Step aside sprawling mansions: these days it's all about the micro home. The number of properties measuring 37 square metres or less has increased by 172% since 2014, with 8000 tiny homes built in Britain last year. European and American architects have also got in on the action, creating prefabricated mini houses that can be commissioned and placed on plots of land. These clever properties feature all the mod cons you could ever want – without the extra floor space.
Why tiny houses?
The tiny house movement has come about partly in response to rising property prices, as well as through many efforts to downsize and live more sustainably. For example, the tiny house neighbourhood of Bestie Row in Texas was built by a group of friends. These minimalist homes were designed to be energy efficient, with 'butterfly roofs' that catch rainfall and recycle the water for use around the home.
How tiny houses work
From converted office blocks to silver airstream trailers, tiny houses are often built in the most surprising places. With limited space to work with, it's all about using clever design twists. Cedar Mountain Tiny House from Nashville-based company New Frontier Tiny Homes looks just like a garden shed. Inside, the desk doubles up as storage, while rotating shelves inside the kitchen cabinets make sure every inch of space is filled and used. It even has two bedrooms – the second sits on a mezzanine above the bathroom.
How to get a slice of micro home action
If you already live in a small property, it's easy to take cues from the tiny house movement by maximising your space. Build floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to increase your home's storage capacity and choose furniture fitted with handy drawers. If you've got high ceilings, add a loft bed. The extra space beneath the mattress can double up as a reading nook, giving you a sense of privacy even if you're in a studio apartment. If you have stairs, use the area underneath for a cupboard or shelves. Every room should be multipurpose – use room dividers to divvy up the space.
Ready to downsize? Get handy with tools to make the most of your storage options – you'll declutter and pare down in the process.