America is infatuated with the tiny house, as evidenced by the multitude of blogs, books and tv shows on the topic. In an era when it’s highly desirable to live with less stuff and be conscious of your environmental impact, tiny house living makes sense to a lot of people. Residents of tiny homes embrace a lifestyle of financial freedom as well as the flexibility for travel and adventure. Find out what the appeal of the tiny house is, and if it is right for you.
What Is a Tiny House?
At it’s most basic, a tiny house is exactly what it sounds like — a house that is, well, tiny. But beyond being just a small house, tiny houses are now part of a larger social movement. Those interested in the tiny house movement generally want to downsize their living spaces and live simply with fewer belongings.
The philosophy is motivated by the financial freedom that can come with lower-cost housing and utilities, freeing up money for other things. It also comes from a desire to work less and have more time to enjoy life, and a desire to have a lower environmental impact. A tiny house allows the owner to pay for their home much more quickly and enjoy a much lower electricity bill. The house itself uses fewer resources and is easier on the environment.
There are no hard and fast rules about just how small a tiny house should be. Anyone can take inspiration from the tiny house philosophy and live with fewer belongings, or in a smaller house. To be called a tiny house, generally the house should be between 100 and 400 square feet of living space. With the average home in America being around 2,600 square feet, moving into a tiny home can be quite a change!
Would a Tiny House Fit Your Family and Lifestyle?
Living in a tiny house is not for everyone, but those who embrace the lifestyle experience the joy of living more simply and having more freedom. For some, downsizing furniture and belongings can be an adjustment, but tiny houses can also be completely customized for its occupants. Here are a few important considerations for tiny house living:
- Family size: Tiny houses are ideal for single people living alone, but they can work for couples and families too. First of all, factor in room for everyone in the family to sleep. You’ll need to have enough room for a bed for each person, even if the beds fold up or convert into other furniture during the day. But beyond sleeping space, consider that each person needs some privacy and some space to enjoy their activities, to avoid tension. A family tiny house can be a challenge but is doable.
- Lifestyle: It’s essential to consider your way of life, as well as every other member of the family who will live in the house. Living in such close quarters can easily amplify differences in lifestyles, even simple things like sleep/wake schedules. If you have a mix of night owls and early birds in the family, tiny house living could be more difficult. Hobbies and collections can also hamper tiny house living. Large collections of antiques or other collectibles simply have no room in a tiny house, and special accommodations may need to be made for say, a musician with lots of instruments or an artist with lots of supplies.
- Other factors: Do you frequently have guests over and enjoy entertaining? If so, you’ll want to think carefully about how this would work in a tiny house. If you enjoy cooking, consider if you would be able to downsize your kitchen and all of your cooking gadgets too. Also, think about your style and if you could live in a more minimalist way. Tiny houses work well for those who like to spend lots of time outdoors or in community spaces. If you’re more of a homebody, a tiny house may not work as well.
What Are Tiny House Communities?
Many cities and neighborhoods have rules about tiny houses — minimum house sizes on city lots, restrictions on RVs and tiny houses, etc. In response to this, tiny house communities have popped up in several cities across the country. But these communities are more than just a way to get around city ordinances. Living in a tiny house community can be a great way to share resources and make lasting friendships.
If you don’t have a specific location picked out for your tiny house, check to see if there are any tiny house communities in your area. Living in one of these communities can be a completely new experience, but many people find that it is the perfect complement to the tiny house lifestyle. Because the homes in these communities are so small, and space is at a premium, communities find ways to share resources among the residents, whether it’s cooking ingredients, power tools, or space for pets to roam outside. You’ll usually find a very tight-knit group.
In tiny house communities, a lot happens outdoors, so members should be comfortable with some outdoor living, and lots of interaction with neighbors. If you prefer a quiet, more solitary existence, a tiny house community may not be the best option for you. However, for many that choose the tiny house lifestyle, this type of community provides the camaraderie and resources that they need. If you want to live in a tiny house, you might want to live near neighbors who share your philosophy and who support your lifestyle.
Tiny house communities are popping up across the country, so if you’ve decided on the tiny house life, you should check out these vibrant communities to meet like-minded people and perhaps find a home for your tiny house. Or maybe you can gather inspiration and start a tiny house community where you live.
Can You Travel With Your Tiny House?
For many people, the appeal of the tiny house lifestyle is the freedom to be more mobile. For anyone who works from home, this can be the ideal lifestyle — work from anywhere as you travel the continent! Some tiny houses are built on a foundation and are meant to stay put, but many tiny houses are built on wheels and are relatively easy to move to different locations or to travel with around the country.
Tiny house owners can spend their time visiting friends and family around the country, or travel around to see the sights. If you’re parking on an empty lot or land owned by your family, you may need to check for any local ordinances to make sure you’re parking legally. Traveling with a tiny house is very similar to the RV life, and many campgrounds and RV parks allow tiny house parking, as well as offer utility hookups.
You could even travel between tiny home communities in different areas, experiencing the camaraderie of tiny home living in each. It’s a good idea to call ahead to any tiny house communities, campgrounds or RV parks you plan to stay at, to make sure your type of home is allowed, and that a spot will be available when you arrive.
If you plan to travel with your tiny home, you’ll also need to do a little prep work on the home, to make sure everything is secure for traveling. Store any loose items and shut all cabinets and drawers securely so they won’t fly open and spill their contents while you’re on the move. When some preparation, tiny house travel can be rewarding and fun.
What Does It Cost to Buy a Tiny House?
For anyone considering a tiny house, one of the first decisions is whether they should buy or build their own tiny house. If you don’t have a lot of construction experience, it’s probably best to buy a pre-built move-in-ready home.
The goal for many tiny homeowners is to save money by reducing housing costs, and in general, tiny houses are much less expensive than an average-sized home. However, the cost can vary widely and can fit just about any budget.
The cost of a tiny house can depend on the location where it will be built and if it is a home with a foundation or a home on wheels. It also depends on the design and special features used. Tiny homes are entirely customizable and range from the most basic plans to completely tricked-out luxury homes with high-end appliances and electronics, pop-outs and convertible furniture. The price of a home can vary based on the features you want.
When you buy a pre-built tiny home or work with a builder to customize your tiny dream home, you save yourself a lot of time and hassle. It may be slightly more expensive than building the house yourself, but it is much easier. Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that everything was done correctly.
A basic tiny home can cost as little as around $10,000, but depending on any added special features, the costs can soar past $180,000 for high-end features and materials. The average price for most tiny homes is between $30,000 and $40,000, which is far less than your average-sized home.
What Does It Cost to Build a Tiny House?
For anyone with a little DIY experience, building a tiny house can save more money than buying a pre-built model. If you make the whole unit yourself, the costs can still vary widely depending on your location, the costs of the materials you choose. Customizing your home also affects the price.
According to a 2015 survey, the average cost to build a tiny home was about $23,000, but it can be done for much less than this — or much more. If you do decide to build the house yourself, there are a few things you’ll need:
- Construction or DIY experience: This type of project is not necessarily for a beginner, and should generally only be tackled if you have plenty of building experience.
- A strong support network: If you don’t have much building experience, it helps to have friends and family who are supportive of your project. They can help out with construction when needed.
- The right tools: It’s best if you already have a solid collection of tools and power tools for building. If you need to buy or rent tools and equipment, it can add to the overall costs of construction.
- Location: Before you start to build, you should know where your tiny house is going. Will you have your own land, use a tiny house community, or use your home to travel? You should also have a good location to work on construction if you are not building right on the site.
Why Live in a Tiny House: Does a Tiny House Align With Your Goals?
Living in a tiny house can be a great way to enjoy more freedom and time, a reduced cost of living and a lower environmental impact, but should you live in a tiny house? Although there are many advantages to this lifestyle, tiny house living isn’t for everyone. Downsizing can be difficult for many people.
Why are tiny houses so popular? Many people find joy in simplifying their lives, reducing clutter and finding freedom. The reasons people choose this lifestyle may vary and are unique, but there are several common themes among tiny house dwellers:
- Financial freedom: The cost of living in a tiny house is often much lower than living in a traditional home. Many tiny house owners finds they have room in their budget for debt payments, savings and other financial goals.
- Simplification of life: Many people feel bogged down by all the clutter in their homes. Tiny house living forces people to focus on only what is most important and get rid of all the excess.
- Smaller environmental footprint: Tiny homes use fewer materials, and because of the smaller size, they cost far less to heat or cool. Tiny house dwellers have the satisfaction of a lifestyle that has a much smaller impact on the planet.
- Sense of adventure: Many tiny home owners choose the lifestyle due to a desire to travel more. With the option to have a house on wheels, they can travel just about anywhere on the continent. Even if you choose a tiny home that stays put, the financial freedom you’ll have, plus the simplified lifestyle allows more freedom for traveling.
If these goals sound like you, then tiny house living is worth considering. If you’re unsure, you can try camping or living in smaller cabins to see if you might enjoy living with less. If you’re ready to give this lifestyle a try, the options for tiny house designs and customization are endless, and you’ll be joining a community of adventurous, passionate people who love their tiny homes!
Search for Tiny House Plans Today
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