Archive for the Tiny House Category

Tiny House Kitchen Cabinets – Ryan’s Design Guide To Kitchen Cabinets

Tiny House Kitchen Cabinets – Ryan’s Design Guide To Kitchen Cabinets

tiny house kitchen cabinetsThere weren’t many places that I obsessed over as much as I did my kitchen when designing my tiny house. I love to cook, so I knew I had to have the perfect kitchen cabinet design in my tiny house. Storage is also a big deal in a tiny home, so planning out your cabinets is a must to maximize every square inch.

NAVIGATION

kitchen base cabinetsBase Cabinetskitchen wall cabinetsWall Cabinetskitchen tall cabinetsTall Cabinetstiny house cabinet tipsBuilding CabinetsinformationCabinet Tips

One point I like to make right up front is that there are some standard kitchen cabinet dimensions and building practices, but you should seriously consider if “the way it’s done” is right for you. A good example from my own tiny house is that I chose to make my kitchen cabinets taller than normal for more storage and a working height right for me.

I’m going to get into some creative tiny house kitchen cabinet ideas, but first I want to go over standard dimensions.

Tiny House Base Cabinets: Height, Depth, and Width

tiny house base kitchen cabinets

Your base cabinets in your tiny house are the mainstay of your kitchen and often are the bulk of your kitchen storage because people like to keep their home as open as possible. That means most of the storage space and working surfaces are made up of base cabinets, unless there is an exterior wall you can take advantage of.

Standard Dimensions For Tiny House Base Cabinets

standard dimensions for tiny house base kitchen cabinets

Standard Dimensions For Tiny House Base Cabinets
Height Without Countertop 34 1/2 inches
Height With Countertop 35 – 36 inches
Depth Wall To Cabinet Front 24 inches
Depth With Countertop 25 – 26 inches
Standard Widths 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 42, 48 Inches

tiny house base cabinets

Base Cabinet Height

base cabinet height

A typical tiny house base cabinet is 35 inches tall. This does include the counter top, but keep in mind that if you’re building custom cabinets, you can build what’s right for you.

Base Cabinet Depth

base cabinet depth

Standard cabinet depths are usually 24 inches deep on the outside dimension. This does not include the counter top, which is usually made to overhang by about an inch or two so you can more easily catch crumbs when wiping the countertop clean.

pro tipConsider what is going work for you, but remember that a lot of this is driven by appliance depth and sink size. For sinks, you’ll need enough room to install your sink and the faucet. One trick I used was to get a sink that wasn’t very deep front to back, then I also mounted my faucet to the side, allowing me to mount the sink as far back as I could to maximize space.

Base Cabinet Widths

base cabinet width

The width of your cabinets really can be whatever you want, but you’ll find off-the-shelf cabinet options in 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, and 48-inch options. Keep in mind that you’ll need certain widths to fit a sink or cook top. When you get above 18 inches, you’ll typically find they’re built with two doors instead of a single door.

tiny house kitchen ideas and inspiration

Tiny House Wall Cabinets: Height, Depth, and Width

tiny house wall cabinets

Cabinets mounted on your wall are built differently than those meant to be used for base cabinets, which include a base frame and toe kick, whereas wall cabinets don’t need these. You’ll also find that wall cabinets have trim pieces or molding added to the top.

Standard Dimensions For Tiny House Wall Cabinets

standard dimensions for wall cabinets

Standard Dimensions For Tiny House Wall Cabinets
Standard Heights 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 42 inches
Standard Depths 12, 15, 18, 24 inches
Standard Widths 9 to 48 inches, in 3 inch increments

tiny house wall cabinets

Wall Cabinet Height

wall cabinet height

Your wall cabinets will be mounted on the wall and often will find a home under a tiny house loft, so general rule of thumb for height is to run it from where ever you want the bottom to start all the way up to your loft floor or ceiling. Use your judgement here to keep things looking normal, but typically these are a standard height of 36 inches, plus any trim or molding you might add.

Wall Cabinet Depth

wall cabinet depth

Usually, you want to keep the depth of your wall cabinets pretty shallow—the standard wall cabinet depth is 12 inches on the outside dimensions. Really this can be any depth you want, but make sure you’re not obstructing your counter top so that it’s still comfortable to work at.

Wall Cabinet Width

wall cabinet width

The width of wall cabinets is similar to your base cabinets—you typically want to match the width of the base cabinets so your doors align vertically top and bottom. This just ensures a more pleasing look to your whole kitchen. In general, you’ll find top cabinets in widths from 12 inches up to 48 inches, often in 3-inch increments.

Distance Between Base And Wall Cabinets

Distance Between Base And Wall Cabinets

When you hang your wall cabinets, you want them high enough above your counter top so that you can easily work. The typical distance is 18 inches, but some prefer to do 24 inches.

tiny house tools

Tiny House Tall Cabinets: Height, Depth, and Width

tiny house tall cabinets

Tall cabinets are sometimes referred to as built-in pantries and they span from the floor all the way up to the ceiling. These are really helpful for storing your brooms and mops with long handles.

A smart way to use one of these is to “book end” your kitchen with a tall cabinet to more clearly define the start and end of the kitchen space. A floor-to-ceiling line helps make that transition really clean.

Standard Dimensions For Tiny House Tall Cabinets

Standard Dimensions For Tiny House Tall Cabinets
Standard Heights 84 or 96 inches
Standard Depths 12 or 24 inches
Standard Widths 12, 24, or 36 inches

tiny house tall cabinets

Tall Cabinet Height

tall cabinet height

Tall kitchen cabinets are typically 84 or 96 inches tall. A 96-inch tall cabinet will run from floor to ceiling in a standard 8-foot room. In a tiny house, you’re going to have a lot of nonstandard ceiling heights, so my advice is to build to the ceiling for maximum storage space.

Tall Cabinet Depth

tall cabinet depth

Usually this will be either 12 inches deep or the same depth as your base cabinets, depending on how it’s being used. If you’re able to put one of these at the end of your kitchen in a corner, you’ll gain a ton of storage space.

This also works great as pantry, given the huge volume. Consider installing pull-out drawers instead of simple shelves to make the most of the depth. Otherwise, you might lose stuff in the back because it will be out of sight, out of mind.

Tall Cabinet Width

tall cabinet width

Typically, these are 12, 24, of 36 inches wide, but you can build to suit. If you go much bigger than 36 inches, you might want to consider having two separate tall cabinets instead of one really wide one. This breaks it up and helps you organize a little better.

designing your tiny home

Building Tiny House Kitchen Cabinets

building tiny house kitchen cabinets

Like I said at the beginning of this post, there is standard practice when building cabinets, and then there are some unconventional methods that I’ll suggest to maximize space.

Standard Cabinet Construction

standard cabinet construction

While cabinets are often custom made, they all revolve around a modular approach. They typically utilize 12, 24, or 48-inch width combinations so that they can be assembled into many possible configurations.

Everything revolves around the cabinet box or housing. This is essentially a plywood box with an open front that sits upon a wooden frame. Instead of one solid piece, the top of the box is usually just strips of wood so that you can access the bottom of the counter top when it comes time to install, allowing you to secure it from underneath.

base kitchen cabinet construction

The front of the box is often left open to apply a face frame made of solid wood with a nice finish. The edges of the plywood box are pretty rough, so adding a face frame to the front of it makes things look really nice.

You want to look for cabinets or build them yourself out of a good quality plywood. Baltic Birch veneer plywood is commonly used because it’s stable, has a nice surface, and can take both paint and stain very well. Veneer plywood comes in other species of wood to best suit your taste, too.

For the first-time woodworker, you might think that a solid wood piece would be preferred, but that kind of dimensional lumber will expand and contract with the temperature and humidity, which leads to warping.

Plywood is a more stable option because it has several layers of wood that are oriented in different directions, which means that if it does move, another layer of the plywood is likely moving in the opposite direction, canceling out the movement.

Tiny House Style Cabinet Construction

tiny house style cabinet construction

My biggest tip here is instead of building your cabinet boxes in a shop, build them in place in your tiny house. This way, the back of your cabinet boxes can be the rear wall of your kitchen, giving you a few inches extra of space. I’d also suggest still having a base frame that your cabinets sit on—this allows you to have a recessed area for your feet to fit into—but turn that space into a drawer for even more storage.

tiny house kitchen cabinet drawer
tiny house storage ideas

Use Pocket Hole Screws To Assemble

use pocket hole screws to assemble

kreg pocket hole jigSome traditional wood workers will knock pocket hole joinery, but I invite you to join me on the dark side: Pocket holes are really useful in cabinet making because you’re joining a lot of sheet goods like plywood together with butt joints.

Pocket holes also have the advantage of being very simple to make with off-the-shelf jigs like the Kreg Jig, a system I’ve used a lot and like. Another advantage is that you can join plywood together from the inside or backside of something and it doesn’t show on the front face, leaving a very polished look without all the complication of other methods.

If you’re new to woodworking, also know that you’ll want to use a good wood glue like Titebond Original. The pocket hole screws will let you assemble your cabinets quickly, but really they’re giving the glue time to set. Wood glue will actually have more holding power than your fasteners once cured.

Tiny House Cabinet Tips:

tiny house cabinet tips

Don’t Forget Your Material Thickness

Many new DIYers will take measurements and forget that the plywood they have takes up space too. Generally, people are building cabinets with ¾-inch thick plywood.

Consider The Space Drawer Slides Take Up

Much like with materials, people sometimes forget to account for the space a drawer slider takes up on either side of your drawers. A nice upgrade is to get under-mount slides which cost a bit more, but look nicer.

Consider The Dimension Of Odd Shaped Items

Something that can really mess you up is not planning for things like pan handles, tall mops and brooms, and oddly shaped counter top appliances. Take inventory of everything you’ll need to find space for and plan accordingly.

Choose A Coating That’s Super Easy To Clean

You want a really durable finish on your cabinet that also wipes down well. Different paint finishes or doing a clear seal coat can help with this.

Mount Your Sink Faucet To The Side

If you’re in a tight space, consider mounting the faucet to the side of your sink. Typically, the faucet is mounted behind the sink on the counter right in the middle. This adds to the required depth needed. I chose a single basin sink with a larger faucet head that could reach to the middle of the sink when mounted to the side.

Only Mount Wall Cabinets On Required Walls

Adding wall cabinets can break up a space and leave it feeling less open because it reduces the sight lines in a tiny home. I try to only mount these on my exterior wall or on a wall that’s required, like the outside of the bathroom wall.

Don’t Forget The Trash Can

I made this mistake, so take it from me: You want a pull-out trash can as one of your cabinets.

Your Turn!

  • What kind of tiny house cabinet design are you considering?

Why You Need To Be Using Propane In Your Tiny House

Why You Need To Be Using Propane In Your Tiny House

why use propane in a tiny houseMany people look to propane in their tiny house because it’s a practical way to heat, cook, and generate power. It’s also widely available and pretty affordable to boot, while the broad array of propane appliances and applications makes it practical, especially if you’re living off the grid.

NAVIGATION

Why You Should Use Propane In A Tiny House

why you should use propane in a tiny house

As I mentioned, propane is an ideal way to run your tiny house mainly because of three things: It’s practical, portable, and affordable. When I first started designing my tiny home, I hesitated when it came to propane because it’s a non-renewable fossil fuel. But after crunching the numbers, it was the only realistic way I was going to be able to go off grid.

Propane is Practical In A Tiny House

Propane is Practical In A Tiny House

Propane is a very versatile accelerant when compared to what else is out there. A gallon of propane is equivalent to about 27 kilowatt-hours, which is a lot especially for the density. You can get a lot of use out of a small amount with minimal downsides and, all in all, it’s pretty safe.

solar power for tiny housesIf you want to live off the grid, you’ll quickly realize that propane is the only practical way to do so. People often have aspirations of getting by entirely on solar power or using firewood, and while both have their place, they also have practical limits.

When planning, I drew up budgets for my solar array with two scenarios: one using propane, the other avoiding propane. The difference in system costs was an additional $60,000 for panels and batteries that do not need propane. I have been living off the grid using a mixture of solar power and propane for over eight years now. Trust me when I say that propane needs to be part of the mix.

Propane Is Portable

Propane Is Portable

The portability of propane is a really nice feature and makes it even more practical. I use 20 lb. propane tanks to do everything with my tiny house. At that size I can easily carry them around and swap out empty tanks. I can also quickly load up the tanks in my car when it comes time to fill up.

Propane In A Tiny House Is Affordable

Propane In A Tiny House Is Affordable

Because 20 lb. tanks are so widely available, they’re easy to find at a price that won’t break the bank. All in, I spend about $100 a year in propane for everything. I cook a lot, grill a lot, take long showers, and more. In general, I set aside $15 a month to cover propane costs including the cost to retire and replace tanks when they get too old over time.

How Much Propane Does A Tiny House Use?

How Much Propane Does A Tiny House Use

Like I said, I use 20 lb. propane tanks to do everything with my tiny house and have eight tanks in total. That includes one tank for my gas stove top and hot water heater, one for my outdoor gas grill, one for my outdoor shower in the summer, and one for my back up heater, plus backup tanks.

heating a tiny houseI only get propane once a year, so eight tanks is perfect for my needs. Typically I use one 20 lb. tank every three months for cooking and heating water, for a total of four per year. I use one or two for supplementary heat per year. Then my grill uses two or three per year. My eight tanks usually last me about a year, give or take.

Keep in mind that I cook three square meals a day, every day. I also love taking long hot showers, and on workout days, that may mean two showers per day. I also love to grill, so three to four nights a week I grill out. Depending on your needs and preferences, you may use more or less.

How To Install Propane In A Tiny House

How To Install Propane In A Tiny House

My general advice is to leave this one to the professionals. Hiring a plumber to run your gas lines in your tiny house will run you around $1,000 all in and, in my mind, that’s money well spent. However, if you want to try installing it yourself, I have a few suggestions.

Tiny House Propane Diagram

Tiny House Propane Diagram

tiny house propane delivery system diagram

Keep Your Propane Lines As Simple As Possible

Keep Your Propane Lines As Simple As Possible

The fewer connections and junctions in your propane lines, the fewer places there are for gas to leak. My suggestion is to centralize your propane lines to one end of the house, use an exterior mounted tankless hot water heater, and have your stove top right on the other side of the wall where that tankless heather is.

This keeps most of the gas lines outside of your house and shortens the runs for your gas lines.

Test All Your Connections By Spraying Soapy Water

Test All Your Connections By Spraying Soapy Water

Once you have your system set up, make sure you check each and every connection by spraying a mixture of water and dish soap. This will get your connections all sudsy and, if there is a leak with the gas turned on, you’ll see small bubbles form.

Have A Gas Leak Detector

Have A Gas Leak Detector

In addition to your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector, you should consider having a gas leak detector like this one off Amazon for only $20.

Tiny House Appliances To Run On Propane

Tiny House Appliances To Run On Propane

There are different appliances you can consider running with propane in your tiny house. I mainly run my hot water heater and cooktop, but I’ve talked with different tiny house folks to get them to weigh in on the suggestions below.

Tiny House Propane Heaters

Tiny House Propane Heaters

I use propane as a backup for heating in my tiny house. Since I live off the grid, there are times that I’m running low on power in my battery bank. This is particularly the case in the winter, since the days are so short.

I use a Mr. Heater Propane Radiant Heater that I’ve had for years now and works really well. These are specifically designed to be used indoors and include a low oxygen sensor shutoff and a tip over shut off.

The one downside is also the major upside. It is designed to be unvented, so it’s super simple to setup, but if you don’t know, propane heaters like this put off a lot of moisture into the air — about 32 ounces of water per gallon of propane burned.

The other option is the Dickson Propane Fireplace. This one is pretty expensive, but it’s the only heater I found that is low enough BTUs for my tiny house AND is direct vent. That makes it a big winner in my book.

portable propane heater
wall mounted propane heater
tiny home propane heater
propane heater in tiny house

How Many BTUs To Heat A Tiny House: 4,000-6,000 BTUs

This is highly dependent on your climate, but for my climate in NC, where the winter can get down into the 20s and 30s at night, 4,000 BTUs is just about right, and sometimes even too much.

Propane Hot Water Heaters For A Tiny House

Propane Hot Water Heaters For A Tiny House

I love, love, love my tankless hot water heater and the gas options make it so simple. I’ve talked about my tankless hot water heater for my tiny house before, and also how I don’t recommend the popular RV-500. If you’ve never had a tankless before, they’re great. Endless hot water yet much smaller and lighter than traditional tanked versions, which is a huge plus.

tiny house tankless hot water heaters

Rinnai
V53DeP
Precision Temp RV-550 Eco Temp
L5
Eco Temp
L10
Rheem
RTEX-11
Rinnai V53DeP Precision Temp RV-550 Eco Temp L5 Eco Temp L10 Rheem RTEX-11
My Ranking
Flow Rate 5.3 GPM 1.5 GPM 1.5 GPM 2.9 GPM 2.68 GPM
Energy Type Propane/Natural Gas Propane Propane Propane Propane
Why Consider Best performance and build quality Good option for 12-volt systems Great for outdoor showers Budget friendly with good functionality Super compact
Who Is It Best For General and off-grid water heating RVs Weekend cabins and seasonal outdoor showers Budget-minded tiny house folks Those on the grid
Price $550 $1,195 $129 $349 $275
BUY NOW BUY NOW BUY NOW BUY NOW BUY NOW

tiny house hot water heater comparison

Tiny House Propane Cook Tops And Stoves

Tiny House Propane Cook Tops And Stoves

I’ve used just about every kind of cooktop out there and if I wasn’t off the grid, I’m not sure what I’d choose between an induction, glass top, or gas range. I’ve used all three and liked them all.

That said, my tiny house has a propane cook top, which is made by Verona. I chose that one because it was one of the few two-burner models out there. The funny thing is that it’s not meant to be used as a main cooktop, rather as a secondary one, but I was able to buy it stand-alone and it’s worked out great!

tiny home propane cooktop
propane cooktop in tiny house
small kitchen poropane cooktop
propane cooktop

tiny house kitchen inspiration

Tiny House Propane Fireplaces

Tiny House Propane Fireplaces

Some people really like having the look of a fireplace without all the ash and smoke. For me, I found that a nice Wood Wick candle will bathe my entire house in a very soothing light that I love. There are also nice small wood stove options out there, the Dickerson Marine Stove, and then various gas inserts you can choose from.

The hardest part here is finding one that is small enough and with a blower that doesn’t take too much power. Venting is also a concern, because the flue pipe sometimes is required to be quite big to vent properly.

propane fireplace in tiny home
advantages of propane fireplace
tiny house gas fireplace
tiny home propane fireplace
small propane fireplace
propane fireplace

tiny house heating options

Propane Generators For A Tiny House

Propane Generators For Tiny Houses

If I could do one thing differently about my solar panel system, it would be to have a backup propane generator be part of the system. I may still do this because my inverter actually can sense when the batteries are low and automatically start the generator to run until the batteries are topped off and then shut down.

generac generator

Generac 6998 Guardian Series 7.5kW – Propane Generator

Generac is one of the top brands of standby generators on the market and a 7.5 kW generator is a great size to power almost everything in your tiny house without any sacrifices. Connected to your existing LP or natural gas fuel supply, it kicks in within seconds of sensing power loss automatically and runs for as long as necessary until utility power returns.

Kohler Generator

Kohler 6 kW Generator – 6VSG – Propane Generator

The generator made for renewable energy, including solar power or other remote applications. The KOHLER 6VSG battery-charging generator efficiently charges battery banks when renewable energy sources can’t keep up with demand. If your battery charge drops below a pre-set level, the 6VSG charges it automatically.

Briggs and Stratton Generator

Briggs & Stratton 40626 12kW – Propane Generator

Standby generators offer a new upgraded control system that features multi-line text and graphics, programmable exercise times, and a low-speed idle mode to save fuel and reduce noise. A new automatic voltage regulator communicates directly with the controller to help optimize generator performance and deliver tighter voltage control.

Your Turn!

  • How are you planning on using propane in your tiny house?

What I Wish I Knew About Tiny House Siding

What I Wish I Knew About Tiny House Siding

tiny house siding

Tiny house siding is one of those things that can have a huge impact on the look and maintenance of your tiny home in the long term. When I built my tiny house, I sided it with cedar clapboard siding and, while I’m pretty happy with it, I wish I had known about other tiny house siding options.

NAVIGATION

Choosing The Right Tiny House Siding Material

choosing the right siding material

In this case, I don’t think there is necessarily a “best” siding material, but there certainly is a “right for me” material. The two biggest factors are the right style for your home and what your budget is.

choosing the best siding for your tiny house

Tiny House Siding Styles

Tiny House Siding Styles

how to build a tiny houseWhen it comes to tiny houses, the biggest mistake I see people make from a design perspective is not choosing a design aesthetic and sticking to it. People often have a list of “cool ideas” from Pinterest and the mashup creates a Frankenstein house that doesn’t look good.

Before I’m accused of being a purist, let me say that I’m less concerned about adhering to tradition and more concerned about a practical design that works well. The various traditional styles of houses have developed over time because they were practical to their climate. The materials they use are suited to their climate, they’re organized in a practical way for low maintenance, and they stand on their own as a design style because they’ve been iterated to a point where they are visually appealing.

A Spanish villa has adobe walls and a clay tile roof, not because it looks good, but because it’s very practical for that environment: a hot, dry climate where heat is a bigger concern than water or cold winters. Colonial homes, on the other hand, have clean, simple lines and are often just a box shape with not a lot of decorations. This is because when settlers built them, they were simple to build for a practical life in a British colony where everyday life was difficult and resources were scarce.

Tiny House Siding Costs

Tiny House Siding Costs

Price is the main thing most people concern themselves with and for good reason—siding can be expensive and most of us are on a budget. I always say that your roof and your trailer are places you should always buy the best, even if you have to make some sacrifices in other areas. After that, I’d say prioritize windows and doors, and then finally insulation and siding.

Your siding is one of the largest exterior surfaces of your tiny home, so you want to make a good decision because it requires a good bit of upkeep and it protects your sheathing and wall framing. Luckily, because a tiny house is so small, you can buy some pretty high-quality siding materials and it won’t add up to much cost.

For example, cedar siding would normally cost an exorbitant sum of money for a traditional home, but for my tiny house, I spent about $1,000 to trim out and side my entire house in it. Check out my tiny house cost guide to see more about what expenses you can factor into your build.

Life Expectancy (yrs) Cost Per Sq/Ft Cost/Year Ratio
Pine Wood Siding 10 $3 .3
Fir Wood Siding 15 $4 .26
Cedar Wood Siding 20 $6 .3
LP SmartSide 20 $3.50 .175
Hardie Board 30 $4 .13
T1-11 20 $1 .05
Vinyl Siding 30 $.85 .02
Corrugated Metal Siding 40 $1.25 .03
Standing Seam Metal 50 $5 .1
Aluminum Siding 30 $4 .1

tiny house siding costs table

Tiny House Siding Options

tiny house siding options

Hopefully you’ve narrowed down your options for your siding based on your budget and your house style, but I thought I’d break down the different options for siding your tiny home. When choosing cladding, while material and cost are big factors, you also want to consider how much your siding weighs, how durable it is, how easy it is to install, and more.

Average Lifespan Cost Per Sq/Ft Weight Per Sq/Ft Ease of Install Durability Bug/Mold Resistance Fastening Method
Pine Wood Siding 10 $3 .3 Stainless Nail
Fir Wood Siding 15 $4 .26 Stainless Nail
Cedar Wood Siding 20 $6 .3 Stainless Nail
LP SmartSide 20 $3.50 .175 Hot Dipped / Stainless
Hardie Board 30 $4 .13 Hot Dipped / Stainless
T1-11 20 $1 .05 Hot Dipped / Stainless
Vinyl Siding 30 $.85 .02 Hot Dipped / Stainless
Corrugated Metal Siding 40 $1.25 .03 Hex Screw w/EPDM Washer
Standing Seam Metal 50 $5 .1 Coated Exterior / Stainless
Aluminum Siding 30 $4 .1 Hot Dipped

siding options table

Pine Wood Siding

Pine Wood Siding

Pine Wood Siding
lowest cost
pine wood siding
Lifespan 10 Years
Cost per Sq/Ft $3
Weight per Sq/Ft 1.5 lbs
Ease of Install
Durability
Bug Resistance
Fastening Method Stainless Nail

Pine board is about the cheapest siding option you’re going to get outside of T1-11. This lap siding can last about 10 to 15 years if you install it properly and give it regular maintenance. This siding is great for a more traditional look, and lap siding performs really well.

Since pine is prone to rotting if not installed or dried properly, it’s recommended that you stain or paint all sides of your siding before installing, including exposed sides from any cuts you make. Additionally, a rain screen is a great idea to help keep both sides of the siding dry.

It’s also important to note that the cell structure of pine makes it a wood that is less stable. This means that it’s more prone to movement, warping, and twisting.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Widely available
  • Easy to work with

CONS

  • Doesn’t last as long as some options
  • Prone to rot and bug damage
  • Soft wood marks and dents easily

Douglas Fir Wood Siding

Douglas Fir Wood Siding

Douglas Fir Wood Siding
douglas fir wood siding
Lifespan 15 Years
Cost per Sq/Ft $4
Weight per Sq/Ft 1.8 lbs
Ease of Install
Durability
Bug Resistance
Fastening Method Stainless Nail

Douglas fir siding is a slight bump in cost over pine board siding, but has a few minor advantages. The main one being that when comparing similar grades of wood, Douglas fir has a tighter grain structure and more stable grain lines. This means the siding will be a bit more durable and less prone to warp and twist.

As a more stable wood option, it will be easier to work with because you’ll have less work to flex the siding into alignment as you hang it. It’s important to note that all wood will have movement, will warp, and can twist, but fir is less likely to and when it does, it’s usually not as drastic.

In most cases, the price difference will be minimal or possibly negligible, so this is usually an easy upgrade.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Less wood movement than pine
  • Easy to install
  • Widely available

CONS

  • Doesn’t last as long as some options
  • Prone to rot
  • Prone to bug damage
  • Not as durable as some other options

Cedar Wood Siding

Cedar Wood Siding

Cedar Wood Siding
cedar wood siding
Lifespan 20 Years
Cost per Sq/Ft $6
Weight per Sq/Ft 1.6 lbs
Ease of Install
Durability
Bug Resistance
Fastening Method Stainless Nail

Cedar siding is probably your best bet if you want to have wood siding. While I’m usually pretty insistent that your exteriors should be metal or composites, cedar is the next best thing if you can’t afford those options.

Cedar wood in naturally rot and bug resistant, however I’ve found that carpenter bees really love my cedar fascia boards on my tiny house. Overall, though, I’ve found that my cedar siding has held up really well. After 7 years, I decided to sand my entire house down and re-stain it. The whole process took about 25 hours of sanding and then about 2 hours to stain it again.

Cedar is more expensive, but if you’re going to go with wood, it’s the best option. I spent around $1,000 for my siding and trim. If I were to do it all again, I’d go with Hardie board, even though doing so would change the aesthetic of my tiny house a lot—right now it’s a craftsman feel, which I love.

PROS

  • Bug and rot resistant
  • Longer lasting than other woods
  • Easy to work with

CONS

  • Most expensive of wood options
  • Not totally bug resistant
  • Still requires maintenance

LP SmartSide

LP SmartSide

LP Smartside Siding
best value
lp smartside
Lifespan 20 Years
Cost per Sq/Ft $3.50
Weight per Sq/Ft 2.5 lbs
Ease of Install
Durability
Bug Resistance
Fastening Method Hot Dipped

LP SmartSide Siding is a new player on the market just in the past year or so, and I feel like it’s something to keep an eye on. My hesitation with it is the fact that it’s still made of a wood material, though it has been treated and processed to be much more durable.

In all honesty, I’m not sure it’s worth the up charge, because it falls prey to many of the downsides of wood and is less forgiving when it gets wet. It’s roughly 10-15% cheaper than Hardie board but doesn’t have the same extensive warranty.

I’ll set aside the issue of actually getting the companies to hold up their side of the bargain in warranty claims, as that’s a whole can of worms in its own right. That said, LP SmartSide siding has a 5/50 year warranty, meaning it’s a full-coverage warranty for the first 5 years, then is prorated down 2.2% each year after that.

Hardie board comes with a flat 30-year warranty without any tricky math, which I think says a lot about the quality, even if it can be difficult to get either company to handle warranty claims. For 10-15% more, Hardie seems the way to go for me.

PROS

  • Longer lasting than traditional wood
  • Reasonable cost vs performance
  • Manufactured good is more stable
  • Has a warranty

CONS

  • Still made of wood product
  • Newer on the market
  • Price might not be worth it
  • Special order item

Hardie Board / Cement Board Siding

Hardie Board

Hardie Board Siding
ryans choice
hardie board siding
Lifespan 20 Years
Cost per Sq/Ft $4
Weight per Sq/Ft 2.3 lbs
Ease of Install
Durability
Bug Resistance
Fastening Method Hot Dipped

Hardie Board is my personal recommendation because the material is very durable, is manufactured for a crisp finish, and is a very stable material. If you live in areas with wildfires, this siding is also rated to be fire resistant in addition to being very resistant to bug damage.

Hardie board (and the competition’s version of cement board) blends cement, fine sand, wood fibers, and water to make its substrate. I’ve heard from a lot of home owners with this that they love this siding. There are some particulars on installation that you need to get right, but if you do, this siding will last you for decades.

What is more, they now offer pre-painted boards that are factory applied which is significantly more durable than being hand-painted even with high-quality paints. These pre-painted board reduce a ton of time on labor and are painted on all sides, meaning that while there is a higher cost for the product itself, the cost savings of not requiring house painters can meanbreaking even or saving money on your build.

The downsides are that it is more expensive than most options, it can be more difficult to cut because of the cement, and it’s also one of the heavier siding options.

pro tipHardie board comes in standard lap siding, board and batten, large sheets, and trim pieces so you can use it on almost any tiny house design style.

PROS

  • Very durable
  • Long lasting
  • Bug and rot resistant
  • Factory painted option available

CONS

  • More expensive than most
  • More difficult to work with and to cut
  • Requires respirator while cutting
  • Heavier than other options

T1-11 Siding

t111 siding

T1-11 Siding
t111 siding
Lifespan 20 Years
Cost per Sq/Ft $1
Weight per Sq/Ft 1.8 lbs
Ease of Install
Durability
Bug Resistance
Fastening Method Hot Dipped

If you don’t know what this product is, it’s essentially made of wood pulp with some bonding agent that’s treated and coated into a 4 by 8-foot sheet. This stuff was popular in the 80s but has since fallen out of use. It’s very inexpensive and since it comes in sheets, you can clad a tiny house very quickly.

I’ll just be blunt here: T1-11 is a bad idea for so many reasons. It is very popular for sheds because it’s cheap, and while T1-11 and its modern equivalents have certainly progressed in many ways over the years, it’s still a poor choice.

The companies selling these products will make some pretty big claims about its ability to deal with moisture. But I’ve found that this stuff quickly rots, molds, and falls apart when in contact with moisture. In fact, I’ve seen this happen enough times that I’d never use the stuff.

PROS

  • Inexpensive
  • Covers a lot of area quickly
  • Widely available

CONS

  • Prone to moisture damage
  • Fake wood look
  • Not very durable

Vinyl Siding

vinyl siding

Vinyl Siding
vinyl siding
Lifespan 30 Years
Cost per Sq/Ft $.85
Weight per Sq/Ft .45 lbs
Ease of Install
Durability
Bug Resistance
Fastening Method Hot Dipped

Vinyl siding is an attractive option for tiny houses because it’s affordable, it’s very light weight, and — being a composite — it doesn’t rot like wood. There have been many tiny homes built with vinyl siding because of all these reasons, but one major drawback is that it’s prone to coming loose while driving down the road as you tow your tiny house.

The light-weight nature of vinyl siding has some big advantages. For one, the price comes in as one of the most affordable options, letting you side your tiny home for as little as $600. Compare that to cedar siding which would be about $1,000 for the same house or Hardie board for $1,600.

That said, this is one place where I’d rather save up to get top of the line given the difference between the cheapest option (vinyl) and the premium option (Hardie board) is only $1,000. I’m a big proponent of spending money in certain places while saving in others, and this is one place I’d delay building to save up for the better option if I had to.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Very affordable
  • Rot resistant

CONS

  • Can come off while towing
  • Has been known to melt or mildew
  • Less premium feel

Corrugated Metal Siding

Corrugated Metal Siding

Corrugated Metal Siding
corrugated siding
Lifespan 40 Years
Cost per Sq/Ft $1.25
Weight per Sq/Ft 1.2 lbs
Ease of Install
Durability
Bug Resistance
Fastening Method Hex Screw

This is an interesting option because corrugated metal sheets are extremely durable, large so you can cover big areas quickly, andvery affordable. These panels also have the benefit of being bug and rot resistant and will protect your home in wildfires if your local code requires that.

Most of these panels are now galvanized and will not rust for a very long time, though some people prefer the rust for a weathered look. The two downsides are that it can be hard to cut because it’s metal and, because it can be a condensing surface, a rain screen is a must.

You’ll want to use EPDM washer screws which should last you 10 years or so, at which time they’ll need to be replaced. However, these aren’t totally necessary because it’s a vertical surface, and with a good rainscreen you should be fine.
This type of cladding definitely falls into the modern category, or maybe a rustic ranch look.

PROS

  • Very affordable
  • Very durable
  • Covers a large area quickly
  • Fire, rot, and bug resistant

CONS

  • Can be tricky to cut
  • Works with specific design styles
  • Requires a rain screen
  • Condensing surface could lead to moisture issues

Standing Seam Metal Siding

standing seam metal siding

Standing Seam Metal Siding
most durable
standing seam metal siding
Lifespan 50 Years
Cost per Sq/Ft $5
Weight per Sq/Ft 1.3 lbs
Ease of Install
Durability
Bug Resistance
Fastening Method Stainless Nail

If I were building a very modern looking house, this would be my siding of choice for both the roof and the siding of my tiny home. Standing seam is a very durable and high-quality material that has all the benefits of corrugated metalbut with a cleaner look and the added benefit of being a hidden fastener attachment, meaning that there are no fastener holes exposed for water to leak in through.

Because this is metal, moisture condensing on a cool side is something you need to manage for, so I’d suggest a great rain screen with enough space for air to dry behind your metal walls.

The downsides to this is that it’s one of the most expensive options out there and I’ve found that it often requires professional installation. If you have a very simple install (read: a perfect square box) then it may be possible to do yourself, but most of the trim is often custom made to make sure it fits tightly.

PROS

  • Clean lines
  • Very durable – 50 years
  • Covers a large area quickly
  • Fire, rot, and bug resistant

CONS

  • Very expensive
  • Hard to work with
  • May require professional installers
  • Special order item

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum Siding
aluminum siding
Lifespan 40 Years
Cost per Sq/Ft $4
Weight per Sq/Ft 1.2 lbs
Ease of Install
Durability
Bug Resistance
Fastening Method Hot DIpped

This has largely fallen by the wayside, because while there are a lot of benefits, the cost/benefit ratio just doesn’t seem to be there. At this cost, it’s only a little cheaper than standing seam metal and it’s the same cost as Hardie board.

While it is lightweight and durable, I’d say it’s best to look elsewhere.

aluminum siding on house

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Bug and rot resistant

CONS

  • Higher cost
  • Less availability at local stores
  • May require professional installation

Siding Design Styles

siding design styles for a tiny house

You have several choices in the design style of your tiny house siding. Here are some of the popular styles you’ll find.

lap sidingLap Siding

bead and board sidingBoard and Batten Siding

clapboard sidingClapboard Siding

cedar shake sidingCedar Shake Siding

scalloped sidingScalloped Siding

corrugated metal sidingCorrugated Metal Siding

standing seam metal sidingStanding Seam Metal Siding

dutch lap sidingDutch Lap Siding

beaded sidingBeaded Siding


Low Maintenance Exterior Options For Tiny Houses

low maintenence exterior options for a tiny house

One of the big questions with any exterior siding is what’s the expected maintenance, as many people are looking for options that will be a low-maintenance option. The best advice I can give you is to consider options that are composites or coated metals.

Another factor to consider is your environment. Is your house located under a tree that drops sap, leaves, or needles? Is your climate particularly rainy or brutally hot? If so, be sure to consider these factors.

You also want to make sure that your tiny home design helps protect the siding with good overhangs. I’d suggest at least one-foot overhangs on your tiny home.

Finally, you want to be sure that the ground around the base of your home has gravel and drains well. Having gravel from your house edge out about two feet will help prevent water from hardpan developing and thus reduce back splash onto your siding. Where possible, have your house’s trailer mounted up at least one foot off the ground.

Siding Maintenance Chart

Siding Maintenance Chart

tiny house siding maintenance chart

Exterior Trim

exterior trim options for a tiny house

Trim pieces are the elements that frame the actual siding. Your doors, windows, and corners of the house are traditionally “trimmed out” first, then your siding is added from the bottom up.

Exterior Trim Material Options

exterior trim material options

You have several options for the material that you trim your house with. In general, you’ll want to use the same type of material you side your house with, but there may not be options available or they may be hard to find.

If you do have to mix siding and trim materials, you’re going to want to be sure your paint looks the same and account for variation in expansion and contraction coefficient. For example, metal will expand differently than wood when it gets hot.

Wood Trim

PROS

  • Least expensive
  • Widely available
  • Easy to work with

CONS

  • Prone to rot
  • Not super durable
  • Prone to bug infiltration

Fiber Cement Trim

PROS

  • Long lasting
  • Low maintenance
  • More stable

CONS

  • Higher cost
  • Special order item
  • Difficult to work with

Cellular PVC Trim

PROS

  • Long lasting
  • Low maintenance
  • Widely available

CONS

  • More costly
  • Prone to expansion/contraction
  • May take paint differently than wood
[Ron this image was from the how to build book page 151]

Door Casing

Door Casing

door and window casingAfter you’ve framed out your door’s rough opening, you’re going to drop in your door frame and shim it. At that point, you’ll want to trim out the door so it looks presentable and allows you to have a clean edge to butt your siding up against.

Window Trim

Window Trim

Your window trim is handled the same way your door is. After dropping your window into the rough opening, flashing, and shimming it, you’ll want to trim out by framing the window. There are several different styles and approaches to this, so consider what works best for your tiny home. Also note that there are different decorative ways to trim your windows, so consider what would be right for you and your home’s design.

Corner Trim

Corner Trim

You have three main ways to trim out your corners: butt joints, miter joints, or routed corner molding. A butt joint is very simple, where you just put one board over the end of the other—this is what I did. Just make sure you have your overlapping pieces all on the long side of your house or all on the short side of your house, so when you stand back it looks consistent.

A miter joint can make things look a little nicer, but requires a little more work and can be finnicky. The last option is a router molding piece that’s going be made of a single piece of flat stock, but has the back side of the trim piece routed out so it can cover the corner like a cap.

butt jointButt Joint

miter jointMiter Joint

rounded corner jointRounded Corner Joint


tiny house roof

Drip Edge

Drip Edge

Drip edge is one of those things I somehow didn’t know existed until after I was done with my own build and I wish I knew before. It’s very inexpensive and simple to install, but can greatly improve the longevity of other materials.

drip edge over window
window drip edge
drip edge on roof
roof drip edge

How To Install Tiny House Siding

how to install tiny house siding

There are many details when it comes to installing your siding, but I wanted to cover the basics here because there are a few points that are kind of counter intuitive.

Step 1: Check sheathing is sealed & weather barrier is properly installed

Step 2: Prime all sides of your siding, including backside

Step 3: Trim your corners, windows, doors, and penetrations

Step 4: Cut siding to fit, then paint fresh cut edges before installing

Step 5: Mark siding increments on either end where siding will be installed

Step 6: Install starter strip at bottom first, making sure it’s perfectly level

Step 7: Work bottom to top, each layer covering top of previous board

Step 8: Once you work your way to top, finish off top with frieze board

Step 9: Caulk edges and joints to manufacturers specifications

Step 10: Seal with a final coat of paint


tiny house tools

Reclaimed Wood Siding

reclaimed wood siding

Reclaimed siding is a great way to reduce landfill waste and possibly save money. Reclaiming wood siding is a very labor-intensive process and it can be difficult to find enough of similar proportioned wood to side an entire house.

Before you go this route, consider the time that it will take to strip down all the boards, clean them up, and other steps that might be too much work. It’s also not always without cost: you may have to pay for the materials if you have to buy them (even with a good deal). Then you’ll have to factor in consumables like sanding discs or tools to process them like a sander, or maybe even a wood planer.

Your Turn!

  • What are you considering for your tiny house siding?
  • What tiny house siding tips can your share?

Tiny House Office Setup Guide: Work from Home in a Small Space

Tiny House Office Setup Guide: Work from Home in a Small Space

tiny house office

With more and more people working from home these days, I’ve been asked about my tiny house office—how do I stay productive? How do I work from home in a small space?

One of the biggest things that attracted me to tiny houses and simple living in the first place was having more control over how I worked and earned a living. I wanted the flexibility with my time that a remote job and financial freedom could bring.

But remote work from a tiny house isn’t without challenges. Planning and organization make all the difference. Here’s how I set up my tiny house office, and a realistic overview of how to create a small workspace that works!

My Tiny House Office: How I Stay Productive

How I Stay Productive in my tiny house office

I’ve been working from home for over a decade now—being self-employed, I don’t have an employer that I visit. That means I don’t have to leave my tiny house (ever) if I don’t want to. While this control over my work location is excellent, I’ve discovered over the years that working from a tiny house office is HARD.

To be totally candid, I don’t always work from my “tiny house office.” I often work from either a coffee shop or a coworking space. I like the shift of being able to go into a designated workspace when I need to be productive. But that said, it’s not always realistic. There are times when I need to work from home, like when the weather’s bad or if I only have a few things to do, so I’m free the rest of the day to spend how I see fit.

Working Remotely In A Tiny House

working remotely in a tiny house

If you live in a tiny house on wheels, you may also be working remotely from the road. The freedom and flexibility of the tiny life allow you to work from anywhere you want in the world. Plus, a tiny house means fewer bills. You can live on less. But of course, you still need to find a way to earn something, which often means working remotely in one form or another.

I know many people who switched to a work-at-home job when they downsized to a tiny house just because they wanted to change their lifestyle. Some people are willing to take significant pay cuts to enjoy that quality of life.

The thing about tiny houses is that the space is very limited, so you will rarely see a dedicated tiny house office. Often it will be a desk or workplace set up on a countertop, in a closet, or on a drop-leaf table on the wall. Because you’re trying to maximize your productivity (and minimize your work time), you must keep your tiny house office organized, no matter the setup.

Elements of a Good Tiny Home Office

elements of a good tiny house office

There are certain elements that every great office has, no matter the size. It’s essential that you incorporate these features in your tiny house office because it will make a practical, functional space. If you want to get the most accomplished and own your schedule, you’ll need to create an office space designed with everything you need.

Here’s what I suggest when you set up your small space office.

Desk or Workspace

Desk or Workspace in a tiny house

If you’re spending 8 hours a day on work, you should have a designated space to work in. Having a desk is crucial. Many people are comfortable working from a laptop on their lap for a few hours per day, but if you’re working full time, this position can begin to take a toll on your back. Generally, you’ll need a desk and perhaps even a standing desk solution so you can enjoy the benefits of healthy ergonomics while working.

You’ll need a desk that’s big enough for your computer and screen, and that is large enough to accommodate the work you do. If you use a lot of paper for your job, you may need a bigger desktop.

CHOOSE A DESK TYPE

  • Wall-mounted
  • Fold-away
  • Seated desk
  • Standing desk
  • Adjustable height desk
  • Lap desk

BUILDING A WALL-MOUNTED DESK

Making your own dropleaf desk is simple

  1. Determine the size desk you want and location.
  2. Purchase the right-size fold-down brackets.
  3. Choose your desktop material.
  4. Cut desktop material to size.
  5. Determine the height and mount brackets.
  6. Attach desktop.

Natural Light

natural light in atiny house office

I really like natural light, so I have a lot of windows in my house. Believe it or not, I have 21 windows in my 150 square foot tiny home! I also love working outside. My outdoor home office often consists of a setup on my picnic table in my patio area. I feel more focused with sunlight, and it definitely helps boost my mood.
natural light in a tiny house office

Comfortable Seating

Comfortable Seating for a small office space

Again, this is where some people think it’s feasible to work from anywhere in any position. Often an office chair seems like an unnecessary investment, but if you’re working for several hours a day, you need to be comfortable, even in a small space. Look into the best ergonomic office chair you can find, with plenty of lumbar support. A comfortable chair is well worth the investment (and you can always use it as extra seating in your home).
tiny house office comfortable seating

Storage

storage space in a tiny house office

tiny house stoarge ideasI keep a minimalist office. I don’t use a lot of paper or extra items. I easily store most files within my computer. Depending on your work line, it’s important to plan enough storage and space to have room for all the items you need to do your job well.

If your job requires books, files, or certain supplies that aren’t digitized, be sure to plan room for what you need. Be realistic about the items you need to keep (especially paper) and form a plan to store the items and keep them organized.

Power

tiny house electric power outlets

tiny house electricalIf you’re building your tiny house, it’s crucial to plan plenty of power outlets wherever you think you will need them. Since you’re building your house to suit your needs, you have control over the placement, especially if you’re doing the building. So take advantage of the situation to add plenty of outlets. You don’t want to string cords around your house, especially if floor space is limited.

Also, consider the amount of power you will need to use work equipment. If you’re using solar off-grid, you’ll need to be sure you’re powering enough to charge all your devices, run the lighting you need, and accommodate any resources like a printer.

Internet Connection

internet connection in a tiny home office

We live in a world where almost all information is in the cloud and can be accessed remotely. Having internet access means you can travel around and still do your work. Internet access is vital, especially if you live in a tiny house on wheels or a skoolie. You’ll need to ensure you have a strong hotspot device so you can get internet from (almost) anywhere.

If you need details on setting up the internet in your tiny home, I’ve created a guide to off-grid internet access. This post will help you plan for internet access from your tiny home office.

off-grid internet for tiny houses

Lighting

tiny home office lighting

While natural light is essential to a productive workspace, there will be days when the sun isn’t shining (and, of course, nights, where you’ll need light too). For those times, you need to have good lighting for your workspace.
I have LED puck lights on my workspace, which keep the area bright and easy-to-use. Good lighting is vital to prevent eyestrain and stress. You’ll feel much better about your work when you can see well.

Wall Space

wall space in a tiny home office

tiny house office wall spaceDepending on the tiny house office space you have, it can be useful to have a whiteboard, calendar, or bulletin board on the wall. Again, it’s dependent on the work you do, but keeping important information front-and-center can help keep it from falling by the wayside.


My Tiny House Office Setup

my tiny house office setup

As I said before, I have a minimalist approach to working in my tiny house office, so I keep my setup simple—my computer, my phone, and sometimes my bullet journal. As you can see below, I often work outside, and other times I work inside my tiny house.

ryans backyard tiny house office
ryans tiny house office setup

While I don’t have many office supplies and equipment, I need a few things for my office. As with my tiny house furniture, I try to be very careful about what I purchase. I make sure I get exactly what I like, and I’m willing to spend more on high-quality. I’d rather buy an expensive item once than several inexpensive items over and over.

My Tiny House Office Equipment Recommendations

best home office laptop

Laptop: MSI Prestige 15 A10SC-010 15.6″ Ultra-Thin

Of course, you can get any laptop you like and feel comfortable using. Some people might prefer a MacBook, while others may have other brand-preferences. I encourage you to get a high-quality, lightweight laptop, especially if you plan to work in multiple locations. A Microsoft Surface or an iPad Pro can also be very valuable for remote work.


folding laptop stand

Folding Laptop Stand

Of all my work items, I get asked the most about my laptop stand. This simple design is inexpensive, folds flat, and allows you to change from a sitting to a standing desk in seconds. It works great for small spaces because it’s so easy to use and store.


logitech wireless mouse

Wireless Mouse

I, for one, am not a fan of the trackpads on most laptops. While they’re sufficient for using the internet, if you’re doing design work, organizing spreadsheets, or clicking around documents, it’s often worth it to invest in a wireless mouse. You’ll get greater precision, and it’s a little more user-friendly than most trackpads.


logitech bluetooth headset

Logitech Bluetooth Headset

For many of us, a big part of working remotely are video conferences and calls. Communication is essential when you’re working from a distance, so I suggest investing in a quality headset. The wireless aspect is excellent, so you aren’t tethered to your computer. If you need privacy and silence while you work, you may want to look into noise-canceling features too.


portable headset case

Headset Case

Should you invest in a headset, I suggest investing in a storage case, especially if you’re working on the go. This case is semi-waterproof, so it will protect your headphones if you take your tiny house office outdoors too.


bluetooth keyboard

Bluetooth Keyboard

Again, depending on your personal preferences, you may want to get a wireless keyboard. A detached keyboard is ideal for working in different positions, or if you work from a tablet and need a keyboard to be efficient. I type faster from different angles, so I like the remote keyboard when working on a document or post.


keyboard case

Keyboard Case

Like the headset case, the keyboard case protects your Bluetooth keyboard from damage and allows you to transport it when you’re on the go.


cellphone stand

Cell Phone Stand

When I’m working from my tiny home office, I like my cell phone front and center. I often add notes through my phone, take calls, listen to music, and more. Having a cell phone stand helps keep my phone screen in easy view while I work—no worries about it falling off a small desk or balancing it on my laptop.


Setting Up Your Tiny House Office: Ideas & Inspiration

tiny house office ideas and inspiration

Once you have the right components, your office is all about finding the setup that helps you work the most productively. For some, it might mean working outside sometimes. For others, a designated, organized office space (even small) may help you feel focused.

These tiny house offices have many great features and ideas. As you can see, they range from very simple to more complex setups. Hopefully, they give you a good idea of what you need for a great office in a small space.

tiny house home office ideas
tiny house office inspiration
inspiring tiny house office spaces
tiny home office photos
tiny house office ideas
tiny house office examples

Choosing a Spot for Your Tiny House Office

Choosing a Spot for Your Tiny House Office

Should you put your office in your loft? Work from your kitchen counter? While your space choices might be a bit more limited in a tiny house, I would suggest you do your best to strategically locate your tiny house office near a window. Getting the natural light will help you stay alert and focused while you work.

In these tiny home office examples, you can see how windows really make a small office feel expansive and much larger, whether it’s a loft office or a spot under the stairs.

where to set up your office in a tiny home
tiny home office with a view
office location in tiny home
office setup in tiny house
tiny home office location
office under stairs in tiny home
tiny house office location
tiny house stairs

Make Use of Any Space

Make Use of Any Space in your small office

With a drop leaf desk or a small table, you can turn almost any spot into a workspace. With most tasks on a laptop, you don’t need a huge space to get stuff accomplished. A small corner of your tiny home can make an excellent satellite office or work-from-home space.

space in a tiny house office
tiny home office space
organizing space in a tiny home office
making the best use of space in a tiny house office
making use of space in a tiny house office
how to build a tiny house

Office Nooks and Closets

tiny home office Office Nooks and Closets

The “cloffice” or closet-office has become a popular solution for working-from-home in any size space. Whether you have a small nook in your tiny house or want to convert a closet into an office space, you can easily do it with only a few adjustments. The nice aspect of an office nook is that you can tuck it away or close the doors when you aren’t working, especially if it’s a converted closet. Tucking your office away can help you shift out of work mode (something that’s so important if you’re trying to balance working from home).

Here are some examples of well-organized small office nooks.

tiny home office in small nook
office nook in tiny house
office set in tiny home closet
tiny house office in a closet nook

The other nice aspect of the “office nook” is that you will often have built-in shelving across the top of the desk. This allows you to organize books, files, or if you prefer, décor to create an inspiring and workable space.

small office nook
office nook in small house
tiny house office nook in closet space
small office setup in tiny house

Office Organization in a Small Space

office organiztion in a small space

As I said before, I take a very minimalist approach to working from home. This means I don’t have a lot of “stuff” tucked into drawers and setting around my workspace. But of course, my work doesn’t require a lot of accessories and office supplies either. If you engage in certain hobbies (like crafting) or you’re dealing with paper projects in your office, you may need some more robust organization.

Keep Your Desktop Clean and Tidy

Keep Your Desktop Clean and Tidy

One thing I love about the desk below is how neat and tidy the space is. The magazine organizers and file boxes blend in with the décor, making it feel uncluttered, even with a lot of stuff on the desk.

keep your desktop tidy and clean
designing your tiny house ebook

Use File Boxes to Corral Papers

Use File Boxes to Corral Papers

These file boxes and cabinets are excellent for keeping your papers hidden away. Paper clutter is the biggest issue for a tiny house office, so keeping it under control is crucial. I really like the roll-away printer too.

using file boxes to organize papers
corral papers with file boxes

Set Up a Designated Spot for Everything

Set Up a Designated Spot for Everything in your home office

Every item in your office should have a home and should be something you use. For example, sometimes we might think we need to have paper clips or a stapler on hand, just in case we need them. But if you rarely work with paper, then that’s another item to store. Pare down to precisely what you need for work, and then make sure each item has a home.

designated spots for storage in office
store office items in designated spots

The Backyard Tiny House Office: Setting Up a Satellite Office

backyard tiny house office

Recently, the idea of a tiny house AS an office has become quite popular. I see many people who are setting up small houses or even sheds as backyard office options. Should you consider a satellite office if you’re working from home?

There are a lot of pros to the idea of a tiny house office or a shed office. Now, if you’re new to the concept of the tiny house office, you might be thinking: can I use a shed as an office? How do I convert a shed into office space?

Some people have converted sheds into actual tiny homes. The legal aspects of living in a shed vary from place-to-place, but the advantage is that a shed is usually pre-built and not uncommon. People have them in their yards everywhere, and you usually don’t need a permit to set one up.

If you outfit a shed, a trailer, or a pre-fab tiny home with electricity, insulation, and lighting, you can easily convert it into a nice workspace. People like this option because it creates a clear boundary between home life and work life. You’re still “commuting” to a different spot to work, and it can help you shift your mindset into work mode.

If you have a tiny house already, a shed or trailer can work as a tiny satellite office. A separate office may be beneficial if you’re living with another person and need to focus and stay productive while you work.

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Working from home in a tiny house office comes with a few challenges, but it’s also very freeing. Many people dream of being able to work when they want and where they want. With today’s advances in technology and cultural shifts, working from home full or part-time is becoming more and more common.

If you’re able to embrace the flexible office lifestyle, make the most of it with a well-organized and user-friendly tiny home office.

Your Turn!

  • What’s your biggest work-from-home challenge?
  • What are your tiny home office must-haves?

Tiny House Furniture: A Room-by-Room Guide to the Furniture You Need for Your Tiny Home

Tiny House Furniture: A Room-by-Room Guide to the Furniture You Need for Your Tiny Home

tiny house furnitureIf you’re considering the tiny life, you may be wondering what tiny house furniture you will need for your new home. Can you use the furniture you already have? Should you rely solely on built-in items?

By and large, people mainly choose built-in tiny house furniture because it takes up less space. Tiny houses have unique margins and size constraints, so you’re limited with your furniture selection. If you have a tiny house on wheels, you’ll also need to ensure your furniture is tied down and secure because you don’t want it crashing around when you move.

TINY HOUSE FURNISHINGS BY ROOM