• Rania Hannan

What tiny living space is right for you?

Updated: Nov 2

While tiny living is all about simplicity, deciding what exactly you want can sometimes feel like anything but. There are tons of factors to consider—cost, size, pre-built or DIY, type of dwelling/rig, and so on. The great news is that because there are so many options, you're all the more likely to be able to customize your dream space. Below, we'll briefly cover the types of tiny homes and their pros and cons. You'll find that for some options, the cons can just as easily be pros.


Traditional Tiny Houses


Tiny houses are simplified downsized houses. These can be built on a foundation if you want to stay put or on a trailer, so you have the option of moving your entire home with you. A tiny home is an amazing choice if you want to minimize and downsize while living in a home that resembles a traditional house. They typically range from 100-400 square feet.



Pros

  • Feels most like a traditional home

  • Lower utility bills

  • Easier to maintain

  • Uses fewer resources

Cons

  • You have room for a lot less stuff (of course, this is also a pro!)

  • Design choices require lots of pre-planning—some of your furniture will likely be permanent

  • If you ever plan on moving your home, it can be expensive

  • Zoning laws can be tricky depending on where you're located


RVs, Campers, and Travel Trailers


RVs, campers, and travel trailers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They have the added bonus of being pre-built and can be bought used or new. The ease of purchasing something already built and just hitting the road is perfect for many, while some choose to buy something vintage and renovate it to their needs.



Pros of RVs

  • No building experience required

  • Comfortable ride

  • Class A RVs especially, but even many Class C, are great for large groups/families

  • Wide market for used options

Cons of RVs

  • New RVs are expensive

  • Specialized maintenance

  • Lower MPG

  • Harder to customize

  • There may be some size-related restrictions

Pros of Campers & Travel Trailers

  • Affordable

  • Provide flexibility- you can leave your trailer at a campsite and use your towing vehicle as a separate mode of transportation

  • Easier maintenance- you don't need auto parts when something breaks down

Cons of Campers & Travel Trailers

  • Requires a towing vehicle if you want to be on the move

  • Hitching/unhitching can be a chore

  • No passengers within while traveling

  • Driving with one attached usually has a learning curve


Camper Vans


If you want to move easily from place to place, camper vans are a great option. Camper vans are endlessly customizable—your build can be as simple or complex as you want. Their compact size makes them easy to hit destinations other rigs simply can't. The smaller space is especially important to consider- these usually range from just 50 to 90 square feet.





Pros

  • Better gas mileage

  • Can access more locations

  • Most models fit in regular parking spots

  • Great for "stealthing" (parking overnight in non-designated campgrounds)

Cons

  • Smaller living and storage space

  • Requires patience and skill to build out on your own

  • Can be difficult to find something already built-out to your liking


Skoolie (School Bus Conversion)


Much like camper vans, skoolies are totally customizable. Decommissioned school and shuttle buses are typically quite affordable and can be the perfect shell for your tiny home on wheels. The added width and height broaden your options when designing the interior. Skoolies provide the ability to be on the move, but their large size can sometimes be prohibitive.



Pros

  • Tons of space

  • Large weight capacity

  • Well built—these are commercial vehicles, after all!

  • Tons of space

  • Buying a decommissioned school bus can be very affordable

Cons

  • Harder to drive and park

  • Lower MPG

  • Replacement parts can be expensive or hard to find

  • Less stealthy for when you want to park overnight in a city


Deciding what's best for you


Deciding what type of tiny space you'd like to live in is a huge decision, but it certainly doesn't stop there. There are tons of choices to make and skills to learn from there.

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