Going Tiny

Questions to Ask Yourself When Designing Your Tiny Home

It’s no secret that tiny homes are all of the rage right now. With their cute designs and popular TV shows, they are hard to ignore! While living tiny seems like a dream, building tiny can be a true nightmare. If you don’t take the time to plan out every detail of your life, you might find that you literally don’t have space for those things when you go tiny! Make sure you take the time to ask the right questions.

As Eric and I designed our tiny house, we (really just me) made HUNDREDS of plans. Every night I was sitting on the couch drawing, designing, and breaking down our future home. It really made Eric and I question every little detail of the way we lived. We measured EVERYTHING. We now own at least four tape measures that live in our living room.

We even measured our broomsticks and toilets. We went crazy with the measuring, but doing that truly allowed us to create a tiny house that we would be comfortable doing life in. We wanted to go tiny, but we didn’t want to give up our daily habits and luxuries. We did all of the measurements and thought through all of the questions in order to make our dreams a tiny sized reality.

In doing so, I have compiled a list of questions that are ESSENTIAL when going tiny. These are questions to ask yourself when designing your own tiny home, and you don’t want to forget a single one.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Designing Your Tiny Home
Designs created by: Movable Roots

Interior Questions to Ask When Designing Your Tiny Home

Kitchen

Do you need a full size fridge?

Eric and I did! We went with a 36in fridge (counter depth!) with an icemaker. We eat at home more when we meal prep or stock groceries so having a manageable fridge was important to us.

Do you need a designated place to eat?

I eat on the couch everyday. While it’s not the healthiest place to consume food, it’s my comfort spot to plop down and have a meal. Eric and I often eat on the couch, but Eric also consumes insurmountable amounts of ramen noodles every month. Seriously though, we have it on regular amazon monthly delivery. Eating soupy meals requires a more permanent table. Eric and I found a happy medium with having a breakfast bar for food. Small and out of the way, but still always accessible for his carby needs.

Do you like to cook?

I do! But I am no master chef. We went with a small-sized oven and range combination rather that a full range oven. You can actually buy our same oven here.

How much kitchen storage do you need?

Eric and I needed a moderate amount. We still have downsizing to do! We have yet to test whether or not we have downsized enough to fit our future tiny home cabinets.

Do you need a dishwasher?

We didn’t! But Eric really, really wanted one, so we found a small cabinet drawer-sized dishwasher that is awesome and compact! Check out our tiny luxury dishwasher here.

Do you eat at home a lot- How big of a pantry do you need?

Eric and I noticed that many tiny homes didn’t account for a pantry! Where do people store their food? I’ve honestly never understood not having a place to store food. We have a custom-made (by Eric, hit the subscribe to emails button for future pictures) pantry that is 24in wide and perfect in size!

Bedroom

Do you want standing height in the bedroom?

Short answer: This was a non-negotiable. We don’t want to have to bend down every day.

If you want a loft, how short could you realistically go? Make sure to account for the mattress height!

This is really, really important! Eric and I Airbnb’d a tiny home before, and the loft sounded big when they described it. But when you saw it with the mattress, there was NO headspace! I had to shimmy sideways into the bed, it just wasn’t realistic for long-term living.

What kind of bed you want?

Do you just want a mattress on the ground? Do you want a murphy bed? A convertible bed to sofa? Eric and I have an AMAZING custom made (by Eric, again, he is truly amazing), storage bed. Our bed has giant drawers on the end for clothing storage and bins under for storage for winter clothes and travel equipment.

Bathroom

What size bathroom would be comfortable for you?

How much space to you need to wash your face? To fit in the shower? To do you makeup? To shave your beard?

What kind of toilet do you want?

Normal, composting, incinerating, RV style?

Do you want a bathtub?

This was a non-negotiable for me. I love me a good hot bath. PS: We got a jetted whirlpool one to fit in our tiny!

Living Area

Do you like to entertain?

Do you like to have friends over? Do you like to cook for them? Will you need a dining area? Could that area be outdoors? Do you play a lot of board games? Do you host sports parties?

Eric and I came up with an ingenious way to entertain when needed and have floorspace when not. Our dining room table is actually a live edge piece of art on the wall behind our couch. When we want to entertain, we bring the table down and mount it on the breakfast bar. When everyone leaves, we put it back up on the wall. Cool right? Again, hit the subscribe button for future posts about these custom pieces.

Do you need a designated couch space?

We did!

Do you want a TV?

I would advise planning for a mount. Also, think about neck angles when looking up at the tv. One side of a tiny to the other side is only 8ft. If you put your tv up high, you will regret having to twist your neck every time you want to see it.

Storage

What KEY hobbies do you have?

Are you crafty? Does your hobby require a lot of storage? Could you give this hobby up? Is this a key component of your life? If it is important to you, make sure you plan for it! Personally, all my hobby requires is a laptop, so I lucked out there. Eric likes woodworking, that’s still a debate on how that happens when we go tiny.

Do you read a lot and need book storage?

I realized how many books I was storing for NO reason other than I thought I may read them someday. Goodwill has now acquired many of them. I would highly recommend downsizing your books, unless you are a book in hand all of the time kind of person.

What do you need large storage for?

We needed to plan storage for suitcases because we LOVE to travel. We planned under-floor storage under our living area. Lofts are also a great way to store large objects, but you need to be aware of what these key objects are so that you can plan accordingly! I’m telling you now, if you don’t plan for suitcase space, you won’t just “Find” space for a large suitcase in your tiny home later on.

Do you have any outdoor hobbies that need indoor storage?

Do you ski, camp, skateboard, snowboard, travel, hike, etc? All of these things need designated and specific storage. Make sure you account for the outdoor activities that make you happy. Part of going tiny is to encourage you to go outside more, don’t get rid of the items that allow you to do that the way you want to!

Daily Needs

Do you have any pets?

Plan for sleeping, eating, and playing areas for them! Can they maneuver the space? Eric and I have a 10 year-old Chow Chow rescue. She is sweet, but hardly walks and definitely doesn’t play. We incorporated a doggy door into our build to make sure that she always has access to the outdoors. We’ll keep you updated on how it works.

How much clothing do you feel comfortable KEEPING

It’s safe to say I LOVE clothing. We devoted our whole loft to the concept of “a closet.” We planned for a lot of clothing storage, but I still had to downsize two-thirds of my wardrobe.

How many will be staying in your house regularly?

Do you have kids? Do you need separate areas for them? How many comfortable seating areas are there? Do you need alone space?

What do you do every day when you get home from work?

We relax, watch TV, and play board games. I lay on the couch. I’m actually laying on the couch watching Tiny House Hunters as I write this. We decided that investing in a comfortable couch was important for us because that’s where we spend the evenings.

Do you work from home?

Do you need a designated office space? Eric will sometimes work from home. He is an engineer and usually requires a double monitor setup. We created a small desk in the closet (Loft) where Eric would create his monitor set-up for the days he chooses to work from home. It was necessary, but not incredibly important for the day-to-day living so we put it up in the loft out of the way.

Do you need a space to be alone?

Eric and I don’t, but we still have a bedroom and living room separation in-case that changes. This is an IMPORTANT thing to consider.

How do you feel about laundromats?

Are you okay going without a washer/dryer? How many loads of laundry do you do a week? Would you have time for a designated laundry day? Eric and I originally planned for a compact washer and a compact dryer up in the loft/closet. However, after looking at options, we decided that a vented washer/dryer compact combo was a better overall option for us. It will take way more time to do laundry, but it will provide us more space for other things.

Read More: Tiny Home Design Inspiration

Questions to Ask Yourself When Designing Your Tiny Home

Exterior Questions to Ask When Designing Your Tiny Home

What kind of look are you going for?

Modern, rustic, contemporary, farmhouse, colonial, victorian? The options are endless.

Will you need to build a deck?

How high is it off the ground? Will you just use stairs? Can your animals walk on stairs? How much will the deck cost? How big will it be?

How much money are you allotting for an outdoor space? (This can add up quickly in your budget!)

Are you building a deck? Do you want an outdoor entertaining area? Will you be buying land? Will you be renting land?

Do you need access to electronics outside?

Do you want to mount an outdoor TV like some tailgating enthusiasts have? Do you need a plug for extension cords? Do you wood work and need connections for saws?

Do you need exterior accessible storage?

Do you want to store tools, propane, or other materials that are accessible outside? We created our under-living area storage for suitcases and tools to be both internally and externally accessible. This makes it easy access what we need, when we need it.

How do you want to pull it?

Will you hire a company? (That’s what we are doing). Do you have a truck capable of pulling your tiny? Will you be able to move it regularly or is it more of a “Move when necessary” build? Will you need to buy a truck to pull it? Will you just decide to plant it in one place for good?

Do you want a gooseneck style or a normal trailer style?

This is truly a design choice. We decided with a gooseneck to have a longer trailer that isn’t quite as long when pulled behind the truck. Our gooseneck provided a full-height bedroom area over the gooseneck.

How important are windows to you?

Totally up to you. Just remember, if you like to be naked in your own house, plan for that. Your neighbors will thank you.

Do you know the land layout of where you are going to put it?

This can help you plan for sizing, decking, and general costs.

Thanks for reading! Comment below with any questions about the tiny journey or questions that you would like to add to this list!

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