Small & tiny homes: Why less can be more

When tiny is terrific.

It’s not hard to see why some people may look for an alternative – whether it’s the size of a home or location choice – to the often prohibitively expensive property markets in capital cities around Australia.

But what’s all the recent fuss about ‘downsizing’, which is trending across the US and the UK? And what’s the difference between a small home and a tiny home?


You might also like

>> Take a peek inside Australia’s small homes

>> What should your Australian property strategy be in 2017?

>> What will affect the Australian property market in 2017?


Small vs tiny homes

While small homes are literally properties that are smaller than your average, the so-called tiny home movement is all about reducing consumption, minimising the need for a huge (or any) mortgage, living closer to nature and, in some cases, being mobile.

Small homes, on the other hand, are a great way to reduce a consumerist lifestyle without committing to buying a tiny home.

Why go tiny?

Small and tiny homes have the potential to offer big solutions to many of the common housing problems families can face. These solutions include a much smaller price tag (and therefore mortgage) and less environmental impact – not to mention the benefits of being able to change locations, without having to move house, whenever you choose.

Grant Emans’ company Designer Eco Homes, based on the south coast of NSW, builds tiny homes. He says there are many reasons to choose to go tiny – and it’s easier than you think to do it in the city.

“Most homes in NSW have yards with ample space to park a tiny home. The owner only needs 20m2 of land to fit one of these homes in.

Grant Emans with one of his tiny homes.

“All our tiny homes are on wheels so can be parked into the space just like storing the boat, or a regular caravan.”

Rob Scott, an architect-turned-farmer who runs workshops to teach people how to build their own tiny homes at Hollyburton Farms in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges says: “It’s about downsizing, affordability, simplicity and time.”

“[Benefits include] simplifying the material world for increased lifestyle. That means more free time, less maintenance, less cleaning, less stuff to look after and accumulate so less need to work as much and also a smaller footprint on the earth so it’s good for the planet”.

Wait, how small?

Tiny homes are usually on wheels so the structure can be towed, which restricts the width to 2.4m.

The homes range in size from 3.6m up to around 9m in length.

While many people may balk at these numbers, the living space with its built-in storage can mean more usable space than you’d be used to in a traditional home.

It also means they’re easier to keep clean – bonus.

An example of the tiny homes made at the Hollyburton Farm workshop.

When people come to the display Emans says: “The first thing they mention is ‘It’s a lot bigger than I expected!”

“Design and colour is everything to make the home feel bigger than it really is.

“A tiny home has multiple purpose spaces – so one minute it’s a couch and lounge, the next it’s your dining area, then your study or office space.”

Tiny homes can range in price from anywhere from $8000 to $100,000, depending on size and additions.
Some come with plumbing, wood-burning heaters and solar panels, depending on your needs.

Author: Erinna Giblin