When most people think of a dream house, they mostly imagine a magnificent mansion over 5000 square feet or even more. However, for a large percentage, this is quickly changing because not everyone can make the dream of owning a mansion a reality, hence the advent of tiny houses on wheels. Some people just prefer smaller living spaces.
These tiny houses range from 100 to 150 square feet. They offer reasonable and affordable living spaces that a person can easily acquire. Tiny houses on wheels have always existed but they have been embraced in the last decade particularly after the global financial crisis that led to many people losing their homes. Tiny houses became a viable and affordable option for such people.
Benefits of building a tiny house on wheels
Tiny houses have become a big hit in the United States; the Huffington Post even termed it ‘The Tiny House Movement’. Some of the reasons why a large percentage of the population has embraced tiny houses on wheels include:
Affordable compared to other living spaces
Housing is one of the biggest challenges Americans face and why not? Building a standard size house is a complicated and expensive venture and opting to buy a house isn’t an easy task either. Most people take up to five years paying mortgages. Opting to build a tiny house significantly reduces housing expenses. You spend less on materials and manpower needed in construction.
The young generation of millennials has taken to tiny houses on wheels because it enables them move out of their parents’ homes without spending too much on housing. Tiny houses also come in handy for retired people who want to downsize and live a simpler uncluttered lifestyle.
Thrifty to furnish and decorate
Unlike a standard sized house that needs to be filled with furniture and is costly to decorate, tiny houses have very little space making decoration and furnishing extremely cost-effective. In a tiny house there is actually no space you are bound to fill. In fact tiny houses are very suited to people with a minimalistic approach to life. Decorating a small environment is easy and inexpensive. If you are living on a budget then this is a great advantage as you will be able to save and invest in more productive ventures.
Tiny houses are kinder to the environment as compared to standard sized houses. The resources used in construction are reduced therefore you don’t take a lot out of the environment. Additionally, energy resources are more conscious to the environment. It is quite easy to use solar panels on a tiny house than it is in standard sized housing.
Tiny houses on wheels are easy and inexpensive to maintain
Unlike standard housing that may require reconstruction that is costly, maintaining a tiny house is affordable. Additionally cleaning these tiny houses is a simple DIY task that you can easily carry out every day without too much hassle. Unlike standard houses where the mess can get out of hand, tiny living spaces rarely filthy unless there is gross negligence on the owners part. Heating and cooling a tiny house is very affordable. Air conditioning expenses are relatively lower compared to living in a standard sized house.
Tips you should keep in mind when building your own tiny house
Building a tiny house on wheels is an art on its own that requires creativity in the use of a small space. Your aim it to ensure that no space is wasted, underused or misused. Here is a rundown of a few tips you should keep in mind when building a tiny house on wheels.
Efficiently make use of wall-space
Since the ground space is very limited, it is necessary to take advantage of wall space. Design your walls in such a way that they help in storage as well as decoration. For instance your kitchen is going to be even four times smaller than a standard-sized kitchen therefore you need to de-clutter the counter top by storing items on the wall. Make sure that any wall that does not serve a practical purpose is transformed to shelves. Since floor space is limited, the only option you have is to make use of vertical wall space.
Make sure that the space above your waist is not cluttered
Though it is a small living space, it’s essential to have some space for free movement of your arms and shoulders. This means lower shelves except in the kitchen where it may be necessary to make use of all the available space. Shelves above the waist will make your tiny house feel clumped and overcrowded.
Go for high ceilings
The creativity never ends when building a tiny house on wheels particularly when it comes to roofing! If you are building your tiny house in a trailer, then seek permission to give extra height to your small house on wheels. The higher the ceiling, the more spacious a house will feel. Additionally, higher ceilings give you the chance to make your house naturally lit as you can install larger windows. To accentuate high ceilings, go for low-sitting furniture to create the illusion of space.
Go for bright colors
Light colors such as yellows or whites create the illusion of space and breathe some life and excitement into a small space. You can go darker on the floor to create a contrast
Make use of mirrors
This is another way of creating an illusion of space. Strategically placing mirrors in your tiny house will significantly increase the visual size of your small space. Be bold enough to make a whole wall made up of mirrors and the result will a gorgeous wall that all makes your home look more spacious. Furthermore mirrors also spread light throughout your tiny home.
Cons of living in a tiny house on wheels
Despite the benefits listed above, living in a tiny house is not always unicorns and rainbows. There are some challenges you will have to contend with and find a way to cope with. Some of these challenges include:
Lack of personal space
Unlike a standard house where you can take a breather and be alone without disturbance in a tiny house it is quite difficult to avoid a person you are living with because majority of the space is shared. This is a tough living situation particularly for large families consisting of parents and teenage children. Teenagers sometimes need personal space while parents require privacy in order to maintain the peaceful and functional co-existence. This is very hard to do in a tiny living space.
Limited Storage Space
If you love keeping a lot of stuff in your home then the tiny house on wheels is not convenient for you. It can only accommodate limited amount of stuff therefore you can only keep what you need for your day to day survival. This means that if you are moving from standard sized housing to a tiny living space then you have to get rid of a large percentage of your belongings.
Very basic sewerage system
Living in a tiny house means you cannot construct a state-of-the-art modern sewerage system. The most feasible option is using a flush RV that is connected to a septic system. This is a far cry from standard housing which provides flush toilets and bathtubs.
A tiny house has made home ownership possible for individuals who thought owning a living space was impossible. However, before deciding to join the tiny house movement there a number of factors that you should consider.
Factors to consider if you decide to move into a tiny house
For many people this is the most important factor. You can either build your tiny home as an accessory cottage in larger home or within a rural area that has liberal zoning code restrictions. Alternatively, you can choose the tiny home on wheels that can conveniently be located in an RV park. Before you even start building a tiny home on wheels, you must ascertain the location. Your location has to be convenient for you. It should be close to your work place and close to a good school district if you have school-going children.
Consider if you are interested in a tiny home on wheels or one with a foundation
If you decide to build a tiny home with a foundation, then keep in mind that it has to conform to building codes in your zone. However if you decide to opt for a tiny home on wheels then it must be according to regulations stipulated by the Recreational Vehicle Industry association. Find out what the regulations are even before you start building your tiny home. This will ensure that every design is in accordance with the rules.
Consider the size of your family and the lifestyle you will adopt in your tiny home
Model your house according to how many people will live in it. If the family is large you may need to go larger as you will need separate bedrooms, a larger kitchen and a large living room where the entire family can congregate. With teenagers you have to consider creating an aura of privacy within the tiny space. Also keep in mind that if you have any pets then you must create a living space for them.
Consider trying out before you settle on ‘tiny living’
Living in a small space is a big adjustment to your lifestyle particularly if you are already used to living in standard sized house. It is advisable to try living in a tiny space before you build your own tiny house. Try renting out a tiny cabin for a while and see if you can survive in a tiny environment. This will give you an idea of what to expect in your tiny home. It will also help you psychologically prepare to survive and thrive in a tiny space. If you cannot survive in a tiny house for a week then tiny living is not a viable option for you.
Make plans for utilities
If you are planning to park your tiny house on wheels in an RV campground, then you are sure that you can easily access water, electricity and a reliable sewage replacement. However, if you are intending to park your tiny home on your own property then you must make plans for utilities ahead of time. Make plans for electricity, running water, sewage disposal and internet access. This will cost you extra but cannot be more expensive as compared to utilities in a standard sized house.
Exhaustively research and find out the building codes
Building codes for tiny houses on wheels are set in place for your own good. Some of these building codes include putting in place structures that will protect your tiny home natural catastrophes such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and storms. If you do not understand the codes then seek professional help. Bottom line is that your tiny house has to adhere to all building codes in order for it to be a safe home for you.
Ascertain what your objective are for moving into a tiny house
Tiny living is not an easy task. It requires sacrificing the luxuries of standard sized housing. Therefore before moving into a tiny house, you should know why you are changing your entire lifestyle. Are you looking to save money? If so consider all the plausible alternatives before settling on tiny living. Essentially, living in a tiny house will transform your entire lifestyle and therefore should be a well thought out decision.
Living in a tiny house on wheels has become a viable option for many people. This is because it has advantages that standard sized housing lacks. Tiny living has become a viable option for 20-somethings hustling to repay student loans and people who favor small abodes. The tiny house movement is definitely here to stay. With creativity and innovation tiny living will certainly become easier overtime.