Thinking of taking the plunge and buying a tiny home? Whether it’s the allure of cozy living or minimalism, tiny houses are gaining more and more steam. The pared-down aesthetic can be a refreshing respite from maximalist lifestyle and overconsumption.

That being said, while tiny homes have mega benefits, there’s much to consider before diving head-first into the market. Before you start planning layouts and picking out essentials, there are a few often-overlooked aspects that might be red flags for you.

Check out the points of concern below as you consider a tiny home. 

Tiny Homes are Easy

Bed tucked into a corner of an RV tiny home with lots of windows.

Less square footage means you minimize potential problems, right? Not necessarily. 

Smaller spaces do not always translate into smaller problems. Building (or buying) a home has its own set of parameters: finding a lot or property that will allow different building codes, electricity, heat, and other factors come into play. And like any home, it will be prone to ongoing maintenance and repairs (i.e., installing a new roof down the line). Not to mention, you still need to take necessary precautions to protect against natural disasters.

Then there’s also design and style. Striking the right balance of form and function will enhance day-to-day living (think built-in shelves, multi-purpose rooms, and functional furniture). While these aesthetic perks in tiny homes are beautiful and efficient, they might also require specially built items or onboarding an architect to make your dream come to life (and follow code and safety). 

Easier living is possible with a tiny home, you just have to plan ahead.

Construction Limitations

Tiled shower next to a washing machine.

Whether this home is for the long haul or a weekend escape, it’s important to consider the experience you want to achieve with this space. 

But what exactly should you consider? Lifestyle, for starters. This can mean having the right amount of space needed as life evolves (aka, partners, pets, starting a family, and even work or hobbies). Any part of your lifestyle can influence the square footage of your space and how the home properly functions based on your needs.

Also, take stock of your time and interests. Do you have the skills to complete simple renovations yourself? Do you have the desire? Whatever your experience and construction savviness, you might not be able to update the interiors on your own. After all, if you make even the slightest structural change to your home, you’re essentially renovating the entire tiny space because of its size.

If your home requires renovations, does that mean you’ll have to temporarily relocate? And you’ll likely need to hire a team to ensure everything is completed safely, and up to code. It’s important to note that renovating or remodeling isn’t a red flag — it’s just about adequate preparation and planning, no matter if it includes a personal style touch-up or completing a much-needed repair.

Everyday Luxuries may Appear Different

Metal washtub next to a large window.

Creature comforts and must-haves change when it’s in a smaller home. Make a list of things you can’t live without; that may include certain kitchen appliances, a washer/dryer, air conditioning, and even built-in sound systems. There might be more on that list than you had originally thought. 

Your home might have all the typical fixings — a fridge, microwave, stove, and other appliances — but they will be downsized. Depending on the house, you might even have to forgo some modern appliances (and this can catch you off guard).

Tiny homes can also be partially or completely reliant on off-the-grid living. Take stock if solar panels or a compost toilet isn’t your cup of tea, or out of your budget.

The Tiny Home Lifestyle

What does living in a micro-home really mean? Beyond aesthetics — a pared-down space, clean lines, and natural materials — tiny living can be a harsh wake-up call, catching some folks by surprise. 

Is it really just about less stuff? Or only the essential stuff? Will you still have things, like art, a music collection, or books? (Short answer: Yes). How tiny living fits into your life outlook and philosophy is unique.

First, consider your reasons for tiny home living: minimalism, a new change, retirement, a second home, or a mix of the above can all factor into how daily life shapes up. What does that mean? Whether it’s one reason or a host of reasons: do your research. What does tiny living really encapsulate? Arm yourself with knowledge: the good, the bad, the boring, and especially—the ugly. This way, you’ll be prepared for whatever life throws at you, and all the better for it.

About the Author, Stephanie Valente

Stephanie Valente is a Content Director and Editor in Brooklyn, NY. She's previously held writing and social media positions at Barkbox, Men's Journal, and currently works at a full-service advertising agency. She's a self-confessed home and design enthusiast. Stephanie is an award-winning poet and fiction writer. When she's offline, you can find her taking a yoga class, running, hanging out with her rescue dog Pepper. Find her on stephanievalente.com.

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