Building Your Own Tiny Home

A Quick Guide To Building Your Own Tiny Home

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

Tiny houses have already existed for a while. For example, the famous American philosopher Henry David Thoreau built a 150 square feet cabin by himself, inspiring an ode about a simple lifestyle.  Likewise, the recent tiny house movement, which keenly started at the end of the 1970s, has considered having a simple and happy life as the core of having a small home.

Fast track to the 21st century, what was started by Thoreau and the tiny house movement in the 1990s is still being adopted today. Many individuals got rid of their large impractical houses and shifted to more functional, tiny properties. To give some statistics, 63% of millennials prefer to buy tiny houses as their chosen home style. This figure shows that many people had a radical change in their preferences. Moreover, the minimalist lifestyle is perceived as a better option than a maximalist way of living.

If you also have thoughts on building your own tiny house, you should know that having the right information is key to bringing your project to fruition. Thus, this quick guide will equip you with some of the basics when it comes to building your own tiny home. Read on to find out more.

What Is A Tiny House?

The idea of the tiny house is anchored on architectural principles of simplicity and functionality and a social movement to downsize the living spaces.

Essentially, a tiny house is a property with 400 square feet or less floor space. Despite the small space, lofts and second floors are incorporated to maximize vertical space without breaking the rule of the house being small. Likewise, the tiny measure of these houses necessitates its residents to use innovative strategies to save space.

Overall, tiny homes can be attractive to those who want to have simpler lives, clutter-free space, a cost-efficient home, and environmentally friendly property.

Types Of Tiny Houses

There are many choices for choosing the most suitable tiny house. Whether you want to build from scratch or use a model to be customized, there are lots of options in the market.

Let’s delve into some of the most well-known tiny homes styles:

  • Kit Homes: This type of home is where most of the main components, such as framing, are built beforehand in a factory to be assembled later in your chosen location. In most instances, the builders can tailor kit houses based on the customer’s wishes. They are flexible, affordable, and follow a less complex building procedure.
  • Modular Homes: Like kit homes, a modular home, sometimes called a prefab home, is also a factory-built house. Likewise, its styles and layouts can be broad, and one can make it from a standard plan to a more customized one. However, compared to kit homes, modular homes are a bit more costly as most of their parts come finished and require less laborious work. Altogether, it can have the same quality as a site-built house.
  • Custom-made Homes: In a custom home, the capacity to develop the plan of building a tiny house all depends on you. This situation gives you the freedom to manage everything from idea-planning to completion.

Consider these types of tiny homes when you decide to have one.

Things To Consider When Building A Tiny House

There are some factors that you need to take note of before building a tiny house, including:

  • Local Laws and regulations – Even if it’s a smaller project, consider your local laws and regulations surrounding construction. Similar to building a regular-sized property, such may still require you to obtain permits and follow guidelines on the construction process. Thus, ensure that you have prepared all the necessary paperwork beforehand.
  • Needs And Wants - With tiny homes being trendy nowadays, it’s not surprising if you want to incorporate all the designs you see online or in magazines. However, keep in mind that doing so may not be feasible and that your tiny may not serve its purpose. Thus, first, look into your needs and priorities when opting for a design. Then, create or look for a structure around it.  For instance, if you have kids, you may need bedrooms that provide privacy as they grow.
  • Design and Floor plan- You want to make the most out of your space. Making last-minute changes may be costly and slows down your construction timeline. Thus, stick to your design and floor plan throughout the process.

If you are building from scratch, you may want to work with professionals to help you come up with the correct measurements and obtain suitable materials for your house to last for a lifetime. Similarly, discuss with them your preferences, such as a living area to entertain friends and storage areas to keep your clutter, for a more practical and efficient design and structure.

Final Words

Tiny houses have been here for quite some time. Many have chosen it as an alternative to large houses to have a more functional and practical home. Even younger generations have also preferred to have tiny houses.

As more and more people see the advantages of having a tiny house, you may also think about having one. But to start that path, you need to be knowledgeable first of the things connected to its construction and planning. Overall, having a tiny house can be a great start to experiencing a whole new lifestyle while at home.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.