When we started planning our tiny home in 2008, breaking ground in 2009, there weren’t a lot of resources to help us along the way. There were quite a few times we made things up as we went along. That also meant we needed to be a little more creative with our ideas to make things fit into such a small space. We didn’t imagine the explosion of luxury tiny homes today, and we’re grateful for the options across a broad spectrum. But for DIY builders who want to save a little money, we have a few inexpensive suggestions that might just solve a problem you have.
1. Built-in Wall Shelves
A tiny home, just by its nature, won’t have a lot of interior walls. But if you have a couple, it’s prime real estate for built-in shelves. When framing your interior walls, you can make a space that can be used to insert recessed shelving. This can be in your primary living space to hold various odds and ends. Or you can use it in your bathroom like a built-in medicine cabinet. We’ve done both in our home.
2. Open Kitchen Shelving
We decided early in our build that we wanted to have open shelving for our dishes and glassware. We didn’t want heavy upper cabinets to block the light in our small space. But when it came to installing them, we had a vision and didn’t know exactly how to pull it off. We then discovered shelving brackets at The Container Store, of all places, which turned out to be perfect. We could cut wood to the exact size and use the brackets to secure them to the studs in our walls. In our case, buying them was the best solution, but similar shelf supports could be made easily as well.
3. Director’s Stools
Our dining/working area is only a small portion of our already tiny living space. Finding a small enough chair to fit our needs proved challenging. The solution? We already owned two director’s chairs so we simply removed the arm pieces to use just the seat. Another benefit of this the ability to fold them up and store them if there is a need for floor space. Look around for things from your current world that could be modified to fit your space.
4. Two Bathroom Doors
One of my favorite space-saving solutions was this set of bathroom doors. Since our bathroom is right off the kitchen, I was concerned about the ability to open the bathroom door without blocking kitchen access. We weren’t confident in our ability to install a pocket door and there wasn’t enough wall space for a barn door track. Instead, we built these double doors and installed them with simple hinges.
5. Closet Curtains
In a similar way, we didn’t want large doors on our front closets. Our closets are on either side of our front door, so having large closet doors would block access. We chose to put up curtain rods and curtains in place of doors. We chose a simple, neutral look this is a great place to add color or design to your space.
Have you come up with any tiny house hacks that can help you save money on your DIY build?
Written by Laura M LaVoie for the Tiny House Magazine Issue 68