These days, with urban overcrowding and a general movement among some segments of the population towards a more minimalistic lifestyle, tiny houses are becoming more and more common. These small living spaces have to be designed in specific ways, however, in order to maximize the amount of space within them for both logistical and psychological reasons.
If you’re planning on getting into your own tiny abode, then read on and we’ll help you set up the ideal floor plan through the use of a few specific techniques which can help to make a tiny house feel like a real home before we offer you some of the best plans available.
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The plans are made to be easy to understand even for novice builders, making them a perfect place to start your journey into a tiny home if you should choose to use them. Take a gander, they might just have the perfect fit for your needs.
What to Consider When Looking for a Tiny House Floor Plan
Knowing what exactly constitutes a tiny house in your eyes is key to making sure that you purchase the plan that’s right for you. As a general rule of thumb, pretty much anything which is under 1000 square feet can be considered a tiny home. In many cases, a truly “tiny” house may be considered as anything under 400 square feet.
- What to Consider When Looking for a Tiny House Floor Plan
Remember to check the local zoning regulations before you decide to invest in a plan. In many places there is a minimum square footage requirement for any home which is under a certain size. There are several communities which do specifically allow tiny homes however.
There are several legal loopholes which can be utilized as well, especially if having your own piece of property is not the end goal but just to have a small living space. Accessory dwelling unit laws, for instance, will often allow you to utilize a tiny home on someone else’s land if you can find a person who will assent to this.
Particularly small homes can be built on the backs of trailers and registered as a recreational vehicle as well. The legal loopholes to jump through here can be convoluted, and some RV parks do not welcome vehicles which are not made by an approved company.
One strategy used by some people is to purchase run down older homes with a small floor plan. This will often allow the old home to be demolished and the new, tiny house to be built by being “grandfathered” in.
The moral of the story: check out the legality of your home’s status before deciding upon a design.
Mobile or Not Mobile
While some places are remarkably friendly towards tiny homes and welcome them, allowing them to be built on a proper foundation as long as it’s within residential zoning, others do not.
There are of course, those of us with wanderlust in our souls as well, who just want a home we can take on the road with us while having the pride in knowing that we’ve created it ourselves. These people will often opt to make their homes on trailers.
In general, you cannot exceed a tractor truck plus trailer in dimensions and still legally haul your home. This puts some plans right out the window if you’re not planning on being mobile.
As noted above, if you intend to permanently ensure that your home stays in one area then you’re going to want to make sure that you either relocate to a friendly area for tiny homes or utilize one of the loopholes available to make sure that you don’t end up with a fine.
The chance for mobility is one of the main draws for many of us, but some people just want to enjoy the simple life within their new, small abode.
Rooms and Sizing
Because many tiny houses feature such a limited amount of space, it’s important to make sure that you have enough for what you need. To really be a “home” you’ll need, at bare minimum a kitchen, a bathroom, and a living area. Often the smallest of these homes utilize a loft bed above the main living space.
Dual-use rooms become especially important in such tight quarters. A main living space with a futon, for instance, can easily double as a bed room. Extra rooms for projects and such might be right out, depending on the amount of space you wish to end up with.
This makes the sizing and room portions of the home you’re looking for super important when you’re looking over plans. Designers have put a lot of thought into them, and the best plans are available for a relatively small fee.
Whether you pick up a plan or a prefabricated tiny house is up to you. Most who enjoy the movement also enjoy doing it themselves, building their house from the ground up. You will need at least moderate construction skills in order to do this, and access to people who can safely guide you through some of the more technical portions such as wiring is highly desirable.
Building even a tiny home isn’t going to be a weekend project for most people, but in the end you’ll be able to proudly declare that you live in a home that you built yourself which is pretty cool.
There’s no shame in going for a prefabricated tiny house, however, and many places sell them for a modest price. The decision here is up to you, of course, but if you think you’ve got the skills to do it then just imagine the feeling when it’s finally done.
Miscellaneous Specifics for Tiny Houses
There are a few things which are unique to tiny homes which you should take into account before you become too invested in any single floor plan. As long as you keep these in mind, then you’re looking at having a great little place to live.
Within a tiny house you’ll want to make the most of your furniture. This can mean a lot of different things to different people, but for the most part you aren’t going to want to use standard furniture while you’re in one. By maximizing the floorspace which can be used in any part of your home, you can definitely make things feel more open.
This isn’t just to give you breathing room, of course, it can be a bit psychologically stressful to live in a cramped environment.
There are two main kinds of furniture you’ll want to be looking at to invest in.
The first is those pieces which can be folded up when you’re done or provide multiple uses. Futons, for instance, can be a great way to both save some floor space and be opened into a bed when in use. Murphy beds, which fold into a wall, can also be a great space saver.
Really, anything which can be folded up or serve the purpose of multiple pieces is pretty much ideal.
You may also want to look into modular furniture. There are several things available on the market which can double as night-stands, tables, shelves, or any number things depending on how you configure them. Investing in these is an interesting idea no matter the size of your home, but within a tiny house’s premium space they can be an absolute life saver.
Lighting is a huge part of the psychological factor of living within a modern tiny home. Most designs are already built to maximize daylight. You don’t want to feel like you’re in a solitary confinement cell in prison after all. Large windows are pretty much a must when you’re looking at the floor plan for one of these homes.
Of course, you don’t want so much daylight pouring in that you have to wear sunglasses while inside, but that’s really not a big concern in most cases. Tiny home designs are usually pretty well thought out in that regard.
The electrical lighting you use, on the other hand, can be a bit different. In general you’ll have two types of lighting within any home.
Task-specific lighting is for one single purpose, think of the light over your kitchen stove or a reading lamp on a desk. These will tend to be brighter and not in use nearly as much as ambient lighting.
Ambient lighting, on the other hand, is generally dimmer and is the “normal” light you’ll have on when you’re doing things in the house. Think of overhead lamp fixtures and that sort of thing. This will also include accent lighting.
You’ll want to put some careful thought into where you locate the lights within your new tiny home. Careful usage of accent lighting can make a room look much larger by causing the optical illusion of separation, for instance. In spaces with very limited areas like bathrooms, make use of mirrors in order to amplify the light and save space by only having to use a single bulb.
The color temperature of the lighting can also matter quite a lot, but that’s a matter of personal taste. In general you may want to attempt to use more “orange” light as accents with a soft white overhead in your living area but the choice here is ultimately up to your own personal tastes.
You may also want to look into “smart bulbs” which often have a number of useful features built right in. The most common of these is a Bluetooth connection allow you to dim the light without having to use the space to install a dimmer switch, but some of the more advanced models can even include speakers which will save you the trouble of having to give up floor space for an audio system.
Consider the colors that you use within your tiny house carefully. Lighter colors will “open” the room up quite a bit and create the feeling of more space within the home. Avoid darker colors for confined areas, as it will inevitably leave you feeling a bit more cramped at the end of the day.
Of course, bright white can get a bit tiring to stare at after a while. Slightly off-white shades tend to work the best, but light pastel shades of blues and greens can also open up a room very well depending on how your preference lies.
Places to Find Tiny House Floor Plans
With so many places now offering plans for these homes, you’ll want to carefully consider where you get a plan from. Some designers have become so specialized in the art of these designs that you’ll be simply amazed at what they can do at the end of the day. We’d recommend looking over the following places while you try to locate a tiny house to fit your needs.
The Tiny Tack House
The Tiny Tack House offers the plans for two trailer based designs, both of which measure 7’x20’, making for 140 square feet of movement. The homes are well designed and easily moveable since they’re roughly the size of a small RV.
In addition to that, they offer a book called “Undersized” which contains a staggering amount of different 3D floor plans for a variety of different sizes of tiny home should you opt not to use one of their incredible designs. The pricing is quite reasonable and they’re definitely worth a look.
Humble Homes offers a quite large selection of plans for different versions of tiny homes. They range in size up to about 250 square feet and all of them are quite well built. Even better, many of these different plans can be mounted to either a foundation or a trailer. This makes them versatile and flexible at the end of the day.
The Tiny House
While The Tiny House offers only one design for sale on their website, they more than make up for it with the cheap information which they also retail. These include an e-book on making decisions when building your diminutive living space and another e-book which can help you navigate the legal complexity of becoming part of the tiny house movement.
The plan they sell is based on a 22’ flatbed and gives you about 150 square feet of space, making for a fairly comfortable and truly mobile home. It also includes a loft, freeing up the actual ground floor for more space for your daily living.
Tiny Home Builders
Tiny Home Builders offers a whole lot for the true tiny house enthusiast. In addition to a bevy of different plans they also sell a more than considerable amount of information and pre-built trailers specifically designed for you to haul your tiny home.
The book and e-workshop alone are probably worth the cost of entry, but when you factor in the fact that they sell both the plans and pre-fabricated tiny houses you know that you’re looking at something quite exceptional.
If you’re serious about your tiny homes, the website is worth a visit and the book is probably worth the purchase even if you do decide to go with a different floor plan for the home you end up with.
Four Lights Houses
Four Lights Houses offers a little bit more than just the plans for tiny homes. They also offer additional plans in order to make sure that you can get exactly what you’re looking for built within the home and a range of books on the subject.
This additional level to detail can really help out the novice builder. The houses designs themselves are called “shells” to which you can then add all of the goodies you think you might need. This makes them ideal as a truly customizable tiny house experience.
Tiny House Design
Of course, if you’re not willing to shell out the money on an approved design there are definitely some free plans on the internet. Tiny House Design offers a list of them, but as they point out in their disclaimer these weren’t necessarily designed by professionals.
This doesn’t make them bad, of course, but it does mean that you’ll be using them at your own risk should you choose to go with one of their designs.
Find the perfect tiny house floor plan to meet your needs doesn’t need to be a hassle. The industry is booming in a big way and there are plenty of professionals out there who are more than willing to help others reach their goal.
Whether you’re looking to live a minimalist lifestyle or just want to take your house on the road, there’s definitely something here for any person who’s interested in reducing the size of their living space.