While large buildings make the biggest architectural statement, the tiny house trend has made its own mark. Brought in by how they are eco-friendly, much more affordable, and a part of an appealing minimalist lifestyle, people are moving into homes that are less than 500 square feet. The smaller size requires less energy consumption, with solar panels and sustainable materials often further reducing carbon footprint. It is an incredible way to save money as well, with the costs of owning and maintaining a tiny home being only a fraction that of the average home.
For all these reasons, everyone from individuals without a need for much space to full families that want to downsize can be found with a tiny home that suits them. While the houses themselves are very small, the impact this trend is making on architectural and interior design is not.
Not So Tiny Challenges
Tiny houses aren’t for everyone. Even those that happily move into a much smaller space may still struggle with certain aspects. One part of having less living space is that there’s less to clean. However, it also gets messy much easier. A pet that sheds a lot, a single spill, or forgetting to put something away just once: it doesn’t take much for the house to suddenly need tidying. These houses may also be a difficult adjustment for anyone that’s used to enjoying their own personal space because tiny houses don’t really have enough space for everyone to get their own. Married couples that take on this kind of living need to be certain that they can handle this level of proximity.
The biggest challenge of living in a tiny home is simply the fact that it is so small. If not enough clutter is cleared out or the design is just not well-planned enough, these living spaces can really feel cramped. Sometimes, everything fitting just right still means having to move everything out of the way when you need to access something else.
Designing Better Tiny Houses
The extremely small size of these homes presents unique challenges for architects and others involved in the design. It can be difficult to use the small space in a way that minimizes the inconvenience for the residents. Yet, the right professionals know how to keep things from getting too cramped. A good designer makes the small space of a tiny home work for them with space-saving solutions such as using fewer walls and doors, making rooms feel bigger with lots of windows, and maximizing the space with multifunctional and fold-down furniture.
Fewer Walls and Doors
Walls and doors actually take up quite a bit of livable space, so, in a tiny house, they are the first to go. Some of the best designs only have walls to surround the house and to separate the bathroom. Instead of compartmentalized rooms, these tiny houses embrace multipurpose rooms. For clearer borders between different home functions, furniture might be used. Couches can section off a living room area and counters can close off a kitchen. Since walls serve no practical purpose, designers often cut them out of tiny homes.
Without walls, doors don’t even need to be thought about. To save space where there is a need for doors, sliding walls or sliding doors can be used instead. Doors that swing open can be clunky in a small living space and make it harder to get around. Sliding, however, doesn’t take up additional space when a door is opened, making these types of openings more preferable in a tiny house.
Plenty of Windows
Walls and doors may be cut down to save space, but windows are one area that definitely shouldn’t be reduced. Windows can keep a small living space from feeling too cramped. They expand the home’s environment to include everything outside of its walls. Lots of windows also bring in a lot of natural light, which makes the home feel more spacious as well. With mirrors throughout the home, this light spreads more easily. Through windows, mirrors, and other translucent materials to bring in light, designers increase the visual size of tiny houses.
Maximize Space with Furniture Choices
With smart furniture decisions inside a tiny house, every inch of the minimal space available is put to good use. Great ways to get the most out of space include finding opportunities for multifunctionality and incorporating fold-down furniture. Instead of taking up room with multiple pieces, multifunctional furniture, like a coffee table that separates into a side table and an arm chair or a dining table and chairs with a bookshelf built in, expands the possibilities of the small space. Desks, beds, and any other furniture you can think of can also be kept from using up space as fold-down furniture. When not in use, these items go right back into the wall and out of the way.
Tiny Houses Changing the Way Design is Approached
Because tiny houses present such unique design challenges, those that create them have to go into the process with a completely different perspective. Innovative thinking allows new approaches to be taken to address the unique needs. With measures to save space on furniture, walls, and doors and an effort to increase the visual space through windows, residents of tiny houses are kept comfortable and satisfied with their home.