Tiny, little, and small houses seem to be popular lately. Not surprisingly, with the demise of the housing boom, some people started to rethink what it means to be a homeowner. Do people/families need 2,000+ square feet to live comfortably? Can you buy a house without a mortgage?  What defines a tiny, small, and little house?

Obviously, the first question is of personal opinion. Many people would say they need 2,000+ square feet and others would say some other square footage is just perfect for their family. The second question, can you buy a house without a mortgage, varies in its answer. I know a couple of people who’ve inherited homes and don’t pay rent or mortgage payments. They are very fortunate to be in that situation. For others who are financially savvy, they’ve been able to pay down their mortgage in 5 years – I’d count this as living mortgage free within a short time period. However, for the rest of us, we need to think creatively if we really want to own a house without a mortgage…and that’s where tiny and small houses are a possible solution.

Most tiny, small and little house advocates say 800 square feet and below constitutes small house living. I’m more flexible in my definition of small and little and would go out on a limb and include houses around 1,200 square feet as small or little as well. The benefits of tiny, which average at about 186 square feet (let’s just say tiny would be anything under 300 sq. feet), are obviously less of a carbon footprint, less junk cluttering up closets and garages, mobility (for some tiny houses), and a low cost of living. The Tiny Life created a nice infographic that demonstrates some of the benefits of tiny house living. Tiny house owners have more savings, less debt, and are a little older (meaning, no small children – the infographic actually doesn’t give stats on tiny house owners with children). Small and little houses also have benefits as well, they may just be more subtle. I’ll be sharing some new small and little house plans that are beautiful soon.

For now, here’s the Tiny House Infographic (The Tiny Life also sells a book on building codes for tiny houses – often the most difficult part of building one of these):

Tiny House Infographic from The Tiny Life.
Tiny House Infographic from The Tiny Life.

Could you live in a tiny house when you retire, downsize, or as a way to save money?


  1. I currently live in a 1300 sf house. When it was built in 1895, it was probably home to a family of 4 or 5.

    The joke is that my husband and I spend all the time in the same room. And much of the house never sees activity. Now that it’s warm I work, eat, and hang out on my front porch so the rest of the house goes to waste.

    We’re now looking to move aboard a sailboat. Once we do, I’ll think 1300 feet of housing is insane.

    • @Pamela – It’s funny but my husband and I also spend the majority of our time in a 20×20 room. The rest of our place sees little action. 😉 The boat living sounds great. I’d love to hear what it’s like when you do move!

  2. Done by Forty Reply

    What a cool article and infographic. I’m intrigued by tiny homes and have regular fantasies of making the switch. We currently live in a 1276 room home, but rent out a room and bathroom as it’s a little too much space for my wife and me.

    I’m glad I found your site and look forward to reading more.

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