The Tiny house Blog

10 Easy Steps to Designing Tiny Houses That Have Everything You Want

Updated on:
May 16, 2024
Steps to Designing Tiny Houses

Image Source: Canva

The tiny house movement has exploded in popularity in recent years. People are drawn to the simplicity, affordability, and environmental benefits of living in a smaller space. But how do you design a tiny house that feels spacious, meets all your needs, and is still comfortable? Here are 10 easy steps to get you started:

10 Easy Steps to Designing Tiny Houses That Have Everything You Want

1. Define Your Needs and Lifestyle

Before you even sketch a floor plan, take a deep dive into what your ideal tiny house life looks like. Ask yourself:

  • Who will be living in the tiny house? Is it just you, or will you have roommates or pets?
  • Where will the tiny house be located? Will it be stationary on land, or will it be mobile on wheels?
  • What is your budget? Tiny houses can range in price from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands, depending on size, materials, and features.
  • What are your must-have features? Do you need a dedicated workspace, a sleeping loft, or ample storage?
  • What is your lifestyle like? Do you love to cook, entertain guests, or spend most of your time outdoors?

2. Research Tiny House Styles and Layouts

Once you have a better understanding of your needs, explore different tiny house styles and layouts. There are countless resources available online and in libraries, showcasing tiny house designs for every taste and budget. Here are some popular styles to consider:

  • A-Frame: These triangular-shaped houses offer a classic and charming look with a spacious loft area.
  • Tiny House on Wheels (THOW): These mobile houses provide the flexibility to travel and explore different locations.
  • Shipping Container Homes: Repurposed shipping containers offer a sturdy and eco-friendly base for a tiny house.
  • Shed Tiny House: These small, rectangular houses are often built on a simple foundation and offer a cozy and affordable option.

3. Consider Multifunctional Furniture and Storage

Every square foot counts in a tiny house, so maximizing storage and using furniture with multiple functions is key. Here are some clever ideas:

  • Murphy beds: These wall-mounted beds fold up when not in use, freeing up floor space during the day.
  • Sofa beds: These provide a comfortable place to relax and convert to a sleeping area for guests.
  • Built-in storage ottomans: These offer extra seating and hidden storage for blankets, pillows, or other belongings.
  • Folding tables: These can be mounted to walls or tucked away when not needed for dining or workspace.
  • Vertical storage solutions: Utilize walls with shelves, cabinets, and hanging organizers to maximize storage space.

4. Embrace Smart Space-Saving Techniques

Beyond furniture, there are design tricks that can create a more spacious feeling in your tiny house:

  • Light and bright colors: Opt for light-colored walls, ceilings, and flooring to make the space feel larger and airier.
  • Mirrors: Strategically placed mirrors can reflect light and create the illusion of more space.
  • Windows: Large windows allow natural light to flood in, making the tiny house feel brighter and more connected to the outdoors.
  • Open floor plan: An open floor plan with minimal walls can make the space feel larger and more open.
  • High ceilings: Even a few extra inches of headroom can make a big difference in the overall feel of the space.
Image Source: Canva

5. Prioritize Natural Light and Ventilation

Natural light not only creates a more spacious feeling but also improves mood and well-being. Incorporate plenty of windows in your design, strategically placed to capture sunlight throughout the day.

Good ventilation is crucial for preventing moisture build-up and maintaining a healthy living environment. Consider roof vents, ceiling fans, and operable windows to ensure proper air circulation.

6. Design a Functional Kitchen

Even in a tiny house, you can still have a functional and well-equipped kitchen. Here are some space-saving tips:

  • Galley kitchen layout: This compact design places counters and appliances along two opposing walls, leaving a clear walkway in the center.
  • Downsized appliances: Opt for smaller refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves that are specifically designed for tiny houses.
  • Multifunctional appliances: Consider combination appliances that perform multiple functions, like a microwave-convection oven combo.
  • Hidden storage: Utilize cabinetry with pull-out drawers, slide-out shelves, and under-sink storage to maximize every inch of space.
  • Folding or retractable counter tops: These can be used when needed and tucked away when not in use.

7. Create a Comfortable Bathroom

A well-designed bathroom is essential for tiny house living. Here are some space-saving tips to create a functional and comfortable space:

  • Composting toilets: These eco-friendly toilets save water and reduce waste.
  • Shower/bathtub combos: Combine a shower and bathtub into one unit to save space.
  • Shower stalls with sliding glass doors: These offer a more spacious feel compared to traditional shower curtains.
  • Pedestal sinks: These free up floor space and create a more open feel.
  • Wall-mounted storage: Utilize shelves and cabinets on walls to store toiletries and other bathroom essentials.

8. Plan for Efficient Plumbing and Electrical Systems

Tiny houses often require specialized plumbing and electrical systems due to their compact size. Get a proper designer to have efficient plan. Here are some things to consider:

  • Plumbing: Plan for efficient water usage with low-flow fixtures and consider greywater systems for reusing water for non-potable purposes.
  • Electrical: Choose energy-efficient appliances and lighting to minimize energy consumption. Consider solar panels or alternative energy sources to reduce reliance on the grid.
  • Ventilation: Install proper ventilation for your bathroom, kitchen, and any other areas that generate moisture or fumes.

9. Choose Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Materials

Tiny houses are often seen as a more sustainable way of living. Reinforce this by choosing eco-friendly materials for your build. Here are some options:

  • Reclaimed wood: This gives your tiny house a unique character and reduces demand for new lumber.
  • Recycled plastic: Some manufacturers offer siding and roofing materials made from recycled plastic.
  • Energy-efficient windows: These can significantly improve the thermal performance of your tiny house.
  • Bamboo: A fast-growing and renewable resource that can be used for flooring, furniture, and other applications.
  • Low-VOC paints and finishes: These minimize indoor air pollution and create a healthier living environment.

10. Don't Forget the Outdoors!

Even with limited square footage indoors, tiny house living often emphasizes a connection with nature. Consider incorporating outdoor elements into your design:

  • Decks or patios: Create a dedicated outdoor space for relaxing, dining, or enjoying the fresh air.
  • Awnings or retractable canopies: Provide shade and shelter on sunny or rainy days.
  • Outdoor storage solutions: Utilize sheds, bike racks, or roof boxes for storing outdoor gear and bulky items.
  • Green roofs or vertical gardens: These not only add visual interest but also offer environmental benefits like insulation and stormwater management.

Bonus Tip: Consider Hiring a Tiny House Designer

While designing your own tiny house can be a rewarding experience, it's not for everyone. Tiny house designers can help you translate your vision into a functional and beautiful space. They can also ensure your design meets building codes and regulations.

By following these 10 steps, you can design a tiny house that not only meets your needs but also feels spacious, comfortable, and reflects your unique style. Remember, tiny living is about maximizing functionality and embracing creativity. Most importantly, have fun with the process and enjoy the journey of creating your dream tiny home!

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