When we bought our first home over 5 years ago we had no idea we were at the forefront of a trend that would be sweeping the nation just a few years later. We only knew that our 500 square foot slice of heaven was just big enough for the three of us and only blocks from the beach. Living in a 500 square foot space taught us a lot about organization, planning and clutter. We’ve since doubled in space but Ben and I are still addicted to watching shows like Tiny House Builders and Tiny House Hunters on HGTV. As previous tiny home dwellers, if you’re thinking of building a tiny home in the future we have some advice for you. Here are our 10 tips for building a tiny house.
10 Tips for Building a Tiny House
- Visualize Your Space
After bingeing Tiny House shows for hours (don’t judge us) we realize there are two types of people who walk into a tiny home: those surprised by how much space there actually is and those surprised by how much space there is not. Without getting into the whole glass half full/half empty conversation; it’s important to know just what you’re getting into. There are many software programs that will allow you to “draw up” your tiny house virtually but one of the best ways for getting a feel for the amount of space you will have it by physically mapping it out with tape or objects. This way you can walk through and get a feel for the flow of the house as well as any spacing issues for furniture.
- Make Use of Color and Light
There are two things that can make your space feel bigger than it actually is: color and light. Pack as many large, energy friendly windows into your space as you can to make the space instantly feel brighter and more open. When choosing paint options go with light, neutral colors. The light colors will help open up the space and by going neutral you avoid overwhelming the space with bold, vivid colors.
- Keep Everything Below Waist Level
Building an inviting tiny home is all about tricking yourself into feeling like you have more space than you do. So time and again you will find tips about making your home feel larger than it is. Keeping everything below the waist level is one of those tips. Keeping design elements lower than eye level will make the space feel larger, it also prevents you from bumping into things as you walk around your home. An exception to this rule is the kitchen, where you will want to make the most of the space.
- Use Your Wall Space
Speaking of the kitchen, it is one of the areas in your home where you want to maximize wall space. The more items you can store on the wall, the less clutter for your counters. Get those cooking utensils, dishes and pans up on the wall by hanging utensils and pans vertically and stack dishes on shelves – get creative with it. TIP: Don’t waste space with cabinetry or furniture in your tiny bathroom – use the interstitial wall space instead. Its the perfect depth for toilet paper and any toiletries!
- Use High Ceilings
Tall ceilings can open up a space and make it feel larger than it is. Tall ceilings also open up room for loft bedrooms that make great use of otherwise empty space. Plus, those tall ceilings give you more room for tall windows to let in more light.
- Maximize Functionality
A rule of thumb for building a tiny house is that everything should have more than one function. Your seating and bed should double as storage areas, your stove can store pots and pans, shelving can be built into the wall to maximize space, the loft stairs can also double as storage cubicles.
- Minimize Clutter
Before moving into a tiny home you should go through your possessions and purge anything you don’t need. Consider scanning important documents into the cloud to eliminate paper storage, get rid of duplicate kitchen items, decide what’s important and get rid of the rest.
- Use Fold Out/Down Furniture
Instead of a desk area or kitchen table, consider a table that folds into the wall or down from a counter that way it can be put away when it’s not in use. Cutting boards and counter space can be maximized by sliding out from existing counter space. Murphy furniture is a popular option too.
- Make a List
Think about what you absolutely NEED in your home: Room for guest? A crafting station? A home on wheels? Environmentally friendly? Room for a queen size bed? What is the minimum amount of space you can live with? Maximum? Once you know what you absolutely must have, you can begin the design process around that criteria.
- Borrow Ideas
Watch TV shows like Tiny House Builders or Tiny House Hunters on Frontier Video on Demand to borrow inspiration from tiny homes around the world. Read blogs by people who have built their own and tour manufactured tiny homes. Get creative with Pinterest and search space saving hacks, DIY spaces and tiny homes.
This post is sponsored by Frontier Communications. All opinions remain my own.