You might have heard of the “tiny house” movement, also known as “small living”, “compact living”, or some variation thereof. There is a slew of videos and pictures documenting the lives of people living in houses ranging in size from 93 to 37 m2, with some even going below that. For most of us, living this way for a prolonged period of time may seem unbearable, especially if we had to live with another person. However, many people are actually choosing to live this way not primarily because of financial limitations, but as a personal choice. Smaller homes appealed to the younger generation largely due to a growing desire for a more moderate, low-waste, and simplistic lifestyle.
Should you live in a tiny house?
There are several disadvantages for smaller homes, the most obvious one being the lack of space. If you are living with another person in such a small space, your privacy can be limited, and it could put a strain on your relationship with another person if alone time is important to you. If you like entertaining guests, it would be impossible to host a party if you live in a tiny house.
In terms of advantages, purchasing, furnishing, and living in a tiny house is much cheaper. Unlike regular-sized houses where you buy filler furniture like side tables and decorative pieces to fill the space, you’re forced to stick with the absolute necessities for tiny houses. The bills are lower and cleaning up is much easier. Statistics also show that tiny house owners carry less debt than the average citizen. This makes sense because people usually take out large loans to afford houses, but with how cheap tiny houses are, most people can afford to take out smaller loans or even pay out of pocket. The money they save in buying and living in a tiny house can then be redirected towards paying off any pre-existing debt like student loans or credit card bills.
Another advantage is the location. Tiny houses are often built in prime locations near offices, schools, and popular city destinations. You’ll save even more money if you only need to walk to work instead of driving or taking the bus every day.
There are a lot of intangible benefits to living in a tiny house as well. For one, if you’re living with another person, you’ll develop a closer bond with them. You won’t be able to live in such a small space with someone you don’t get along with, so you’ll be forced to work around each other’s habits and deal with any tension for the sake of a more harmonious home.
Living in tiny houses also has a great effect on your psyche. As mentioned, small living lends itself well to a low-waste, energy-saving lifestyle. Lowering your carbon footprint is good for the environment and reinforces a positive self-perception. Having a low maintenance house also decreases the mental toll of redecorating, reorganizing, and cleaning up all the time.
The answer to whether you should live in a tiny house ultimately boils down to what qualities you value in a home. Ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice the privacy and comfort of a bigger house for the benefits of a smaller one. If you will be living with another person, ask yourself if you have a good enough relationship with them to live in close quarters.
What do I need to consider when building or choosing a tiny house?
If you’re still reading, then I assume you’ve decided to push through with settling into a tiny house. Regardless of whether you choose to build your own tiny house or buy one already on the market, there are things you need to consider for a more comfortable and pleasant living quarters.
First, the windows should be large. This allows for more light to enter, which helps brighten up the space and make it look bigger. If you lucked out by having a great view outside your window, then that’s also a nice bonus.
Second, high ceilings give the perception of a bigger space. Having high ceilings also means you can build cabinets in the kitchen without obstructing the kitchen counters and install tall shelving units in the bedroom or living room to store your personal items like books, figurines, and souvenirs.
Third, a porch or a balcony, while not a requirement, is also a nice way to have a little bit more space. An outdoor area is also great for drying clothes or keeping exercise equipment.
Fourth, if you’re handy enough to build your tiny house from the ground up, make sure to comply with any building codes or zoning regulations your local housing authorities may have. There are often restrictions for safety reasons, so make sure to follow them.
What appliances and furniture should I buy?
Depending on how small your chosen home is, you might be forced to give up a few luxuries for the sake of practicality. Ask yourself if you use certain appliances often enough to warrant purchasing them. Once you come with a list of essentials, choose narrower, more compact models and brands. A washer/dryer combo is better than buying two separate units. Consider a shower cabin instead of a bathtub.
For furniture, take advantage of multi-purpose or space-saving furniture like loft beds and folding desks. Since small living is on the rise, you’ll have no trouble finding these in most home improvement stores. Choose furniture that doesn’t clash with each other to create a more cohesive, visually pleasing experience.
Compact living isn’t for everyone. If you’re claustrophobic or heavily attached to your belongings, then living in such a small space won’t be ideal. Remember that a home should be where we feel most comfortable and safe. Living in a tiny house takes a lot of compromises, commitment, and adjustment, so take as much time as you need to come to a decision that feels right for you.