If you regularly read papers, magazines, browse the Internet and go channel surfing on your TV, chances are that you have heard of tiny houses before. In recent years, people’s increasing interest in living in tiny houses, also called tiny homes, has led to something called the tiny house movement.
But how tiny does a house have to be to be called a tiny house? Most tiny houses are under 200 square meters, but a tiny house can range from anywhere in between 100 and 400 square meters. Some builders of tiny houses also very cleverly use loft spaces and manage to make a tiny house a lot more spacious, e.g. by transforming the loft spaces into bedrooms while the downstairs areas are reserved for the kitchen, living room, and bathroom.
Most tiny houses are designed as open plan living spaces to save space. Building walls between the kitchen, the dining room, and living room takes away a lot of space, so this is often not done. Instead, you will find that the living room and dining room are combined and have a view of the kitchen. Sometimes thin wall dividers are used to separate the spaces a little.
Who lives in tiny houses?
Tiny houses are usually great for single people or a couple without children. The bigger versions of tiny houses, however, are also popular with small families.
Tiny houses that are used by families usually have spacious loft spaces, or even a second floor. People who want to live in such a small space with more than just two people will usually take good care when it comes to choosing the right design so that each family member can have a space to retreat to if necessary.
Older couples whose children have left the home also enjoy living in tiny houses as they require less cleaning, less upkeep, and do not feel empty even when only two people are living in them. Some couples also manage to have a cat or dog in their tiny house, but this is usually best when you also have an outdoor area.
Why do people decide to live in tiny houses?
When you see that the tiny house movement has become so popular, you might wonder why people want to live in such tiny spaces. People decide to live in tiny houses for a wide variety of reasons, and most people have more than just one single reason to move into a tiny home. Some of those reasons are:
- Financial freedom—Buying a tiny house costs a lot less than buying or building a normal sized house. This means that it usually is a lot easier to find the money for the first (or second) home. Only about a third of all tiny home owners have a mortgage. This leads to greater financial freedom, and instead of paying off a mortgage, the owners of tiny houses can save the money or spend it on other things.
- Sustainable living—Many tiny home owners are very conscious about the impact they have on the environment. People who live in tiny houses usually have a lower carbon footprint than people who live in average-sized houses or flats. Many tiny houses can be fitted with solar panels to produce all the power that is needed to run the electrical equipment inside the house.
- Lower bills—A tiny house heats up a lot faster than the average-sized house. Many tiny houses are also very well insulated. This comes in handy during colder seasons as the owners of these compact homes will have to spend less money on heating.
- Clutter-free living—More and more people realize that being surrounded by clutter is not good for your mental health. Tiny houses force you to keep organized and to keep clutter to a minimum. The cleverly designed storage solutions often make it a lot easier to keep your items organized than the storage solutions of a normal house. The clutter-free living gives you a certain peace of mind, and you’ll always know where to find your belongings.
- A feeling of coziness—Tiny houses usually feel very cozy and homely. Even though the interior of tiny houses is usually very modern, you will never really get the empty nest feeling you can get in a normal house once your kids have left. This is one of the reasons why many older couples decide to move into a tiny house once their kids have left home.
- Mobility—Many tiny houses are built on wheels and can easily be moved from one place to the other. Even the tiny homes that have no wheels can usually be moved, too. This is great for people who know that they will not stay in a place for good, and who do not want to buy a new house every time they move. Your tiny house can be a very permanent home for you: it moves with you, and so you will always quickly feel at home—no matter where you take your house to.
How do people get tiny houses?
Another attractive aspect for people who want to be part of the tiny house movement is that tiny houses take less time to build than ordinary houses, and often they can even be built by people who have suitable DIY skills. There are different ways to get your own tiny home and become part of the tiny home movement:
- Buy a finished tiny home—The easiest option is to buy a tiny home that simply has to be delivered to you. This is a quick option and only requires you to have a suitable piece of land to put the house on.
- Customize a plan from a tiny house company—Many tiny house builders offer you the option to customize the models they have for sale. The companies will then build this home and deliver it to you.
- Make your own plan and let a company build it—Some tiny house builders also work together with you to create the tiny home of your dreams. This option is ideal for people who do not know enough about planning and construction to do it on their own, but who have certain ideas about what their home should look like.
- Get a kit delivered—If you have the skills, you can opt to have a DIY tiny house kit delivered. The instructions are included, and the plans can be either of the above, i.e., a finished one, a customized one, or one you have designed with the help of a professional.
- Do it all yourself—This is the option for people with skills and confidence. In this case, you do everything yourself. You design the plan, you order the materials, and you build the house.
The tiny house movement in the future
Tiny houses will play an important role in the future, especially in places where housing is a problem because of a lack of space.
The tiny house movement is not so much a movement but a way of life, and it seems very likely that it is a way of life that will be an important part of our future—as it will enable more people to have a home they can call their own.
(Photo Credits: www.curbed.com, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/n-couple-embarks-cross-country-trip-tiny-house-article-1.2293279, http://www.newfrontiertinyhomes.com/tiny-house/ )