central Victoria. She calls the 17.2-square-meter dwelling the Tiny MissDolly on Wheels since she looks at it as an extension of self. Built on a 7.2m x 2.4m trailer, it features two lofts, a spacious kitchen, and a walk-in wardrobe.
French tiny house builder Baluchon has built a tiny house on wheels for a family of three – Céline, her companion, and daughter. Titled Astrild tiny house, it is located near Besançon in eastern France. This 20-foot long tiny house features mezzanines on either side, serving as two separate loft bedrooms to comfortably accommodate the family. Built on a double-axle trailer with class II spruce frame and cedar cladding, the tiny house looks pretty cool from the outside. The shelving for planters on exterior windows is a remarkable feature, providing a nature-inspired essence to the design.
Built on a gooseneck trailer, Escher tiny house from New Frontier Tiny Homes is custom-built for a young couple who decided to downsize. Despite being a tiny home, it features a fully equipped chef’s kitchen, walk-in closet, and two bedrooms to sleep up to six persons. As for the exterior, charred cedar siding in combination with red western cedar and metal accents adds warmth to the tiny house. On the other hand, pine shiplap interior siding creates a classic look inside.
K2 by Tiny Idahomes, a 26 ft. fully off-the-grid tiny house, sleeps up to six people, and has a standing seam metal roof with A-frame-style in the center and peak dormers in the lofts. Fiberglass batt has been used for insulation. The front door is in-swing, six-panel, the windows are made from white vinyl and the floor touts one-piece vinyl layout. All walls and ceiling are pine tongue and groove with clear coat, and stairs to the loft are custom made from pine wood too. The 8 ft. rear loft with peak dormer ceiling is located above the bathroom and kitchen. A den area under the front loft with peak dormer ceiling provides comfy lounging. The height of both lofts is roughly 4 ft. with standard loft lighting having a 3-way switch and beds.
The tiny house movement is growing in popularity in the UK because of high real estate prices, which are encouraging people to downsize. Tom, a 17-year-old teenager from Bristol, England is a recent example, who has built a tiny house from scratch spending as little as £6,000 (approx. $8k). He is an inspiration for those wanting to have a debt-free home in the UK. He worked tirelessly for 3-4 years to complete it. Set on a piece of land owned by his grandparents, the tiny house is made mostly out of reclaimed materials.
What’s the best way to travel around New Zealand? If you ask Amy and CJ, a Kiwi couple – they’ll suggest, it’s to pack yourself in a tiny house on wheels and venture out. The young couple wanted to travel the country and see all the places that they had only heard of. To realize this dream, they commissioned tiny house manufacturer Tiny By Taylor to build them a home they could travel in with their little daughter Tilly. Dubbed Shaka Shack their tiny home features a slim and compact design that abides by the legalities and basic road safety requirements in the country.
MORE TINY HOUSE DESIGNS & IDEAS
Tiny houses on wheels
Tiny houses on foundation
What is a Tiny House?
In spite of being a rage, a tiny house has no particular definition – official or unofficial – it’s generally thought to be any small house, ideally sized under 500 square feet (46 m2). A tiny house can be built on a foundation, but generally, people prefer to build them on trailers since these offer more freedom of mobility. Such style of tiny homes is called Tiny House on Wheels (THoW). Tiny house on wheels is further revolutionizing homeownership; it allows people to own homes without land that a house would sit on.
Tiny houses on wheels were popularized by Jay Shafer, he designed and lived in a 96 square feet house and then went on to offer one of the first few tiny houses on wheels plans for others to join the fray. Shafer in 2002, joined Greg Johnson, Shay Salomon, and Nigel Valdez and co-founded the Small House Society.
Typically, a tiny house is sized 100-500 sq ft., and it is about leading a life of simplicity and minimalism yet have everything you need to truly relax. Generally, a tiny house has enough sleeping space for four, a living area, a kitchen, work and dining table, a well-equipped bathroom, and a host of green characteristics such as composting toilet and solar power.
Tiny house is about economic freedom – about simple life without debt, and living large – minus a large house. It is a way of living free. Free from rent, from mortgage and from utility bills. It’s a homeowner’s prerogative to live in a house that can generate its own electricity, capture its own water, and be driven anywhere under the Sun.
Most tiny homes are independent structures – some can be parked on land along with a larger home while others are parked on their own lot. A tiny house can be rented or owned. It can be built by the owner(s) at a very affordable price or can be purchased as ready to go home, with floor plan and all prerequisites configured. Tiny house designs can also be adapted from trailers or built from tiny house kit. Tiny houses are available in all types of sizes, shapes, and forms to enable simple living in a small space. Whatever your choice – the tiny house movement is ready to welcome you.
What is the Tiny House Movement?
The concept of affordable and energy-efficient tiny homes has picked up tremendous momentum in the last decade or so. It seemed like a passing fad initially, but mainstreaming of tiny house into our cultural consciousness is now being seen as an architectural and social movement – tiny house movement – one of the biggest cultural phenomena in the United States today.
People started building tiny homes during the Great Recession stemmed from the collapse of the real estate market in the US in 2007-08 when many people lost their homes.
In the years after the recession, the tiny house movement gained momentum – people started making stationery and trailer homes, blogs mushroomed to help fellow builders, books were being written to share stories, and companies were forming to provide tiny houses for sale.
The past ten years have been incredible for tiny homes. In these years, the growth of the mini house movement has been fueled by multiple factors. When thousands of people lost their homes because of foreclosure and unemployment during the financial crisis in the US, many turned their focus to tiny house as an affordable alternative to high-cost traditional homes.
For a perspective: An average tiny house, built by the owner, costs approximately $23,000. The average cost of building a standard-sized house in the US is approximately $272,000. Reduced housing cost was definitely the primary reason that brought people to a tiny house, but over the years, people looking to minimize their carbon footprints have also found cozy refuge in tiny homes that can be built with energy-efficient features to save a great deal on utility bills.
Living in a tiny house carries smaller environmental footprints and encourages us to consume less. Little house ideas move us toward a more simplistic way of life opening more possibilities for a sustainable future.
What is perhaps even more important than the financial and environmental benefits of owning a small house, is the freedom of mobility it offers. The tiny house on wheels can be driven to any location. It allows you to operate according to your own plan, and leaves you with the possibility to set up your home wherever you want without owning the land it’s placed on.
In addition to tiny houses on wheels, stationery tiny house designs have become a rage because they encourage people to use land efficiently. A smaller piece of land can accommodate a greater population density – an implied vision brought to life by Spur, a city in Dickens County, Texas. Spur allowed anyone to come and set down their tiny house of wheels or build a mini home on its soil, in the process of becoming United States’ first tiny house friendly town in July 2014.
Popular TV shows such as “Tiny House Hunters”, “Tiny House Nation” and “Tiny House, Big Living” took people closer to the lives of couples and individuals living in tiny houses and added fuel to the tiny house movement. The popular shows, real-life stories on the internet, and easy availability of tiny house kits have allowed couples to learn what it means to downsize and how it is to take the plunge into the tiny house movement.
Different Types of Tiny Houses
Living in a tiny house is fun, cozy, and affordable. Many manufacturers, local municipality officials, advocates, and tiny home dwellers claim tiny houses have an outsized potential. If you buy into this claim, tiny house is for you. A house that only measures a few hundred square feet can seem intimidating and claustrophobic but going through different types of tiny house designs and possibilities, you’ll have an altered opinion.
1) Tiny House on Wheels
Tiny house on wheels is presently the best way to live small and portable. Better known as trailer home or tiny house trailer, since it can be constructed on a trailer, hitched to the back of a truck, and moved to a new location.
Tiny house of wheels is the most common little home design, maybe because it was the first tiny house plan to gain peoples’ attention and media galore. These can either be built from scratch, using a DIY tiny home plan or by the hired contractor(s). Timber is a usual material choice for the mainframe of these homes, since it keeps cost-effective, makes insulation easier.
In spite of being small, not more than 500 square feet, and highly mobile, a tiny house on wheels doesn’t sacrifice any traditional home features. You can have all types of storage and living possibilities integrated into the small space. The house can have front and side doors, large windows to allow an abundance of natural light, a small porch to enjoy outdoors comfortably. These are wheel on the side of the trailer home that homeowners generally cover up when the home is stationary. Interestingly, the trailer homes are supported by cinder blocks to prevent the house from rolling away.
If you are someone who likes changed scenery and environment, now own a house on wheels and never leave the comfort of your home while traveling and living wherever you want. Well, as long as you can keep your mobile home’s size small and it can generate its own electricity and cater to water and sanitation requirements, you can get around permits and zoning requirements. Here are some examples:
2) Tiny Houses on Foundation
Believe it or not, trailer homes and house on wheels which you can drive around from one place to another, warding off pesky codes and zoning rules, are the most preferred choice of tiny homes. Over the years, amid people who own a piece of land and want to go small, tiny houses on foundation have become a go-to option.
These homes are built on a fixed base, preferably made of concrete, though other materials including wood can be used. Tiny homes on foundation are particularly a thing with families for whom a tiny house on wheels might not be the way to go. For such families/couples and solo owners, tiny house on foundation and tiny house on skids are the two good options.
Tiny houses on skids are small homes built on a temporary foundation. Though, unlike trailer homes that rest on wheels, these are built on beams or rails. These are different from stationary homes for the fact that these can be moved if you decided to pack up and relocate. The houses on skids can slide into position on a foundation and stay there until required to be moved. When it’s time to move them, they can be loaded onto trailers and transported to a location of choice.
3) Tiny Cabins
4) Bus Conversion Homes
When you look at a bus, you cannot picture it as a tiny house of your dream. Many serious DIYers have, however, found a fad in bus conversion – they are transforming old buses into tiny homes for themselves and their families.
By removing the row of seats from a bus, you are left with a box that’s a blank canvas for your imagination. A lot of planning and designing is required to transform a bus into a living space.
Buses are available in a range of sizes, though the breadth may remain constant, the lengths vary. Some buses can go up to 40 feet in length, which is more than what a tiny house would need.
There are row of windows on either side of the bus which is the acme of bus homes. These allow plenty of natural light indoors, making it look spacious and airy. For privacy, people use curtains, some even cover up the windows to enhance privacy and insulation.
5) Van Homes
6) Prefabricated Homes
7) Shipping Container Homes
Shipping containers provide the option of building a house out of existing weatherproof material. Since shipping container houses have endless possibilities, they have grown as mainstream tiny house designs.
Owing to their original commercial utility, shipping containers are fire and hurricane-proof, which means they are the most durable option for a home.
While large steel containers are the most preferred choice for residential construction, shipping boxes are also available as large wood containers, which can be used to build tiny homes from more traditional materials.
Shipping container is the perfect tiny house for everyone seeking a simple lifestyle. The house can be made to look spacious with large windows and doors that let in an abundance of natural light. Homeowners can add a porch and a lot of shelving and storage space to complete the tiny house.
8) Cob House
A cob house is what you should think of if you want a tiny homemade from natural materials – a home that is highly sustainable and is inexpensive to build. A tiny cob house is made from a mixture of clay, sand, and straw without the use of wooden frames. Some people argue about the durability of cob houses. They believe a house made of clay and straw will deteriorate over time. If appropriately designed and made from the correct measure of materials, a cob house can last for decades. For a perspective – cob structures in England have been standing for hundreds of years.
Cob houses are durable and compatible with most environments. They are warm in winter and cool in summer. They feature an overhang of the thatched roof (most preferred) to protect walls from moisture in monsoons.
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