I am not certain which aspect of our tiny house design is more time-consuming – thinking about how to build it on a remote country plot of land with no cell service and a river that floods yearly, or coming up with the perfect tiny house interior design.
I talked about all those tiny house exterior design challenges in the last post, so in this post, I will do a deep dive into the challenges we face with our tiny house interior design. I also reveal some of our non-negotiable & dream tiny house design ideas.
Imagine walking down a gravel path along a river. As you pass under 100-year-old pine boughs, you stumble upon a picturesque tiny house nestled amongst the trees and lifted 6 feet off the ground. As you walk up the stairs to the front door, your view of the river to the left clears and you can see the snow-capped mountain peaks beyond. You stop at the top of the stairs and enter the house through a massive glass door entrance in the dark-walled building with golden wood accents.
As you step inside, you are greeted with dark greenery, floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and an extension of the exterior dark colors accentuated with golden wood. Just past the foyer, the living room opens to the skies with more windows and a vaulted ceiling that extends across to the kitchen. To your right, a staircase leads you to a loft with a panoramic window view of mountains, the river, and the forest.
That is what it will be like to walk into our tiny house.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, it took hours of Pinterest scrolling and YouTube video watching to gather whatever tiny house inspiration we could find.
The issue was that, while we found many exterior design ideas that we liked, the interior of most tiny houses was not even remotely what we wanted. So, day after day, I would imagine how I wanted to feel when walking into our home. The colors, the ambiance, the lighting. Then I would bust out the paper and begin several hours worth of tiny house drawing. Combine that with Dylan’s new skill of creating 3D designs in a floor planning program – and we now have several models ready.
I will be sharing those with you in later posts, but for now, let’s look at all the considerations that went into each tiny house drawing.
Top 8 Considerations of Our Tiny House Interior Design:
1. Size & shape of rooms.
You have to think outside the box when it comes to sectioning your tiny house off into individual living areas. First, you have to decide what your priorities are. Do you want to be able to stand up in your bedroom? Do you care about having a bathtub? How about a dishwasher? Washer and dryer? Do you work from home and need an office space?
Once you’ve decided what your priorities are, you can begin your tiny house drawing. I suggest allocating more space for your higher priorities. Professional chef? Make sure you allow enough space to the kitchen for full-sized appliances, We created each tiny house design to accommodate our current lifestyle. Therefore, the size and shape of each room reflected the day-to-day activities we prioritize in our lives.
2. Room Placement
This might seem inconsequential, but room placement in a tiny house concept is incredibly important. Of course, it goes hand in hand with room size & shape but there is a different set of criteria to consider there. Rather than simply focusing on your priorities, you have to think about the practicality of your layout.
For example, think about the plumbing and heating. If you are trying to keep your tiny house cost low, you shouldn’t place your bathroom on the opposite side of the house than the kitchen. In fact, you should try to keep your water requiring appliances like your shower, toilet, washer/dryer, sink, dishwasher, etc, as close together as possible.
As for heating the tiny house – you have to think about what type of heating you are using and the power you have to run it. Floor to ceiling windows lose heat – so how cold will you be in a loft surrounded by windows and yet a fireplace situated as far from your room as possible?
3. Tiny House Staircase.
When it comes to tiny house interior design, this always seems to be either the major challenge and/or the major defining feature of the house. When watching YouTube videos on tiny house design, 9 out of 10 times the staircase is front and center when you walk into the house and the storage under the stairs is extremely prominent. There are a few tiny house staircases with prominent storage that look amazing. But most, not so much.
I mean, I get it. Sometimes entire families move into these hones and storage is an absolute necessity. I’ll give them a pass. But this is not the case for us. We are a couple with a small Yorkie and no desire for kids. That means our storage needs are not extreme and we can have the luxury of creating a feature staircase, rather than a storage staircase.
4. Tiny House Bedroom.
This is one tiny house design consideration I don’t have a super-strong opinion on. I’ve seen many single-floor tiny houses with beautiful bedrooms. I’ve also seen many great tiny houses with loft ideas. Our preference for our tiny house design is to have a loft rather than a bedroom on the main floor.
That being said, given that we are not building a tiny house on wheels, there is no restriction to how high we have our ceilings. That meant that our designs could include a loft in which we could stand up comfortably. This was another strong requirement on our part. We didn’t want to have to crawl into bed or slouch as we walked towards our staircase. Another bonus about the high ceilings – more space for windows. Clearly, you can see a theme with windows – I am obsessed with them. This massively affects the tiny house cost, however, so there will be many updates on how the window situation evolves.
5. Your Non-Negotiables
This is key. Be honest with yourself, there are certain things you can’t live without, and moving into a tiny house shouldn’t mean you have to give those up. If you make massive sacrifices, you might find yourself selling that tiny house faster than you ever imagined or, worse, suffering through it and living a lower quality of life than necessary. In our case, we have three things we know we cannot live without.
First: A full-size kitchen equipped with a gas range stove, convection oven, massive fridge, and a mini dishwasher. While this is mostly a non-negotiable for Dylan, I love to bake so I am happy to put this highest on our list of priorities
Second: a beautiful, stand-alone, massive bathtub. This might seem like it’s more for me (that who gender discrimination thing we do), but it’s actually for both of us. We love taking baths solo or together. It is part of my daily ritual and I couldn’t imagine removing it. There was a compromise to be made, however. Because I was firm on having a massive window right beside the bathtub (along with other features), Dylan was firm that we put in an outdoor shower. This wasn’t a tough compromise, as I was equally enthusiastic about an outdoor shower, it just wasn’t as high a priority for me as it was Dylan.
Third: High ceilings. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but our underlying reason is that we wanted to maximize the open concept feel of our tiny house interior design. The taller the ceiling, the bigger the living space will feel. Given our mountain views, this also provides more opportunity for massive windows (i.e. viiiewwwsss).
6. Feature accents.
This might seem extra, but I promise you this is incredibly important. It is actually where I feel most tiny house concepts fail. I’ve probably seen over 50 different tiny house designs from watching YouTube videos from Living Big In A Tiny House (definitely recommend for anyone who wants Tiny House inspiration!). This particular tiny house episode is the perfect example of couples who built a home that suits their personality and went out of their way to include feature accents in the build.
Conversely, I also saw a lot of tiny house designs that focused wayyyy too much on storage. So much so that it becomes the central feature of the home. I think it is an eyesore to have so much storage that it seems your tiny house was built as a storage unit rather than a home. Most of the time these people don’t even use all their storage space!! That seems like a massive waste to me. So, in our case, I made sure to include some very unique features that I will share with you over time in the blog & on our YouTube! (Yes, this is my baiting strategy to keep you reading and watching lol).
7. Overall Tiny House Concept
Now, the last question to ask yourself is – how are you going to tie it all together? For us, we want to extend the tiny house exterior design into the interior – that means having dark walls, golden-toned wood, and lots of deep green plants that fit into our (insert forest adjective – alpine?) environment. No palm fronds or cacti in this house. Ferns, snake plants are they called?
But the tiny house concept isn’t just about colors, It is also about texture (concert, wood, stone, fur blankets, etc.), lighting (warm hues, unique fixtures, candles, natural light, etc.), and ambiance (cozy couches near the fireplace, diffuser smells, carefully selected feature accents, etc.)
Needless to say, there is a lot of thought that has already gone into the tiny house interior design and we haven’t even cleared the land yet lol. I believe this is natural, however, as we are making this a complete DIY tiny house project. That means every single aspect of the house build will be designed and executed by us, with the help of my master-carpenter stepdad of course.
Anyways! That’s where we are at with our tiny house design ideas.
In my next blog post, I will be revealing our first tiny house design!!! This is one of three designs, and I will be curious to know your thoughts on each one. So, if you don’t want to miss a thing, you can sign up for our Tiny House Newsletter here!