Believe it or not, the phenomenon known as the tiny house movement is nothing new. In fact, it dates back to 1854 and can be credited to the iconic poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau decided to experiment by doing what is known today as going off the grid. Back then, it was his attempt at solitude and creativity. So he went and built a home on the property of his buddy Ralph Waldo Emerson near Walden Pond.
He built a cabin all by himself with materials that cost him $28. The little house had everything he needed, was eco-friendly, and allowed him to live a simple life. Since then, there have been spurts of folks deciding to leave the hustler and bustle, live in the woods, and pioneer it.
Over the past decade, many people have taken it one step further (like Thoreau over 150 years ago). They are intentionally deciding to live more straightforward, more sustainable lives. Tiny homes are better for the environment and easier to maintain, but they are also financially sensible (the average tiny house costs $52,000) and offer flexibility when moving. Almost 40% of tiny house owners are over fifty, and nearly 55% are women.
A tiny house provides an opportunity to save money for retirement. However, many young people opt to invest in tiny homes because it’s cheaper than trying to afford a traditional one. There’s no doubt that all these benefits are adding to the popularity of the tiny home. But no matter how much folks love their little houses, there’s always room for improvement.
One area that many people like to upgrade is the exterior of their tiny home. It’s a fabulous way to create more living space without disturbing the structure of your home. It can give you the chance to entertain more and have family gatherings. Adding a cooking area to a tiny home exterior will allow you to be more creative, cook more, and not heat up your small space. There are so many projects you can work on to upgrade the exterior of a tiny home. In this blog, we’ll explore six big ideas to get those creative juices flowing to improve the outside of your tiny house.
Factors to Consider Before Starting Your Tiny Home Exterior Project
Before you begin upgrading your tiny home exterior, there are several factors you’ll need to consider. First, if you live in a community, mobile park, or any area with a homeowners’ association, you’ll need to consult the rules and regulations on making improvements. Many times, places like these have specifications that must be met, as well as a list of things that are prohibited. A permit or permission from the authority in charge may be needed.
For example, many places have regulations on outdoor lighting or the pitch of your roof. Another factor to consider is your budget. How much you have to spend on a project will determine how in-depth you can go and the quality of materials you need to use. It’s always a good idea to go smaller and use good quality, sustainable materials rather than go big and have it fall apart because the materials are cheap.
Next, consider the size of your lot. While you may have big dreams for your tiny home exterior, the lot and your land may not be agreeable. Remember that the whole point was to downsize and simplify, so you won’t be able to go overboard with the outside. Think about one or two minor upgrades that you want and start there. When they’re finished, look and see what else there’s room for.
When deciding, consider practicality and maintenance. It might be great to have an outdoor kitchen, but if you need new windows, you must prioritize. When choosing projects, think about the maintenance aspect. Ask yourself if you’ll be able to afford repairs and replacements. Will you be able to easily clean and service your choices?
For example, if you install a skylight window, can you get to it to clean it? Finally, you’ll need to think about where you’ll store all your materials for the project. Tiny houses don’t typically come with garages or sheds. You may want to consider cargo aluminum trailers. These trailers are mobile and come in just about any size you need. They make great portable sheds.
Tiny Home Exterior Projects Worth Tackling
Prioritizing practicality, sustainability, and maintenance ensures that your exterior renovations not only enhance the aesthetics of your tiny home but also contribute to its longevity and functionality. From efficient roofing installations and innovative outdoor kitchen designs, each aspect of your exterior project demands thoughtful consideration and strategic decision-making. Let’s explore the tiny home exterior projects worth tackling and learn how to transform your space into a haven of beauty and efficiency.
1. Install Efficient Roofing
Due to their size, lack of foundation, and other constraints, tiny houses have special considerations to optimize their efficiency. When upgrading your tiny home exterior, proper roofing installation should be done by roofing services experienced in miniature construction. The type of roof you choose can make a massive difference to the look and function of your home.
The roofing industry has come a long way in the styles and materials it offers. But for a tiny house, the roof, like other areas, should be kept simple. So, a gable or shed-style roof is a good choice if you want to upgrade. A gable roof is what you’ll find on most trading homes. It has two sides that slope down in a triangle.
The gable style will give the tiny house the look of a regular home. It will help keep snow and ice from building up and water pooling. The triangle shape will allow for good ventilation inside.
A shed roof, on the other hand, is flat, and it will maximize space inside the tiny home. Whichever shape you choose, it’s recommended that a metal material is used. Metal roofs can be made of aluminum, copper, zinc, or steel. They’re becoming more popular in mainstream housing due to their durability and ability to withstand intense weather conditions.
Metal is fire-resistant, and most can withstand winds of over 100 miles per hour. A metal roof is lightweight and easy to install. So, it makes sense that metal roofs would work well for tiny houses, especially those that are mobile or may settle in storm-prone areas.
2. Replace Your Windows
When you decide on a tiny home exterior upgrade, new windows should definitely be considered. New windows can totally change the aesthetics of the outside of your home. They can make your home stand out and look inviting to visitors. But, like windows in a traditional home, tiny house windows also serve other purposes.
The key to choosing windows for smaller structures are light and ventilation. You want as much natural light as possible to flow through your home. This will help reduce energy costs and is also great for mental health. Ventilation should always be considered, but it’s especially vital if you don’t plan on installing air conditioning.
The right windows are essential for having airflow through the house and climate control. Along the way, you’ll also want to consider the energy efficiency of the windows you choose to reduce utility costs. Tiny homes have a unique consideration when it comes to windows, in that if the house is moved from place to place, the windows should be safe from breaking easily. So when considering upgrading, you may want to think about fiberglass, double-hung products.
These windows are sturdy, don’t easily crack, and can withstand nasty weather events. If you plan on traveling, you may also want to consider tempered glass, and custom shutter installation will keep many window accidents from happening. In the kitchen area of your tiny home, a slider window may come in handy.
It allows you to reach through easily and hand food and supplies to people when enjoying outdoor dining. Skylight windows are popular among tiny homeowners because they allow for a lot of natural light while conserving wall space. If you’re unsure what window styles are best for your tiny home, Andersen Windows company gives custom consultations.
3. Create an Outdoor Oasis
No matter how enthusiastic you are about moving to a tiny house, the transition can be challenging, especially if more than one person lives in the home. Everyone has times when they need space. A tiny house can also limit your ability to entertain. One way to help ease yourself into the tiny house lifestyle is to maximize your exterior land.
Start by bringing the indoors outside. You may consider adding a deck or patio if you plan on staying in your current location. If not, consider some artificial grass. This way, when ready to move on, roll up the grass and go. There’s no need for lawn contractors, either!
Now that you have a foundation, add some weather-resistant amenities like a rug, couch, chairs, and tables. Put up an awning or pergola, and you have a second living room that can be used for remote work, watching a movie on your tablet, or entertaining guests. Consider adding a gas fireplace for added warmth and ambiance.
Next, consider some landscaping and gardening space. If you don’t have room to plant, go vertical. With some simple fencing, you can install a gardening kit that will allow you to grow everything from tomatoes to green beans. Window boxes and container gardening are also great for tiny homes.
You can plant vibrant-colored flowers and herbs. This will add charm to your home, yielding delicious, low-cost food items. If you have some dead or sickly trees on your property, local tree services can help with pruning or removal. Another way to turn your tiny home exterior into an inviting space is to design a small dining area. If you don’t have room for regular-sized tables, consider folding tables and chairs or a cute café set.
4. Utilize Fencing
When it comes to tiny homes, fencing is much more than boundaries and privacy. The proper fencing can expand the living space of tiny houses in unique ways. Fencing can be used to dry clothes, which is great if you can’t fit a dryer inside. With a few books and shelves, a fence can store items like tools, tarps, pots, and other gardening tools.
Feeling festive? A fence can be used to display seasonal decor. A fence around a tiny house also has excellent functional benefits, including extra security, a noise buffer, and a windbreaker. If strategically placed, a fence will also help with energy efficiency by providing shade from the sun.
A fence will also provide safety for children and pets playing outside. A fence installer can help you choose the type of fence for your tiny house. A vinyl fence company may be a good choice as vinyl is durable and weather-resistant.
5. Design an Intimate Outdoor Kitchen
One of the most challenging things for many folks to adjust to in a tiny home is the tiny kitchen. This can be especially hard if you love to cook. While it’s not impossible to make fabulous meals in your undersized kitchen, it could be more accessible to enter the outdoor kitchen. This tiny home exterior addition doesn’t need to be elaborate; it could be as simple as adding an outdoor grill.
If you have space to play with, you can add some counter space, a pizza oven, and even a small fridge and storage for non-perishables and dishware. Imagine being able to go outside and prepare the salad while your partner uses the indoor amenities to whip up some soup (because both of you will not fit simultaneously). An outdoor kitchen space can also cut utility costs and keep your tiny space from overheating and holding on to the aromas of certain foods.
Imagine cooking fish in a tiny home with an outdoor space; there’s no need to worry about offensive odors. You could even consider covering the area with a pergola to grill in the rain or snow. If there’s some extra space around your tiny house exterior, you should consider adding a separate covered space for an outdoor kitchen that includes a dining area, a bar, and even a small oven. Your only limits are square footage.
The decision to downsize to a tiny home can be exciting. But keep in mind that it comes with some challenges as well. By concentrating on your tiny home exterior and making the most of the space, you can make the transition smoother.