Acclaimed for being sustainable, affordable, and adorable residences, tiny homes are also superb teachers when it comes to organization and design.

Photos taken on an ancient ocean bed.

With the average tiny home measuring under 500 square feet, these mini abodes often have to be designed radically different from larger traditional houses. Below, we take a look at seven of the biggest lessons one can learn from tiny home design. No matter if you plan to call a tiny house “home” or not, these key tips are relevant to just about any space, large or small.

1. Bigger Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Better.

L.A.-based Icelandic natives Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson of Miniarc created the 320-square-foot Iceland-inspired tiny dwelling Plús Hús, to be a sustainable and useful solution for addressing the housing shortage in their adoptive home. The Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is prefabricated at the company's mnmMOD’s facility in downtown Los Angeles, shipped flat pack, assembled with minimal waste and can be delivered anywhere in the U.S. starting at $37,000.

Los Angeles–based Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson of Miniarc created this 320-square-foot tiny dwelling, Plús Hús, to be a sustainable and useful solution for addressing the housing shortage in their adoptive home. 

Photo: Minarc

This idea is essentially the core tenet of tiny home living—that a large home doesn’t always mean it’s better or more thoughtfully designed. With tiny homes, every decision has to be based on thoughtful consideration. More often than not, efficiency rules, leading to a well-designed home.

2. Space Planning Is Critical.



After moving the wall between the kitchen and living areas, Kate and Arthur were able to configure an L-shaped--which was critical in adding a full height refrigerator, full height pantry, and an 18

After moving the wall between the kitchen and living areas, this family was able to configure an L-shape, which was critical to adding a full-height refrigerator, full-height pantry, and an 18″ dishwasher. They opted for a minimalist black and white aesthetic, with dark black-green cabinets, and a dark soapstone counter.

Photo Courtesy of Sweeten

Of course, it goes without saying that when you’re designing a home under 500 square feet, every inch counts. Yet it cannot be emphasized enough just how critical space planning is in these dwellings, and not just in terms of the different zones of the home—should the living room be located in the middle of the home where it acts as a multi-functional space, or stationed at a far end for more privacy?—but also in the layout within these spaces. For example, like the placement of a shelf or drawer in the kitchen that could save a precious 4 inches of counter space. 

3. Take Advantage of Height.

The couple added solid surfaces, cable railings, kitchen and bathroom tiling, open cedar siding, a residential mini-split heater, a Dickenson propane heater, and a six-panel solar system.

This couple took advantage of the gabled roof in their tiny home and opted to have their sleeping area in a lofted space.

Truform Tiny

See the full story on Dwell.com: 7 Big Lessons to Learn From Tiny Home Design
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