The best things come in small packages. When it comes to housing, Henry David Thoreau, a famous early tiny home enthusiast, would likely agree. His outstanding collection of essays, Walden, was a testament to the benefits of minimalist living. The book detailed his life in a 150 square foot cabin in the woods near Walden Pond.
Though more than a century would pass after the death of Thoreau’s before living small would become seen as practical and even stylish, his simple lifestyle has become the answer to many people’s prayers. With the onset of the last housing crisis and in the face of the new recession, it simply makes sense.
In the modern-day, it seems like every day, some creative mind comes up with a new idea to live small in a big way. Tiny or small homes styles come in a wide variety of styles, structure types, and of course, custom designs.
Read on to discover some of the most popular ideas for small homes so you can start your tiny adventure today.
Shipping Container Homes
With only 100 square feet of floor space on average, a shipping container may sound tiny indeed. But the real appeal in this new home phenomenon is that the giant boxes are stackable.
Like a giant Lego set, you can combine them in a myriad of ways to make any home design you can imagine. You can stack them side by side, one on top of the other, or get creative and put them at 90-degree angles.
They are easy to insulate and fit with windows, doors, and everything else needed to make a home livable. Plus, they have the added benefit of helping the world to recycle its overabundance of shipping containers.
While it is difficult to determine how many unused shipping containers there are, it is safe to say there are a lot. In 2012, Drewry Maritime Research estimated there were 32.9 million containers worldwide. And since most companies do not reuse them once shipped, the containers just sit there taking up space.
Remember when you were little, and your dad built you your first playhouse. That is what these tiny homes are reminiscent of cozy cabins. For me, when I was five, I used to fantasize about living in the a-frame fabric rolls at my mom’s favorite fabric store.
Cottage-like small spaces come in a variety of designs from A-Frame cabins, to petite farmhouses to Loghouse Log Cabins.
If you have a bit of carpentry, know how you may be able to build your own tiny cabin from scratch. Some kits will take most of the guesswork out it. Many need very little knowledge outside of being able to swing a hammer.
Most companies have varying levels of DIY packs or a la carte style menus to choose from when it comes to things like plumbing and electrical. When purchasing a kit, keep in mind that you will usually need a concrete foundation laid out ahead of time. The foundation is often not included, but some companies will tack it on for a price.
Tiny Homes on Wheels
Of course, we love tiny houses on wheels! Also known as, aka movable tiny houses, these are a hybrid structure between traditional residential structures and RVs. Unlike a travel trailer, you get durability, homey comfort, and curb appeal of living in a home.
These small spaces make the most out of every square inch and often include loft areas to take advantage of often forgotten vertical space.
Further, THOWs, unlike RVs, typically only relocate 1-3 times for significant life changes. But the flexibility they offer their owners is one of the top appeals of this modern home on wheels style.
Like the cabin-style tiny homes, you can build these yourself, buy a kit, or get them move-in ready. Kits can include little more than a trailer, materials list, and blueprints so you can do everything yourself. Or you can also get a shell on a trailer that already has the basic structure of the home pre-built for you, and you outfit the rest yourself.
The world of custom RVs is vast and incorporates many of the top benefits of THOWs, but are often more mobile-friendly. Like the widely popular school bus conversion tiny homes, aka “skoolies.” They typically have inconspicuous exteriors and often beautiful cabin-like interiors.
Floating Tiny Home
Imagine it. You wake up in your bed, rollover, and you see the sun rising over the water’s edge. You cook breakfast and watch the currents move around you. You hear a splash and know the kids have just jumped off the porch for their morning swim.
We are not talking about your typical boathouse here. It’s an actual house that floats on the water, more like a pontoon but with walls and plumbing.
You used to dream about living in a treehouse when you were little. I know I did! But along the way, and you decided it was just a childish flight of fancy. Think again.
Tiny House designers are making treehouse dreams come true, and they are doing it in a big way. These days you can build your own livable treehouse with simplicity in mind, or you could have a sprawling treetop mansion built for you.
Just do your research. Tree living is definitely not the same as ground living and presents some unique issues you may not have considered.
She Sheds, and He Sheds
You’ve seen them at Home Depot—the cute little sheds that look like miniature barns.
Most people buy them for extra storage, but why not turn one into your next retreat? They are waterproof, and already have windows and doors. Some are even climate-controlled and insulated. Perfect shell for simple renovation!
The Many Flavors of Small and Tiny Homes
The list in this article is just a fraction of the small homes that are out there. When it comes to building a tiny home, the only real limitation is your imagination. One of the great beauties of living small is that you can do so on practically any budget if you are creative enough.
What Kind of Tiny Home Most Appeals to You? Let us know in the comments below.