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Designing A Tiny Living Space


In an effort to "go green" and reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the earth's fragile environment, a growing number of people are becoming interested in downsizing their homes. Others want to live in houses that are much smaller than conventional abodes because they will be able to spend less money on the smaller piece of real estate and in turn pay less in property taxes.

Tiny homes also use less energy, require less effort to clean and maintain and by their very nature have much less storage space. This means that if you plan to live in a tinier space, you probably also want to live with fewer possessions and focus on what you truly need before bringing in features that you will likely wind up using only on rare occasions.

If you are interested in a lifestyle with less emphasis on material goods and want to simplify your living space, a tiny home may be just what you've been looking for.

However, if you are new to the tiny house movement, you could benefit from some tips for designing a tiny living space. You don't need to learn interior design in order to benefit. But having an overview of the issues involved in designing for tiny living spaces will help you communicate better with the designers that you hire.

What Qualifies as a Tiny Home?

A tiny house is typically defined as having 100 to 400 square feet, according to the Tiny Life site.

When you compare this to the typical 2,600 square feet of an average contemporary American home, you can see that you will need to make some adjustments in terms of living and storage space!

Multifunctional Pieces

One of the most commonly used space-saving multifunctional pieces is the folding bed that turns into a couch when you're not using it to sleep.

A hassock can do more than support your feet when lounging in the living room. You can use one with a hollow interior and store items such as comforters, slippers, games and other items instead of cluttering up the space.

Storage Options

Shelving will likely become an important aspect of your design process. Add shelves to store bottles of wine or recipe books, for example. Remember that you can put up shelves in the rafters and use a great deal of previously unused space.

In the bedroom, a storage bed eliminates the need for a clothes dresser. Think creatively and view each area of space as a new opportunity to put away items according to how often you use them.

What you can do without

When you design for a tiny house, it's important to remember you cannot have as many of the amenities in a conventionally sized dwelling. For example, it would be silly to think you could have a master bedroom with a bathroom that includes a large bathtub as well as a shower. Design the bathroom to have only a shower and no tub.

You may also have to give up having a separate home office. If you want to work out of a tiny home, consider a loft bed approach, where you have the bed high up on a platform and then situate your desk, chair, computer and other items below it.