Minimalist Tiny Homes: 15 Basic Features

Fancy Living In A Tiny Home..?

7min read
by Olesia Chikunova, ADU Specialist.

Tiny homes movement is en vogue. It is touted as affordable housing, and the housing crisis is such a huge issue, that some Bay Area counties and cities have made it easier to have one installed permanently in one’s backyard.

There is a lot of confusion about what a tiny home is. We consider a tiny home to be one that is less than 400 square feet. An average tiny home in US is actually 225 sq ft.

San Jose is one of those cities that have a definitive process to even make a Tiny Home on Wheels legal in your backyard. Naturally, you will need pull some construction permits, but at least the path is clear.

Not all construction methods were created equal. Every homeowner should know that the construction method selected has direct influence on home value. RV will not add value in appraiser’s eyes when you refinance. That said, it will not raise your property taxes.

deck for tiny home
Big difference

Tiny Home on Wheels or Tiny Home on Foundation?

Loses value as soon as bought

Everybody knows the new car becomes used car the minute it leaves dealership. Same story with recreational vehicles.

Depreciates like a used car

Tiny home that is not attached to permanent foundation is appraised as a vehicle. According to U.S. News, the average depreciation for all vehicles over the first five years is 49.1%.

Appreciates like traditional real estate

When a tiny home is attached to permanent foundation, its value reflects the state of the current housing market. According to Millionacres.com, the current national average appreciation rate is 2% month over month and 14.5% year over year.

If a movable tiny home is not your thing, you may consider building small. No one is stopping you from taking the best features from new tiny home models and turn them into your own tiny home, in your unique style. You will need to to produce building plans, but the final product will be all you, your own tiny heirloom if built well and with top quality materials. If this sounds like a big challenge and you are in the Bay Area, reach out – we can help. Have a look at the library of our smallest ADU floor plans, we can customize any floor plan you fancy.

Have you thought what it takes to live in a tiny home?

More Pros. Less Cons.
windows in tiny home

You may be surprised to know that there are many benefits of tiny home lifestyle!


Are you conscious of the climate change and would like to be part of the solution? Responsible tiny home builders make sure that tiny homes use less energy.


Tiny living is best suited for those who lead minimalist lifestyle. If you can move from one place to another in one car or can imagine yourself pulling a Mary Condo, then own tiny home can be your way for a permanent housing solution.


One of the main concerns people have when it comes to tiny homes is how they will be able to fit everything in a small space. But don’t worry, let us discuss some ways that you can make the most out of your tiny home. Our experience with small home offices and custom sheds has taught us some tricks of the trade.

What you need to remember when planning to live in a tiny home

Case Study: Tiny Home

Some features of tiny homes are obvious. Use white to make the space look bigger. Use lots of windows to make the space feel bigger. Use natural materials because they tend to make us feel good.

Some features are less obvuios and need careful planning.

Island in a tiny home

Multifunctional spaces

Your island can double up as your office. Stairs can hide drawers for your shoes – make sure to check the size of regular off the shelf drawers not to break the bank on custom furniture.

kitchen in tiny home

Thoughtful storage

Shelves, drawers and cabinets should be sized for your personal belongings. The height of shelves differs depending on what you plan to keep there – tea cups or folders.

steps to loft in tiny home

Use of height

Some rooms benefit from high ceilings. It is almost always the case with the living room. However a bedroom and a bathroom can be 8 feet high. This gives you space for a loft above to be used as you wish. Mind the steps.

bed in tiny home

Space dividers

Some spaces need additional privacy. Clever use of dividers lets you separate spaces without overwhelming it with walls or slab doors.

Standard Features of Tiny Homes


Most popular features of tiny homes are the same as those for accessory dwelling units.

roof window and solar panels

Exterior Features

  • Front door
  • Lighting fixture at front door
  • 50 amp electrical panel
  • Dual pane windows
  • Composite Roof Shingles
  • Fully insulated floor, walls and ceiling
  • Solar panel hookup
  • 2 exterior power outlets
living room with kitchen

Interior features

  • Dimmable LED lights
  • 10 electrical outlets
  • Built in storage cabinets and closets
  • Air conditioner unit and/or ceiling fan
  • Large sleeping loft
  • Washer/Dryer
  • Low maintenance flooring
kitchen in a tiny home

Full Kitchen

  • Granite countertop & backsplash
  • Custom cabinetry, shelves and hooks
  • Electric cooktop & hood
  • Sink & faucet
  • "Apartment-size" fridge
bathroom with corner shower

Full Bathroom

  • Shower enclosure with glass door
  • Vanity, countertop & sink faucet
  • Vanity light with outlet
  • Toilet
  • Energy efficient water heater
  • Medicine cabinet
  • Exhaust fan
THOW tiny home on wheels

How to make tiny homes feel bigger?

Understandably, one of the main concerns people have when considering a move to a tiny home is how to make the most of the limited space. After all, even a few hundred square feet can feel cramped when you’re used to spread out in a larger home. However, there are a few tricks that can help you maximize the space in tiny homes and make it feel more spacious than it actually is. These small structures can be built smart, and a thoughtful interior design can make a tiny home function like a one-bedroom apartment.


Utilizing the maximum space in tiny homes can feel like a daunting task. After all, you want to be able to use every square inch of your living space without making it feel cluttered or cramped. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to make the most of your small space.


One of the best ways to make your tiny home feel bigger is to let in as much natural light as possible. Open the curtains or blinds during the day to allow sunlight to flood in. Use light colors on the walls and floors to reflect that light. Mirrors can also be helpful in bouncing light around the room and making it feel brighter.


Another way to maximize space is to declutter and keep only the essentials. Get rid of any furniture or items that you don’t absolutely need, and find creative ways to store the things you do need. For example, you can use hanging shelves or install hooks on the walls for storing coats, keys, and other items. Think vertically whenever possible to make use of every inch of space.


First, take inventory of your belongings and get rid of anything you don’t use on a regular basis. Second, invest in multifunctional furniture that serves more than one purpose. Third, make use of vertical space by adding shelves and cabinets up high. Finally, use light and mirrors to create the illusion of more space. By following these tips, you can maximize the space in your small home and make it feel more open and inviting.

There are situations when a regular tiny home just won’t work. 

This calls for a custom tiny home. Do not underestimate the value of detailed and thoughtful planning.

smart storage solutions

How To Utilize Maximum Space In Tiny Homes?

If you live in a small home, you know that storage solution is often at a premium and one needs to get creative with your storage spaces.

Here are some creative storage ideas for small homes to help you make the most of the counter space you have:


Get creative with your closet

If your home doesn’t have a lot of storage space, it’s important to be creative with the functional space you do have. Utilize every square inch of your closet by installing shelves, rods, and hooks. You can even add a second rod in the back of your closet for additional storage.

Use space underneath bed

The space under your bed is often wasted space. But it doesn’t have to be! Invest in some under-bed storage containers and you’ll have a place to store out-of-season clothes, extra bedding, and more. You can also store things over the toilet shelf, if necessary.

Utilize nooks and crannies

Every home has those little nooks and crannies that often go unused. But they can be perfect places to add some extra storage! Install shelves in an alcove, for example, or utilize a dead space under the stairs.

Don’t forget about the outdoors

If you have a yard or patio, there’s no reason why you can’t utilize that save space for storage. Invest in some outdoor storage containers and you’ll have a place to store lawn and garden equipment, outdoor furniture, and more. You can also go with hanging storage solutions over the wall space.

Maximize Vertical Space

Shelves, hooks and hanging racks can all help you make use of unused vertical space. Keep things off the floor and open up floor space for activities or furniture.

Use Multipurpose Furniture

Look for pieces that serve more than one purpose. A futon can be used as a sofa during the day and a bed at night. A coffee table can double as a dining table. Ottomans with storage can be used as both a place to rest your feet and extra storage space.

Think Outside The Box

Get creative with your storage solutions. Hang pots and pans from the ceiling. Use mason jars to store dry goods. Mount shelves on the wall to create an impromptu pantry. The sky’s the limit when it comes to thinking outside the box!

With these creative storage ideas, you can make the most of the space you have in your small home. Don’t let a lack of space prevent you from enjoying your home to the fullest!


Look for inspiration from hotel rooms that manage to pack a lot of function into small spaces.


dining room for 4 in a tiny home, dark cabinets with wood accents
With a little creativity, even the smallest space can feel open and welcoming. By following these simple tips, you can make your tiny home feel like a comfortable and cozy refuge rather than a cramped dwelling.

Now that you know all of our space-saving secrets, it’s time to get out there and start utilizing maximum space in your tiny home. Don’t be afraid to get creative and think outside the box. And most importantly, have fun with it! Living in a tiny home can be an incredibly rewarding experience if you let it be.


black tiny home with deck
If a tiny home does not work for you

Three more ways to add space

two car garage

Garage Conversion

Not using your garage for vehicles? Optimize it for housing. This type of projects start from $110,000.

Learn more
outdoor office shed

Modern Shed

If all you need is an extra room for an office, then a simple 120 sf backyard structure may work. Starting at $48,000.

Learn More

Accessory Structure

There are jurisdictions that allow accessory structures with plumbing fixtures. Permits required. Starting at $75,000.

Learn More

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