January 15, 2010

The Difference Between Tiny Houses and Small Houses - The Small House Movement

Okay, "tiny houses" are adorably cute and understandably growing in popularity.  You can even buy building plans for them at Lowe's. 

However, there's also a lot of interest in "small houses," and even though both are dwellings with minimum square footage, they are two very different things.  Technically, while all tiny houses are small houses, not every small house is a tiny house. 

Investigating the difference between the two, I was happy to learn that I'm living in a "small house" and technically, I'm participating in the "small house movement" even though I'm not building a tiny house anytime soon.  Maybe you'd like a small house, too. Maybe you're already in one.

Tiny Houses v. Small Houses

1.  Different sources will give you different dividing lines between a tiny house and a small house.  It's a matter of square feet   For example, TinyHomes splits the two at 1000 sq. ft. - anything 999 square feet or smaller is a tiny house; 1000-1200 is a small house. The Small House Society explains that there is not any set square footage for a "small house," and distinquishes a "tiny house" as anything under 500'. 


2.  Small Houses don't have wheels, unlike Tiny Houses. Tiny Houses are moveable, and that's one of their benefits.  Like a traditional RV, tiny house dwellers can follow the sun.  Small houses stay put. 

The Small House Movement

The Small House Movement encourages living with less, in less space.  According to the Small House Society, if you're leaving 10,000 sq ft for a 3500 sq ft home, for example, then you're moving to a smaller house and thus, technically a part of the Small House Movement.

My reading across the web, however, attaches "small houses" with ...well ... a small space, if not a tiny house.  Hit 1200 sq ft, and for many folk, they're gonna place you on a borderline of small house living. 

Me? I'm in 1000 sq. ft. of living space (I'm not counting the garage, the patio, etc.) and I'm as happy as a bug in a rug.  It's cozy and it's easier to clean.  Having less stuff is wonderful.  It does get a little difficult to jam a lot of folk in here at feeding time during the winter (the balancing plates on laps only goes so far when you don't offer very many chairs in the first place).  Fortunately, here in Texas we have outdoor-friendly weather most of the year, expanding the available seating area.  And in Mexican climates, it's even more temperate. 

Great Video Tour of a Tiny House by Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

Bottom line, maybe you're a member of the Small House Movement and didn't really realize it.  And maybe you're pondering a Tiny House (they are fascinating, aren't they?).  If so, here's a great video tour of a nice tiny home for you to get a real looksee:


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