Tiny homes can be as aesthetically pleasing as they are small.
People who are living in a tent, schoolie, or yurt make their homes as comfortable as possible.
These tiny homes feature outdoor spaces, furniture with built-in storage, and private rooms.
Bela and Spencer Fishbeyn moved into a 300-square-foot tiny house on wheels with their daughter in 2017.
The Fishbeyns decided to downsize for more financial and geographic freedom, as well as to help them pursue their goal of owning their own business.
They don't travel a lot in their home, but putting it on wheels allowed them to make it faster, as the permitting process is simpler according to Bela.
Their home sits in the mountains of California, and it's available for rent, as the Fishbeyns live in Asheville, North Carolina, full time today.
The home is split into eight different spaces, giving it distinct rooms despite the small size.
The home features a kitchen, living room, bathroom, office, a kid's play space, two bedrooms, and a walk-in closet, as well as a porch that's almost the same size as the house.
"I know that sounds like a lot, but by giving each space its own special purpose, the whole home feels expansive," Bela told Insider in 2019.
The home is filled with neutral tones combined with pops of color, creating a space that is dynamic but not overwhelming.
The kitchen sits on a raised platform, which separates it slightly from the rest of the space.
The Fishbeyns don't use a lot of storage hacks. Instead, they built it to optimize functionality, adding in small nooks and crannies that help them make the most of the space.
For instance, the kitchen features cabinets, open shelving, and hanging storage for pots and pans. Every inch of the house is put to use.
The bathroom was made with built-in open shelving storage to keep it organized.
Although it may seem like the open shelving could create chaos, it actually prevents the space from feeling cramped.
The Fishbeyns also elevated their home by investing in furnishings. Touches like a round sink and gold faucet make the space feel homey but elegant.
The house has a porch that's about the same size as the house, which makes their space feel even larger.
The Fishbeyns hope to set up tiny homes throughout the US, allowing them to experience different parts of the country.
"I think a lot of people look at tiny houses as the end," Bela told Insider in 2019. "You downsize, you move in, then you live in a tiny house forever. But for us, and I think for most people who move into a tiny house, it's just the beginning."
You can follow Bela on Instagram here.
Zac and Katie Ruiz have been living in a 300-square-foot tent with their two sons since 2017.
Zac and Katie told Insider they wanted to "break the cycle" of just working to pay for rent, as Zac put it, and building the small structure on property Katie owned in a rural suburb of New Mexico was the most efficient way to do it.
The tent took about eight weeks to build, and the Ruiz family continues to renovate it over time. It's powered by solar energy.
The tent has a studio feel, with the living room, kitchen, and bedroom all in an open-concept space.
It also features a bathroom with a composting toilet to the left of the bed and a closet to the right, as well as a lofted bedroom for their sons above the master bed.
The tent has a boho aesthetic, with Zac's handmade furniture and lighting decorating the home.
The kitchen takes up one wall of the home, and it features a small burner and mini-fridge.
Because of the small fridge space, the Ruizes have to shop for fresh food pretty frequently, but they have plenty of room to store dried goods.
The tent doesn't have running water, which can make cooking and cleaning difficult. But the Ruizes have a well on the property, so they can get water whenever they need.
The Ruiz family has an outdoor shower, as their home has no running water.
Their property is large and isolated, so the Ruizes don't feel worried about being exposed when they shower outdoors.
Although the outdoor shower is convenient for the warmer months, Zac told Insider the family "outsources" their showers for much of the year at public gyms and pools, or even friends' homes.
Zac told Insider the tent has changed the way the Ruizes use their time.
Both Katie and Zac work from home, giving them more time to spend with each other and their kids.
They know they'll outgrow the tent at some point, but they hope to build a slightly larger cabin on the same property so they can continue their tiny lifestyle. For now, the tent is perfect for them.
You can follow Zac Ruiz on Instagram.
Tim and Shannon Soine moved into their 210-square-foot tiny home in 2014, and it sits on wheels.
The couple downsized in Rochester, New York, after toying with the idea of living tiny for years, they told Insider in June 2020.
They share the home with their newborn son and two dogs.
The entire home has an open concept layout — the Soines don't even have a door on their wet bathroom.
Because the tiny home is the Soines' permanent residence, it features a full-size refrigerator and washer dryer.
The large couch sits against the wall, creating open space that lets them move around. The bench-style couch also functions as seating for their kitchen table.
The Soines' bed pulls out from under the couch, which gives them more space to move around during the day.
Shannon Soine told Insider the family has movie nights from the bed, using a projector screen to enhance the experience.
Their son, Nico, sleeps in a bassinet that hangs from the ceiling.
The home also features a walk-in closet that functions as an office and a sleeping area for the dogs.
Clothes are stored in drawers and hangers, while the other side of the space features a shelf that's a perfect-sized desk.
Dog beds sit on the floor, but they can be moved if need be.
The multi-functional space allows the Soines to get the most out of their tiny home.
One of the biggest benefits of the home is that it saves the Soines money, as it's helped them pay off debt.
"One of our objectives was to pay off all of our debt, and we paid off more than $175,000 over the course of the six years we've lived here," Shannon told Insider.
The small house has also proved to be great for the new parents, as everything their son needs is within reach.
They plan on moving to a larger space when they have another child, but it will still be less than 1,000 square feet. They don't think they need anything larger.
You can follow Shannon on Instagram here.
Will, Kristin, their daughter Roam, and their dog live in a 180-square-foot bus full time.
The couple renovated the bus in 2016 because they wanted to be able to travel full time.
They moved into the bus when Roam was just 6 months old, so she's spent the majority of her life living nomadically. The family was parked in Wyoming at the time of writing.
The living room and kitchen sit at the front of the bus, and safety features are built into its very structure.
Because the bus is a home and a vehicle, Will and Kristin had to build safety into the space.
For instance, the couch features seat belts for when the bus is moving, but it's also a pull-out bed that guests can use if they visit the family. The decor has a beachy vibe.
The kitchen features both a stove and oven despite its small size, as well as a full-size refrigerator and custom-made wooden countertops.
The setup allows Will and Kristin to travel as much as they want without worrying how they're going to make dinner in remote areas.
The vehicle is equipped with WiFi thanks to solar power, so Will and Kristin are able to work while they travel.
Will's desk is at the back of the bus near Roam's bed, while Kristin converts the dashboard into her workspace using an insert.
The bus windows provide the family with natural light, but they can also close out the world with curtains for privacy.
By personalizing the bus to suit their family, Will and Kristin created a space they can use long term.
Additions like the workspace and a skateboarding rail for Will on the outside of the bus make it a long-term investment.
Although their lifestyle doesn't save them money because Will and Kristin have to pay a lot of money in gas and bus upkeep, they wouldn't trade it.
"Experiencing all those new places is the main reason why we wanted to do this, because we love to travel," Kristin told Insider.
You can follow Will and Kristin on Instagram here.
Whitney Leigh Morris and Adam Winkleman's 400-square-foot California tiny home is the perfect size for them, their son, and their two dogs.
The couple have lived in what they call the Tiny Canal Cottage in the Venice Canals neighborhood of California since 2011, and they even got married on the front stoop.
They didn't intentionally downsize; they just loved their neighborhood, as Morris told Insider.
Today, the family works to live sustainably in the home, which Morris documents on her website.
The kitchen and living room are open concept, with greenery bringing freshness to the home.
The entire home only has three rooms, as the living room, office, and kitchen are all in one area. There's a separate bathroom and master bedroom.
The living room doubles as Morris' son's bedroom, as the couch turns into his bed at night.
Greenery plays a big role in Morris' decor, with lush plants thriving throughout the home.
The kitchen features an oven, stove, full-size refrigerator, and a dishwasher.
The kitchen also has plenty of built-in cabinets, with the family choosing to maximize their storage space.
Morris recently shared on Instagram that she uses the back of the cabinet doors for hanging items like lids and lists to make even better use of the space.
The bedroom features both built-in storage and windows, ensuring the room has plenty of natural light.
The room also features a skylight, giving the family views of the stars at night. It looks even prettier since it's framed by books and storage baskets.
The family also hangs items on the wall to combine decor and storage, like hats or jewelry.
"For us, this lifestyle is not only about living in a smaller footprint — it's about living with a smaller footprint, too," Morris said.
They also save money because of their home's size, as both the cost of the house and the upkeep are less than they would be in a larger home, according to Morris. The lifestyle enables Morris' family to spend money on the things that really matter to them.
Zach Both and Nicole Lopez built a modern yurt in 2018 to avoid the high costs of living in Portland, Oregon.
A yurt is typically a circular structure made from flexible poles covered in a felt fabric.
"We always joked about living in one, but when the opportunity came, we came back to it because it's such a unique structure and has such a unique history," Both told Insider. "So we settled on the yurt."
The couple built the $30,000 yurt in one weekend.
They put an additional $30,000 into making it a cozy home.
In the living room, there is a pull-out couch, a wood-burning stove, and an office around the corner.
"We didn't have to skimp on the living features that most people are accustomed to," Both said.
Around the corner from the living room is a modern kitchen, which has stainless-steel appliances.
The kitchen has a full fridge, a sink, and an island that doubles as a table.
Above the kitchen is the couple's lofted bedroom.
"It was quite a challenge [to build], but it pays off in the end," Both said. "When you're sleeping up there and looking through the skylight at night, there's nothing else quite like it."
Both and Lopez can enjoy the luxuries of Portland without the city's expensive price tag.
"It's always a challenge," he said. "It's always a learning opportunity. I think perseverance is the key. It's easy to get discouraged at times, but when you're at the end and everything is finished, you'll be able to sit back and relax. It all pays off."
You can follow Both's life in the yurt on Instagram.
Marte Snorresdotter Rovik and Jed Harris realized they weren't happy in their jobs or three-bedroom house so decided to convert a school bus into a tiny house.
"Rather than trying to make more money, we started looking at how we could need less money," Rovik told Insider. "If we built an off-grid home in a school bus, we wouldn't have a mortgage, rent, or power bill, and this would allow Jed to come home from work and be with us."
In 2019, the Australian couple bought a school bus for $7,000, but after 18 months of renovation, the couple was all in at $28,000.
The main living space is covered in wood and neutral tones.
"Most of all, we love our big windows running all through the bus and providing us with ever-changing, beautiful views," Rovik said.
The calming color scheme continues into the kitchen, which has a freezer, a sink, and a stovetop.
The backsplash acts as an accent wall for the kitchen.
A cozy master bedroom sits at the back of the bus.
The couple designed the master bedroom to have storage space around the bed.
Additionally, there is a separate room with bunk beds for the couple's two children who are 2 and 4.
The family of four now travels around Australia in their converted schoolie.
"The freedom is by far the best part," Rovik said. "Our much-beloved home is mortgage-free. We have no bills, all the time in the world, and the freedom to live wherever we want."
You can follow along the family's journey on Instagram.
In 2017, Marek and Ko Bush moved out of a fancy loft apartment and into a 200-square-foot tiny house.
"We woke up one day and realized how completely we were in debt," Marek Bush told Insider. "We decided we were going to pay off everything we owed."
They decided the best way to do that was to downsize their lifestyle, so with the help of a low-interest loan, they purchased a $55,000 tiny house.
Their tiny house has all the comforts of their previous home.
In their living room, there is a 55-inch TV and a three-seater couch, which has storage space underneath.
Next to the living room is the kitchen, which has ample counter space.
Marek is over 6 feet tall, so they had the kitchen ceiling built higher so he wouldn't bump his head.
Above the kitchen is the couple's lofted bedroom, which fits a king-size bed.
One of the couple's favorite design elements in the house is the ceiling of the loft, which has an intricate design that Marek describes as a butterfly.
Marek and Ko moved their tiny house to a small community in Texas and are living completely debt-free.
"We look at this as something that will help us continue to build wealth in the future," Marek said. "Now that the tiny house is paid off, if we bought a traditional house tomorrow, we could put this in the backyard and make it a rental property and pay the mortgage down, or [we can] sell the tiny house and come into the traditional house with a much larger down payment."
You can follow Marek and Ko on Instagram here.
Christian Parsons and Alexis Stephens travel the country with their 130-square-foot home.
The couple travels around the US, documenting stories about the tiny house movement. In doing so, they've become the most-traveled tiny house in the country, trekking over 54,000 miles.
"We want people to come into our home and be able to ask questions and hopefully leave saying, 'Maybe I can't live in this space, but I can understand how it would be a comfortable home for other people,'" Stephens said.
The main living space is decorated in reclaimed wood and recycled materials.
"All our two by fours came from trees that came from a tornado that a family friend milled and then gave to us," Stephens said.
In all, the couple spent just $15,000 on building their tiny house back in 2014.
The reclaimed wood continues into the kitchen.
The kitchen is designed so that everything can stay in place while the tiny house travels. The dish rack keeps the dishes from falling to the floor.
The master bedroom is a cozy loft above the kitchen.
The loft fits a queen-size bed and two speakers for entertainment.
The couple takes their tiny house all over the country to spread the word about downsizing.
"I really believe tiny houses are a force for positivity in the world," Stephens said. "I think it's an empowering multi-tool for people to reach their goals."
You can explore tiny houses across the country with Stephens and Parsons on their website, Tiny House Expedition.
April Gilleland and Jason McMillan live in a 350-square-foot remodeled RV with their twin daughters.
In 2018, the couple bought a 2005 Keystone Montana for $19,000 and spent the next six weeks turning it into a cozy family home for their 5-year-old daughters.
After the renovations, the couple spent $25,000 in all.
Now, they've permanently parked their RV on a lot in Sacramento, California.
The living room is open and doubles as the couple's master bedroom.
"I made sure it wasn't a closed-off RV," Gilleland said. "I needed it to be big and open. We customized it to fit our needs. Over the last two years, I've been personalizing it to fit our needs."
Right next to the living room, there is a bright and airy kitchen.
The kitchen has a stove, a toaster oven, and a two-basin sink.
Plus, there's a refrigerator that's built into the wall adjacent to the kitchen.
At the back of the RV, the twins have their own bedroom with "makeshift" bunk beds.
"I think creating a kids' space was probably the best thing that we could have done because I was concerned about them," Gilleland said. "I could adapt to anything; I don't care. But I wanted to make sure they were comfortable."
Gilleland knows the lifestyle may get difficult as her twins grow up, but right now, it works for her family.
"I can't believe that this time two years ago we were tearing these upper cabinets out and we still had burgundy carpet," she wrote in an Instagram caption. "Forever grateful I took that leap of faith and said yes to the tiny life. It's been so good to us."
You can follow Gilleland on Instagram.
Tyler and Todd Gibbon-Thorne turned a 210-square-foot RV into a home for themselves and their two golden retrievers.
A desire to travel led the Gibbon-Thornes to downsize. They spent months driving across North America, but they headed back to their home base in Canada as a result of the pandemic.
Today, the Gibbon-Thornes park their home in Nova Scotia, permanently, giving them access to outdoor space.
Although their actual home is small, they have a covered patio, a fire pit, and hammocks. As a result, the couple told Insider they spend the majority of their time outside.
Despite its small size, the inside of the RV feels light and airy.
The front of the RV is home to the living room, kitchen, and two separate work spaces for Tyler and Todd.
The space is distinct from the bedroom thanks to a door, so the couple can spend time alone if they need it.
Hanging storage keeps the kitchen functional.
The kitchen is small, but it has a refrigerator and oven. The hanging cutlery and spices are chic and organized.
It's also as pretty as it is functional thanks to the green and white cabinets and mosaic backsplash.
The private bedroom serves as a luxurious addition.
The couples' bed is built into the wall, making it look like a perfect fit. They have closet space that stays behind curtains.
Their shower is in the bedroom as well, while the toilet is in a private room. Because their vanity is in their bedroom, they have more space.
Living in the RV has given the Gibbon-Thornes more freedom.
Their lifestyle saves them money, they can travel often, and they're able to spend more time together than they ever could. Their dogs also have a better quality of life, as they have more access to the outdoors.
"People do van life or tiny living because you're able to truly live instead of just existing," Tyler said of his family's lifestyle.
You can follow the Gibbon-Thornes on Instagram.
Jenna Kausal has lived and traveled in her 160-square-foot tiny house since 2013.
In 2013, Kausal started building her 160-square-foot tiny house with her now ex-boyfriend. Over the years, she has traveled all over the country in her house, and as a result, she became one of the most experienced tiny house owners in the world.
The main living space of the quaint tiny house is the perfect size for Kausal and her dog.
However, Kausal said the space can be an issue, especially when it comes to storage.
"Living simply isn't simple," Kausal told Insider. "It can actually be challenging because you have limited space, so you need to be more organized, and you always need to do your dishes right after you eat. You have to go grocery shopping more often because you have a smaller refrigerator, smaller pantry."
The living room, though, is spacious enough for a couch and storage loft.
Kausal said she loves outdoor activities, so it was important that she find a way to creatively store her gear. Now, her snowboards hang from the ceiling.
Her bedroom is in a cozy loft on the second floor.
The loft has plenty of windows to make the space feel more open, but Kausal does feel the pressure of the limited size when she has to make the bed.
"One of my least favorite things to do in my tiny house is make the bed, especially after washing the sheets," Kausal said in a video on her site. "I'm in a loft, so it's a very confined space. I kind of feel like I'm doing acrobatics [or] barrel rolls over myself to try to get the sheets on the bed the correct way."
While living tiny isn't for everyone, "it can be a really awesome life tool that will change your life in many, many positive ways," Kausal said.
Her tiny house is now parked in Washington and she lives in it part-time.
"I hope one day, my kids will use my tiny house, or I'll be able to travel with it," she said. "I think it will have many more lives because it paid itself off in so many ways. I'll probably keep it forever."
You can follow her on Instagram here.
Cathi and Trevor Marshall wanted to downsize from their traditional-size home to a tiny house, so they built one out of shipping containers.
The Canadian couple spent $136,000 on the 704-square-foot container home in 2017 and placed it on their family property in British Columbia.
Inside, the container home has a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, which Cathi said is the best feature of the house.
"I walk into the living room and can look all the way through to the kitchen window, so it's one big space," Cathi told Insider. "The entire south-facing side of the house is all glass, so the landscape is the artwork."
On the opposite side of the home, there are two small bedrooms and a bathroom.
The kitchen is kept white so that the natural landscape remains the star of the show.
"I like the way it reflects light, and you can see so much of the exterior landscape, so I didn't want to take away from that," Cathi said. "I thought a white backdrop would allow your eye to go toward the outdoors."
The couple also built an attached studio space for Airbnb guests.
Cathi and Trevor designed and built the 450-square-foot space themselves and now rent it out on Airbnb for $90 to $200 per night.
"I love sharing this space with guests," Cathi said. "Being able to have guests and break bread together is lovely."
The tiny house sits on a large piece of land, so there are a ton of outdoor activities for the couple to enjoy year-round.
"This is a great way to live," Cathi said. "It takes a lot of unnecessary things out of your life. I'm totally blessed to live this lifestyle."
Brittnee and Brentt Proha moved into a 429-square-foot RV with their five kids and dog so they could travel more.
In 2020, the Proha family downsized into a 429-square-foot trailer, which they fully customized to fit the large family's needs.
The living space is large so that the Proha family can entertain while on the road.
"I just love the blue chairs where we can sit and read," Brittnee told Insider. "This is also where a lot of our big windows are. Plus, all of us can fit in this area."
The kitchen is located just behind the living room and has all the amenities the family needs.
The kitchen has white and blue cabinetry, a full fridge, a stove, an oven, a microwave, and plenty of counter space.
The children's bedroom has several lofts so that all five children have a place to sleep.
"It's actually really fun," Brittnee said of raising five kids in a small space. "Our kids actually really like to be around each other."
Brittnee and Brentt have their own master bedroom with tons of storage space.
The bedroom has a queen bed and a dresser that doubles as a workspace. Brittnee said she enjoys having her bedroom on the road.
"I love the flexibility," she said. "I love that we get to see things that a lot of people will never see."
You can follow their family's adventures on Instagram.
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