Building a DIY Tiny House: Awesome Tips and Ideas

What Is a Tiny House?

The tiny house movement describes a architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in small homes. Currently, there is no set definition as to what constitutes a tiny house. However, a residential structure under 500 square feet is generally accepted to be a tiny home. The tiny house movement promotes financial prudence, eco-friendly choices, shared community experiences, and a shift in consumerism-driven mindsets.

Reasons for Living in a Tiny House

Why would someone choose to live in a small space? But “bigger is better,” right?

Actually, it turns out that there are many benefits to the tiny house movement and the tiny life philosophy. Of course, people may join the movement for any number of reasons. But the most popular reasons include environmental concerns, financial concerns, and the desire for more time and freedom.

The tiny house movement provides huge financial advantages with the ability to live a lifestyle filled with adventure. Currently, most Americans spend 1/3 to 1/2 of their income on the roof over their heads. With such a significant part of their income going towards housing, these people will take the next 30 years to figure out how to pay for that house. Buying a house often translates to at least 15-30 years of working over your lifetime to pay for it. As a result of the high cost of buying a traditional house, 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Is it really the American dream to work harder for things we don't need? The trend is to work more to fill our houses with more stuff...items we may not need but buy anyway. Many Americans are overwhelmed by their packed schedules and obligations. They’re tired of running in the rat race.

Tiny House Living Compared to a Traditional House

The cost of buying an average-sized house over the course of 30 years can be much higher than you think. The initial cost of a $290,000 home includes the purchase price, of course, but also includes the interest, taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and improvements. All of these expenses can add up to a total cost of over a million dollars during the lifetime of your home. This is the “true cost” of a home.

This chart shows the real cost of buying a house. These numbers show why the tiny house movement is growing with such popularity.

So why is the tiny home trend becoming so popular? Because the average cost of a tiny home is significantly lower than that of an average house. Once you’ve purchased your tiny home, the cost of upkeep is relatively low. And depending on where you park your tiny house, you may need to pay for land rental and insurance. But in the long run, the savings on a tiny house can be huge.

Estimated Cost of a Tiny House

The amazing thing about tiny houses is that they can be built to match anyone’s lifestyle and budget. Tiny houses can range anywhere from $10,000 to $180,000. Currently, the average falls somewhere in the range of $30,000 to $40,000. But keep in mind that the actual cost of a tiny house depends completely upon the design and labor. Some factors that impact cost include, foundation vs trailer, building plans, labor, and materials. It is advised that you budget at least $65,000 before starting to build a tiny house. You may not spend the entire budget, but at least you have a cushion for any unexpected expenses. 

How to Maximize Storage Space

When living in a 500 square foot tiny house, space can become an issue. And staying organized might sound impossible, but with a few clever tricks, you can stay organized no matter what. The following is a list of 20 space saving ideas for any tiny house.


A neat little trick to make a kitchen appear larger is to opt for open storage. This can be as simple as unscrewing your cabinet doors! This draws focus upwards to your lovely dishes, making the room appear larger. Also, if your dishes bring some pops of color, that livens up and widens the room, too.


This tub may be tiny, but it’s a little piece of luxury in a tiny bathroom! Great for bathing kids or even taking a bath for one if you’re on the shorter side, this shrunken down tub brings a little luxe that your tiny space may be lacking.


Instead of walls, which break up an already small space, try dividers. This gives the feeling of a traditional house set up without cutting off space. Curtains or glass panes would also serve this purpose well!


Nowhere to put your microwave? Don’t fret about lack of counter space! Try these retractable drawers, instead. Perfect for cutlery or small appliances, these drawers are crafty, hidden storage that keeps things out of your space until you need them.


White decor and walls make a room look immediately bigger and brighter. Go for all white to really trick the eye and for a fresh, trendy look.


In a tiny space, you need to use all the space you have! Don’t forget about under your stairs. Whether this is a roll-out cart or drawers, under-stair space is deep and tall, the perfect place for hidden storage.


Don’t let clutter build! If you don’t have a place for mail or are lacking wall space for pictures, try a DIY organizational board. You can make this in whatever pattern you like and use it to keep mail organized, hang daily reminders, or display pictures of loved ones.


No overhead lighting to speak of? Without built-in lights, your space can feel smaller and, well, darker. Add some overhead light on prime spots like under shelves and under kitchen cabinets. You can get LED light kits at most major retailers.


If you have no space for your jewels, turn to a tension rod. You can easily install a tension rod anywhere in your home (this organizer chose their closet for more private storage) and hang your jewels off it, so as to not take up storage needed for other things.


Try this bedside ledge, it may be smaller than a full table, but it’s enough for your phone and a mug of tea.


Use a clothing separator to keep your clothes organized and compact in your small drawer space. This works best with undergarments, but t-shirts and shorts can easily be rolled and stored this way as well.


Use the back of doors to create an organizational space for clothes, scarves, jewelry – you name it.


Whether you have a big space or small, no one wants wires hanging around their home. Instead, consolidate your electronics and wires to a bedside drawer, in which you have a hidden power strip. 


Like your doors, underneath your bed, you have cavernous space that is most likely not being used. Even if it is, it’s probably a mess. Buy some cheap Ikea bookshelves to proficiently organize all your odds and ends.


If you have no shelf space to speak of, make your own! Add a little extra storage by turning this folder organizer into a DIY corner shelf, perfect for an office or bedroom.


Add tension rods below your sink to hang garbage bags or cleaning products from, so you can use your shelf space for other things.


To make the most of your pantry, you should use up every ounce of wall space that you can. For narrow spaces, try using little wire pencil  baskets. They make a great DIY spice rack and save your cabinet space big time.


It might look a little silly…but when you’ve got no room to spare, you don’t care. Install some wire racks under pantry shelves to hold as much as possible.


Save counter space and drawer space in your bathroom by magnetizing your beauty supplies. With small strips of a magnet, you can hang everything from makeup to brushes.


No dining room table? If you’ve got a window with a view, you don’t need one! Build yourself your own little breakfast bar and enjoy your meal while taking in the day.

How Much Money You Can Save by Living in a Tiny House


According to the table above, 68% of tiny homeowners currently have no mortgage. While on the other hand, 29.3% of all U.S. homeowners have a mortgage. It comes as no surprise then, that more tiny homeowners (78%) own their own home. Additionally, 55% of tiny homeowners have more savings than the average American. A whopping 32% of tiny homeowners have more than $10,000 tucked away for retirement. The average income for tiny homeowners is $42,038, which means that on average, tiny house owners are earning $478 more annually.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Tiny House

  1. Big money savings and little commitment
  2. Your house can be anything and anywhere you want
  3. It is super fun customizing your own home
  4. Allows you to get back to the basics
  1. Tiny living can be tough on relationships
  2. Space becomes truly precious


If you like saving money, traveling, focusing on the important things, and enjoying a simpler life, a tiny house might just be for you. One of the best aspects of owning a tiny home is the simplicity that it brings to your life. It allows you to declutter your life and provides time for you learn yourself and your needs. The idea of simplicity is one of the largest driving factors for people moving towards tiny living. This idea is followed closely by the immense financial savings that come with living in a tiny house. Remember, it is never too late to live tiny.

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Tyler Farr

Tyler is an energetic nature enthusiast who is currently considering moving into a tiny house. Tyler and his wife enjoy hiking, mountain biking, camping, and doing anything in the great outdoors. He hopes that the articles he writes will help others learn how important it is to take care of the environment.

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