Tiny Home Plans and How to Create a Happy Tiny Living

Do you believe that you can live comfortably and happily in a tiny house with only 160 square feet (8’’ × 20’’) in the area? Sound crazy and cramped! But actually, you can live such life if you know how to create it, just like the way we do. This post is going to show you just that. We provide you with a detailed layout for tiny home plans and take our friend – James Waston’s 160-square-feet house as an example throughout this guide. We hope to bring you useful information so that after reading the post, you can understand the “formula” of the happy tiny living. Hope you enjoy our guide!

Tiny Home Plans ($15,000 – $20,000)

Floor Plans for Tiny Houses

floor-plans-for-tiny-houses - Tiny Home Plans
Basic Floor Plan for Tiny Houses

Main Parameters:

  • The width of House: 8 feet
  • The depth of House: 20 feet
  • First Floor Area: 160 square feet
  • Living Room: 1
  • Bathroom: 1
  • Kitchen: 1

Loft Plans for Tiny Houses


Main Parameters:

  • Sleeping Loft Area: 60 square feet
  • Storage Loft Area: 18 square feet
  • Loft Height: 42″

Windows and Doors

Assembling the windows and doors should be started only when your house is in the final stage of construction. An external assistance from your wife or child should be considered during the process of wiggling because you will not want to drop one out the side opposite you.

A simple rule but indispensable to remain the longevity and ensure the functions of the windows and doors is to get them perfectly level and square. For better protection, consider sticking house wrap tape around the windows and doors to prevent them from the penetration of the rainwater.

Some Windows Requirements from our Tiny Home Plans:

  • The net clear openable area should be more than 6 square feet.
  • The net clear openable height should be more than 25’’.
  • The clear openable width should be more than 20’’.
  • The sill height should not exceed 45’’ above the floor.

Some Door Requirements from our Tiny Home Plans:

  • At least one door should meet the emergency escape and rescue required IRC section R311.
  • The side-hinged clear width of this door should be more 32”.
  • The clear height should not exceed 80’’ measured from the top of the threshold to the bottom of the stop.

Our Preference Schedule for Windows and Doors:




Framing Lumber

Since the frame is considered as a core part of a house, I recommend you to use brand new or reclaimed lumber to construct it. Avoid rotten lumber or the one becoming a shelter of insects.

Windows and Doors

If you cannot assemble a window so that it can perfectly fit the frame, cracks and gaps can happen after a short period of use. Similarly, if you use poor materials to make windows and doors, the damage will occur. You can utilize salvage materials for windows and doors, but make sure they’re durable.


You can go for any style of floor you like, but it’s always important to use high-quality materials. Hardwood is a perfect choice. It’s durable and widely used by homeowners. Other common choices for the floor are plywood and OSB. They’re both enduring, but OSB tends to cost a little less. For saving, you can find leftovers from other projects that is able to cover your floor.


I strongly recommend you use seam metal since it lasts a remarkably long time and excellently endure from rainwater. Many people prefer building their roof by using salvaged materials such as copper or tin. You can do the same if you want. Just one note to remember: Avoid reusing treated cedar shingles.

In Short…

We recommend you to purchase new materials for the structural components such as the frame. On the other hand, investing in recycled materials like flooring remnants for un-core part of your house is a great way to reduce the overall cost.

Some Material Requirements from our Tiny Home Plans:

  • It’s the best to use formaldehyde-free plywood.
  • Avoid polystyrene rigid board insult containing brominated fire retardants.
  • DO NOT use paints and stains containing VOCs, toxic, and carcinogenic.
  • Avoid caulks, sealants and adhesives containing VOCs, toxic, and carcinogenic.

Basic Tools to Build the House

Cutting Tools

  • D-handle Jigsaw
  • Portable table saw
  • Circular saw track
  • Bench Planer
  • Miter saw
  • Hand saw

Boring Tools

  • Cordless Drill
  • Corded Drill
  • Portable Pocket Hole Jig Kit
  • Small Diameter Bomb
  • Square Drive
  • Phillips-Head Screws
  • Brad Points Drill Bits
  • Doweling Jigs

Hammering Tools

  • Dalluge hammer
  • Estwing finishing hammer
  • Wood Carving Chisels
  • Brad Nailer Compressor
  • Floor Nailer

Measuring & Marking Tools

  • Folding cabinet ruler
  • Steel Ruler
  • Speed level
  • 48″-96″ level
  • Carpenter square
  • Speed square
  • Combination square
  • Chalk line

Tiny House Appliances


Fridges have the size ranging anywhere from an extreme dorm-style mini-fridge all the way to a full-size one. While standard options are about 36 inches in waistline, for kitchens in tiny home plans, a 25-inches choice should be more appropriate. It’s somewhere in between, compact but still provides enough room and shelves to keep food for several meals always fresh and healthy. Also, you have a freezer to store frozen food and make ice.


Since your kitchen doesn’t have enough space for a range, a toaster oven (also called as a countertop oven) should be taken into account. It helps to keep thing neat, doesn’t occupy much cooking area, but still has enough functions to meet a variety of cooking styles (browning, toasting, crisping, convection) and cook anything (frozen food, potatoes, pizza, bread, etc.).

Another choice is a microwave. It’s small in size but heats up very quickly. In comparison to a toaster oven, a microwave is a little bit bigger, cannot deal with convection cooking, browning, toasting, and crisping, but it still has some advantages. It consumes less energy and easier to clean.

Related: Winter is Coming! What is the Best Pellet Stove?


I suggest two choices of compact dishwashers for you. The first one is a drawer-style dishwasher. Although it’s small in size, it has enough room for small loads of dishes and other cookware. This kind of machine locates underneath the counter, so it’ll not take much space, and you should take it into your tiny home plans.

Another solution is a countertop dishwasher. Its height is no more than two feet, and it’s very portable allowing you to move it anywhere in your kitchen. Simply fit any small cooking area and does not make a lot of noise!

Washer Dryer Combo

Instead of buying two separate pieces: a washer and a dryer, you should invest in one single combination unit. It can be vented or non-vented depending on your requirement. Usually, a vented one is better since it dries faster but cost less money than a non-vented model. Right now, on the market, there are plenty of 24″ compact washers coming from Bosch manufacturer. I also use a 300 model from this brand, and it still works great after two years of use.

Air Conditioner

Do you really need an air conditioner? In my case, I don’t need this kind of device because my house is airy and cool all the years. If there are some hot days, I prefer opening the windows or using an electric fan. However, if you need an air conditioner, consider portable versions from Honeywell, LG Electronics or Whynter. In spite of their small sizes, they still generate the same cooling as bigger units. There are endless options out there, just pick up a proper one for your tiny home plans.

Check out: How to choose appliances for your tiny house?

Tiny House on Wheels Plans ($20,000 – $24,000)

When it comes to the difference between a tiny house and a tiny house on wheels, the only answer is a trailer. However, what kind of trailer for tiny mobile homes plans, how much it costs and how to choose a proper trailer is not simple. Let’s find out right now!

Trailer Part

What Kind of Trailer for Tiny Home Plans?

There are many different types of trailers such as deck-between trailers, deck over trailers, dovetails, goosenecks, and flatbed trailers. For the tiny house on wheels floor plans, people prefer going with flatbed ones because they can carry a massive number of weight (7,000 lbs – 10,000 lbs) and are excellent selections for a rolling bungalow. They’re also called as lowboy trailers or utility trailers. The majority of them come with sides and ramps.

Flatbed Trailer

How Much a Trailer Costs?

You have two options for investing in a trailer. The first choice is that you can buy a brand new trailer. The anticipated price ranges from $2,000 to $4,000, depending on the weight capacity and size. Another choice is to go with a used trailer. It’s cheaper ($1,000 – $1,500) but more difficult to find. It’s also hard for us to determine the condition of the spring, coupler, axles, and so on.

Trailer Material

The trailer is the foundation of a tiny house on wheels. That’s why It’s as crucial as the frame. If you get them wrong, you might need to replace them when damage occurs. In the worst case, you might lose your house. So, avoid salvage materials. Buy a new trailer with new materials to minimize the risks.

Some Tiny House Trailer Requirements from our Tiny Home Plans

  • A typical 7’’ x 20’’ flatbed trailer or car hauler is an excellent selection for a rolling bungalow.
  • Your trailer should have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR, the maximum operating weight of a vehicle) of about 10k pounds.
  • If you buy a used trailer, it’s recommended to replace the horizontal metal components located above the trailer bed.
  • If you buy a brand new trailer, it’s recommended to make sure you select a trailer which includes essential functions such as braking system, brake lights, etc. You might need to test them before deciding to bring it to your home.
  • In the case of a new trailer, you should order the manufacturer to meet your specific requirements. Give your plans to them and encourage them to add additional supports. They’ll explain for you what these supports are and how to do them. You don’t need to worry!
  • Some reliable trailer manufacturers I would recommend to you:
    ­ www.tufftrailer.com
    ­ www.trailersplus.com
    ­ www.bigtextrailers.com

Tiny House Plans for Families

I give you some choices when it comes to how to start tiny home plans:

  1. Select a tiny house and make sure it has enough room for the whole family.
  2. Construct or purchase a slightly bigger house. It would spread out to 10 foot wide and up to 40 feet long.
  3. Start with a tiny house as your children are still kids. As they’re juniors, expand the size or move to a bigger house.
  4. Construct or purchase multiple tiny houses. For example, adult’s/kids house, kitchen house, sleeping/living house.

The bottom line here is to forget about how small your house is. It doesn’t matter! Instead, focus on what work you have to do for you and your family and ways to live comfortably without much of space. There is the truth that might make you surprise. That’s today, people tend to select tiny houses since they are flexible, moveable, but still meet the need of basic living.

In my opinion, there are many critical designing considerations that all the homeowners should carefully deal with, such as the number of rooms, design, storage, etc. However, before moving to think about them, you need a bullet-point-plan.

The first part of this list must be a list of needs. What does your house need to function your family’s demands? What are the activities that members will take place in each space? And more. The more questions you ask yourself, the more detailed your list will be.

The second part will be the design or layout of the house. If you need more storage space or an extra bedroom or a friendly entertaining space, a loft is a perfect supplement. Read more at tiny family loft house plan (8 x 20 tiny house plans).

Besides, if you want a small indoor playground for your kids or an airy room for guest hosting, a dogtrot house, which is two small houses connected by a breezeway under a common roof, could be taken into account. Read more at tiny dog trot house plans.

The third part will be a list of furniture; of course, this one depends on the list of needs. I take my kitchen for example. For storage space, I’m using an 8-cubic-feet pantry. For food preparation space, I’m having a 10-cubic-fee prep area (including a sink, garbage bin, cutting board, knives).

Here is a video introducing the tiny living of a family of five. Watch it to know how five people can live happily in a small cabin:

Before ending up this post, I would like to share a little bit about my tiny living with my family. We are a family of four. Five years ago, my wife and I decided to move to a small house (25 x 28) so that we can save up money for our retirement travel plan. I faced with many trouble due to the lack of space, but gradually, we’ve found great solutions to improve our life. Now, we’re totally happy with this decision.

Other Resources

Nifty’s Tiny houses page is home to tons of resources and content for anyone wanting to find out more about the tiny home lifestyle. Their page/guide covers all aspects of tiny homes: living, designs, interiors, bathrooms, kitchens, information resources, costs, buying, house plans, building, as well as kits available, which builders are in your area, and purchasing options. The best part is all of our info is constantly updated and free to access/use.

If we can live in a tiny space, why can’t you do? I hope our tiny home plans helpful to you. Thanks for reading. I’ll see you in the next post!

P/s: if you have any questions, leave it in the comment below or you can ask James about this tiny house via jameswaston96@gmail.com

Images source: https://smallhousecatalog.com/

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