1. You are only limited by your imagination.
Anything can be turned in to a home: sheds, shipping containers, tree houses, RVs, or vans. Square footage doesn’t really mean anything anymore. Whether you’re in a studio loft or a tiny cabin your home’s square footage doesn’t have to stop you from living large. With planning and preparation, your tiny space can feel like the perfect retreat. I have seen some amazing tiny houses that were created from unexpected sources. Even if you don’t live in a tiny house full time, tiny houses can make great studios, weekend getaways, or guest houses.
I know when my daughter and I moved into Ginwitty (our tiny house) we were both concerned about personal space in a place so small. But, really it “ain’t nothing but a thang.” We might not have the luxury of our own rooms but don’t underestimate the power of noise-canceling headphones, a cup of tea, a cozy blanket, and your favorite book or movie on a tablet. The rest of the world will disappear.
2. Keep Your Space Bright and Be Mindful Of Your Decor.
Your house is your oasis. Choose light colors that will expand your space. Tiny housers know the importance of light. Take a look at Ginwitty on the right before I white-washed the interior. I like wood, but it was a little too much wood. I decided to lighten the interior by white-white washing the walls. White-washing allowed me to keep the character of the wood while reflecting more light. You can’t see it in these pictures, but in addition to four windows, I also installed glass french doors to bring more sunlight into our 24-foot space.
Pick yourself a theme and decorate around it. Having a theme will keep the space engaging, personal, and cohesive. In keeping with minimalism, surround yourself with your favorite things. Why bother dragging the rest of the stuff along for the ride. Let someone else enjoy everything that is less than your favorite. Maybe it’s time to upgrade some of your basics. Storage will be valuable real estate, and many of your things will be kept in the open. Splurge on things that make your home your personal refuge from the world. In a small space, the details matter and little things can make a big difference. Maybe make your bed a luxurious. Remembering you are furnishing a place that is the fraction of the size of a regular house, so spring for those bamboo sheets you’ve always wanted.
3. Everything should multitask.
Since there usually isn’t room for a desk and a table, pick pieces that will function in multiple ways. We have night stands that double as dressers since we don’t have room for both. We have chairs that can be used inside and outdoors. We also have a table that is mounted to the wall, it can be dropped down to tuck away or used as extra counter space, a desk or a drafting table. We use an electric skillet for everything from making toast to cooking spaghetti (believe it or not, it really works!)
4. Expand your living space to the great outdoors.
We, tiny housers treasure our outdoor space. It is an expansion of our indoor space. Through most of the spring, summer, and fall, we thoroughly live in our outdoor areas. Set up an outdoor living room, complete with cafe lights, a firepit, and comfortable outdoor furniture. Decorate your space with flowers and candles. We love having a cup of tea and breakfast in the early morning light, in our outdoor space. We also enjoy having our friends gathered around the firepit at night for drinks and a few laughs. We spend a lot more time outside than we ever did before we moved into our tiny house.
5. Tiny house living can free up your wallet.
Like most tiny house dwellers, I paid cash for my tiny house. I would not be able to say that if I had lived in a conventional house. Most people spend between a third and half of their income on housing. Now that I am mortgage free I have the money to do other things, like travel or treat myself to some experiences I might not have otherwise been able to afford. It also frees up my wallet because a smaller home means fewer home improvement expenses. I have less to paint, less square footage to heat, fewer sinks to leak, and fewer things to fix in general.
Living in a tiny house has been a great experience. Even with one year under our belt, we still have more to learn!
If you are a tiny house dweller, what have you learned? If you have any questions about tiny house dwelling, let me know in the comments below, I would be happy to answer them as best I can.
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