Tiny Home Traits: 5 Features Every Small Space Needs

Live more comfortably and efficiently in any size dwelling with these clever tips.

Tiny homes appeal to many people, whether as a solution to surging rents or because of the freedom they can lend your lifestyle. But if you decide living in 400 square feet (or less) is for you, how do you actually make it work?

Here are five features that help make tiny homes functional — and even comfortable.

1. A bed on the main level

Although most tiny homes have lofted beds for obvious space-saving reasons, it’s a good idea to also have somewhere to sleep on the main level for guests, or if you can’t make it up the stairs due to an injury, notes Dee Williams, author of “The Big Tiny” and founder of Portland Alternative Dwellings.

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to put a bed in the main living area is to purchase a couch that converts to a bed.

2. A ton of natural light

Many tiny homes are restricted to an 8.5-foot width and 13.5-foot height due to federal and state highway rules on transporting structures. (Although you can build a tiny home on a foundation, many tiny home owners choose to place theirs in backyards or even in RV parks, which means the home will need to be moved once it has been built.)

Because of this limited amount of space, the more natural light, the better. “Using windows or different wall finishes can make a space feel a lot bigger,” explains Derin Williams, builder and designer for Shelter Wise, a design-build firm based in Portland, OR.

3. Creative storage solutions

If you are living (or planning to live) tiny, then a large majority of your items will most likely need to be recycled, given away or tossed. However, the items you still have will need a space, which can be a challenge in less than 400 square feet.

Simple solutions like hanging up your pots and pans instead of storing them in drawers, or keeping extra blankets and pillows in an ottoman or trunk, are good space savers.

When building your tiny home, consult with your builder, as there are tons of creative ways to make space for your items. “Many people have collapsible or hidden drawers in their tiny homes,” notes Dee. “A lot of builders are now also putting drawers in the toe-kick area, which is an awesome additional use of space.”

4. Multipurpose areas

In a tiny home, every area has to be flexible in how it is used. A kitchen will not be your kitchen all the time in your tiny home, because it could be your office, dining room and maybe even your closet at any point in the day.

Because each room has to be multipurpose, it’s important to have furniture that reflects these uses. “If you have a table for eating, make that space multifunctional,” says Derin. “Remove the table, and then you’ll have a lounge area. Drop down the table and make it a bed.”

5. Multi-use appliances

Many of us are familiar with the stackable washer and dryer, and maybe some even have experience with combination washer/dryers, but the popularity of tiny homes has given rise to appliance innovation.

“GE and other manufacturers are leaning toward developing smaller appliances for tiny homes, studios and mother-in-law suites,” says Dee. “The idea is that you could have a whole kitchen setup — kitchen sink, range, dishwasher — all built into one set.”

Although these products may not be widely available at every major appliance store, it could be something to look into if you are serious about moving into a tiny home.

All photos courtesy of PAD Tiny Houses. The home shown is the Hikari Box Tiny House, designed by Shelter Wise. Plans for this home are available from PAD Tiny Houses.

Originally published April 1, 2016.

Posted by Jamie Birdwell-Barnson on Zillow

Tiny Homes Under 400 Square Feet

These small spaces offer lots to love, and what they lack in floor space, they make up for in charm.

Tiny footprints can make a big impact — on the environment, your wallet, and your quality of life. These micro homes obliterate the notion that living small means living with less.

Indeed, several of these listings are offering a lifestyle, not merely a new house. Whether you fancy acres of secluded woods, a waterfront dock, or a novel aesthetic, the following homes offer a glimpse into a redefined standard of living.

Sturgeon Bay, WI

6004 Bay Shore Dr, Sturgeon Bay, WI
For sale: $165,000

While not as miniature as your childhood toy trains, this 192-square-foot caboose has been transformed into a nostalgic tiny home, complete with a kitchen, bath, eating area, and bunk beds within its closed quarters. This 1.58-acre wooded lot also hosts a two-story 128-square-foot cottage with additional beds.

See more homes for sale in Sturgeon Bay.

Shelbyville, KY

56 Boat Dock Rd, Shelbyville, KY
For sale: $39,900

Located on Guist Creek Lake, this 396-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bath home has a personal dock and unlimited boat launch. The interior is well maintained, with fresh paint and flooring.

See more Shelbyville homes for sale.

Lansing, NC

401 Riverwood Trl, Lansing, NC
For sale: $120,000

Combining two acres of land with 275 feet of river frontage, this 400-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bath home offers a multitude of natural gifts. The wooden interior is cozy in traditional cabin fashion, and the covered deck offers a treehouse feel.

See more Lansing listings.

Silverado, CA

28882 Foothill Dr, Silverado, CA
For sale: $324,000

Located in notoriously pricey Orange County, this 268-square-foot home is a far cry from the “Real Housewives” abodes. Bursting with character, this 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home provides generous outdoor living and proximity to the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary.

See more homes on the market in Silverado.

Madison, CT

70 Wildcat Rd, Madison, CT
For sale: $149,900

This impeccably styled 400-square-foot home is overwhelmingly charming, boasting beamed ceilings and a pleasant color palette. Located close to town and beaches, this home offers a tranquil setting that’s not too far off the beaten path.

See more Madison homes for sale.

Bon Carbo, CO

16022 County Road 30.0, Bon Carbo, CO
For sale: $179,000

When seclusion is not enough, this is the completely off-the-grid, 1-bedroom, 1-bath home you’ve been searching for. Nurtured for years, this 252-square-foot cabin in the mountains is paired with an additional guest cottage, gardens, outdoor cooking facilities, and solar panels.

See more homes for sale in Bon Carbo.

Port Vincent, LA

18120 Cooper St, Port Vincent, LA
For sale: $148,000

Located on a sizeable waterfront lot off the Amite River, this 400-square-foot home is perfect for a boat owner. In addition to having a delightful interior, this 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home features a covered boat slip and lift, and a covered RV/boat port.

See more listings in Port Vincent.

Ashford, WA

32504 State Route 706 E, Ashford, WA
For sale: $65,000

Hiking, skiing, and fishing, all at a moment’s notice. This 224-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home located near Mount Rainier claims 1.9 acres of Northwestern magnificence.

See more listings in Ashford.

Oden, MI

4700 Oden Rd UNIT 6, Oden, MI
For sale: $71,900

Reasonable waterfront living is part of the deal with this 245-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom home. Situated on 180 feet of shared frontage on Crooked Lake, this cottage provides effortless boat access with its private dock.

See more homes for sale in Oden.

Posted by Sharona Ott in Zillow


You Will Want to Spend Every Single Summer in This Floating Tiny House

Tiny house enthusiasts might be excited to find out that the popular movement is heading to the water: Think of this 960-square-foot floating tiny house in Seattle’s Portage Bay as the ultimate tiny summer home.

Boasting a Craftsman-style exterior, the home consists of a kitchen, foyer, dining area, fireplace and living room, while a plethora of windows help make the home feel spacious. An upstairs level contains two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Don’t feel like spending time indoors? Step outside onto the house’s wraparound deck, or the small outdoor seating area on the second level, for some sunbathing.

Take a look around:

See more photos on MSN.com

Posted by Rori Kotch

Living Large in Small Spaces: 10 Homes for Sale Under 500 Square Feet

Tiny footprints can hold worlds of charm — and sometimes acreage or an island.

Five hundred square feet might not sound like much, but as rents clearly show, in some markets that’s a coveted amount of real estate. In other places, it’s plenty of space to rest your head and grab a bite after a day in the woods or on the water. And in many areas, it’s the right size for a reasonable mortgage.

Here’s how it looks to live in 500 or fewer square feet around the country:

Lahaina, HI

3543 Lower Honoapiilani Rd #D206, Lahaina, HI
For sale: $365,500
Size: 454 square feet

This studio offers rich living on a budget in Maui — complete with the use of two pools, two clubhouses, two Jacuzzis and two putting greens, all surrounded by lush landscaping.

See more listings in Lahaina.

Boston, MA

12 Melrose St APT 3, Boston, MA
For sale: $379,000
Size: 415 square feet

Just steps from Boston Common, this 1-bedroom, 1-bath home has hardwood floors, a sunny kitchen and a private deck.

View more homes for sale in Boston, MA.

Semora, NC

186 Munday Oakley Rd, Semora, NC
For sale: $380,000
Size: 500 square feet

More than 200 feet of lakeshore and a two-slip boat dock come with this cottage near the North Carolina-Virginia border. The home’s large windows offer views of the lake and 1-acre lot.

See more homes on the market in Semora, NC.

Crawford, CO

38618 Fruitland Mesa Rd, Crawford, CO
For sale: $329,000
Size: 468 square feet

The great wide open beckons to whoever sleeps in this 468-square-foot cabin on the edge of a canyon between Aspen and Telluride. Situated on 40 acres amid mountains and valleys, the home features an aspen tongue-and-groove ceiling, built-in bookcases and electricity from charged batteries. There’s no bathroom, but a quaint outhouse was just built.

Check out more homes listed in Crawford, CO.

Camano Island, WA

3181 Shoreline Dr, Camano Island, WA
For sale: $424,500
Size: 336 square feet

This beach cottage is being marketed alongside its vacation rental revenue stream. Three sets of French doors open onto two decks and an island beach. It’s been rebuilt with a new roof, plumbing and wiring.

View more listings on Camano Island, WA.

Angola, IN

N 700 E, Angola, IN
For sale: $395,000
Size: 288 square feet

This treehouse with electricity, hot and cold running water and a wood-burning stove sits on nearly 44 acres in rural Indiana, alongside a 2-acre pond, a cottage that sleeps three and a large shed “for all the toys you could possibly need,” the listing promises.

See more homes for sale in Angola, IN.

Annandale, MN

5622 Quinlar Ave NW, Annandale, MN
For sale: $229,000
Size: 432 square feet

This lakeshore cabin in the Land of 10,000 Lakes retains all the charm of the 1930s, when it was built. Stretching along 50 feet of lakeshore, it includes a dock and a small, sandy strip of beach for relaxing around the fire pit.

See more homes on the market in Annandale, MN.

New Orleans, LA

715 Royal St APT H, New Orleans, LA
For sale: $249,000
Size: 192 square feet

Own your own hotel room! This 1-bedroom, 1-bath home in the French Quarter features 19th-century pine floors, antique fixtures, a loft and a marble bath.

Check out what else is listed in New Orleans, LA.

Tuftonboro, NH

1 Windswept, Tuftonboro, NH
For sale: $329,000
Size: 340 square feet

Here’s a tiny home that comes with its own island on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee — try saying that two times fast. Once owned by Bob Montana, the creator of the “Archie” comic series, it’s a one-room cedar cottage with a large, stone fireplace.

View more homes for sale in Tuftonboro, NH.

Wilbraham, MA

10 1/2 Springfield St, Wilbraham, MA
For sale: $475,000
Size: 480 square feet

The barn on this property outside Springfield, MA, is more than three times larger than the cottage, and there’s a detached, 2-car garage.

See what else is on the market in Wilbraham, MA.

Originally published by Melissa Allison on Zillow Blog.

Bring Your Own Septic Tank: A Tiny House With Big Possibilities in Washington

Set on almost 6 acres of wooded land, this house sticks out like a needle in a proverbial haystack.

The property has enough space to build a 20,000-square-foot hunting lodge—but why bother when a 200-square-foot home will suffice?

What sets this tiny home apart from the miniature pack is its location. Perched near the popular Lake Riley in Arlington, WA, it is the perfect spot for weekend campers, a sweet vacation home, or a year-round residence, according to listing agent Kay Gailey. The home is available for $100,000.

“That’s what’s nice about it—you can enjoy [the outdoors] and you don’t have to worry about anyone building near you,” Gailey says.

The scenery is spectacular: The property is filled with evergreen trees and has a trail leading to a pond and creek. Wildlife in the area include birds, deer, raccoons, and possibly a bear or two.

Though it’s tiny, the home doesn’t sacrifice comfort. The second floor fits a queen-size bed, and a skylight opens the bedroom to the night sky.

On the first floor is a small kitchen with a half-size refrigerator and a narrow oven. There’s also a small living room, which opens to a walkout porch.

While this house has central heating, electricity, and well water, there is a caveat: There’s only one bathroom—and no sewage system.

The home is outfitted with a composting toilet, so you might want to bring your own septic tank. The original owner, who built the home in 2008, installed a portable septic system beneath the home (the home is raised off the ground). However, he took it with him when he sold the home in 2010 to its current owner.

The current owner, whose grandkids use the home as a vacation and camping spot, has decided to sell it without a septic tank, Gailey says.

If you’re down to compost, the area has all the hallmarks of a worthwhile camping ground. During the day, you can drive a mile over to Lake Riley for boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities. At night, there’s a fire pit and a seating area. You can also hit downtown Arlington in 15 minutes if you want to head back to civilization.

Gailey says the absence of a septic system means a cash deal might be the only option. She’s looking for banks that would be willing to do a deal with at least 20% down, but it might be a long shot.

“You basically need cash to buy it, otherwise I could be selling this place all day long,” Gailey says.

The home is attracting attention from a range of people with different plans, she says. There’s a young couple interested in getting back to nature and living there year-round. On the opposite end of the spectrum there’s an older couple who would like to use it as a part-time home. Others are looking to take the tiny house elsewhere (yep, it’s portable!) and build another home on the property.

So while the house is tiny, it comes with big possibilities.

“It’s a cute little thing. It makes me want to downsize my stuff,” Gailey says.

Published by Craig Donofrio on realtor.com.

What Small Homes Can Teach You About Living With Less

It’s spring, so it’s also spring cleaning season, and Step 1 is getting rid of all the unnecessary stuff that accumulates in your home. How does it manage to pile up? Didn’t you just do this last year??!! Maybe you should just throw it all away—for good.

Portable Home ÁPH80, exterior night view. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect Ábaton Arquitectura. Photograph © Juan Baraja. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

In fact, that’s what a lot of people are doing now (OK, maybe not all of it). You’ve probably heard about the trend toward living with less—fewer possessions, less space—whether it’s zero-waste living or the tiny house movement.

There are two factors driving people toward small homes today: the economy and the environment, observes Francesc Zamora, author of “150 Best Mini Interior Ideas.” The coffee-table book, published in February, profiles small homes around the world.

Buy now: 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora (Click for the link to buy this book)

“They are generally more affordable, and for home buyers that means smaller mortgages. They are cheaper to maintain as well,” Zamora said in an interview. In addition, he said, “building and maintaining large houses has an impact on the environment. A large house takes more building resources and requires more maintenance than a smaller house. People are willing to go smaller to simplify their lives.”

Zamora said he was inspired by the creative storage solutions that he discovered while researching the book.

“I’m constantly looking for interesting storage solutions,” he said. “I think finding ways to store things is the biggest challenge people deal with, especially city dwellers. The book is chock-full of ideas, but the tricky part is choosing the one that works best for your home, that conforms to your style and to your needs.”

If you’re squeezed into tight quarters or looking to downsize, here are some of Zamora’s top tips.

1. Prefer an open plan

Apartment 1001. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect Keiji Ashizawa Design. Photograph © Takumi Ota. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

When space is limited, you don’t want to carve it up. An open view with clean lines makes a space seem larger.

2. Make the most of natural light

Portable Home ÁPH80, interior. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect Ábaton Arquitectura. Photograph © Juan Baraja. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

Abundant natural light makes your home feel larger, so capture as much of it as you can. Don’t have floor-to-ceiling windows? “Mirrors expand and reflect light,” Zamora writes. “You can transform a small room into a larger and brighter space by using illusion wisely.”

3. Use a minimalist color palette

Apartment in Wroclaw. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect 3XA. Photograph © S.Zajaczkowski. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

You want to avoid excess in a small space—too much stuff, too many frills, too many colors. Stick to one or two similar shades, max, preferably paler ones that help maintain a light feel.

4. Built-in furniture is key

Architect’s Loft. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect PorterFanna Architecture. Photograph © L.J. Porter. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

“Built-in furniture is perhaps the most efficient furnishing solution for spaces of limited dimensions: it frees up valuable floor area, makes the space less cramped and unifies the décor,” Zamora says.

5. Make your furniture work double duty

Apartment in Arad. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect Cristina Bordoiu. Photograph © Sorin Popa. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

In a small space, everything has to earn its keep. “Furniture can be an effective room divider,” Zamora says. “It is an excellent solution for studio apartments where different functions share the same space.”

6. Obsess over your storage

AP 1211. From 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas by Francesc Zamora Mola. Architect Alan Chu. Photograph © Djan Chu. Published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; © 2014 by Harper Design and LOFT Publications.

“Think about how you are going to use your cabinets so you can choose the right type of hardware,” Zamora says. “Look into different door hinges and drawer hardware.” Custom doesn’t have to be pricey, either. “Design your own modular system with crates of different sizes to bring an industrial touch to your home.”

As Zamora’s book shows, living in a small space doesn’t have to feel cramped and inconvenient. A thoughtful approach to simplifying your lifestyle can make a big difference. But still, keep a watchful eye on your stuff—it can pile up without your noticing. Seriously, how does it do that?

Published by Cicely Wedgeworth on realtor.com.

1800s Sheep Wagon for Sale

Life on the prairie doesn’t get more authentic than this.

For Karen Dehn’s granddaughter, it was the perfect spot for a sleepover. But this 70-square-foot abode wasn’t always parked at grandma’s house.

In the late 1800s — before the days of RVs and tent trailers — this wagon was home to a nomadic sheep herder in search of greener pastures. Led by horses through mountain meadows, the wagon is one of thousands that made its debut on the Western prairie.

But while most were eventually outfitted with rubber tires or replaced entirely, this one was found in Miles City, MT, transported to Wyoming and restored to its sheep wagon glory.

“You’ve got a bed, a little wood stove to cook on, a table that pulls out and two benches,” Dehn said.

In 2003, she and her husband replaced the original canvas roof with a metal one, added a bay window above the bed and installed electrical outlets. They left the wheels and stove untouched, however, to preserve the wagon’s integrity.

“Sheep wagons have small stoves, but the key is to get an original one,” Dehn said. “That’s what everyone wants.”

Since hitting the market for $25,000, the home-on-wheels has attracted two serious buyers — both ranchers looking to add a bedroom to their property.

“It’s a great place to sleep,” Dehn explained. With no bathroom, it’s designed to be an extension of your home for guests or tenants.

“Some people may also just want a fun playhouse,” she added.

The listing is held by Dan Casey of ERA Real Estate.

This article was published by Catherine Sherman on Zillow Blog.