19 Obsessions Tiny House Dwellers Have

Packing up and moving into a micro-home means hanging on to the features (and stuff) you love best and kissing the rest goodbye. So, which perks and possessions do less-is-more house hunters cherish most? Read on to learn what makes a huge difference in close quarters.

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Eye-Popping Paint

For every itty-bitty-house enthusiast who wants their home to blend into the landscape, it seems there are another three who want their digs to be DayGlo bright — and why not? Electric yellow might get old fast on a full-size dwelling, but in small doses it’s pretty adorable.

Itsty-Bitsy Appliances

Portable dishwashers that are only a foot and a half tall, two-burner electric cooktops, mini-fridges tucked beneath the stairs: Almost every gigantic chef’s-kitchen contraption has a (very) little sibling perfect for meal prep in close quarters.

The Perfect Spot

Since tiny homes themselves are comparatively inexpensive to construct, going tiny means the freedom to think outside the housing development —and the ability to settle down almost anywhere. Want to live on acres of farmland? Go for it. Fancy a woodsy spot upstate? If you can find a clearing that's up for grabs, you can put down roots there...


...or park for a bit and tow yourself somewhere else when it’s time to move on. It’s no accident that many tiny house lovers go starry-eyed over classic trailers; a home on wheels is a must-have for the modern nomad.

A Luxe Loft

In traditional homes, loft spaces are often bonus quarters for occasional guests or little ones. In a tiny home, a loft takes on the importance of a master bedroom—because it is the master bedroom.

Pocket Doors

Interesting from an architectural-history perspective? Yes. The difference, in some tiny houses, between being able to eat dinner at a table and having to balance it on your knees? Also yes. All hail the pocket door, form and function in one satisfyingly slim package.

Gorgeous Wood

Tiny houses have no room to hide their skeletons, so tiny house builders often choose construction materials that can stand on their own as interior surfaces. Bare wood is ultra-efficient and awfully good-looking.

Bud Vases

A simple vessel with a single bloom or two fits anywhere and everywhere, delivers maximum impact with minimal effort, and is just plain elegant — no wonder they’re de rigueur in tiny homes. Plus, hanging them on the wall or in the windows saves valuable horizontal space. 

A Throw Rug (or Two)

When a home’s footprint is small, its floor coverings follow suit — and for tiny house dwellers, throws are a strategic way to roll out the welcome mat without rolling out an entire carpet. Perfect.

Retro Chic

If your tiny home is literally a vintage Airstream, carrying that atomic-era coolness inside is a given. That said, dwellings of all sorts lend themselves to playful midcentury details—trailers don’t get to have all the fun.

High Ceilings

A shipping-crate-turned-home has a certain industrial cool, but tiny house hunters know a few extra inches of attic space can be the difference between a single story and two. That’s seriously high-value real estate.

"Creative" Plumbing

"Going with the flow" in a diminutive space can mean...well, not having a flow in a traditional sense at all. Some mobile tiny homes use gravity-fed rainwater collected on their roofs for bathing, while others have composting toilets (or outhouses across the yard.) It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, to be sure, but it is an intriguing way to go green and save space.

Reducing Dependence on the Grid

Tiny house dwellers who aren’t quite ready to simplify their way out of running water can still take charge of their energy use by using generated, solar, or wind power instead of a public source. While self-sustaining homes aren’t necessarily cheap or easy to get up and running, their proud owners say the simplicity they deliver is more than worth the trouble. Speaking of simplicity...

Paying Cash

...it’s hard to deny the appeal of living without a mortgage (as the majority of tiny house owners do). What’s an extra room or two compared to the feeling of being debt free? Plus, fewer debts mean more money to do the things you really love (Hello, Bonnaroo.) 

Windows, Windows, Everywhere

Tiny-house experts tell prospective buyers and builders to keep their window-to-wall ratio high, and it’s easy to see why; light, scenery and ventilation are all lovely, but the impression of extra space is priceless.

Curtains (for Everything But the Windows)

Closet and cabinet doors: Who needs ‘em? When living and storage space compete for the same few hundred feet of territory, tucking stuff behind a cloth panel is as good as willing it out of existence. 

Lucite Furniture

Space-age case goods might be a square peg in a round hole for rustic cabin living, but they’re right at home in more modern nooks, and provide a terribly convenient place to put one’s feet up without adding visual clutter.


Nothing opens up a diminutive bedroom/loft like a regal view of the sun (and stars). Bonus: The odds of accidentally flashing the neighbors via a skylight are reassuringly low.

Designing a Home From the Ground Up

Few of us have the time or inclination to assemble our own nests, but tiny home dwellers often do, and they enjoy the satisfaction of living spaces tailored to their personal specifications. What could be cost-prohibitive and tedious for a sprawling family home is, in miniature, more like an exquisitely demanding hobby. Plus, customization gives tiny house builders the freedom to choose the features they really want...cocktails in the shade, anyone?