How to design a tiny home layout to suit you

Tiny house living can present some challenges when it comes to designing the perfect layout to suit you and your lifestyle. There’s so many questions about what to include, what to leave out, what takes up too much space or what is absolutely essential in tiny houses. We completely understand. The tiny house movement has swept across the Sunshine Coast and throughout Australia and it’s easy to see the appeal of a minimalistic household free of clutter and full of the essentials.

We’ve put together a guide that will help you start figuring out the first step in how to design and customise a tiny house layout that meets your every need. After all, planning is the most vital part of the layout of any new tiny homes.

Avoid these common tiny house design mistakes

To begin learning how to design a tiny house layout that is ideal for you, it’s crucial to understand what common mistakes you should avoid. There’s a lot to consider and designing a tiny home is quite different to a typical home, and so there are plenty of new ideas to navigate. 

Building too fast

In today’s fast-paced world, getting things built quickly can be prioritised sometimes more than getting things built right. Especially with a tiny home, it’s a wise decision to take your time when planning and designing your tiny home layout because every centimetre of space counts. 

You definitely don’t need to rush as it is far more important to be happy with your layout before building than building too quickly and being left with a tiny home that you’re not completely satisfied with.

Not beginning to minimise your belongings from the get-go

One big mistake that people can occasionally make when designing the layout of new tiny homes is taking into account items that might not even be there at the end. It’s important to start deciding what are not essential items that need to be taken with you into your new space right from the very beginning. This will help ensure that you aren’t including unnecessary items in your floor-plan.

Creating a tiny home that isn’t personalised to you

It can be hard to avoid cramming in everything and anything to new tiny houses. Others may say that a guest room is needed or a craft room, or a variety of other rooms that may not actually work in the space. 

It is important to create a tiny home that you love because after all, you will be the one spending all your time in there. Be sure to design a layout that supports what you need and what will, in the end, be a realistic fit for your current lifestyle.

Trying to put all your wants and needs into a tiny home

Tiny houses means tiny spaces. People can often make the mistake of not separating what they need versus what they want and the layout can quickly become cluttered and overwhelming. It’s a good idea to sit down and write a tangible list of what you need out of a living space and then run it by someone you trust to get their perspective as well. 

Ensuring that the layout is what you need is vastly more important than achieving the layout you want, although hopefully, they go hand-in-hand.

Adopting a maximalist perspective

The less-is-more mindset will become your best friend when designing your tiny house layout. Utilising what’s known as subtractive design is a key part of transitioning to the layout for any tiny homes. When creating your layout, go through each area and item that has been laid out and ask yourself if you can remove the item. It’s helpful to establish whether or not your layout will suffer should you get rid of an item. 

If taking away the item will leave the area the same or make it better, then you should definitely consider erasing it from your layout. Tiny homes mean that every item in there needs to serve a purpose and have intention otherwise, it’s taking up valuable space.

The best layout tips for a tiny home

Now that we’ve outlined what the common mistakes are to avoid, it’s also crucial to understand what advice you should take on board when creating your dream tiny house layout. There’s a lot to factor in and every detail and element needs to be well-thought out otherwise you risk wasted space. We have sourced the best tips to implement into and improve your tiny house experience. 

Make the most of outdoor spaces

Tiny homes that are built in the Sunshine Coast and throughout Australia are well-known to be good at weaving outdoor elements into the space. Many tiny house owners want a building that connects seamlessly to the beautiful nature that can be found outdoors. Australians are tending to lean towards designing houses that adapts to the climate and so it makes complete sense to make the most of the stunning outdoor spaces surrounding your tiny house. 

Hosting friends and family can pose a problem due to the lack of available floor space. Creating an outdoor entertainment space is a solution that maximises both the outdoors and your tiny house. Place comfortable outdoor sitting chairs and a barbeque in the area and voila, you’ve got a great and unique place to entertain people set amongst the backdrop of the spectacular Australian outdoors.

Plan plenty of storage

Always think creatively when it comes to planning storage for your new tiny house layout. Every space is useful and when creating your design, try and think outside of the box when it comes to storage. When you transition into living in your new home, the amount of possessions you have should decrease but there will still need to be clever and efficient storage solutions to store everything. 

Don’t be afraid to revise your floorplan

Whilst it is true that floorplans are vital to the design of new tiny houses, make sure that you aren’t rushing to set anything in stone and say that it’s final. You have time to make changes and sometimes, it’s hard to actually visualise what the space will look like until it’s being built in front of you. If you need to, don’t avoid changing your floorplan. After all, this is meant to be your dream tiny house and there’s no point in rushing that. 

As you begin building your own tiny house, you’ll be able to get more of a realistic sense of how your space will typically function. While you may be confident when writing ideas or decisions down, occasionally they won’t translate as well in real life and you may have to take a step back and revise your original plan.

Prioritise what’s important to you

Perhaps one of the most key parts of designing a good layout for any house, but particularly a tiny house, is establishing from the start what is important to you and how will you then prioritise that in your design. If hosting friends is a big aspect of who you are, maybe a functional table or outdoor set is a worthwhile investment. If you enjoy cooking, you would probably be more satisfied in having a kitchen that is a bit more equipped than your typical compact oven. If you can’t wait to get home at the end of the day and have a lie down on the couch in front of your favourite tv show, investing in a good quality couch is a smart choice. 

At the end of the day, it’s your space and it needs to be a place where you can relax and feel at home.

Design room by room

It’s also a good idea to go through each room and create an ideal layout. Look at the space in your kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom, and plan out exactly what you are envisioning with each room. Identify what crucial elements you need in each room and go from there. It will also help with breaking the enormous design process into bite-sized pieces that will help you take it step by step and start to visualise the space rather than getting overwhelmed with the whole house.

Easy steps to take to help visualise the layout of tiny houses

It can feel daunting to include all of the above tips and avoid all of the common mistakes that can be seen in tiny houses. Further challenges are presented when it comes to actually visualising your layout in real life rather than just seeing a two-dimensional image. To help with that, here are three easy steps that will help you see what the reality of your tiny house layout will look like. 

Create a mock-up of the tiny house floor plans

As is expected, not all tiny houses are going to be the same shape and size. They will be tailor made for each individual or family to suit their lifestyle and living needs. Before finalising the size of your new tiny house, it could be helpful to practically visualise how big the space will be and whether or not it will suffice. A good idea is to grab some blue painters tape and a measuring tape and create a floor plan mock-up. 

All you’ll need to do is use the painters tape and measuring tape to map out the proposed length and width of the space and put the painters tape down along those measurements. If you are able to, get some chalk and use it to label specific areas within the tiny house.

Arranging the Layout

We’ve talked about some helpful tips when it comes to the best way to arrange your layout. However, it can still be hard to actually understand what the best layout will be for you. A useful exercise to carry out when looking at the best layout for tiny houses is called the post-it exercise. 

Post-it exercise

This will help you gain a deeper understanding of what your needs are for this tiny house and what are some areas that you can potentially sacrifice. It will help you see clearly what you do or don’t need in the new tiny house. 

To get started, round up a bunch of pens and post-it notes. Throughout your house, put a post-it note on each door and place a pen above the door frame or somewhere else that is within easy reach. The post-it note will remind you each time you go to walk into that specific room. 

Every time you enter a room, take a moment to write down exactly what you’re going in there to do and the amount of time you estimate that it will take. The same applies for when you leave the house, write down what you are planning to do outside and how long you believe it will take you. To achieve the best possible results, continue this post-it exercise for a week. 

Whilst that may sound like a lot of time, at the end of that week, you will have a clear understanding of which rooms are the most important and which ones you spend the most time in, a factor that will help immensely when planning a tiny house layout. 

Once you have a list of rooms and activities, start to map out exactly which ones are important to you and which ones need to be factored into your design.

Creating a floor plan to scale

Once you have the essentials done, you can begin to create a mock-up to scale, either on paper or digitally. In today’s modern world, there is tiny house design software that can be utilised to draw up a tiny house floor plan to scale and save you an enormous amount of time. 

Creating a scaled floor plan will allow you to start to bring to life your design and what it will look like, ensuring that everything you need fits perfectly inside the size of the tiny house that you have chosen.

Once the floor plan has been drawn to scale, you can then take that exciting next step in your tiny house journey and get in touch with us to start designing your custom tiny house.

Why is it crucial to get the layout just right?

It might seem like an insignificant step in seeing your dream tiny house come to life, but establishing the perfect layout for you and your lifestyle is of the utmost importance. After all, you have chosen the tiny house life for a reason, and you want to make the most of it and if you forget about anything that is considered important further down the track, it may be costly and delay the build.

Creating the right layout that serves its purpose and is designed intentionally to maximise space and give you exactly what you need is key to building a great forever tiny house. Get in touch today to see how we can help make your dream tiny home a reality.