Tiny houses are popping up around the country as more people decide to downsize their lives. While the structures often measure less than 300 square feet, the tiny house movement isn't necessarily about sacrifice. With thoughtful, innovative designs, some homeowners have discovered a small house actually leads to a simpler yet fuller life, connecting them with family, friends, and nature while freeing them from mortgages and an urge to keep up with the Joneses.
Try scaled-down living on for size at , a collection of three mini retreat, including the Old Blue Chair shown here, surrounding a central fire pit on a scenic mountaintop property just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. Rates from $142 per night.
Plans from $30
This cute 80-square-foot guest cabin was built in just three weeks for $700. Take a peek inside.
This tiny house is a musician's dream: it houses a giant working amp and the deck even doubles as a stage. Take a peek inside.
With an attachable greenhouse and porch, the Elsa by Olive Nest Tiny Homes proves that you can still have it all in a small space. Take a peek inside.
In only 100 square feet, this tiny house known as the Nugget fits a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area. Take a peek inside.
One of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company's newer models, the Roanoke can sleep up to six people and features a shed style roof. .
The most popular option in Tumbleweed Tiny House Company's fleet, the Cypress offers bay windows, a mini corner porch, and up to 269 square feet of usable space. .
$18, Tiny House Floor Plans
The Cedar Mountain Tiny House, built by Nashville-based , might look small on the outside, but inside, it's big on farmhouse-style design. With repurposed accessories, , , and rich hardwood floors, it's the perfect combination of rustic-chic and modern simplicity.
Dallas designer Paige Morse renovated two 100-year-old sheds in her backyard to create a cozy home away from home. With just two rooms and 250 square feet, her space is remarkably stylish and space-efficient.
The Elm features a fully functional tiny porch and can sleep up to three people. Take a peek inside.
The sleek design by New Frontier Tiny Homes features a , and squeezed into 200 square feet. Best of all, though, a sliding glass garage door reveals a deck that pops out from the home, making al fresco dining a cinch.
Dubbed the Farallon, this tiny house from comes in two sizes (20 feet and 26 feet) and features a stylish farmhouse-style interior. .
Four couples in Texas created "Bestie Row," a mini neighborhood where they could all live in houses lined right up next to each other. Each tiny house boasts a bedroom, living room, and bathroom, and was constructed with a minimalist motif—think concrete floors, grained plywood, and a metal exterior.
This 550-square-foot Maine cottage has on the southeast-facing porch to collect energy ( can store at least a week's worth) to power the refrigerator and heat shower water. A , anchored by a hearth made of local beach stones, radiates enough warmth for the entire building.
The Pequod, named for the ship in Moby Dick, is a marvel of modern amenities and upscale materials, all cleverly maneuvered into one tight squeeze. It measures 26 feet long and weighs 11,500 pounds.
The owner of this Austin abode turned two mobile trailers into one 400-square-foot home that's connected only by a deck.
As soon as you walk inside this tiny 250-square-foot home, a tidy and warm escape full of country character greets you. Natural light swims throughout the space, and farmhouse-inspired wood accents (most of which are made from salvaged and reclaimed wood) give it a rustic yet modern touch.
Just one of the homes in Oregon's Mt. Hood Tiny House Village, "Savannah" features yellow cedar plank siding with red shutters and white trim. So welcoming!
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This 280-square-foot tiny house is here to prove anyone who claims you can't use dark colors in a small room wrong. Instead of going light and airy, the Indigo Tiny Home by is decorated with pops of dark, moody colors.
This 196-square-foot house near Boise, Idaho, is home to Macy Miller, her partner James, their daughter Hazel, and their Great Dane, Denver. A 27-year-old architect, Macy designed the home from scratch and built it on a 24-foot flatbed with help from friends and family. Clad in siding made of recycled pallet wood, the minimalist home is flooded with light and feels spacious despite its size. Hidden storage under the bed, above the pantry, and behind the fridge are contrasted with open shelving in the kitchen to make the space feel bigger. In total, Macy spent about $11,000 on her tiny house and is now able to live rent- and mortgage-free. . —Ellen Sturm Niz
Designed by , this prefab takes its basic form from traditional American corn cribs, which were common farm buildings that served to store and dry corn. The chic, modern structure is delivered and assembled on-site, and includes a sleeping loft, an expandable kitchen wall, a bathroom, and living room. An insulated glass garage door opens to a small deck, connecting the interior space to the landscape beyond. Made of sustainable and recyclable materials, the structure can be dismantled and relocated to another site. —ESN
Designed by Derek "Deek" Diedricksen of and built by Joe Everson of , this transforming micro A-frame cost only $1,200 to construct. One roof/wall is made of Tuftex polycarbonate roofing: Not only is it translucent to allow in natural light, the lightweight material is attached to the structure with hinges so it easily can be raised and propped on legs to expand the space from 80 square feet to 110. On the other side of the A, the purlins supporting the roof sheathing are placed horizontally to serve double duty as shelves. Two daybeds offer additional storage, a kitchen wall features a sink and space for a mini fridge, and a micro loft has a hinged "sunroof" for ventilation. Architect duo David and Jeanie Stiles drafted the build-it-yourself plans for this A-frame, . —ESN
The 204-square-foot "Wind River Bungalow" is the Chattanooga, Tennessee, home of tiny house enthusiasts Travis and Brittany Pyke, who started s to help others fulfill their dreams of living simply in mini dream homes. Constructed of rain-screen cedar and hardy siding for extreme durability, , including a pine and cedar interior, polymer concrete counters, and a loft ladder integrated into the shelving system. —ESN
$16, The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir
This is the Olympia, Washington home of tiny house pioneer Dee Williams, author of , a memoir that details her decision to downsize to an 84-square-foot house that she built from the ground up after a near-death experience. Constructed atop a metal truck trailer, the super-small pine-and-cedar bungalow houses a kitchen counter with a propane one-burner, a sleeping loft, solar-powered lights, a composting toilet, and a sink (but no running water). To help others realize their tiny house dreams, Dee also founded , a tiny house education, resource, and consulting company.
This darling red-roofed cottage sits in a grove of leafy trees near the water's edge in Freeport, Maine. Designed by Mac Lloyd of , the environmentally sensitive abode packs in a full kitchen, bathroom, living space, sleeping quarters, gas fireplace, laundry, and a loft space, while still managing to seem airy and spacious.
This floating 240-square-foot cabin is an off-the-grid summer escape for Maine couple Foy and Louisa Brown. Assembled onshore, a foundation of plastic floatation tubs, Styrofoam, and pontoons was then towed to sea, and the cottage was built above it, using mostly pine shiplap. Louisa carries water out daily via canoe for a tank that fills the shower and kitchen; at night, candles, oil lamps, and solar lights illuminate the home.
Talk about a picture perfect country getaway: This custom built 336-square-foot cabin sits on 24 sprawling acres in West Point, Texas—just steps from its own four-acre constant flow lake, tiny lake house, and wooden pier. The rustic wood-paneled interior features a living space, full kitchen, bathroom, and two lofted bedrooms, all housed under a corrugated metal roof.
At first glance, the 400-square-foot Wedge, designed by , appears to be a tiny luxury cabin but it's actually a mobile Park Model RV. Lofty 17-foot ceilings and a large sliding glass window at the front give an open feel to the rustic yet modern dwelling, which features a bedroom, bathroom, and combined kitchen/living room area. A 100-square-foot deck offers additional entertaining space. The Wedge is one of offered by Wheelhaus that start from $82,000. Not looking to buy? The Wedge is also available to rent at Fireside Resort at .
It's hard to believe this cute-as-a-button 780-square-foot historic cottage sits in the middle of a bustling metropolis. The house, owned by David Hawkanson, the executive director of Chicago's , was built a few years after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when the Chicago Relief and Aid Society began offering so-called fire-relief cottage kits that included pre-cut wood, a door, a chimney, and a room partition. While historians believe more of these tiny cottages exist in Chicago, all but a couple of examples (like Hawkanson's) have become unrecognizable thanks to extensive renovations over the years.