The tiny house movement means a lot of different things to different people. Besides the idea of living a happier life with less stuff, less debt and more financial and emotional freedom, for those who actually construct their own tiny home, it can also exemplify the immense satisfaction that comes with building things with one’s own two hands.
But doing it yourself can be difficult if one doesn’t have any design or construction experience. Designing a tiny house from scratch means saving a lot of money, but it can be a time-consuming, steep learning curve. Given the rising popularity of these small but efficient living spaces, there’s now a plethora of resources offering tiny house plans to help aspiring tiny house builders construct the home of their dreams — some of them free, some of them not. Here’s a list of what’s out there.
First up is this set of downloadable plans for a well-crafted dwelling with a sleeping loft and pull-out guest bed, designed and built by Alaskan DIYer Ana White. It includes annotations, materials and cut lists, and some three-dimensional Sketchup models, and the design can be adapted to different needs. Best of all, there’s a series of video tutorials that show how the Whites built the house from start to end.
Sol Haus Design
This set of plans for a modern, 140-square-foot tiny home is created by Ojai, California designer Vina Lustado of Sol Haus Design. It features a sleeping loft, and a very comfortable-looking lounge and office area.
The Tiny Project
Web designer and tiny house enthusiast Alek Lisefski of The Tiny Project created this 8’ by 20′ home for himself back in 2013, and is best suited for a single person with a pet, or a couple, with some work space to spare.
Designed by LEED-accredited architect Macy Miller of MiniMotives as her personal home back in 2011, this modern little house has graced a number of books, magazines and websites. Great for singles or couples planning to potentially start a family, the adaptable 196-square-foot design is spread over one level — great for people who hate lofts — and uses a gooseneck trailer to create a semi-loft for sleeping and storage. The design includes a porch that can be converted into a future extension, as Miller later did to accommodate her two young children.
One of our perennial favourites, this 221-square-foot modern family home by Andrew and Gabriella Morrison of Tiny House Build has a lot of clever ideas for efficient use of space: multifunctional nooks and plenty of integrated storage that keeps visual clutter under wraps.
Tiny Home Builders
Tiny Home Builders
Florida-based Tiny Home Builders’ Dan Louche got his start building tiny houses back in 2009 when he constructed a tiny house for his ailing mother. Their plans offer material lists, as well as 3D models and electrical diagrams.
Tiny House Design
Since 2008, the Tiny House Design blog has been documenting tiny house designer Michael Janzen’s interest in small spaces, and now offers an array of tiny house plans, with a select number of them free. Janzen also has a handy reference for general, tiny house design and layout ideas, 101 Tiny House Designs (book review here).
We covered the light-filled Hikari tiny house by Oregon-based Shelter Wise some time back, saying: “It’s a lovely, uncomplicated design that uplifts the spirits, bringing in light and space to what might have been seen as small, and which now instead feels airy, roomy and almost like a blank canvas, to customize to one’s own tastes.” And now, you can build one of your own too, thanks to these plans that are now available online through a partnership with PAD Tiny Houses (a company co-founded by Dee Williams, another pioneering name in the tiny house world)
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company & Four Lights Houses
Both of these tiny house companies were founded by the ‘grandfather’ of the tiny house movement, Jay Schafer, who left Tumbleweed to his partner in 2012 to found another company, Four Lights. Both offer plans for designs of various sizes, often with a more down-to-earth, rustic feel, and have been used and modified by scores of tiny house DIYers over the years.
Of course, besides floor plans, would-be DIYers will need to consider other elements in their tiny house design, such as siting, sun exposure, how water is managed, or if a food-producing garden could be integrated in the larger design. There are a lot of things to think about, which we’ll cover in future posts. In the meantime, if you have other suggestions for where to find tiny house plans, please let us know in the comments below!