Free Book Chapter: Tiny House Bathrooms

Free Book Chapter: Tiny House Bathrooms

We are delighted to offer you a free chapter from our new book: “Tiny House Designing, Building, and Living” published by the Idiot’s Guide series. Our giveaway chapter focuses on tiny house bathrooms. Below are just some of the key excerpts; to read the entire chapter, simply click on the link below.

Designing a highly functional tiny house bathroom is perhaps the biggest challenge you’ll have to solve. So many components need to fit into a miniscule space that it might take every bit of your creativity to make it all come together. You’ll need to consider appearance, storage capacity, fixtures, cost, and—most importantly—function. In this chapter, we cover all these components including design. toilet options, waste water management, and appropriate venting solutions for protecting your house from potential mold issues. 

Design Considerations

Design is one of the keys to a well-functioning tiny house bathroom. Do it well and you’ll be rewarded with years of enjoyment; do it wrong and you’ll be plotting your remodel just weeks after moving in. As in all situations related to tiny houses, you’ll need to fully understand your actual needs. Maybe you love the idea of a bathtub (which requires a lot of space) but in reality, you only use one a few times each year. Perhaps you believe that you need six kinds of shampoos in your shower, but in actuality just one will keep your flowing locks looking gorgeous.

Bathrooms are typically used for only a small portion of day-to-day life, so some tiny housers aren’t willing to sacrifice too much extra space for them. Quite a few tiny houses don’t even have bathroom sinks as the occupants opt to use the kitchen one instead. Your bathroom’s design will depend on your specific needs and wants.

tiny house bathrooms

A common misconception plaguing our generation is that a family of four (especially one with teens) needs at least two bathrooms. That’s simply not true. Our family shares just one 8′ × 5′ bathroom and a mutiny hasn’t occurred (yet at least!). Our 20-year-old son and our 16-year-old daughter both lead active lives, shower daily at home, and have a collection of primping products. Between the medicine cabinet, sink vanity, and floor-to-ceiling storage, there’s plenty of space for it all.

There are design tricks you should use to your advantage if you’re trying to make your space look larger. Pocket and sliding doors provide visual and sound protection without all the square footage that a swinging door consumes. A large mirror works magic in opening up a space, though don’t add more than one in a tiny bathroom or you’ll feel like you’re in a carnival fun house.

To keep reading the full chapter and keep reading about design options, tips, and tricks, please click here

Bathroom Layouts

An 8′ × 5′ bathroom dimension is the most common size in conventional construction. This is good news for us in the tiny house movement because the vast majority of tiny homes on wheels are about 8′ wide in interior dimension. As such, a lot of the same design principles, solutions, and products that work in a standard house will work in a tiny home, too.

There are typically two places where you’ll find the bathroom located in THOWs:

• On the end of the tiny house running along the 8′ interior width
• Sharing the end of a tiny house with a kitchen or entryway vestibule

Let’s go over design options for each situation.

tiny house bathroomsAn 8′ × 5′ configuration is the Rolls Royce of tiny house bathroom luxury. In that space, you can fit a full-size bathtub, a washer/dryer combo, toilet, and large sink. There’s ample storage for toiletries, towels, and cleaning supplies. If you’re not much of a soaker, install a corner shower instead of a tub to create even more space for storing bathroom items. All fixtures and appliances can be standard, saving you time and money.


To keep reading the full chapter and keep reading about various bathroom layout options, please click here

Everyone’s Favorite Topic—Toilets

As soon as the subject of toilets comes up at our tiny house workshops, the room gets animated. The topic never gets old, no matter how many adults are in the room!

Surprisingly, various options exist when it comes to toilets and tiny houses—everything from
a simple $20 bucket system to $2,000+ composting toilet. You can choose a standard flush unit, an RV toilet, and even one that incinerates waste. Which one you choose depends on your budget, usage requirements, frequency of moving, electricity access/limitations, and access to a waste disposal facility.

Composting Toilets

By far the most popular waste systems found in THOWs are composting toilets. They can range from über-simple buckets to imported high-tech units. Composting toilets are great solutions because they don’t require septic systems or black water storage tanks. They also don’t use any plumbing hook-ups and you don’t have to make frequent trips to RV dump stations to discard waste.

We recommend you ask yourself the following questions before making any purchasing decisions:

  • Are you squeamish about looking at human waste?
  • Are you willing to turn a crank on the toilet after each use?
  • Do you have enough electricity to power a small fan 24/7?
  • Do you want your liquids and solids to be segregated?
  • Would you prefer your waste to be composted inside the unit or someplace outside the unit?
  • Do you have a place to easily compost the waste?
  • Would you prefer the waste go into a composting bag or into a holding tank?The following table compares composting toilet features found in some high-tech models.

tiny house bathrooms


Black water is wastewater from toilets, which has come into contact with fecal matter and therefore must be disposed of properly through a septic or municipal waste system. It must not be placed on the ground surface because pathogens contained within the waste can cause harm to living organisms and create pollution in local waterways.

One important thing to mention is that in reality, there are very few composting toilets that actually compost human waste within the unit itself. Usually, the units are used too frequently for true decomposition of the waste to occur, so the term “composting toilet” is a misnomer. It would be more appropriate to call them holding toilets or something along those lines.

Not all building departments allow for composting toilets. Those departments that do sometimes require a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) or extract/transform/load (ETL) certified unit. That said, just because you buy a certified composting toilet doesn’t mean you’ll receive approval from your local building department. It really all depends on local codes.

Your most economical and simple composting toilet is going to be a 5-gallon bucket system. Yup, you read that right. Take a standard bucket, build a wooden box with a hinged lid around it, cut a hole in the box top, attach a standard toilet seat to the lid, and you’ve got yourself a bona fide toilet.

To keep reading about the various toilet options for tiny houses, please click on the book image below. 

If you would like to go ahead and purchase the book (thank you!!), you can find it on sale right now at Amazon by clicking HERE

tiny house bathrooms


Want to learn more about tiny house living and how to build a tiny house? Want to do so for FREE? Sign up for our totally free 7 Day Tiny House eCourse! Find out more HERE.

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