tiny house plans reviews

Here at The Tiny Life, we’re always brainstorming ways to make tiny house building easier for people. One of the biggest hurdles in the building process happens before you even pick up a hammer: choosing a tiny house plan. There are so many different plans out there, and they’re scattered all over the Internet; we wanted to fix that. We decided to pick our favorite plans, put them all in one place, and make it easier to help you find the plan that best fits your needs.

How To Choose Tiny House Plans

We selected the houses on this page based on two main criteria: the house must be on a trailer, and it must have been built at least once before. We’ve found that plans that have actually been built is a major differentiator, because it is in the build process that the plans can be refined, errors identified and fixed, and actual photos can be taken so you have a better idea of what to expect. It is for this reason that we can only recommend plans that have houses built, because they’ve actually been tested and proven. While all the houses have these traits in common, they come in all different shapes and sizes, and they feature different layouts and amenities.


What To Look For In Tiny House Plans

In order to compare the designs, we came up with a list of parameters to help you pick the tiny house plan that’s best for you. These parameters are key to understanding how different plans are setup and what they offer. Hovering your cursor over each icon will display in-depth information about each criterion.

cost-of-plansWe compared the cost of the plans. For plans with different pricing tiers we noted a range of the cost. Cost is only one factor in choosing a plan.
wiring and plumbingSchematics for installing wires and pipes. Not all diagrams are equal: Some provide only a conceptual layout; others include detailed graphics that show exactly how these systems go together.

weight-of-houseHouse weight and towing capacity are major factors. If you move often a lighter tiny house may be a better choice. Those needing more room or planning to be parked longer may opt for a heavier design.

trailer-lengthTrailer size determines a tiny house’s square footage. Some houses gain space by extending them beyond the trailer bed. Shorter trailers are easier to tow, but longer trailers give you more interior options.

square-footageOnce you determined how much space is right for you, the various sizes of these houses becomes very helpful. The numbers for this metric include only the ground floor space, not loft space.

square footage of loftThe size of lofts can help you determine how large your bed will be. Many people have a certain bed size in mind or make considerations for single people or couples.

number-of-loftsWhether it’s for a bed or for storage, some tiny houses come with more than one loft, or no lofts at all. Multi-loft tiny houses may be options for families or those who have extra storage needs.

roof-typeRooflines add character to a tiny house. Shed roofs have more height at one end and are easy to build, Gable roofs are a traditional roof shape, and a Gambrel roof allows maximum loft space.

includes-framingIncludes a schematic showing exactly how to frame the walls. Some plans include details that will show dimensions on all the wall studs for building the frame.

includes-dormersDormers in the loft add more head room to a sleeping loft and are becoming increasingly popular. Couples might want to consider a tiny house with dormers or modify their plan to add them.

These two types of drawings allow you to gain better insight of how a house is built at complex junction points. These drawings include diagrams and three-quarter views of key details.

checklistProviding a list like this makes shopping and cost estimating much easier. This list describes exactly which supplies you need to build the house.

includes-sketchupA SketchUp model is an interactive 3D computer rendering of the house that can be viewed Sketchup software. These can be useful if you want to modify the layout and to see the design in a 3D space.

max-road-heightA tiny house must have a maximum height of 13.5’ to tow without a permit.

first-floor-bed-optionA ground floor bed option is great for guests, children, and retirees.

materials-costPlans include a material list as well as an estimated cost.

Tiny House House Plans vs. Tiny House Building Guides

The number one misconception when it comes to tiny house plans is that people thing they are getting a building guide. House plans give an overview of how a house is constructed, but they assume basic construction knowledge; these are things like how to frame, how to install windows and hang doors, which fasteners are used for certain applications, and other topics. A building guide shows you a more in-depth step-by-step process for how to build something – it acts more like an instruction manual to an assembly kit, it doesn’t assumes that the reader is a professional builder.

The plans below are all house plans as we have defined above, not building guides. They will offer you everything you need to know to build the house, but you will have to fill in the gaps in your own knowledge and skill set with supplementary research on the specifics of building.

What Are The Best Tiny Plans For You?

Tiny House Plans For Single Individuals:
Tiny House Plans For couples:
Tiny Home Plans For Families With Children:
Tiny Home Plans For Empty Nesters & Retirees:
Tiny House Plans On A Budget:

Comparison Grid

hOMe MiniMotives Small House Catalogue SolHaus The Tiny Project Tiny Tack House Tumbleweed
Cost of Plans $99-$299 $125-$350 Free $385 $75-$250 $175 $759
Materials Cost $33k $20k $15k $40k $20k $20k $20k
Square Footage 207 sq/ft 196 sq/ft 170 sq/ft 140 sq/ft 160 sq/ft 140 sq/ft 130 sq/ft
Square Footage of Loft 84 sq/ft sleeping loft, 43 sq/ft guest loft 56 sq/ft 60 sq/ft sleeping loft, 18 sq/ft storage loft 80 sq/ft 80 sq/ft 69 sq/ft 40 sq/ft
Trailer Length 28′ 24′ + 4′ gooseneck 20′ 20′ 20′ 20′ 18′
Weight of House 17k lbs 12k lbs 10k lbs 10k lbs 10k lbs 8k lbs
Ground Floor Bed Option No No No No No No No
Includes Cutaways & Isometrics Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Includes Framing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Includes Wiring & Plumbing Basic wiring, in-depth plumbing Yes No Wiring Yes,
Plumbing No
Yes Wiring Yes,
Plumbing No
Basic Wiring
Sketchup Model Available Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
Number of Lofts 2 1 2 2 1 1 1
Dormers No No Optional No Yes Yes Optional
Roof Type Shed Shed Gable Gable Shed Gable Gable
Road Height 13′ 5″ 11′ 13′ 11″ 13′ 6″ 13′ 6″ 13′ 6″ 13′ 4″
Materials List Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

In-Depth Tiny House Plans Reviews

hOMe – TinyHouseBuild.com

tiny house buildFirst on our lineup of tiny houses is hOMe. This tiny house is the brainchild of Andrew and Gabriella Morrison of TinyHouseBuild.com. hOMe is great for those looking for a spacious kitchen and bathroom, a modern style, and two comfortable sleeping lofts with space to sleep children or guests. The modern look of hOMe can act as a blank slate for those who are looking to take a building plan and customize it.

Minimotives – Minimotives.com

minimotivesMacy Miller’s tiny house at MiniMotives.com is a favorite within the tiny house world. She designed the house in 2011, and she recently renovated it to accommodate her growing family. The plans reflect her initial design. The tiny house is built on a gooseneck trailer and is single-level – both unique attributes among tiny houses. The modern design also features two separate points of entry.

The Small House Catalog – TheSmallHouseCatalog.com

small house catalogThe Moschata Rolling Bungalow tiny house plans from The Small House Catalog by Shawn and Jamie Dehner are very special, because they’re the only plans on this list that are 100% free to download! Shawn and Jamie built their pumpkin-orange tiny house in 2010 and lived in it happily for years. They now give away their house plans for free, and offer an accompanying SketchUp model for a low price. The house features a bump-out sitting nook, a corner office, and a kitchen packed with storage.

SolHaus – SolHausDesign.com

solhaus designVina Lustado of SolHaus Design is a noted tiny house designer, architect, and builder and very active member of the tiny house community. Her tiny house was meticulously designed with Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics in mind. Her design features a streamlined layout without any clutter. The house features double French doors and a spacious deck that blur the lines between indoor and outdoor space.

The Tiny Project – Tiny-Project.com

the tiny projectAlek Lisefski of The Tiny Project designed and built his beautiful tiny house which is now a tiny house community favorite. His design is contemporary, but it has whimsy and warmth not seen in some of the other modern tiny house designs. The Tiny Project house features a spacious loft packed with closet space, a unique kitchen layout, and a multi-functional living area.

Tiny Tack House – ChrisandMalissa.com

tiny tack houseChris and Malissa Tack are both artists with an eye for detail, which is reflected in their elegantly simple tiny house design. The building plans created for their house reflect these same qualities embodied by their tiny house – beautiful, easy to use, with everything you need without any clutter. These plans are great for a single person or couple drawn to the look of a cozy cabin home.

Tumbleweed Cypress 20 – TumbleweedHouses.com

tumbleweedTumbleweed Tiny House Company is known by most in the tiny house movement. In addition to their custom-built tiny house RVs, the company offers building guides and resources for people looking to build their own tiny houses. The plans are very comprehensive and easy for a beginner builder to follow.

Note: the plans we reviewed are Cypress 20 Overlook plans from 2012. House plans purchased from Tumbleweed today may look different from those we looked at.