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How to Design Your Own Tiny House

A tiny house is not just a style of home, but a way of life. Those seeking to live smaller, simpler, or greener are often attracted to the movement. But with such a small space, you may be asking yourself, how do I design that? 

For tiny houses on wheels, that question can be even more pressing. These portable units have strict maximum square footage requirements so that they’re able to fit on trailers and travel down roads. Tiny houses set on a foundation may have a little more leeway in terms of shape, but still must be relatively small to be considered a tiny house. Typically, a tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet. 

If you’re looking to design your own tiny house, you may have questions about floor plans, sustainability, or simply just the cost. Continue reading below to see what design works best for your needs and desires. 

Location, Size, and Cost

Perhaps the most important consideration to make when designing your own tiny home is the trifecta of location, size, and cost. For those working with a specific budget, location and size can inevitably play the biggest roles in upping or lowering the cost. Of course, tiny homes are smaller than their full-size counterparts, but depending on your home’s location that price may rise higher than you think. 

Whether you decide to build your tiny house on wheels or a foundation also influences the costs associated with the location. Different municipalities have different rent, property costs and taxes, and insurance fees based on these two options — trailer or foundation. Several municipalities, for instance, feature minimal property costs and taxes for tiny houses on wheels. Since these homes are not technically on the land, they do not affect its value.  


Tiny houses are a great way to sustainably downsize your home. One of the biggest reasons people enjoy tiny houses is because of their sustainability. Metal buildings are an especially green alternative to the traditional full-size wooden house; after all, they are made out of one of the world’s most recycled materials

But sustainable building materials aren’t the only eco-friendly feature of a tiny house. Everything from the reduced amount of land to the decreased use of utilities helps keep these kinds of homes eco-friendly. 

A tiny home welcomes people from all walks of life to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. One survey found that downsizing to a tiny home lowered participants’ ecological footprints. It can help consumers buy less energy-intensive food products and adopt more sustainable eating habits. Whether it’s the tight spaces or the fact that they come on wheels, this style of home can help you live more intentionally and be more environmentally conscious. 

Interior Layout / Floor Plan Mockup

Not all tiny houses are the same size, shape, or layout. Believe it or not, there are a lot of different interior layouts to choose from. Before deciding on a layout, though, you’ll have to figure out where everything will fit — after all, it is a small living space. 

On the bright side, the size makes it easy to plan a layout with the actual dimensions. Simply find some flat ground to create your floor-plan mockup. Blue painter’s tape and a 30-foot tape measure are two other useful tools you may need. Measure out the desired length and width using these tools, then include the dimensions of the appliances, furniture, and rooms you want in the tiny house. Grab some sidewalk chalk to label these items. 

Building Materials

The building materials are more important than you may think when it comes to tiny house designs, especially for those on wheels. Too heavy of a building material can make transportation difficult, if not impossible. For this reason, you may either have to choose between a lighter material or a smaller size. 

On one hand, steel is a light and sturdy building material that can be perfect for a tiny house on wheels. Yellow pine wood, on the other hand, tends to be a less-expensive building material that people are more comfortable using. The cost of a metal building, however, can easily be offset by its vast benefits.

Cost is another factor influenced by building materials. Luckily, the size of a tiny home works in your favor when calculating its cost. For instance, you may be able to purchase better quality products — such as countertops or appliances — since you only need a small amount. 

For tiny houses on wheels, you’ll also have to find the right trailer. Certain trailers have certain weight restrictions, so make sure you calculate the entire weight of your tiny house. 

Choosing Your Tiny House Design

Families, creative types, or even people who cook a lot may all have different ideas of how to design a tiny house. When choosing your tiny house design, take into consideration your personal needs and desires. No tiny house is the same — the beauty of them is in their customization. 

For people who love to cook, a bigger kitchen could be the top priority, which may mean a smaller living room or bedroom. Creative types may be focused on building a unique design that inspires imagination. Families may be focused on the height of the tiny house, looking to include a loft as a second bedroom. 

Whichever design you choose, just make sure it accommodates your lifestyle, family, pets, or whatever your priorities may be. 

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