Innovative storage, the increased perception of space, pop-outs, re-tasked objects, and blended exterior and interior areas are some features of floor plans for small, inexpensive homes. Tiny house layouts are constrained by their structural designs, ranging from traditional building materials to converted shipping containers.
Smaller homes require organized storage. Hidden storage above the bed, above the pantry and behind the refrigerator are some creative ways to maximize space. Creating double-duty storage from structural elements is another tactic. Examples include adding shelving to the back of stairs and on horizontal roof struts.
The perception of space is often as important as actual space. Open shelving and vaulted ceilings are some ways to provide visual expansiveness. Using frosted glass panels or large wrapping windows removes barriers to natural light, achieving a sense of openness.
Re-tasked objects, such as propane one-burner stoves and tanks or wine vats for showers, offer inexpensive and efficient functionality. Sleeping lofts, day beds, hydraulic Murphy beds and covered, sunken bathtubs expand usable floor space. Multi-height tables convert for dining, working and cooking preparation.
Pop-outs increase both horizontal and vertical square footage. Hinged walls with pop-up surfaces expand to kitchen walls or offices. Liftable or hinged roofs and sun roofs increase the sense of space and improve ventilation.
Blended areas such as rooftop decks and kitchen to deck pass-throughs shift functions to the outdoors. Incorporating elements for fitness and relaxation such as a rock-climbing wall, a reading nook or hanging walkways for pets make the smallest spaces seem larger.
Using recycled materials can decrease the costs of tiny house projects. A flatbed trailer base, polycarbonate roofing, palettes for siding, and stacked or joined shipping containers can be starting points for the structure.