tiny houses http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/17636/all en-US 12 Ways to Make a Tiny Apartment Awesome http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-make-a-tiny-apartment-awesome <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-ways-to-make-a-tiny-apartment-awesome" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7034137715_58fdc7b882_z.jpg" alt="small apartment" title="small apartment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="170" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Small apartments have their perks: They're generally more affordable, easier to decorate, and easier to clean, just to name a few. The downside, of course, is that the cramped and limiting feeling of living in tiny apartment, often with only one bedroom and little room for hosting guests, can make you feel like your place just doesn't cut it.</p> <p>But what if you could lessen the cons and increase the pros of a smaller place? What if there were ways to make your tiny apartment a fun and amicable living environment? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space?ref=seealso">20 Ways to Live Large in a Small Space</a>)</p> <p>If you can see beyond the square footage and think outside of the box, there are plenty of things you can do to turn your apartment's size in your favor. You don't have wait until you can afford to upgrade either. Make the most of where you are right now with these 12 tips.</p> <h2>1. Install a Hanging Lamp Over the Dinner Table</h2> <p>Lighting is crucial indoors, regardless of the size of the room. If you've got a high ceiling lamp over the kitchen where you eat, replace it with <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/3c/86/46/3c864690bd899b17c8fe20e22e3a2ce1.jpg">something that hangs down</a> closer to the table. It'll make the lighting cozier and more intimate for when you don't want the entire room illuminated.</p> <h2>2. Repaint the Crown Moulding</h2> <p>Moulding (also called &quot;trim&quot;) is the baseboard around the top or bottom of the rooms in your home. They're a small feature, but can actually add a lot of character. If they've gotten old, faded, or dirty, cleaning and repainting them can add a lot of life to a room.</p> <h2>3. Screen Studio Apartment Sleeping Areas With Curtains</h2> <p>If you own a studio apartment where the bedroom and living area are one and the same, install a <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/dc/31/e3/dc31e371c68b5bc3d5b2eb171e9d1d86.jpg"> curtain that can be drawn</a> to give the sleeping area a little bit of privacy.</p> <h2>4. Accent a Primarily White Kitchen With Bright Colors</h2> <p>If you have a kitchen that's neutral in color, you can use drying towels, fruit bowls, and whatever else you can can find to sit on the counter as an accent. Go with <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Is7QM3EB6PI/U5Hahb7BGiI/AAAAAAAAWU4/SvlJ9CyYlbU/s1600/1336-koekken-funky-1.jpg">a gentle color scheme</a> and keep it consistent. You want something that brightens up the room while staying soft and easy on the eyes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-the-most-of-a-tiny-kitchen?ref=seealso">7 Ways to Make the Most of a Small Kitchen</a>)</p> <h2>5. Add a Hammock Chair</h2> <p>You can buy hammocks that are designed to sit in and can function as an extra piece of furniture in your living area. Not only are they comfortable and trendy, but a <a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fNALo_uPROc/U3oVjpfaRKI/AAAAAAAAWQs/V82E6VCv5BE/s1600/SFDC886D63151B8482C8B1B23584976F575_960x.jpg">hammock chair</a> will save you a lot of space.</p> <h2>6. Create Counter Space Over a Front Loading Washer and Dryer</h2> <p>If you really want to invest in a space-saving feature for your apartment, a front-loading <a href="http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/4c/f1/81/4cf1810b44c00cfae856968a08713dbc.jpg">washer and dryer with a countertop</a> is one of the best ways to do so. The countertop will need to be bought separately, but you won't have to spend much since you'll only need one piece.</p> <h2>7. Hang Plants</h2> <p>Smaller apartments are often in the city where you don't get to see much in the way of green plants. <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/19/e4/06/19e4067452531360742b18998d48cd81.jpg">Hanging some of your own plants</a> from the ceiling allows you to add greenery without using up counter space or creating the need for further organization.</p> <h2>8. Consider Boxed Shelving</h2> <p>If you have a lot of small odds and ends that need shelf space, a <a href="http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/4b/e9/dd/4be9ddb44e36c11810d42bfce2748642.jpg">boxed shelf</a> might be more functional. They're also fairly inexpensive and easy to put together or install.</p> <h2>9. Minimize Your Work Desk</h2> <p>These days, you don't need a cluttered desk to be productive. Stick with a laptop, notebook and one or two writing utensils to free up space.</p> <h2>10. Provide Mood Lighting in the Living Area</h2> <p>What a small space has going for it is coziness. You can take advantage of that by adding some small mood lighting. Generally the living area is the best place for this, since it's where people will spend the most time sitting and enjoying the atmosphere.</p> <h2>11. Go Small With the Entertainment Center</h2> <p>In a smaller apartment, a <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/37/e4/37/37e43700cbda3aa01317994b0ecac15a.jpg">minimal setup</a> for your entertainment center will save space and give the living area a more roomy feel.</p> <h2>12. Take Advantage of Corner Shelving</h2> <p>A <a href="http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/14/40/c4/1440c44fc51bb1e52f54f02bab1d053f.jpg">small corner shelf</a> is cheap to buy, easy to install, and saves you the floor space that a side table would take up. Consider this option in the bedroom to replace a side table or shelf and the kitchen if you need more counter room.</p> <h2>Adding Visual to Functional</h2> <p>A smaller apartment is almost always going to be more functional in terms of having everything you need close to you.</p> <p>The mistake most people make is to assume that because a place is small, it can't be visually appealing as well. Any kind of space, regardless of its size can be a visually fun and engaging atmosphere. You might need to dig a little deeper to tap into the interior designer in you, but the solutions are generally simple and minimal.</p> <p><em>What relatively simple improvements do you suggest to make a tiny apartment awesomer? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-make-a-tiny-apartment-awesome">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-to-live-large-in-a-small-space">20 Ways to Live Large in a Small Space</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-and-cheap-storage-solutions-for-tiny-apartments">10 Fun and Cheap Storage Solutions for Tiny Apartments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-militarys-four-step-plan-to-keeping-your-place-clean">The Military&#039;s Four-Step Plan to Keeping Your Place Clean</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Solutions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-unexpected-uses-for-tension-rods">20 Unexpected Uses for Tension Rods</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home organization small apartments tiny houses Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:00:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1144496 at http://www.wisebread.com Mind-Blowing Tiny Houses With Huge Design Inspiration http://www.wisebread.com/mind-blowing-tiny-houses-with-huge-design-inspiration <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mind-blowing-tiny-houses-with-huge-design-inspiration" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Tack-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tiny houses are a huge thing.</p> <p>The movement, centered on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement">downsizing homes to live more simply</a> and less expensively, was a fringe campaign just a year or two ago. But with the passage of <a href="http://tinyhouseconference2014.tinyhouseconference.com/">the first annual Tiny House Conference</a> just last month, and the <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/travel/hotels-hook-tiny-house-trend-n87031">recent opening of miniature &quot;pod&quot; hotels</a> across the globe, tiny houses have officially arrived at full-blown trend status.</p> <p>And for good reason: from promoting energy efficiency to reducing maintenance costs to encouraging social interaction, tiny houses boast all kinds of benefits beyond garnering the reaction, &quot;hey, those little houses are really cool!&quot;.</p> <p>...But they are really cool. And just because you may not downsize to one tomorrow doesn't mean you can't be inspired to live cleaner, simpler, cheaper, and more artfully by this list of some of the most handsome tiny houses ever made.</p> <h2>Holes in the Wall</h2> <p><img width="605" height="402" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/Oregon-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This <a href="http://tinyhousebuild.com/">Ashland, Oregon home</a> clocks in at just $33,000 and 207 sq ft, but you wouldn't know it from this sleek overhead view of the layout. Wall cut-outs create semi-private nooks that act as separate leisure or work spaces &mdash; something to consider implementing in any home.</p> <h2>Finland's Finest</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/FinnishMicroHouse-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>With a name translating to &quot;Bird's Nest&quot;, <a href="http://tinyhouselistings.com/robins-micro-house/">this rustic design</a> was created by a young Fin bent on building a living space so small it wouldn't require a permit. Just two weeks of construction and 146 sq ft later, he had beat the system, and built himself a beautifully unregulated tiny house.</p> <h2>Colorado Comfy</h2> <p><img width="605" height="456" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/RockyMountain-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>This trailer-bound home from <a href="http://rockymountaintinyhouses.com/plans/boulder/">Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses</a> retails far below the average tiny home at $27,350, and includes a staircase that doubles as a multi-level storage space, another useful idea in a home of any size.</p> <h2>Sphere Sanctuary</h2> <p><img width="605" height="403" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/Sphere-ggnoads.jpg.png" alt="" /></p> <p>&quot;<a href="http://www.freespiritspheres.com/eryn.htm">A marriage of tree house and sailboat technology</a>,&quot; these spheres populate a rainforest in Vancouver Island, British Columbia. From inside, they more closely resemble a hobbit's house in The Shire, and are a good reminder that irregularly curved lines on things likes doors, windows, and cabinets are often instantly striking in any home.</p> <h2>Living Large, Sort of</h2> <p><img width="480" height="480" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/BigSmall-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Los Angeles's <a href="http://anonymous-projects.com/ArchProjects/project_C2-1.htm">Big and Small House</a> seeks to &quot;invert luxury, in that the smallest house contains the largest room.&quot; In other words, the design sacrifices divided rooms in favor of larger, unobstructed spaces to maximize the house's size constraints. Something to consider when remodeling.</p> <h2>Rustic Little Residence</h2> <p><img width="605" height="402" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/Tack-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Built by a husband and wife team in near Seattle, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/chris-malissa-tack-tiny-home_n_2422393.html?utm_hp_ref=tiny-homes#slide=1941813">the 140 sq ft Tack House</a>, however tiny, is already paying huge dividends. The couple have dramatically reduced their cost of living (they say the house will be totally paid off in two years), and have reportedly become more polite to each other, a function of being forced to respect each other's space more regularly, and a good lesson for any co-habitants.</p> <h2>The Church of Tiny</h2> <p><img width="605" height="404" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/Davidson-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The Latin-inspired, mosaic-filled <a href="http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1025-Alpine-Blvd_Alpine_CA_91901_M15845-60334?CID=prt300022">Davidson Residence</a> in Alpine, California has a sort of Mexican church feel, and is one of the most unique tiny homes anywhere. With A-frame windows, a dramatically curved ceiling, and ceramic aplenty, it's a good reminder that a little character can make up for a lack of space any day.</p> <h2>The Amazing Bike Bunk</h2> <p><img width="605" height="201" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/BikeTrailer-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>For people that think of tiny trailer homes as &quot;way too spacious,&quot; there's this absurdly cool <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/02/tiny-trailer-bicycle-home_n_3001878.html?utm_hp_ref=tiny-homes">Trailer Bicycle home</a>, with a couch, bed, TV, and kitchenette, all small enough to be towed by a two-wheeler. And yeah, OK, this one was meant as an art project, but there's no reason why your home can't be one too!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mind-blowing-tiny-houses-with-huge-design-inspiration">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement">Big Lessons From the Tiny House Movement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-finding-your-interior-design-style">Beginner&#039;s Guide to Finding Your Interior Design Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-benefits-of-having-a-roommate-besides-saving-on-rent">The Benefits of Having a Roommate (Besides Saving on Rent)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mcmansion-to-mccottage-why-smaller-houses-are-smarter">McMansion to McCottage: Why Smaller Houses Are Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing downsizing tiny houses Mon, 05 May 2014 14:28:36 +0000 Joe Epstein 1137950 at http://www.wisebread.com Lessons in Simple Living From Extreme Minimalists http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-2331711-small.jpg" alt="minimalism" title="minimalism" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I write about frugality, and I try to follow my own advice, but I am by no means a minimalist. My kitchen is bursting with gadgets and appliances, my drawers with clothes, and my shelves with books. I haul in plenty of art and nick nacks and other pretty things, too. I'm no hoarder, but I have lots of things I use, that I might use, or even that I like to look at. It's all that <em>stuff </em>that makes my house feel like my home. That said, I am fascinated by people who are able to pare down to almost nothing and live quite happily that way. Don't they ever need another chair for a guest? An extra layer of clothing? Some old books to flip through on a Sunday afternoon? A few so-called creature comforts? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/confessions-of-a-minimalist-9-reasons-i-miss-my-stuff" target="_blank">Confessions of a Minimalist: 9 Reasons I Miss My Stuff</a>)</p> <p>Apparently, those aren't things everyone craves. And that got me wondering: Just how minimalist are people willing to get? The answer, of course, is pretty minimal. Here are a few examples from the far reaches of minimalism. They may not be for everyone, but incorporating the spirit of these efforts into our lives could help us all save more money &mdash; and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/endurance-frugality-staying-the-course-and-being-a-winner" target="_blank">even live a richer life</a>.</p> <h2>No Possessions</h2> <p>I tend to think of minimalism as an aesthetic, one with sleek, modern furniture, clean lines, and limited clutter. That's one way of looking at it, but some extreme minimalists would say that you don't need furniture at all.</p> <p>Peter Lawrence wrote about his experiences of deliberately living with less in &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Happy-Minimalist-Financial-independence/dp/1436348625" target="_blank">The Happy Minimalist.</a>&quot;&nbsp;Lawrence lives in a simple, one-bedroom apartment adorned only with a camping chair, a sleeping bag, a computer desk, and a few kitchen tools and personal items. The house looks, bare, empty, almost like no one lives there at all, but Lawrence seems happy in this open space, watching the sun rise and set from his window, practicing yoga, playing guitar, and inviting friends over to watch movies he projects on his bedroom wall. Plus, his simple life allowed him to walk away from a cushy corporate job at 44. (You can check out a great video about Lawrence's life below, or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw4E8nXcrTk" target="_blank">here if your browser is finicky</a>.)</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Hw4E8nXcrTk" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>How you can live with less:</strong> I admire Lawrence's discipline and drive for simplicity, but when I have friends over for dinner, I kinda feel like I should have somewhere for them to sit. That said, Lawrence is dead on when he says that most of us could live with a whole lot less, and might even be happier for it. Consider clearing out the clutter you don't need or use, and being pickier about what you bring into your house in the first place. Most of all, remember that happiness is something that's cultivated, rather than consumed.</p> <h2>Tiny House</h2> <p>If you struggle to keep clutter from piling up in your closets, one way to deal with it is to get a smaller house. It's like downsizing, only it often involves moving into what looks more like a playhouse than a grownup home for grownup people. The small house movement is believed to have started in the late 1990s, but it picked up speed as a result of a prototype designed to house those whose homes had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. After that, many designers followed suit with homes that were cute, cozy, and barely a few hundred square feet. Proponents say these houses are comfortable and cost-effective, and they leave a very small carbon footprint. (The documentary about the phenomenon is long; I won't feel bad if <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDcVrVA4bSQ" target="_blank">you bookmark it on YouTube and watch it later</a>.)</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/lDcVrVA4bSQ" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>How you can live with less:</strong> It's safe to say that most people aren't living in a home that's anywhere near as tiny as a true &quot;tiny house.&quot; The 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that barely 1% of buyers opted for a home of less than 1,000 square feet. But even that's still far below the average square footage of a new home in the U.S., which is now approaching 2,500 square feet, according the Census Bureau. That's more than 16 times the size of the tiny houses some people quite happily call home. The reality is that while our home offices, &quot;flex rooms,&quot; and vaulted ceilings may make us feel like we're living large, the maintenance and expenses can leave us with very slim margins, both in terms of time and energy. Our parents and grandparents grew up in much smaller spaces. If anything, the tiny house movement serves as a challenge to our ideas of how much space we really need &mdash; and the cost of having it.</p> <h2>No Heat</h2> <p>I often think of my creature comforts as <em>things</em>, which just goes to show how much I take for granted. Like central heating. That's one I definitely take for granted, but some extremists are tough enough to give up even this cold-weather comfort. In fact, a number of people across the U.S. deliberately go without heating their homes (or not beyond what a few cords of firewood will provide) in the winter &mdash; even in cold states like Maine! They do it as a challenge, out of curiosity, and out of a sense of environmental stewardship. Don't believe me? You can check out the <a href="http://coldhousejournal.com/" target="_blank">Cold House Journal</a> for one couple's adventures in cold living.</p> <p><strong>How you can live with less:</strong> The average home heating cost in the U.S. falls somewhere between $1,000 and $2,500 per year, depending on whether you use natural gas or heating oil. That's money many of us could stand to save &mdash; and at little cost to our comfort. Rather than turn up the heat, stay toasty with some fuzzy socks and a sweater. You don't have to keep things so cold that you'll have ice forming in your toilet bowl (save that for the extremists!), but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hold-off-on-heating-with-these-10-warming-ways-0" target="_blank">keeping things cooler will help keep costs down</a>. Plus, it will give you a good excuse to curl up under a blanket with some tea, which isn't such a bad thing in my book.</p> <h2>How Low Can You Go?</h2> <p>If there's anything we can learn from extreme minimalists it's that a sense of deprivation can be a state of mind. Whether we give up personal possessions or other common comforts, the truth is that many of us are so fortunate, the vast majority of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-a-tactic-but-also-a-goal" target="_blank">the things we own are completely unnecessary</a>, at least in the strictest sense of the word. You don't have to throw all your worldly possessions overboard in favor of minimalism, but the fact that quite a few people manage to do it is worth thinking about. Or maybe what we should be thinking about is how much we'd actually miss all those things we work so hard to surround ourselves with. My guess is not as much as we'd like to think. Not that I'll be testing that theory in any extreme way. Like I said, I'm no minimalist.</p> <p><em>Tell me about your experiments in minimalist living in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-in-simple-living-from-extreme-minimalists">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mind-blowing-tiny-houses-with-huge-design-inspiration">Mind-Blowing Tiny Houses With Huge Design Inspiration</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-from-my-frugal-father">Lessons From My Frugal Father</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-simple-living-and-why-should-i-care">What is Simple Living and Why Should I Care?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-determining-your-priorities">Simple Living: Determining Your Priorities</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simplicity-and-being-cheap">Simplicity and being cheap</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle extreme frugality heating costs minimalism simple living tiny houses Mon, 17 Jun 2013 10:24:33 +0000 Tara Struyk 978063 at http://www.wisebread.com Big Lessons From the Tiny House Movement http://www.wisebread.com/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-558179-small.jpg" alt="tiny house" title="tiny house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you heard the buzz about the tiny house movement or seen one moving down the road toward its new (semi) permanent home? If not, chances are you soon will. (See also: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/mcmansion-to-mccottage-why-smaller-houses-are-smarter">McMansion to McCottage: Why Smaller Houses Are Smarter</a>)</p> <p>The tiny house movement is a social movement in which people voluntarily reduce their living space in order to live more simply, to live debt-free, or to reduce their carbon footprint. Tiny homes come in all shapes and designs and are as varied as their occupants. Although there are no formal parameters, these houses can be fixed or on wheels and range in size from 250-400 square feet.</p> <p>As the movement gains steam and evolves from a fringe curiosity to a full-blown phenomenon, I thought it might be interesting to explore what we&rsquo;re learning from tiny houses and the lessons that continue to motivate new converts every day.</p> <h2>Smaller Can Be Better</h2> <p>According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the size of the average American home in 2012 was 2,480 square feet. Since the size of families is shrinking, one has to wonder what we&rsquo;re doing with all that extra space. Is it really worth it to finance, heat, clean, and furnish rooms we don&rsquo;t need? Tiny homes start conversations about expectations, wants, needs, and norms that we seldom explore.</p> <h2>Houses Are for People</h2> <p>We spend a lot of time and money building bigger to house more...things. The beauty and logic of the tiny house movement challenges the notion that our homes need to be large enough to warehouse our unchecked and always-growing inventory of stuff. The primary purpose of a home is to shelter people and &mdash; secondarily &mdash; the optimal amount of useful, beautiful, and sentimental objects that support and enrich our lives.</p> <h2>Simple Living Requires Constant Editing</h2> <p>The British craftsman and poet William Morris said, &ldquo;If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.&rdquo; Wise words.</p> <p>Reaching that optimal level of &ldquo;stuff&rdquo; requires constant attention and editing &mdash; especially in tiny spaces. But isn&rsquo;t editing something that should be happening anyway, regardless of the size of our homes? Do we really revel in stuffed closets, garages that no longer fit our cars, basements that look like the National Archives, attics that creak with the weight of dozens of storage bins? Tiny houses require us to do what larger houses let us neglect &mdash; minimize the material albatrosses we travel through life with.</p> <h2>Our Lives Are Mobile; Our Housing Should Keep Pace</h2> <p>Since I graduated college in 1992, I&rsquo;ve lived in four different cities in three states, and for my peer group, that&rsquo;s a relatively low number. Society is more mobile and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pack-up-your-house-tips-for-saving-money-and-sanity-on-a-move">adults are more transitory than ever before</a>, but our housing options are still tethered to old social norms. Tiny houses offer ownership benefits that apartments can&rsquo;t, design considerations that traditional mobile homes don&rsquo;t, and financial flexibility that typical houses can&rsquo;t come close to matching.</p> <h2>Prefab Can Be Fab</h2> <p>The reputation of prefab is changing. The old idea that prefabricated structures are quickly and cheaply tacked together is fading away.</p> <p>Prefabricated tiny houses are designed, customized, and built with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/houses-you-can-build-yourself">an unrivaled attention to detail and durability</a> &mdash; often using reclaimed and repurposed materials. Their potential to revolutionize the way we build on a much broader scale shouldn&rsquo;t be underestimated. With reduced waste, greater cost controls, and year-round climate-regulated building processes, the new prefab really is fab.</p> <h2>Design Matters</h2> <p>Optimizing the costs of any structure begins and ends with the maximizing the space within it. Many tiny homes feel much larger than their footprints because great care has been paid to design, space planning, and other efficiencies. Vaulted ceilings with sleeping lofts, Murphy beds, vertical storage, and versatile furnishings make every square foot matter. It&rsquo;s a lesson that can be applied to any house, regardless of size.</p> <h2>Mortgage-Free Living Is Possible</h2> <p>Perhaps the most profound lesson we can take away from the tiny house movement is its lesson about debt-free living. Mortgage typically represents the single largest debt that most of us will ever face &mdash; one that will track and tax our financial freedom decade after decade. The notion that we can rethink our housing, still enjoy the benefits of home ownership, and reduce <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">or completely avoid long-term debt</a> should be sparking conversations across the country.</p> <p>Maybe you&rsquo;re not ready to downsize to a 250 square foot home &mdash; and I&rsquo;m not sure that&rsquo;s even the point. This style of living isn&rsquo;t for everybody, but there are important lessons we can all learn from it. If we start reexamining the notions that more is always better than less, bigger is always preferable to smaller, debt is an unavoidable part of life, and traditional employment is necessary to fuel a constantly-expanding cycle of consumption, then the tiny house movement has challenged a narrative that is seldom questioned. And to me, that&rsquo;s really big news.</p> <p><em>Do you know someone who lives in a tiny house? Have you daydreamed about living small? Share your story below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mind-blowing-tiny-houses-with-huge-design-inspiration">Mind-Blowing Tiny Houses With Huge Design Inspiration</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-downsize-and-declutter">How to Downsize and Declutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beginners-guide-to-finding-your-interior-design-style">Beginner&#039;s Guide to Finding Your Interior Design Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap">How to Get Rid of All Your Crap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing downsizing moving prefab tiny houses Wed, 24 Apr 2013 10:24:32 +0000 Kentin Waits 973603 at http://www.wisebread.com