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5 Tips to Consider When Designing a Tiny House

Downsizing and exploring the simple lifestyle of living in a tiny house has grown popularity in recent years. Tiny houses, sitting at 400 square feet or less, have all the important essentials of any regular-sized home but with clever designing, are amazingly packed in significantly smaller spaces. We’re sharing our tips for designing a tiny house to help you build your most comfortable little dream home.

Fold-down storage bench in a tiny home design living room and dining room area

Fold-down storage bench opened up to create two-person dining table in a tiny home design

Fold-down storage bench opened up to create two separate tables and seating areas in a tiny home design


Use fold down options

One tip to consider for designing a tiny house that will always be a staple tiny house idea is to use fold down furniture options whenever possible. Desks, benches, dining tables, and chairs generally take up a lot of space, but when they’re capable of being folded up against a wall, the space that they take up is no longer as relevant and substantial. A dining table and chair set can take up an entire walkway by your kitchen in a tiny home and leave little space for you to comfortably move through the kitchen area. However, if you could fold the dining table up or down against the wall when you’re not using it, you have opened up the space and come up with an easy DIY space-saving solution for larger pieces of furniture. A couple of hinges and a locking mechanism will keep your fold down options in place and make them easily accessible when you need it.

Small kitchen design with cups and pots hung to save space in a tiny home design

Small kitchen design with a potholder to create storage space and decrease clutter in a tiny home


Use your walls efficiently and think vertically

Not only can you fold furniture up against or into the walls, but the walls in tiny homes are also helpful in many other approaches. The kitchen is a great place to start making the most of your small space. The more items you can hang or store on the wall, the less clutter you will have to manage on your kitchen countertop. Utensils, bowls, cups, etc. can take up a fair amount of space, so consider open shelving on empty walls to create storage space or storing things like utensils and knives vertically on your wall. Designing vertically creates an illusion of a larger and taller home and a more clean and less-cluttered space. Hanging a potholder in your kitchen to hold bulkier items will also help eliminate unnecessary drawer additions. All these hanging tiny house storage ideas are simple DIYs that you can easily incorporate into other areas of your home as well.

Tiny house layout with storage bed in bedroom and storage benches in living room design


Downsize and evaluate storage space

Many people trade-in for a tiny house because they want to focus on what really matters in life and eliminate the unnecessary elements that distract them from that. When you’re designing your tiny house, an important tiny house design rule is to always consider that the less you bring into your home, the more you can do with it. Generally, investing in a tiny house is already considered “downsizing” one’s life, but to fully do so, you have to push yourself to get rid of the clutter and unnecessary items to build a comfortable home. Evaluating storage space in your tiny house design is crucial to creating a productive space, which is important with the limited square footage you’re working with. Before designating storage areas in your home, think about all the possessions you’ll need and then add a little extra space. Concealing your storage space will help keep the areas of your home open, organized, and stylish. You can get creative and hide your storage just about anywhere, from the floorboards to your seating area or under your bed. It is important that plenty of available storage options does not encourage you to collect and buy more items that don’t bring value to your home.

A quick tiny house consideration tip is to keep things clear above the waist. Typically the kitchen is an exception, but generally, it is advised to maintain the “clutter” below waist level throughout your tiny house. It allows more space for you to move throughout your home without your shoulders and arms running into things and gives the feeling of more open space.

A tiny home cabin bedroom with curtains as a door and a cozy bed on the floor with a dog looking out the window on it


Avoid walls unless they’re portable

Creating a more open floor plan is a helpful tip for designing a tiny house floor plan because the division by walls actually limits your space further. Eliminating unnecessary partitions in your tiny home is how you get a home office, dining room, and bedroom all in one. The main permanent walls should be the ones that surround your tiny house and the one or two you need for a bathroom. If you decide that you need more walls, maybe for the addition of a second bedroom, then consider using portable walls, such as sliding, mobile, or collapsible walls. This option allows you to easily remove the walls when they’re not needed and open up your space again in your tiny home. Curtains are also a great option and serve the same purpose while being more affordable as well.

A clever tiny home storage idea of vibrant blue stairs, that lead you to the loft, with drawer space underneath


Tiny house layout design with an industrial metal ladder that leads you to the loft where a single bed is


Choose upstairs options wisely

Tiny house plans with loft beds are an extremely common design technique for tiny homes. Your bedroom is the one space in your tiny home where you don’t really need to be standing up, so it is convenient to create a loft because they don’t need to take up a whole top floor either. You will need a way to reach your loft bed comfortably and the decision between stairs and ladders can be a difficult one. Stairs allow for easy climbing to the top level and offer you storage space under each step. Ladders, however, may be a better option for those who have extremely small tiny houses and want to save more floor space. It’s a good idea to take the time to think about whether the easiness of stairs and access to more storage is something you need or if a ladder would be best for your layout.

Designing a space can be an overwhelming process, let alone a tiny house where you have to consider multi-purpose furniture, every space-saving option, and tiny open floor layouts. With accurate scaling of real 3D furniture, the free DecorMatters app can relieve you of some designing stress and help you visually navigate around your future tiny home to ensure you’ve got enough clearance between areas in your tiny space.

An image of an RV at night with the lights on inside behind text that reads Decorate Your Tiny House, Design Now.

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