Talking About Tiny Houses: What is a Tiny Home?

tiny houses

The average American spends $1,674 every month on housing — that’s $20,000 a year. Imagine the accumulative cost over their lifetime. And this is for a home that most don’t even own.

Housing is the most significant, yet necessary and unavoidable, cost in our lives. This is why some people are choosing to take matters into their own hands with the tiny house movement.

But what is a tiny home and what are the benefits of choosing to downsize your life? Keep reading to find out.

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Tiny House Size and Definition

There is no hard and fast rule as to what size constitutes tiny houses but generally, it includes homes that are less than 600 square feet. It’s popular for tiny homes to be built on trailers and these are referred to as THOW – tiny house on wheels.

Some people may consider tiny homes to be the same as an accessory dwelling unit such as a granny flat or backyard cottage due to the size. While there are some characteristics in common, tiny homes differ in a couple of ways.

Hot Tip: Check out how pre-approved ADUs can fast-track the approval process so you can start building straight away. 

So, what are some of the differences between a tiny house and small accessory dwelling units? A tiny home is a single unit that can be detached or semi-attached, much like some ADUs. However, tiny houses are usually constructed on wheels or on a temporary foundation.

People choose tiny homes for affordability, environmental sustainability, and social community. On the other hand, ADUs are an extra unit that is an extension of the primary property, rather than the main dwelling.

Tiny Homes Movement

In recent years there has been a huge trend towards tiny houses. More and more people are choosing to downsize their lives, giving up the dream of huge and sprawling homes for minimalistic spaces.

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The tiny home movement is not just about living in a small space. It’s about choosing a more simplistic and minimalistic lifestyle that doesn’t consist of so much stuff. 

Many of those that have chosen the tiny home lifestyle has undertaken the building of their tiny house themselves. This is an appealing aspect of the movement as even those with no prior construction experience have been able to DIY their own home.

This is because of the affordability factor, but also the customizable aspect. A tiny home needs to be a smartly designed and functional space. The space needs to be multi-purpose and storage has to be carefully considered.

Benefits of Tiny Homes

Why is there such a big trend towards tiny homes? Simply put, there are many benefits of tiny houses that people are starting to notice and are very attracted to. It may seem daunting to move into a miniature home, getting rid of most of your stuff, and choosing the tiny life.

But check out some of the incredible benefits of downsizing your life and moving into a tiny house on a permanent basis.


The most obvious benefit of a tiny home is the affordability. Most people are shelling out up to half of their salaries for rent or mortgages. The biggest financial expense is shelter and buying a home means working almost two decades to try to pay it off.

First, there’s the initial cost of the home. The average person can’t afford to pay outright for a mid-sized home. So, in order to purchase a home, you’ll likely have to take out a loan and you’ll be paying it off for years to come.

A tiny home, on the other hand, is a considerably lower initial cost. In fact, you can build a tiny home for the same cost as an average car. This affordability doesn’t scrimp on quality which means that the initial budget cost will get you a home for decades to come.

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Besides the initial cost, all of the associated costs of owning and running a home are much lower in a tiny house, too. Utilities and maintenance are much more affordable, property taxes and rent are cheaper, and overall consumption in your life is less. You have less space for stuff, ergo you buy less stuff.


If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, a tiny home is the way to go. The average American home produces 7 tons of CO2 and greenhouse gases every year.

You’ll be using less energy when living in a tiny home. You can even consider alternative energy options, such as solar, that would be sufficient to power the whole home.

As you’ll be minimizing your life and consuming less, your impact on the environment will be significantly reduced.

A Simpler Life

Keeping up with the Joneses is something that plagues most of us, and results in a toxic cycle of constantly wanting more. It’s an invisible weight on our shoulders.

Moving to a tiny home forces you to downsize your life. You have to get rid of all the things you don’t need. Only in this process do you realize how much you own, and spend money on, that you don’t need and that doesn’t actually add real value to your life.

Footnote: What is a Tiny Home?

So, what is a tiny home? It’s a single unit, usually on wheels, less than 600 square feet. This movement towards tiny homes is driven by the financial, environmental, and personal benefits.

While it’s a significant decision that surely comes with its own challenges, it’s also proved to be a fantastic way for people to own the home and life of their dreams without the huge cost. Which is no tiny thing.

Did you enjoy this post? Our site is full of interesting content for homeowners and aspiring homeowners alike — keep exploring for more articles to know about tiny houses.