Tiny House enthusiasm is growing rapidly in the United States. There are a lot of cultures around the world who have already discovered the greater simplicity, freedom and happiness that comes from minimizing your “stuff” load and living in a small home. In the U.S., though, the trend for years has been toward McMansions and the “more is more” philosophy: more space, more stuff, more debt, more hours at work, the list goes on and on.
The Tiny House Movement provides an outlet and an alternative for people looking to have more creative control over their living spaces and, in turn, their lives. These five books are a good starting place if you are interested in tiny homes and want to learn more, are looking for some inspiration and ideas, or if you are an experienced tiny house dweller or builder.
1. ‘Tiny House Living: Ideas for Building and Living Well in Less Than 400 Square Feet’ by Ryan Mitchell
Tiny House Living is a classic book on the subject, and the No. 1 best seller on Amazon. It focuses on the tiniest of homes, 400 square feet or under. It includes tons of gorgeous, full page, color photographs to inspire and show just how many designs are available for building tiny homes. The homes featured in this book are both trailers and stationary buildings. In addition to providing great inspiration in the form of photos, this book uses case studies to discuss some of the important points that attract people to the tiny home lifestyle, including voluntary simplicity, turning away from consumer culture, as well as aesthetics and design. Tiny House Living is a long book at 170 pages and is an excellent resource for ideas, discussion and inspiration.
- Beautiful photos
- Inspirational stories
- Good discussion
- Not a lot of how-tos
- No floor plans
- Not a lot of practical construction advice
2. ‘Tiny Houses’ by Mimi Zeiger
Tiny Houses by Mimi Zeiger is another inspiring title and makes a great conversation starter. The author focuses on homes under 1,000 square feet and features modular and prefab homes from all over the world, ranging from tree houses to floating homes and everything in between. The author challenges you to explore the concept of “microgreen living” and challenge yourself to find ways for you to live a “greener” life, using the case studies in this book as inspiration.
- Features international homes
- Lovely photos, hardcover
- Modern style
- Very small size book
- Some reviewers mentioned the floor plan drawings are too small and indecipherable
- Very small text
3. ‘The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir’ by Dee Williams
The Big Tiny is a different kind of tiny house book. This is a memoir, the story of how author Dee Williams came to re-evaluate her life and priorities after a near-death experience, and eventually found peace through building and moving in to an 84-square-foot house. The book comes highly recommended with reviewers mentioning how funny, heart-warming and inspiring it is, not to mention well written. If you look through the review section on Amazon you will see how this story has changed peoples lives and set them on a path to finding greater simplicity in their own lives. This book is not heavy on photographs and does not talk about how to design, build or decorate a tiny house, but if you are looking for a great story that encompasses the tiny house lifestyle, this is the book for you.
- Inspiring story
- Very well written and hard to put down!
- Puts a personal touch on the “Tiny House Movement”
- Not a lot of photos
- No instructions or how-tos
- No additional resources included
4. ‘Tiny Homes on the Move: Wheels and Water’ by Lloyd Kahn
Tiny Homes on the Move takes a good look at all of the different styles of tiny houses that are mobile and invite their owners to travel. It includes vans, camper shells, house trucks, buses, trailers, cycles, sailboats and houseboats. These kinds of tiny homes tend to be more practical and accessible than some of the highly designed, architectural models that are the focus of many tiny house books. Homes on wheels or in the water represent freedom, movement, and a lifestyle full of travel and adventure. These homes tend to be much smaller, with many as small as 100 sq feet or less. The extreme small size forces an even more stringent approach to minimalism and functional space saving design. This book is heavy on photographs and is great for inspiration and wanderlust!
- Well organized
- Tons of photos
- Lots of different styles featured
- Not a lot of detail or how-tos
- Does not go into depth on any particular home or style
- No plan views
5. ‘Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter’ by Lloyd Kahn
Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter is another classic title by Lloyd Kahn, focusing on 150 individual homes that were built by their owners as an alternative to rents, mortgages and overpriced homes. This book is very heavy on photos, with over 1,300 full color pictures of homes on land, on wheels, on water, and in trees. It also features other kinds of small buildings such as studios, saunas, garden sheds and greenhouses. Along with the photos are stories, thoughts and inspirations shared by the builders and homeowners. This book has been around for almost 40 years now, and is a classic among the Tiny House community.
- Lots of great photos
- Inspiring stories and anecdotes
- Includes multi cultural options
- No practical advice for building
- No floor plans
- No resources included
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