Tiny Home Design and Inspiration

Beautiful tiny house on lake

If you’ve ever watched HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters” or “Tiny House, Big Living,” you’ve probably asked yourself: Could I actually live a tiny lifestyle? What’s this tiny house movement all about anyway?

According to Gary Hollingsworth of Clayton Tiny Homes, tiny houses represent a “less is more” approach to living. “Tiny homes are more about an attitude and a way of life than about space,” he says. “It’s about quality, not quantity.” That’s obviously true, as tiny homes typically offer a total of 100 to 400 square feet of living space. Regardless of the square footage, though, the concept remains the same. “I think people are looking for a simpler way to live. Life is chaotic enough, and all the excesses and gadgets haven’t seemed to make things better—just more complicated,” notes architect Jeffrey Dungan, who has partnered with Clayton Homes for its tiny house collection. “The appeal is related to freedom and our desire for autonomy.”

While you may not be ready to downsize in an extreme way, you can still find inspiration in tiny houses. Consider these design and space-saving tips to see if you could change how you live in a big way.

Pare It Down
“If you own a large space, then that space and your stuff will own you,” explains Will Johnston of Tiny House Atlanta, a nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals, groups and cities embrace the tiny house movement’s positive effects on neighborhoods. “In a tiny house, you’re not just shrinking your space—you’re shrinking your possessions.

A great place to begin paring down what you have is your wardrobe. Johnston recommends checking out Be More with Less’ Project 333, a minimalist fashion challenge that prompts viewers to dress with 33 items or less over three months—box up the remainder of your wardrobe and learn to live with fewer clothes. When there’s less to store, living simply becomes easier.

The same concept can be applied to other items in your home. Get rid of things you haven’t used in the last three months and toss out duplicates. For a room-by-room guide to decluttering check out
The Tiny Life’s 30-Day Declutter Challenge.

Lamon Luther tiny house built by Shelter Supply CompanyThis tiny house takes advantage of reclaimed barn wood, but with a ?tilt.? The clever use of the wood to create chevron-patterned walls enlarges the space visually.? 20 ft. long x 8.5 ft. wide x 13.5 ft. tall (225 square ft. total)? Sleeping loft with queen-sized mattress? Custom built-in sofa with storage underneath? Full kitchen and shower with Rinnai? tankless hot-water heater by Supply.comPhotos courtesy of Lamon Luther, photography by Abbey Daniell.
Two for one
In a tiny home, space must be maximized. That means every item in the home needs to pull at least double duty. “Everything in the house has a multiple purpose,” says Claudia Resende of Prime Surfaces, who worked with architect Jeffrey Bruce Baker to create the Neolith Tiny House, a revolutionary tiny home featuring innovative products by Neolith and other local manufacturers. The same multifunctional approach can help you make the most of your own interior space.

For instance, Johnston observes, you can choose a table that converts into a chair or have a window that doubles as a movie screen for family time. In the Indigo tiny home from Driftwood Homes, Gunyou notes that a Murphy bed provides desk space with storage cubbies when it is folded up. With so many smart furniture pieces on the market (such as seating options like couches with hidden storage underneath the cushions), there are unlimited options to take the tiny-home concept to your rooms.

Go vertical
“You must maximize vertical space as well as floor space,” Hollingsworth notes. In addition to hanging as much as possible on the walls and placing shelves and cabinets high up, the ceiling actually lends itself to exceptional storage options. For example, Dungan likes to transform vaulted areas into usable space, building bunks and additional sleeping spaces into them for what he calls “people storage.” Resende also touts using the ceiling area for storage by installing an attic with a ladder door and filling up the space within it. “It’s a great way to store towels or bed sheets,” she points out.
Tiny Home by Hummingbird Tiny HousingThis tiny home, custom built by Danville, GA-based Hummingbird, offers smart storage solutions, like the space beneath the staircase that is used to house a refrigerator and general storage. ? 230 square ft. of living space? Custom options, like ceiling fans, flat-screen TVs and fireplaces, are availablePhotos courtesy of J & D Images, photography by David Fisher.
Hidden treasures

In the same vein as multifunctional furniture items, many design elements in your home can serve a secondary—and even hidden—purpose. Resende points to the use of storage hiding behind a backsplash in the kitchen as an excellent option, as well as storage space concealed behind a mirror in the bathroom or pictures on the wall.

What’s more, there are spaces in your home that can actually be converted into hidden storage. For instance, Resende suggests installing pullout drawers in the spare space behind the kick plates under your kitchen cabinets. Look around and strategize how to make the best use of every inch of space available to you.

“It’s rewarding to live well, and successfully living well in a smaller environment makes people feel smart,” says Baker. “It’s a home, not just a shelter. This is a hipster-like movement, but with purpose and finesse.”

Vacuum Doctor

In the 1970s, the average amount of space allotted for four people was 1,100 square feet. That number has ballooned to 2,600 square feet for two people today. However, most people only interact with approximately 250 square feet of space in their home regularly. Put markers down to show where you walk in your house every day—you might be surprised at the amount of space you
actually use.

You bought a tiny home. Now what? Not every community welcomes tiny homes, so it’s important to do your homework on where to park. Nonprofits Tiny House Atlanta or The American Tiny House Association are great resources.


American Tiny House Association | www.americantinyhouseassociation.org
Clayton Tiny Homes | www.claytonhomes.com
Driftwood Homes USA | www.driftwoodhomesusa.com
Jeffrey Dungan, Designer Cottages | www.designercottages.com
Lamon Luther | www.lamonluther.com
Prime Surfaces | www.primesurfacesgroup.com
Project 333 | www.bemorewithless.com
The Tiny Life | www.thetinylife.com
Tiny House Atlanta | www.tinyhouseatlanta.com

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