If you’re ready to downsize but aren’t sure exactly what size your home should be, or want to get a taste of tiny home living without diving straight in, we have good news for you: you have options. There are plenty of home styles between the 400 square feet of an official tiny home, and the several thousand of a McMansion. Here are three to consider.
Ever looked at an eighteen-wheeler hauling a shipping container and thought, home sweet home? Me either. But with a bit of creativity and an open mind, you can transform a shipping container into your dream home.
A standard shipping container is 8 feet by either 20 feet or 40 feet, meaning that living inside one still constitutes as a tiny home lifestyle. But plenty of container home owners combine multiple shipping containers to create a single home. Welding together just two 8-foot by 40-foot containers puts your floor space above tiny status, but still well below the 1000 square feet of our next category. If you’re looking for a tiny-home feel with just a tad more room, container homes are perfect.
Container homes typically run a similar price point to tiny homes, and, like their smaller counterparts, they’re eco-friendly by design. Containers also are built to be durable, so your home is flood- and fire-proof.
The downside? You’re committed to the rectangular shape unless you want to add modifications. You can add conventional wood framing around the containers, or stagger your containers them to give your home a modern aesthetic; but without a little extra planning, you’re stuck with the shape you’ve got.
Condo or Townhome
If container homes are still a little small for your taste, think about a condo or townhome. These typically exceed 1000 square feet, giving you room to stretch out, but without unnecessary space. Townhouses and condos a great choice for almost anyone, regardless of where you are in life. They also come with the benefit of close-knit communities and increased safety over what you might find in a traditional suburban community.
Of course, one difference that sets these homes apart from the others on this list is the shared-building component, meaning you have less control over aesthetics. Condominiums can be built freestanding, but it’s common to find both condos and townhomes as attached dwellings. Interiors sometimes have some design leeway, but the exterior is owned by someone else, leaving you with limited or no exterior design choice.
Bottom line: a tiny house or container home allows more creative liberties than a condo or townhouse. Butif your main goal is to downsize and live a more minimalist life, and not necessarily to design your own home, a condo or townhouse is perfect.
Small- Not Tiny- Home
If the space of a townhouse sounds great but sharing a wall with your neighbors doesn’t, snag a small home. Usually these range from about 900 square feet to just under 2000, which is still below the median square footage of a home in the US. Unlike attached dwellings, small homes commonly com with private garages and yard space. And since you own both the interior and exterior, put as many pink flamingos in your yard as you’d like (within HOA guidelines, of course).
Small homes are a great option for larger families who want to downsize, but can’t realistically go tiny, or those with lifestyles or hobbies that require extra space. You’ll have more options for actual bedrooms instead of just sleeping areas, which is important for multi-generational households. You still get a break on your utility bill, too, because you’re not having to maintain and heat or cool as much space as a bigger traditional home.
Still Too Small?
Are these options still giving you a foreboding sense of claustrophobia? Going tiny probably isn’t the lifestyle for you, and that’s OK! Some aren’t willing to sacrifice square footage. If you are ready to downsize, could you see yourself in one of these home styles? Any tips you’d recommend for those seeking the small lifestyle? Let us know in the comments!
Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Mia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.