Is Tinier Even A Word?

800 square feet. You can dance in it. You can laugh in it. You can eat in it. You can sleep in it. You can do a forward roll in it and you can curl up and cry in it.

200 square feet. You can dance in it. You can laugh in it. You can eat in it. You can sleep in it. You can do a forward roll in it and you can curl up and cry in it.

Tiny House versus

So why is there still an argument about which is the real tiny house? I live in just over 800 sq.ft. with my wife and my 5-year old daughter. Some days our house feels too big and some days it feels tiny. Most days though, it feels (and I borrow liberally from Goldilocks) just right! I think in large part it feels that way because have made it our space. We have painted the walls in colors that give us the feels. We have added some custom canvas art that speaks of our life. We have taken out kitchen cabinets and replaced them with open shelving. Point being we have manipulated the house to suit us. When we step inside significantly larger homes I often feel like it is too big. In fact, my wife and I talk regularly about our days of retirement when we’ll just sell it all and head out in a conversion van; a well designed conversion van, mind you.

So how can 800 sq.ft. and 200 sq.ft. both be tiny houses? Isn’t one tinier than the other? I say they are equal in the sense that “tiny” is a relative term. The question should actually be, which house is more thoughtfully designed? What I truly find interesting is that the Wikipedia page on tiny houses treats small houses and tiny houses as one concept. What is true of a tiny house generally holds true of a small house. There is still a conceptual difference though. Small homes, when smartly designed, can teach the modern home construction industry so much, while tiny houses are more of a niche movement that focus on lifestyle choices rather than changes in the design and construction industry.

C’mon now. Pick yourself up. What I just said wasn’t that shocking. Surely you’ve been thinking the same.

Drew Tiny

Here is where I make the major distinction. Small is relative. Plain and simple. My family is totally comfortable in 800 sq.ft. and it works for us. But if you added a few indoor pets or another child, or a handsome collection of books, and our small might become…well, too small. Furthermore, we don’t begrudge our siblings who live in larger homes. They all have more kids than we do. They have some hobbies that involve space. They typically host more barbeques in the summer and open houses during the winter holidays. But to THEIR friends who live in even larger houses, their house might be small. You see? The term small is relative. But here is what is not relative. Tiny is tiny is tiny is tiny. I mean, tiny is always tiny.

The average tiny house design is a nice, neat, package, of no more than about 300 sq.ft. It doesn’t change no matter how much you try and stick in it. It is tiny. And here is my theory. It is because “tiny” (as in the tiny house movement) is a movement. Tiny houses are about lifestyle choices and saving money and living sustainably, and investing in life and experience rather than stuff.

It is all a personal choice though. Whether you choose to live in a small house or a tiny house it is about what you value in life and how you want to apply that to your life. But I ask that we all at least respect the choices of others. I mean, tinier is not even an word…is it?

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]


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willard stotler - September 21, 2016 Reply

we live very comfortable in a 750 sq ft cottage is it tiny or small house

Pat Dunham - September 22, 2016 Reply

I loved your short submission on Is Tinier even a word. I met you at the Jamboree, but with so many people there, who could remember all the people we met. I would love to include your submission here as a guest author in my upcoming book. Please let me know if you would like to be included or for that, whatever else you may want to say about living tiny.

    Andrew M. Odom - September 22, 2016 Reply

    You are welcome to use it Pat. And of course I remember you!

Rami - September 27, 2016 Reply

Nice post. But,
I think size doesn’t matter. 800 square feet or 80 square feet.
The important thing is to be with those you love in the place you enjoy.

I’m living with my wife in our RV (Motorhome).
Very small place but we can dance in it, laugh in it, sleep in it and cry in it.

Larry Burns - October 7, 2016 Reply

I’M planing on building a 400 sq ft. Mini sign shop and home. I call it mini go’s with my mini billboards.

Larry Burns - October 7, 2016 Reply

I have not decided yet if I will build on a trailer or truck. Depends on price but I want a mobile sign shop and place to live in. I drew up the blue prints.

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