I recently asked my own Facebook community for some inspiration about topics for the various blogs I write.
One question that intrigued me was this one:
“I’d be curious to know where folks think “tiny” ends and “small” begins. I dream of downsizing to a smaller space, but I don’t think I could live in a tiny house for an extended period.”
This is an interesting question so I thought I might look into it a little more.
Read below for more thoughts on small versus tiny.
“Tiny” and “Small” are pretty arbitrary concepts. What one person considers tiny others might think is small. For instance, Matt and I live in a house that is 120 square feet which we find delightful but other tiny house couples prefer a house that is over 200 square feet which strikes me as being on the big side, even though I know better. Here is an additional bit of trivia for you – Matt and I have not been staying at our tiny house for the winter. We’ve found ourselves in a 1940s bungalow on the north edge of Asheville proper. The small house is 700 square feet. I know several people who find that way too small to be livable but for us as a conventional house goes it is just about perfect. As a small aside, there were many factors that went into the decision to live in the city for the winter, but I am aching to get back to the tiny house.
So what is Tiny and what is Small?
At its inception the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, with Jay Shafer still at the helm, offered two “types” of tiny house plans. On the website today they are listed as “House to Go”™ and Cottages. The largest “house to go” is 172 square feet. The smallest of the cottages is 261 and they up as large as 884.
When we were looking for a place to live in the city for the winter we were pretty flexible. We looked at one small basement apartment that was about 250 square feet. We looked at a 1000 square foot apartment which seemed expansive to us but had everything we needed and then some. Finally we found this little house that was absolutely perfect for our lifestyle. At 700 square feet I consider it firmly in the small house category.
As I mentioned, the assignment of these categories are somewhat arbitrary and I think there are several factors in place. Most people think of the 100+ square foot houses on trailers when they think “tiny house.” While this is the case the majority of the time it is not always true, especially considering our own 120 square foot house is on a foundation. However, a “small house” can be typically between 300 and 900 square feet and are probably not movable. A small home in that range can be anything from a cabin in the woods to a turn of the century bungalow or apartment in the city. They don’t have to be DIY like many tiny houses.
If you are thinking about downsizing your life but can’t quite imagine living in something less than 200 square feet I think there are still plenty of options for smaller living. You can build a small house, like one of the Tumbleweed cabin designs, or find a gem of a home in your local real-estate market. Remember, if you’re looking for small you might be able to get a great deal because many conventional home buyers are passing up small houses for something with more space.
What do you think about the differences between Tiny and Small houses? How small could you go?
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