Tiny houses are all the rage right now. And when we say “tiny” we mean tiny. People can live in spaces less than 300 square feet. It’s astounding that anyone could live in a house that small. There are even families with multiple children that have chosen to go tiny (and lived to tell the tale).
Tiny house designers and builders are brilliant. In order for these houses to be functional and include everything that’s needed, much work goes into design and layout. For starters, many components of tiny houses serve multiple purposes, ingenious storage solutions are dreamed up, and vertical space is maximized. So let’s begin to reveal the ingenious secrets of tiny houses.
25. Storage within staircases
Many tiny houses include loft-sleeping areas as a key means to maximize space. Stairs are a real luxury in a tiny house because they take up so much real estate. Ladders are an alternate option but many a homeowner shudders at the thought of having to climb a ladder to go to bed every night. If one opts for stairs, they can also take on an essential second duty of creating amazing storage space.
Under stair cupboards and drawers are pictured here. The extra storage can be used for pantry items, linens, clothes, books… you name it. The possibilities are endless. Click “Start Slideshow” below to see where some people hide the bed.
24. Stash away bed
One key to successful living in a tiny house is to have items within the home handily serve two or more functions. Much of this will come about as a result of choosing or building furniture wisely. A Murphy bed naturally makes a lot of sense.
The ingenious bed pictured here not only folds away, but it also converts into a couch when not being used as a bed. We love that it does it with amazing style too. Click “Next” below to see where to hide a bed in a kitchen! Huh?
23. Trundle guest space
Trundle beds are another fabulous sleeping option that can be seamlessly stashed away when not in use. Typically a trundle bed is a low bed stored beneath a larger bed, but here we have a trundle bed that actually rolls in and out from beneath a section of a tiny home’s living space. This is perfect for guest sleeping and it’s completely inconspicuous when not in use.
The gap between the trundle and the upper platform is such that the bed can be stashed away when it’s made without disrupting a thing.
22. Magnetic storage
Kitchens can be particularly challenging in a tiny home because they are short on prep and storage space. This means homeowners have to get creative but sometimes the greatest solutions are very simple! Magnetic racks are a fabulous way to keep essentials at your fingertips while keeping prep space clear.
Here we show a magnetic knife rack but the same principal can work for other lightweight utensils or spice containers, for example.
21. Disappearing sink
Again on the topic of prep space in a kitchen, this sink converts into an extra prep area. Here you can see that an extra piece of removable countertop was created to cover the sink when it’s not in use. This means there is extra prep space when you need it. We also think it looks pretty sleek.
Plus if you’re running behind and guests arrive, you can just hide all the dirty dishes in the sink and cover it up.
20. Two-in-one washer/dryer
One luxury that might be tough to give up when going tiny is a washer and dryer. Unfortunately they take up a lot of space. Thankfully there are now energy efficient units that perform both functions. Such a unit can be factored into a tiny home’s design to enable it to be tucked away in a kitchen or bathroom cabinet.
The reality is if you are living tiny, you won’t be creating that much laundry so this kind of unit could be ideal.
19. Chairs that tuck right in
We love the look of these pieces. And we really love that they are perfect for a tiny home. This table set is designed in such a fashion that the chairs tuck seamlessly beneath the table so the entire set is compact and stylish when it’s not in use.
Don’t assume that just because you decide to go tiny, you’ll have to sacrifice a family eating space. This is perfect for a family of four and looks fabulous all the time.
18. Shelves, shelves, and more shelves
Given that tiny houses are short on square footage, it’s really important to maximize wall space. This can be done in clever and stylish ways without having the space look cluttered and overwhelmed with stuff. Smart shelving is a perfect storage solution for items homeowners just aren’t prepared to give up when they go tiny.
17. Fold-down eating space
Another option for a tiny house table is to have it fold up against a wall when it’s not in use. This encourages flow in a tiny home and creates extra living space when the table isn’t needed. Plus if it’s done right, the table will look like a piece of art when it’s stored.
We’ve seen some clever designers create carvings on the undersides of such tables so that they serve the dual duty of table and conversation piece.
16. Art deco food storage
Speaking of artwork, why not have food items stored in easy-access containers that also look beautiful? Again this type of solution serves two purposes and maximizes vertical space. Plus it’s so pretty-looking that nobody is going to think it was done out of necessity.
Again, a key to maximizing space is to get creative. We love the contrast between the bold black outlines of the shelving and the colorful contents within.
15. Go big on important things
This tiny sink is functional and very stylish. We absolutely love the waterfall faucet too. Going tiny with the sink enabled this tiny home to have a bigger shower. The homeowners sacrificed on sink size to maximize on shower size. We think this was a smart decision.
Not everything in a tiny home has to be tiny. Picking the right trade-offs makes good sense.
14. Couch drawers
An amazing feature of tiny houses is that storage is hidden everywhere. This built-in L-shaped couch boasts huge storage drawers beneath it. There won’t be any room for a walk-in closet, so you need to maximize your storage space elsewhere. To make organizing easier, throw in a couple of baskets or bins so you can sort like items.
We especially love that all of these dual function pieces still look awesome and unspoiled. Their extra features are truly hidden.
13. Lofts are key
When you have a tiny footprint, it’s tough to include a main-floor bedroom. But one way to have a separate space without using up prime living space is to build a loft. Lofts don’t need to be full height given that the prime activity they’re used for is sleeping. Lofts are a great way to give you a little getaway without eating up square footage.
12. Kids get cozy
If you’ll be sharing your tiny space with children, room sharing is essential. Many a tiny home includes a loft space for the grown-ups and a second one for the kiddos. The space can be fun and inviting for kids and they will feel like they are sleeping in a treehouse – that is until the novelty wears off of course.
We all know that kids get used to their realities and this one shouldn’t be a hard adjustment.
11. Catwalk for safety
If kids will be loft sleeping, parents get nervous that the grown-up space and kid space are often separated by the length of the tiny home. One way to assure the kids are safe is to join the two spaces with a catwalk. This means no dangerous ladder for the little ones, and parents will know of the kids’ comings and goings because the catwalk provides a direct route to their parents’ room.
It actually sounds pretty horrendous to us but if you live tiny, this is pretty genius.
10. Eat-in kitchen
A great way to maximize space is to have your kitchen prep area double as your eating area. You can see in this image that the long counter is actually designed to seat two stools at the end so once you are done cooking, tidy up the counter and sit there to eat.
This is ideal for a couple or single person living tiny. No need for a separate table and chairs in this scenario.
9. Keep it open
The more open a tiny home is, the larger it feels. This applies not only to open concept rooms but also to any dividers and stairs. In the tiny home pictured here, the stairs are beautiful and functional but also keep the space open and airy.
The owners also wanted a little separation between their loft and living space, but in keeping with the stair design, created a barrier that isn’t a complete wall.
8. Space-saving stairs
Some tiny homeowners don’t choose stairs because they take up a lot of space. Ladders are another option but it is possible to get more creative if you don’t want your future to involve climbing a ladder daily. In the image above, you can see one such alternative.
These stairs are anchored to the wall and each stair is attached to the next with a heavy fabric runner. When they are needed, one simply has to pull on the bottom step and a circular staircase is revealed. Tuck it against the wall when it isn’t needed and it looks just like a shelving unit.
7. Couch sleeps three
Ok – so it might be a little cozy but you could sleep three people on this couch in a pinch once it is converted to a bed. Two hidden sections slide out, in a trundle style, and extra cushions get inserted to form a huge platform bed. Plus the extra sections also double as storage compartments beneath the couch.
This big couch might monopolize your living space but when you see its multiple function, it’s easier to justify.
6. Creative pot rack
One great way to store larger kitchen items like pots and pans is to hang them. Cupboard and counter space will be limited so many tiny homeowners opt to hang these items.
You can get creative in what you use as your pot rack. Some folks choose to use something meaningful from their previous home that they didn’t want to part with. We saw one very musical family of five who went tiny build a pot rack out of instrument parts. Very cool.
5. In-floor storage
Storage is at such a premium in a tiny home that every available nook and cranny that can be used, probably will be. In some cases, it’s possible to build in-floor storage to stash away needed items that aren’t on call everyday. This is a great solution for storing off-season clothes, extra blankets, or sports equipment for example.
4. Accordion style
Some tiny homes on wheels are actually built with sides that can expand outward when the unit is parked. This is a great feature because it can add several feet to the width of a tiny home, increasing overall square footage. The sides pull back in when the unit goes on the road again. Who knew such small spaces could be so flexible and versatile?
3. Convertible seating
This comfortable nook is a perfect space for converting into a lounge area. Have the cushions flat when you need seating for multiple people or when you feel like sitting up, or convert the seats into an Adirondack-style chair when you feel like lounging.
Big windows like this bring the outdoors in. What better spot to cozy up and read a book while soaking in the view?
2. Pooch hangout
Dogs and cats go tiny too! To them, home is where the love is (and the food of course) but any pet needs its own space. Depending on the size of your pet, a cute and comfy space can be created for them under a staircase or under a built-in couch.
Here we see a small pooch cozied up in his own dog house beneath a staircase.
1. Capitalize on outdoor space
Many people choose to go tiny because they want to be burdened by less ‘stuff’, want to spend more time outdoors, and want to focus less on the material aspects of life. One way to make a tiny home larger is to consider the outdoor space to be part of your home too. Many tiny houses have amazing outdoor set ups, rooftop patios, and beautiful gardens.
How inviting does the above home look? We can all take a lesson from this – breathe a little deeper, pause a little more often, and reconsider what we really need in life.