Tiny House movement may seem strange to some people, but I think it's because they just don't understand its concept and benefits. Since it's difficult to question statistics, let's take a look at some eye-opening figures:
- 69% of tiny house people have no mortgage, compared to 29.3% of all U.S. homeowners
- 89% of tiny home owners have less credit card debt than the average American, and 60% have no debt at all
- The average cost to build a tiny house is $23,000, compared to a standard-sized house which is approximately $272,000 (about 12 times higher)
The truth is that tiny house movement offers a unique and simple way of life which pushes us away from capitalistic paradigm and over-consumption. It makes us happier because we don't live in a constant state of owing money and it makes us more conscious, eco-friendly and connected to nature because we consume less and with a limited space we need to organize our place intelligently. Living smartly, more consciously and sharing is the future that we can choose to become happier and start reducing the ecological burden we've put on our planet. It's the contribution that we can make to ensure that our children know what clean seas, oceans, and air are like.
The main idea of this article is to show you that living in a tiny home is not just possible, but it's also a fun way to be! The list below shows that even if you have a few thousand dollars, you can create a beautiful house for yourself and your family.
I think you can agree with me that paying $272,000 for a house sounds very burdensome. In my opinions it's not just burdensome, but also outdated. What about paying less than $10,000 for a house? Let's take a look at people who made it, having only a few thousand dollars, a big dream in their head and a fire in their heart to realize it.
20 Earthbag Dome, $300
Look at what Owen Geiger has to offer us. This man is a Mother Earth News Green Home Adviser and director of the Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building and he knows a lot about creating homes with earthbags. The Earthbag Dome that you see on the picture is the cheapest on the list and it was built in 2007 in Thailand.
Domes have many advantages - you can build it without wood, nails, shingles and plywood with the usage of minimal materials and tools. People who live in domes usually never return to living in boxes because they cherish the magical feeling that one gets when living there. In a house like this, you will keep cool in summer and escape cold in winter. Probably, it's one of the easiest constructions that you can create with your own hands. Wanna try?
19 Tree House in Brooklyn, $400
Now we know what happens when a creative person with a degree in interior design can't get a job or internship. She builds a treehouse in Brooklyn. That's exactly what Alexandra Meyn did in 2011. No wonder this story attracted the attention of The New York Times.“People’s eyes light up when you tell them you have a treehouse,” Alexandra Meyn comments.
It's impressive that she has worked with a really tight budget of $400 to build a treehouse inside a megalopolis. While building it she learned to find windows and doors in the trash, buy reclaimed supplies at Build It Green and source materials on the cheap.
Alexandra calls New Orleans her home and you can feel it by looking at her treehouse because there's a New Orleans aesthetic to it. It's funky, rustic and more appropriate for the warmer climate. But it's not a weak one. Alexandra's treehouse was strong enough to stand up to a Tornado and blizzards.
18 Tiny Home Built With Recycled Materials, $500
You have to think outside the box to create a box like this! Because an average person won't believe that you've built a house for $500. They need to believe Scott Brooks though because that's exactly what he did. Of course, you can't build anything for a price like this buying new materials. This is why Scott used recycled materials and gifts, which included a wood-burning stove, a door, a window, and skylights.
It's not the only assistance that Scott got from his friends. In fact, they helped to build this house and the land where the tiny house stands are owned by Brooks' friend as well.
Although electricity is provided by a hookup and there's no fridge and running water, this tiny house fits the personality of its creator greatly. After all, he will get by with a little help from his friends.
17 A-Frame Tiny Guest Cabin, $700
Just look at this minimalist perfection. Located in Montana, this urban hippie dream was realized by Alla Ponomareva and her husband in only 3 weeks. Just like with other projects of similar nature, materials used for construction were recycled from other projects. The most expensive item of this cabin is the solar panel and the coolest thing about its roof/wall is that it can be opened. It's a great idea considering that Montana doesn't have many mosquitoes.
You can't expect a bathroom and kitchen for a price and the amount of space like this, but the summer nights you can spend there gazing at the starts and the moon are just priceless.
You can take a look at how this A-frame tiny house was built on Alla's blog.
16 Urban Nomads Tree House, $,1,000
Can you believe that this treetop retreat was built for only a thousand dollars? This project proved us once again that a cool house doesn't mean an expensive house. Built in 2010 it has electricity, fireplace, private deck, kitchenette, AC and even Wi-Fi.
But the owner wasn’t satisfied with all these things and continued to improve the house adding a separate shower, hot tub, fire table, koi pond and a beautiful garden with rushing waterfalls. Needless to say, now it looks outstanding and you can even rent it for $195/day on Airbnb. Sounds like a cool investment, doesn't it? Check it out next time you visit Illinois.
15 Modernist Tree House, $1,500
Not every mother can build a modernist treehouse for their children. But the person behind ModFrugal blog did it and did it excellently. As she herself puts it, "I’m not a writer, photographer, or designer…just a gal with a vision who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty."
Even though she built this treehouse for her kids, this Tennesse woods hideout is a perfect place for anyone who is tired of the crazy life pace and wants to reconnect with nature's wisdom and stillness.
It doesn't have appliances or running water, because it was made as a hideout, but it was smartly constructed. This treehouse is made of highly durable materials and its windows, walls and floor were screened and caulked to keep the bugs out. And the view that you'll get from the deck is unforgettable.
14 Self-Sufficient Solar Powered Cabin, Under $2000
A 400 square feet of living space for $2,000 anyone? Lamar Alexander makes it possible for everyone. Living in Utah, he has created the designs for people who want to live off the grid and mortgage free. Unlike many preceding houses on the list, this one has everything necessary for living - electricity, bathroom, kitchen, full loft and enough space for bedroom, home office and a spacious living area. And it can be a great place for meeting guests because it can sleep up to six people.
Consider that $2,000 doesn't include appliances, fixtures as well as a gas power source. Even taking this into consideration, it's a great price for a house like this.
13 Cozy Wooden Cabin, $2,500
There are several great things about this wooden cabin: it looks, it's price and the opportunity to build it following simple instructions. While the process of erecting isn't simple, it is definitely rewarding. The most important things to consider when constructing this cabin is selecting the right logs and preventing wood rot. Fortunately, all recommendations are given in the instructions.
If you're a bit frightened about the thoughts of constructing that wooden cabin, imagine a feeling you will get sitting on a bench outside of it and looking at the beauty around. It should give you the right motivation and energy to act.
12 Kyle’s Gnome Dome, $3,000
As the name suggests, we have reached something truly offbeat on this list. Kyle's Gnome Dome is a one-of-a-kind construction situated in Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village which was built with recycled and reclaimed supplies. Quite possibly, this house looks so exceptional because it was erected by a novice who undertook many improvements to make it a cozy and fun place to live it. But that shows us once again that there's nothing too difficult in building a house with your own hands. All you need is a strong desire, an accurate execution, and some funds.
If you want to try out Kyle's creation yourself, go ahead and rent it via Airbnb for only $25/night. Judging from reviews, visitors absolutely love it.
11 Container Tiny Home, $4,000
If you're wondering how to turn a shipping container into a home, ask Lulu. This legendary mom of two children built a beautiful home for only $4,000. Although for Lulu it was more a choice of necessity because she was a single studying mom at the time of the construction. When she was forced to move out of her last home, she got a recommendation from a friend to "build something" and sometime later she received a container for free.
All her experience in construction was remodeling a boat, but she accepted the challenge and faced it with dignity. I strongly advise you to watch her story in this video, which gathered more than 11M views on YouTube. Now that's a Wonder Woman!
10 Tiny House In The Woods, $4,000
Many people have already heard this story because of how sweet and inspiring it is. The house you see on the picture was built by the couple you see in it because Dave Herrle (the husband) drunk a little too much on the New Year's Eve and promised to build a house. That's what he says:
“I woke up in the morning with a slight hangover and realized that I better build her a house! My wife and I did all the work ourselves, and six weeks after we got the lumber we had a house! We sleep in the cabin every night, there's a composting toilet, hot plate, electricity, but more than anything an amazing view and very peaceful sleep."
We can believe you, Dave! It's a pity too few drunken promises get a magical outcome like this.
9 Gorgeous Tiny Cabin, $5,000
Luxury doesn't always mean living in a huge apartment where you have more gadgets than you can use. Sometimes it means living in a cabin. Just the one like Handmade Matt built.
From the first glimpse, it's difficult to understand what's so luxurious about this little cabin, but the more you read and see the pictures, the more you understand. Every tiny fraction of this place is filled with love. And if you're more interested in practical things like bathroom, kitchen, sink, heating, stove, and toilet, it also has it all. Being a unique creation, this cabin is completely off the grid!
One more cool thing about it is that it's portable.
8 Prefab Bunkie, $5,000
Lakefront cabins are great and guys from Summerwood Products decided that they should be even greater by providing their customers with the opportunity to order custom size and custom style prefab bunkies kits that fit needs of different people. A great solution for those who like to work with their hands but don't want to start working from scratch. With the kit and instructions provided, you only need to assemble everything correctly which is not so difficult.
These tiny lakefront cabins can be erected for your guests (it can fit 2-3 people), for yourself, or for your children to enjoy nature and water. The prices for DIY prefab bunkies start at $5,000.
7 Arched Cabins, $5,200
If you're looking to build a tiny house for yourself, but earthbag dome or treehouses without the necessary facilities don't seem like an appropriate option for you, then you definitely have to check the Arched Cabins out. This construction has a very smart design which gives you a lot of space and a comfortable house for a fraction of a cost. For only $5,000 you will get a posh-looking and incredibly cozy tiny house with flooring, ribs, insulation, and paneling. Make sure to google the Arched Cabins to see how intelligently space inside can be organized.
An ideal option for a beginner builder.
6 Aubergine, $6,000
Ever thought about living in a school bus? One thing I can tell for sure is that it's much more entertaining to live in one than to ride one.
The story of Aubergine started when Katherine Hanson thought that it's time to start living in harmony with nature and realize her dreams. Just like Kyle's Gnome Dome, the Aubergine house is also located in Dancing Rabbit Eco-Village. Before becoming an Aubergine, it was just a normal school bus and the only running vehicle at Dancing Rabbit. But when time took its toll, Katherine decided to turn the bust into a house. It took her 2 years, $6,000 and many helping hands to finish this project, but the result impresses.
Now Katherine and her partner plan to move to the larger home, because they want to start a family, but she has no intention of giving up the Aubergine.
“When my child turns twelve, they can stay in her!” Katherine says.
5 Typhoon Proof Dome Home, $7000
The Philippines, Japan and other countries which are constantly threatened by typhoons have started to work on typhoon proof dome homes. Not only they provide shelter in an extreme situation, but they are also a great option for living off the grid.
Builders from Texas designed a robust dome-shaped house that can withstand very strong winds (up to 400km). Here's what Michael Scott from Monolithic Home Builders in Texas says:
“We use basalt (rock derived from lava) as the main strengthening component in building monolithic dome houses. It cannot be destroyed by super typhoons, earthquakes, or fires."
Don't get fooled by the look, the dome has a spacious design with 2 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms. What else could you ask for?
4 Magical Dome House, Thailand, $8000
And now something completely different. I invite you to take a look at a magical dome house at an organic mango farm in Thailand. The magical house you see on the picture is a creation of Steve Areen, former Delta Airlines flight attendant. Having only two assistants, he finished this tiny dome house in only six weeks.
When the main building was erected, he added the final touches including landscaping, stonework, screens, shelves a gazebo and a pond. The result inspired him so much that he intends to continue building dome houses. Great job Steve! We're looking forward to new magical dome houses from you.
3 Tree Top Retreat, $8,200
If you can't handle the stress anymore and breathing deep doesn't help, it's time to get ready for a treetop retreat. You can either rent a treehouse or follow the example of Geoff de Ruiter from Pender Island in British Columbia, and built one with your own hands. The total cost of Raven Loft (name of the house) was $8,200.
It has a sink, a mini fridge, a composting toilet and an induction cook plate. Although there is no tub or shower, it is possible to rent a shower in a nearby pub for only five dollars.
Morning dew, birds singing, scenic greenery, peace outside and peace within. Idyllic.
2 Tiny Home In Less Than A Day, $10,000
I guess the phrase "in less than a day" requires some explanation. According to People's Architecture Office principal, James Shen:
"A construction team can build the Plug-in House in less than 24 hours. The structure is built without any machinery and does not require specialized labor".
Constructions like this are made with many panels which connect to each other. All you need to connect them is just one tool: a hex wrench. Take a closer look at how it works.
The house you see on the picture was built for Mrs. Fan, who dwells outside Beijing in China so that she could live near her family in a modern house at an affordable price.
1 Kristie Wolfe Shows What She Can Build For $11,000
Kristie Wolfe is a dressmaker, a tiny house builder and a beautiful woman, all at the same time. Her first tiny house project was a Tiny House on the Prairie and when it was completed she moved on to the second tiny house - beautiful vacation home in Hawaii. Just look at how elegant, thoughtful and creative the interior details are. It's impressive how she created it with such a tight budget. Just to let you understand Kristie's creative genius, I will tell you this: the home has a ground floor with a hanging bed. Want to rent it via Airbnb?
Although this house costs a little more than $10,000 I decided to include it in the list, just for you to see what you can create with $11,000 and to look what impressive houses Kristie Wolfe has created. The third house she erected is a hobbit house that looks even more jaw-dropping than the Hawaii tiny house.
It all shows us that living off the grid is not an outsider's thing. It's progressive, cost-efficient, it gives us more freedom and is a great way to show some respect to mother Earth.