Creative Spaces in Tiny Homes

Updated on May 13, 2016
Stacey Foster profile image

A journalist, editor and tiny house enthusiast, Stacey Foster hopes to one day make her tiny house dreams a tiny house reality.

In the average home, and it's pretty easy to find wasted space. Many rooms lack adequate storage, and what you have is loaded to the brim with items that rarely see the light of day.

Some rooms and hallways don't serve any purpose, but add to the square footage of a home.

In a tiny home, however, every inch of space is utilized. Storage, which comes in all shapes and sizes, is full of useful possessions that are used often.

Whether you're looking at designing your own tiny home, or hoping to make better use of a small space, these ideas will help inspire.

Simply put, when there is no room to waste, there is no waste.

Work with a Compact Kitchen

A compact kitchen is key in a small space.
A compact kitchen is key in a small space. | Source

When packing a home, the kitchen usually ends up being the most time consuming room, as so much can be crammed into drawers and cabinets. In a tiny home, there's no room for waste, so every item in the kitchen needs to be absolutely necessary.

By thinking about exactly what you need in a kitchen you can design a space that suits your needs perfectly. Perhaps you don't need a full range, as you're not much of a chef, and perhaps a toaster oven will work for you.

If you cook with spices at every meal, think about options to keep them off the counter, which will have limited space. There's many magnetic options, or you could even consider building a shelf between studs in the wall.

Think about the maximum number of people you plan to entertain and only have just enough dishes and cutlery on hand. While this means you'll be doing more dishes, you'll likely want to keep such a small space free from clutter.

Downsize the bathtub

More and more options are available for smaller than normal tubs, which are common in parts of Europe. This one does double-duty, providing a removable sink.
More and more options are available for smaller than normal tubs, which are common in parts of Europe. This one does double-duty, providing a removable sink. | Source

Many tiny house bathrooms barely provide enough space for one person, meaning they often come with a toilet, small shower and sink, something that doesn't appeal to those hoping to soak in the tub after a long day.

A little research, however, can help you find a smaller bath tub to suit your needs. While manufactures options may be financially out of reach, many tiny house enthusiasts have come up with inexpensive alternatives, including:

  • A large galvanized water trough
  • Custom tiled tub to fit exact dimensions
  • Rain barrel to serve as shower and tub for children

An inexpensive water trough can provide durability and help save space in a bathroom.
An inexpensive water trough can provide durability and help save space in a bathroom. | Source

Create multi-function spaces

With some creative design, tiny houses can serve two or more functions as is the case with this dining/bedroom option.
With some creative design, tiny houses can serve two or more functions as is the case with this dining/bedroom option. | Source

Tiny houses often have spaces that serve multiple functions.

On the simplest level, couches often open up to provide linen storage, Kitchen tables double for desks and Murphy beds can provide a bed in any room.

But a well designed tiny home or small space takes multi-function spaces to the next level. In the example above, the designer created a bedroom/dining room combination, by attaching a folding table to a Murphy bed. When everything is tucked away, the space could even provide a yoga space or exercise room.

Store it under the stairs

Storage under the stairs is a practical alternative for those who don't want to use a ladder to access the loft.
Storage under the stairs is a practical alternative for those who don't want to use a ladder to access the loft. | Source

The space under a stairway is often covered, painted and forgotten, but provides a storage goldmine if put to good use.

While many tiny home owners opt for a ladder instead of stairs to reach a loft, designing custom stairs with storage can help alleviate some of the pressure of downsizing.

Some uses for space under the stairs include:

  • Closet space
  • Shelving for books, possessions or pantry items
  • Built-in desk or office
  • Washer/dryer storage

Storage ideas for each room

Kitchen/dining room
Loft
Living space
Bench seating with storage
Built in closets
Storage coffee table
Hanging pots and pans
Hidden storage in floorboards
Armrest pockets
Hidden toe-kick drawers
 
Wall-mounted electronics
The key to coming up with great storage ideas is being realistic about how many possessions you have and tailoring storage for items you can't live without.
A folding kitchen table for two can help reduce clutter and open up a space - while the shelving is hidden when not in use.
A folding kitchen table for two can help reduce clutter and open up a space - while the shelving is hidden when not in use. | Source

Questions & Answers

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      • Stacey Foster profile imageAUTHOR

        Stacey Foster 

        2 years ago from Nova Scotia

        Thanks very much. We're the same way with children's toys - it's a constant struggle!

      • Margie Lynn profile image

        Southern Accents 

        2 years ago from the USA

        I loved your article, very interesting! Wish I had a tiny house, we keep buying stuff but not getting rid of anything! Thanks for sharing!

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