Best Tiny House Wardrobes

One of the first steps in transitioning to a tiny house is to get rid of what you don’t need. While I am relatively content walking around naked, society considers this behavior unacceptable. For this reason and my tendency to burn in the sun, I had to keep my clothes. The problem in a tiny house is where to store your clothes.

First Question

Are you trying to hide your clothes from view or simply trying to store them in a manner that will keep them clean and wrinkle free? Options in the latter category are significantly cheaper.

Cheapest Ways to Store Your Wardrobe in a Tiny House

amazon basic garment rack

 

The AmazonBasics garment isn’t pretty. I will give you that. It is, however, incredibly useful. The reviews are amazing with 87 out of 95 reviewers given the unit 4 or 5 stars. It comes with a one year warranty from Amazon. Locking wheels can be added for easy portability. Assembly can be completed in as little as fifteen minutes with no additional tools. We wish they would have added an extra adjustable shelf to better utilize the space. Oh well, maybe version two will come with one. Note, this unit is plastic and not metal as you might expect.

– Dimensions: 35 x 17.3 x 70.5

– Weight: 20.8 pounds

 

whitemor double rod closet

If you like the design of the AmazonBasics garment rack but want more space, this is your model. More than 1700 reviewers give this model an average rating of 4 out of 5. You have two different racks to hang clothes and five different shelves. The additional space could make the Whitmor perfect for couples. It actually costs twelve dollars less than the smaller Amazon unit. Unfortunately, it is not on wheels for easy movement. I doubt this will bother most people since placement option will be limited in your tiny house. Unlike the Amazon model, this unit has a more traditional steel frame. Overall, this is a great option if you have the space and need additional storage.

– Dimensions: 45.25 x 19.25 x 68

– Weight: 18.6 pounds

 

seville expandable closet

The Seville closet is neat because you can adjust the width from 58 inches to 83 inches. While i don’t see the larger dimension being logical for most tiny house owners, it is still a thoughtful touch from the designer. It costs almost three times what the Whitmor does, but $105 bucks shipped is still well within the range of most budgets. The main advantage over the Whitmor is the additional shelf space. It also has an impressive 100 pound per shelf and 125 pound per non extended rod weight capacity. The durable nature of this unit is a great selling point. As with the other two models.

 

Best Tiny House Wardrobes

If you want a more traditional wardrobe that will keep your unmentionables and rhinestone studded clothes out of site, we have some great choices for you too.

 

prepac wardrobe

 

Prepac Elite 32″ Wardrobe – $183.59

The Prepac wardrobe is the number one best-seller on Amazon. Reviews are stellar both on Amazon and on Google Shopping. 53 Amazon reviewers give the unit a 4 star rating. 78 customers on Google Shopping give it a 4.5 star rating. The $183 price on Amazon is about the best you will find online, but if they charge you tax, you can buy it on Overstock for a couple bucks more. Oddly, the country of origin for this wardrobe is Canada. That could certainly be a plus if you prefer to buy more local goods.

– Dimensions: 32″W x 65″H x 20″D

– Weight: 122 pounds

 

amish pine wardrobe

 

Amish Pine Wood Wardrobe – $515

The Amish Pine Wardrobe isn’t cheap, but it could fit beautifully in most tiny houses. I am in love with the natural finish. The store (dutchcrafters) actually allows customers to select their preferred finish and varnish. While it might be out of the price range for many, it is the sturdiest suggestion on this list. Not surprisingly, the Amish wardrobe is made in America. Other than price, the 6 to 8 week lead time could be a major downside for some prospective customers.

– Dimensions: 40″W x 60″H x 21.5″D

 

akadahome wardrobe

 

akadaHOME Torino Walnut Wardrobe – $145

The akadaHOME wardrove has an attractive price tag. It is sold at Home Depot with free ship to store to help keep the price low. The walnut appearance is actually a laminate. The darker colors could be a big selling point for those looking to find a good color match for the rest of their house. Two shelves are included (one at the bottom and one at the top). It also has one rod to hang clothes. This model comes in at a tiny house friendly width of 29.75 inches. By buying it at Home Depot, you also enjoy a convenient ninety day return window if it doesn’t fully suit you needs.

– Dimensions: 29.75″W X 72.25″H X 21″D

– Weight: 88 pounds

 

Buying a wardrobe for a tiny house can be a pain in the ass. Cost, size, and decor restraints equal one big headache. We hope that we’ve help illuminate some of the excellent options suitable for all needs. If you have another suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment.

 

Best Tiny House Washing Machines

best tiny house washing machine

Washing machines take up a ton of a space. Washing clothes in a tiny house requires additional creativity.

Main Considerations

Electricity – washing machines use a lot of juice. If you rely on solar or batteries, you might be better off with a hand washing system. Traditional washing machines use larger 240-V connections instead of the standard 120-V connection. Washing machines do not require a CFCI outlet unless a sink is within six feet of the unit.

Plumbing – high-efficiency, larger washers still use between 14 to 25 gallons of water per load. If you are planning to be off the grid, that level of usage might not be feasible. A small hand operated Wonderwash uses 90% less water. The trade off is that it can only wash 10 t-shirts or 2 pairs of blue jeans at a time. Plumbing can also be a major expense when building a tiny house. You might want to stick with the hand operated machines to simply eliminate that cost.

Size – traditional washing machines are 27 inches wide and about 30 inches deep. Even if you have stackable units, that is still a lot of space for most tiny houses.

Hand Operated Option

  • Wonderwash – I am absolutely in love with this machine. You can buy it for less than $50 shipped on Amazon! The reviews are stellar. Given the tiny size, the capacity is impressive (10 t-shirts, 8 dress shirts, or 2 pairs of blue jeans). The entire unit only weighs six pounds. It only takes a few minutes of spinning for your clothes to clean. Make sure you watch the below video from Casey Friday if you are considering the Wonderwash. The dimensions are only 12 inches x 12 inches x 16 inches.

Price: ~$50

 

Small Electric Options

  • Miniwash – this is made by the manufacturer of the Wonderwash. The difference is this machine plugs into a standard 110 voltage wall outlet. The entire machine weighs 14 pounds.  The dimensions are 12 inches x 12 inches x 20 inches. It has far fewer reviews than the Wonderwash since it was only released in September, 2014. The only negative reviews are people who messed up using it the first time and got water all over their place. It might be good to read the setup instructions on this one.

Price: ~$80

miniwash by laundry alternative

 

  • Panda Mini – this is a great option for someone who is looking for a smaller automated machine. It is similar to the Miniwash, but it has been around longer. There are almost 400 reviews on Amazon with a stellar 4 star rating. The unit weighs 11 pounds with a 5.5 pound capacity. The unit is 14 inches x 14.6 inches x 19.3 inches.

Price: ~$90

  • Wonder Washer – this machine has a great price and equally good reviews. The entire unit weighs 8 pounds with a 7 liter laundry capacity. This is the most compact of the small electric options with dimensions of just 13 inches x 10 inches x 13 inches.

Price: ~$50

wonder washer

 

Compact Electric Options

  • Panda Pan30 – If you need to do more laundry than the Panda Mini feasibly allows, look at the Pan30. It is a great bridge machine. I refer to it as bridge machine because at 28 pounds it is far more substantial than the smallest options, but it isn’t nearly as big a combo washer dryer. Unlike the smaller units, you will need to connect this machine to your sink. The other great part about this machine is that in addition to being able to wash 6 to 7 pounds of clothes, you can also use it to dry 3 to 3.5 pounds of clothes. The manufacturer warns that a little bit of work is involved, but I am confident you will still view this machine as a life saver if you need it. The dimensions are 22.83 inches × 14.17 inches × 25.59 inches with a 43 inch sink hose.

Price: ~$210

  • Laundry Alternative LAFA5.5 – this is another innovative option by the manufacturer of the Wonder Washer. The washing capacity is 5.5 pounds. This unit weighs a little more than the Pan30 at 35 pounds. From a space perspective, you are looking at 16 inches x 17 inches x 25 inches.

Price: ~$230

laundry alternative

 

  • Haier HLP21N Pulsator – This model has more than 500 reviews on Amazon with a 4 star rating! The estimated operation cost is only $38 per year. The build quality is excellent with a steel tub. The capacity is 6 pounds. Casters are included with this unit for increased mobility. The total weight is 59 pounds with dimensions of 36 inches x 23.2 inches x 23.2 inches. Be careful not to be confused if you read the Amazon description of this item. The description makes it sound like it operates on AAA batteries, which is laughable. It plugs into a standard 110 volt connection. Overall, this is a great choice for those who have the space and budget.

Price: ~$300

haier small washer

Combo Washer Dryer

Combo washer dryers are ventless and use standard 110 volt wall outlets. They still need dedicated plumbing. These units are a huge step up in price. They are much closer to the standard washer and dryer most of us are used to with the major exception of time. To wash and dry a load of laundry you are looking at 3-4 hours. It still beats the old days of doing everything by hand, but you will be disappointed if you don’t anticipate how long the process takes with these machines.

  • Sekido SK 4000 – this is your standard off brand unit. Most of the sub 1000 dollar units (Midea, Meridian, Edgestar) are going to be about the same. The build quality isn’t stellar, but if you get a good machine and know what to expect int terms of how long they take, you will be satisfied. At 160 pounds, this unit isn’t portable by any stretch of the imagination. The 13 pound capacity is the biggest selling point. It is always great to be able to wash and dry clothes in one machine.

Price: ~$900

sekido washer dryer combo

 

  • LG WM3477HS – LG is the gold standard in washer dryer combos. Unfortunately, they are also priced like an ounce of gold. The big advantage of this machines is that it uses standard 110 volt power connections and doesn’t need to be vented. It has five temperature settings and a stainless steel drum. LG stands behind this product with a 10 year warranty on the motor. The great part about an LG warranty is you know that you won’t have any problems using it. The only real knock I have on this machine is that the $1400 price tag is out of reach for many. It is also too big for many tiny house situations with dimensions of 36 inches x 32 inches x 30 inches.

Price: ~$1500

lg washer dryer combo

 

Doing laundry in a tiny house doesn’t need to be a pain. Easy to use options exist for all price and size ranges. Do your research and laundry will be a minimal concern.

 

Tumbleweed Tiny Homes vs. Four Lights – Which Is Better?

tumbleweed tiny house vs four lights

 

You can’t spend much time involved with the tiny house industry without hearing two names – Tumbleweed Tiny Homes and Four Lights. What do these two seemingly different companies have in common, and which one is the better choice for homeowners looking to go small with their home? The story behind both companies is interesting, and provides insight into two of the leading firms in the industry.

Tumbleweed Tiny Homes Background

We’ll start with Tumbleweed, as it’s the older of the two companies. It was founded by Jay Shafer (who now owns Four Lights, after leaving Tumbleweed to his business partner in order to pursue other options). The company was founded back in 1999, and has since grown to include two national locations. The company’s original home (and primary location today) is in Sonoma, California, but they’ve also extended their operations to Colorado.

Tumbleweed offers nine different home plans, including four mobile tiny homes and numerous cottages designed to be installed on a permanent foundation (not a trailer). While the company sells plans for all of its homes for customer construction, it only builds the four mobile tiny houses – the Elm, Cypress, Linden and Mica. All four were designed by employees and are available in a number of lengths and widths, with a wide range of potential customization options (dormers, door positons, skylights, appliances included, etc.).

The company’s motto is, “Dream Big. Live Tiny,” and their creations certainly help owners do exactly that. You’ll find Tumbleweed homes all around the country, many of which have been profiled online, as well as through several cable networks, helping bring awareness to the tiny house movement.

Steve Weissmann is currently president of Tumbleweed. I have interacted with him over the Web a couple times and found him to be friendly and genuine. Here is an interesting video from when Jay Shafer still represented Tumbleweed:

 

 

Four Lights

Four Lights is Jay Shafer’s new company and you’ll find a lot of similarities between it and Tumbleweed. However, where Tumbleweed offers four mobile tiny homes, Four Lights offers only two that are really designed for ongoing mobility. The remaining four models are designed for installation on a permanent foundation. There are some remarkable similarities between Four Lights’ homes and those offered by Tumbleweed.

While that’s partially due to Shafer’s design work, it’s also due to the choice of materials, and adherence to classic architectural designs (for instance, the Gifford is built with an American Craftsman style). One difference here is the fact that some of Four Lights’ homes offer bigger tiny living options than Tumbleweed. For example, the Marie Colvin comes with 288 square feet standard, and can be configured to have much more. The Marmara can be designed with over 880 square feet, making these two options good choices for families with children, more than other models on the market.

Four Lights has grown to employ four people, although Jay still does all the design work and furnishes those homes customers order with appliances and other furnishings.

Understanding Jay Shafer

jay shafer

If you’re living in a tiny house or considering a move, then you can most likely thank one man – Jay Shafer. While he’s not the only pioneer in the industry, he does get credit for a significant amount of the movement’s traction, with at least one interviewer crediting him with, “practically inventing what is now known as the tiny house.”

So, who is this guy, this father of the modern tiny home?

Actually, Jay’s relationship with smaller living goes back to the 1990s when he built his own tiny house. Until that point, he’d been living in an Airstream trailer, but finding that it wasn’t really that great for year-round occupancy, he set out to create something that was. Thus, he built his first tiny house and moved himself in. The home won the “Most Innovative Design” award from Natural Home Magazine for 1999, and that spurred him to decide to make a career shift – to designing tiny homes.

Jay didn’t let his lack of an architectural degree hold him back, either. Part of that was his natural bent toward design, and another was his inner artist (he holds an art degree, actually). Another element was his outlook on what a home can and should be – he says that when he analyzed the normal house and removed all the unnecessary elements, the result was a very small home indeed.

Tumbleweed Tiny Homes was born shortly after Jay’s realization that he could make such a dramatic career change. However, his tenure with Tumbleweed wouldn’t last more than a few years. He decided to leave the company to his business partner in 2012 to found a different tiny house company – Four Lights.

Perhaps the most telling thing about both Four Lights and Tumbleweed is Jay’s personal philosophy. In his book The Small House Book, he say, “When everything in our immediate environment is essential to our contented survival, home and the life within will take on a truly essential quality.” It’s about efficiency, but also about essentials and eliminating needless, unnecessary things that do little more than tie you down with responsibilities (building on the theory that everything you own, owns you in return).

Which Is Right for You?

Between Four Lights and Tumbleweed Tiny Homes, you have an incredible range of options whether you want to build your own tiny home based on professional designs or buy one pre-constructed. So, which company is right for your needs? Really, you can’t go wrong with either one. Both companies take considerable pride in creating designs that are at once aesthetically pleasing and efficient. Both companies have deep roots in the tiny house community thanks to Jay Shafer. Both companies have reputations for quality, innovation and customization. You’ll even find that both of them can offer furnishings and appliances that fit (and work) perfectly within a tiny house.

Best Tiny House Heaters

Warming Your Tiny Home – What Are the Best Tiny House Heaters?

Living in a tiny house doesn’t automatically exempt you from the same concerns that face any other homeowner. You still have dishes to wash. Laundry still piles up. The floor still needs to be swept and mopped. You still need to heat your home, as well. If you’re struggling with the question of how to keep your tiny home comfortable during the cold months of the year, there are plenty of choices out there. They range from mini split systems to combo window units and standalone units, but which are the best tiny house heaters on the market? It can be confusing to find the right solution to your needs, but the following guide will help you make sense of the options.

Mini Split Systems

tiny house mini split

This might sound like a strange HVAC system at first glance, but the basic concepts should be familiar to anyone who has ever owned a home with central heating and air. It’s essentially shrunk down version made to fit a smaller home rather than a larger, conventional home.

A mini split system relies on the same basic components as a central HVAC system, minus the ductwork. You’ll have an evaporator and an air handler unit. The evaporator is mounted outside the home. The tongue is the most common place for installation, but some homes are designed to have them mounted at the rear (they cannot be installed on the sides if the home will be mobile). The evaporator is connected through the wall to the interior air handler, which is where you’ll find your temperature controls, on/off switch and other functions.

There are a few caveats to using a mini split system. While these are certainly the most efficient option, they must be installed by a licensed HVAC technician. That automatically ups your cost if you’re doing this on your own (rather than buying a pre-built tiny home from one of the many companies out there). You also need to ensure that you choose the right model. Most mini split systems run on 240 volts, which requires special wiring. However, there are a few 120-volt systems on the market. You’ll just have to do some digging to find them. You’ll also need to ensure that you get the right BTU rating (9,000 BTUs is about the minimum, and should be sufficient for a tiny house up to about 500 square feet, but always check the manufacturer’s ratings and recommendations).

Finally, most mini split systems draw too much power to be truly feasible in an off-grid setting. A single speed unit will draw somewhere around 1,200 watts. A multi-speed unit can draw up to 400 watts on low, which is more feasible, but might not heat your home enough if you live in a very cold climate and/or the home is not correctly insulated.

Combo Window Unit

window air conditioner

Chances are good that unless you live in a northern climate, you’ll need both heating and air conditioning. You can solve both problems with a combo window unit. These come in a range of heating and cooling capacities, and install just like a standard window unit. When the weather turns cold, you simply switch to the heating feature of the unit. It’s really that simple. Everything’s contained in the same box, and there’s very little maintenance to worry about. You also don’t have to worry about having the unit installed by an HVAC professional.

As with mini split systems, there are a few considerations here. First, window units are not as efficient as other options (particularly a mini split). Second, most combo units require 240 volts of power, which means you’ll have to accommodate those needs during the build with specific wiring (and a separate breaker in the fuse box for the unit). There are 120-volt units on the market, but they tend to be smaller, and less widely available, so plan on a lengthy search if this is your choice.

Another consideration here is that a window unit (whether a single AC system or a combo heat and AC) is not the most efficient solution available in terms of insulation. While they can be modified with a little creativity, most of these units still rely on the accordion plastic partition to separate the indoors from the outdoors. That will allow cold air into the home, causing the unit to run more often than would be necessary with a different type of heating system.

Through the Wall

through the wall ac kit

The above picture is a through the wall installation kit. “Through the wall” systems are not much different from window units, and you’ll find heaters, combo heat and air, and air conditioning systems available in this category. They share all the same considerations as combo window units discussed above, but they have one additional factor that you should know. Because they’re installed in the wall itself, they’re best installed during the build. They can be installed afterward, but this will require cutting through the interior wall, as well as the insulation and the exterior siding. Ideal placement may be compromised due to the installation of structural supports for the home as well.

Infrared Portable Space Heaters

infrared heater for tiny houses

Space heaters might not sound like the ideal solution for heating an entire home, but when you live in a tiny house, they suddenly become very promising. Of course, there are many different types of space heaters out there, including propane, kerosene, and electric. Of the many options, electric is the better choice (less risk of fire, and they can be operated on a solar system if need be). Infrared heaters like the Dr. Infrared Heater™ can provide all the heat you need for your entire home, and offer advanced functionality, like a wider range of temperature control (50 to 85 degrees with the Dr. Heater model, plus it features a thermostat so it cycles on and off as needed). The biggest problem with a space heater is that it isn’t likely to be cost effective if you use it much. We do not recommend going with the space heater option if you live in a cold climate.

Wood Burning Stove

wood burning stove

Wood burning stoves can be a great option if your tiny house is going to be off the grid. The heat can also be extremely cost effective if you are going to live on land where trees tend to fall anyway. I personally love the rustic, throwback nature of having a wood burning stove in a tiny house. One of the biggest downsides can be space. Make sure you pay close attention to the dimensions before buying any wood burning stove. They can be monsters in a small floor plan.

These are some of the best tiny house heaters on the market, but there are many others. Quite a few owners choose to go with a wood-fired stove to ensure they can be completely off the grid. With a little careful consideration, you’ll find the perfect option to keep you warm and toasty.

Best Tiny House Plans

The tiny house movement is building steam across the country as more and more people wake up to the benefits offered by living with a smaller footprint. That said, transitioning to a tiny house is not a change that can be taken lightly. It is not like you can go to your average general contractor or architect and ask for plans for a tiny house. There’s good news though. If you’re intent on minimizing your footprint and getting into a small home, there are plenty of places to buy plans. In fact, it can be downright daunting to know which of the dozens of companies selling tiny house plans is best. We will run down a list of your top options.

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

tumbleweed tiny house company logo

Tumbleweed is perhaps the most famous tiny house designer and builder in the country. The company has grown to have two locations (Colorado Springs, CO and Sonoma, CA), and they build homes as well as providing the best tiny house plans for DIY-ers. Tumbleweed is also associated with Jay Shafer, the founder of the tiny house movement, although he’s moved on to another company now (Jay works with Four Lights, which we’ll cover shortly).

In terms of plans, you’ll find that Tumbleweed offers several basic options – nine in total. These include four “House-to-Go” models, which are what most people are coming to associate with tiny houses. They’re built on trailers and have very small footprints. The model names are Elm, Cypress, Linden and Mica. For those interested in tiny house living without the mobile aspect, Tumbleweed has several cottage plans, including the Bodega, Loring, New Vesica, Harbinger, Whidbey, Enesti, Sebastarosa, B-53 and Z-Glass. The largest cottage on offer only measures 884 square feet, so they definitely fit in with the tiny house ethos.

All plans are available for purchase on the company’s website, but they can also be customized (either on your own or with the company’s help). If you prefer, Tumbleweed will build and ship your tiny house right to your location as per your specifications.

Four Lights

four lights logo

Four Lights is the new tiny house company started by Jay Shafer. Shafer is responsible for all the design work with the new firm as well. With 18 years of experience designing and building tiny homes, Jay certainly has the chops to create the best tiny house plans on the market. Interestingly, of the company’s several offerings, only two are designed to be mobile. The remainder are designed to be set on a foundation, and offer more space than what you might think would be possible with such streamlined designs. For example, the Marmara actually features over 500 square feet depending on your configuration choices (284 square feet base).

Four Lights offers some of the best tiny house plans on the market, and they come complete – you’ll find downstairs schematics, loft layouts and even electrical designs all included. It’s a turnkey plan system. The models on offer range from the Zinn, which is the smallest to the Gifford, the Beavan, the Weller, the Marmara and the Marie Colvin.

Humble Homes

humble homes logo

Unlike Tumbleweed, Humble Homes does not build homes – they only offer a selection of the best tiny house plans on the market. While they’re more expensive than some companies out there, they’re actually cheaper than others, putting them squarely in the middle of the affordability equation. Those interested in going small will find a plethora of plans available through this company’s website, including the McG Loft V2, the Athru and the Turtle House, which are three of the best-selling plans on offer. Other models available include the McG Loft, Berneil+Porch, the BRV1, JS Bell+Porch, the Nook, the Humblebee+Porch and the Rooke+Porch.

In addition to offering a wide range of the best tiny house plans on the market, Humble Homes is also the place to go to get news about the tiny house movement, sustainability and living a greener, freer life, as well.

Other Affordable Places to Buy Tiny House Plans

The three companies listed above are certainly innovators and leaders in the industry, and their plans are among the best you’ll find. However, if you’re working on a limited budget and can’t afford the prices asked for Tumbleweed or Four Lights plans, there are other options out there that will give you the quality home you want, at a price you can afford. Some of the best affordable plan providers are listed below.

  • The small House Catalog: You’ll find a host of options here, many of them free (there’s an entire section of free plans). The company also offers drafting services (at a price). In terms of the best tiny house plans available here, the company provides cottage, bungalow and small house plans geared for easy readability even by those without architectural design or construction backgrounds.

 

  • PAD Tiny Houses: PAD (Portland Alternative Dwellings) doesn’t do free plans, but they do offer some of the best tiny house plans with a matching tiny price tag. For instance, the newest option (the company’s Sweet Pea home) is priced at just $99 for the plans. Other home options available follow in that vein. The amusingly named Salsa Box plans are priced at just $79. It is 93 square feet and meant to reside on a trailer. It is a good off the grid plan, but too small for many. Plans for the Miter Box are priced at $99. Shelter Wise says the original version was built for just $22,000. The plans are for a 122 square foot living area with a 28 square foot loft.PAD also offers workshops and classes for prospective owners and builders.

 

  • TinyHouseBuild.com: While this one doesn’t do free per se, you will find a free seven-day course on tiny house construction that helps you understand things like framing, wiring, codes, foundation building, roofing and more. There’s also a DVD on offer ($60) that includes a comprehensive guide to building your own tiny home, as well as home plans and a handy selection of resources.

There’s no denying that the tiny house movement has gotten big (pun intended). However, there’s still a lot of confusion about how to get into a tiny home. Whether you want a tiny house on wheels, a cottage on a foundation or something completely different, you’ll find that the companies listed above offer some of the best tiny house plans on the market. Many of them also offer classes, workshops and other aids to help train prospective homeowners and builders to ensure that your dream comes to life without a hitch.

Best Tiny House Builders

It wasn’t that long ago that if you wanted a tiny house, you had to build it yourself. Today, that’s changed. As the movement has gained momentum, a number of companies have gotten into the act, offering everything from design plans to fully constructed homes delivered right to wherever you want them. As with any industry, not all builders are created equally. It pays to do your research. We’ll start with three of the top companies operating in the US, but we’ll also provide you with some resources to help ensure you’re able to find builders in your own back yard.

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

tumbleweed tiny house company logo

There are few builders with the reputation and brand recognition that Tumbleweed Tiny House Company commands. Tumbleweed is one of the oldest and best tiny house builders operating today. You’ll find that Tumbleweed offers a wide range of plans for sale, and they also sponsor workshops and classes around the nation. However, they also build tiny homes and deliver them right to you. All of the company’s mobile tiny homes are available pre-constructed and delivered, including the Elm, Cypress, Linden and Mica. Each model has a range of different size and configuration options that can be chosen, and you can even design your own tiny home right through their website. While Tumbleweed also offers cottage designs, they don’t build these – you buy the plans and then find a contractor in your area to create the final build. Tumbleweed also has two locations – one in Colorado and one in California. Make sure you compare the various floor plans carefully, as well as the customization options, as your choices will have a significant impact on the size of your home, as well as the layout.

Elm

elm tiny house

Cypress

cypress tiny house

Linden

linden tiny house

Mica

mica tiny house

Tiny House Company

tiny house company logo

Another of the best tiny house builders out there is the Tiny House Company, located in Texas (Spring, to be exact). The Tiny House Company got its start back in 2011, making them a true veteran of this young but growing industry. Like Tumbleweed, the Tiny House Company specializes in custom designs and handcrafting, combining their innovative style with high-end materials and old world craftsmanship. The company specializes in creating two types of tiny homes – those designed for ongoing moves and those designed primarily for life in one spot (with the ability to move if necessary). On-the-Go models are more streamlined and aerodynamic than the company’s Stay-A-While models, and use RV style fixtures. The Stay-A-While models use traditional connections and fixtures (including conventional toilets). If you have a more DIY frame of mind, consider the company’s tiny house shells. All three choices offer you access to high quality tiny homes built to stand the test of time and hard use.

Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses

rocky mountain tiny house logo

Founded in 2013, Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses actually dates back to 2011 when founder Greg Parham caught the “tiny house bug”. Since then, he’s been creating one of a kind tiny homes for a broad range of clients at affordable prices. The company currently offers the Durango and the Boulder models, both very mobile tiny homes that nevertheless give owners plenty of style and downsizing capabilities.

Durango

durango tiny house

Boulder

boulder tiny house

Significantly more models are planned, including the Stanley, Bitterroot Valley, Red Mountain, Grand Teton, Leadville, Whitefish, Front Range, Telluride, Santa Fe, Homesteader and Wasatch. Rocky Mountain Tiny Homes does more than just design and build, though. The reason they’re one of the best tiny house builders in the US is due to the fact that they can also offer consulting, custom design services and even partial builds (which gives you a tiny house shell to finish out to your own tastes and on your own time – that includes wiring and plumbing). One of the high points of working with this builder is the range of customization choices, including everything from flooring types to roofing materials, cladding, interior wall material, entry doors, bathroom design and kitchen design/layout.

Find Your Own

Not content with the three top contenders ranked as the best tiny house builders? No worries. There are dozens of others out there, and the Internet makes it simpler to find them on your own. Below, you’ll find two excellent resources to connect you with builders, as well as with others in the tiny house industry.

Tiny House Map – Tiny House Map is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s an interactive, customizable map that lets you choose your location and your search criteria. For instance, clicking the check box beside “builders” shows you a national map with icons for each tiny house builder registered in the system. Click on an icon and you’re given information about that builder, including their name and a brief explanation. Click the “more details” heading at the bottom left of the field and a new window opens giving you pictures of the company’s work, their website address, their snail mail address and more.

tiny house map

Tiny House Listings – Tiny House Listings was founded as an informational resource for those seeking to live in a tiny home, as well as for owners looking for a place to park, and to connect with others in this growing, vibrant community. Across the top of the site, you’ll see several headings, including Browse Tiny Houses, Tiny House Parking, Social Tiny, Tiny House Plans and Tiny House Builders. Clicking on the builders tab opens up a map with several of the best tiny house builders highlighted. You can click on the location markers to pull up the company’s website, phone number and geographic location. Alternatively, you can scroll down the page to view a full list of company names, websites and phone numbers. Make sure you take the time to explore the other features of this site to help you make the most of your tiny house experience.

Working with the best tiny house builders in the industry will ensure that you end up with an amazing place to call home, whether you choose to stay on the road, or put down roots in the area of your choice.

Best Tiny House Books

Have you caught the tiny house bug? Maybe you’re tired of living with so much stuff. Maybe you long for a simpler existence. Perhaps you want to be more efficient, or to live without a 30-year mortgage hanging over your head. These are just a few of the myriad reasons people choose to go the tiny house route.

Suffice to say, transitioning to a tiny house is not a choice to be made lightly. It’s a radical change for the average American. We have constructed this article to help you make an informed decision before downsizing. Thankfully, there are plenty of excellent books written on the subject. The best tiny house books offer inspiration, information, guidance and more. We’ve compiled a list of the best options for you.

Tiny Houses by Mimi Zeiger

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Available only in hardcover, Tiny Houses gives readers a look at homes under 1,000 square feet. The houses showcased range dramatically in style and type, from tree houses to floating houses. The author takes readers on a visual journey through the tiny house movement, but also challenges them to analyze their own homes to determine just how much of that space they actively utilize. All the homes listed in this book are part of the “microgreen” lifestyle, combining innovation, ingenuity and a passion for living with a smaller impact on the planet.

Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn

tiny home simple shelter by lloyd kahn

 

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Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn is an in-depth look at the breadth of the tiny house movement. Available as a paperback, the book features 1,300 pictures of homes ranging from prefabricated to handmade to kit options and everything in between. It also showcases more than 150 different homebuilders who have created tiny homes under 500 square feet. Threaded through the photos are stories, thoughts and the inspiration of builders, both professional and do it yourself. This is an excellent book for anyone looking to get a handle on the international tiny house movement, and showcases innovative urban, suburban and rural homes that defy convention.

Tiny House Living: Ideas for Building and Living Well in Less than 400 Square Feet by Ryan Mitchell

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Ever wonder how people cram their entire lives into a tiny home? Wonder no more. Tiny House Living: Ideas for Building and Living Well in Less than 400 Square Feet highlights tiny homes, but it also covers other facets of the lifestyle, from appliances to fixtures to furniture and everything in between. Available as a paperback and as a Kindle book (also listed with KindleUnlimited), this book is more than just a photographic journey – it provides prospective tiny house owners with the tools necessary to start planning their new lives. It includes full photographic tours of 11 tiny houses and their stories, but it also offers worksheets and exercises to help pare down your life. Strategies for cutting out clutter and zoning law guidance are also included, as are design tricks for those hoping to build their own tiny house.

Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature by Mimi Zeiger

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This is Zeiger’s second book on this list, and it is no coincidence. The author takes readers on a journey through some of the greenest, most environment-blending tiny homes on the planet. Not only does this book highlight tiny green houses, but it explores the concept of what microgreen actually means. It also includes full building plans for many of the homes showcased within the book. If you have ever dreamed of living in a tiny house that blends perfectly with the natural environment, embracing rather than crushing nature, this is the book for you.

Small Eco Houses: Living Green in Style by Cristina Paredes Benitez & Alex Sanchez Vidiella

small eco houses living green in style by cristina paredes benitez and alex sanchez vidiella

 

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Available as a paperback, Small Eco Houses: Living Green in Style showcases some of the most innovative green tiny homes on the planet. The book covers over 50 different homes with full-color, stunning photography. Readers will find secluded homes set in the woods, as well as those hiding in plain sight in urban areas. All share a green bent, and a focus on modern style. Thoughtful, beautiful and evocative, this book will inspire and delight, but also serves to highlight just how stylish green living can be.

The Small House Book by Jay Shafer

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Without Jay Shafer there might not be a tiny house movement in the United States. He has arguably done more to promote the movement than any single person. While Jay has a number of books out, The Small House is one of his best. It’s available as both a paperback and a Kindle book, and shatters myths surrounding the housing industry. Ideal for anyone who is contemplating going small but hasn’t yet made the leap, this book offers solid research, and an honest portrayal of what is wrong with not only the housing industry, but by relation our very society. It also covers more practical matters, like why building on a trailer is so important, as well as sequential steps needed to construct your very own tiny house with pictures from Jay.

Intermodal Shipping Container Small Steel Buildings by Paul Sawyers

intermodal shipping container small steel buildings by paul sawyers

 

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This book is available as a paperback and as a Kindle book, and provides readers with an introduction to the world of shipping container conversion. This book is actually far more interesting than the rather drab cover. Shipping containers are affordable, widely available, and can be converted into tiny homes with surprisingly little effort. It also includes strategies for cutting costs (up to 40% over conventional construction), as well as photographs, plans, diagrams and schematics to help you transform any used shipping container into a tiny house or home addition.

The Big Tiny by Dee Williams

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Available in kindle, paperback, hardcover, mp3 cd, and audible format, The Big Tiny is a poignant memoir of how a woman shed the unnecessary trappings of life after a mid-life health scare. She moved into an 84 square foot tiny house that she built with her own hands. The change allowed her more time to spend with her friends and family, while learning more about her true nature. The Big Tiny is a fun read about an inspirational journey sure to touch all who read it.

You can view the TEDx talk from Dee Williams here:

 Minimalist: Minimalism Living Made Easy with More Money, Happiness, and Freedom by Miss Lulu

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Minimalism is what the tiny house movement is all about. Too many of us have become slaves to stuff. Unfortunately, we have never seen anyone else do it differently. Human nature dictates that we are inherently afraid of the unknown. Minimalist is a highly informative book that can make the trail to positive change less scary. When reduce the crap in our lives we tend to learn more about ourselves than we ever thought possible. I encourage you to download this book on your Kindle today.

These are the best tiny house books available to inspire you along your journey. Tiny living is likely to benefit you and the Earth. The tips, designs and stories in these books will help you on your way.