Top 5 Furniture Options For Tiny Houses

Top 5 Furniture Options For Tiny Houses

Tiny houses are big on charm but short on space. Every single square inch matters and furniture needs to serve not just one but two or more purposes. It’s a tall order to fill but definitely within the realm of possibility. In this article we talk about various hyper-versatile furniture concepts available to tiny housers.

HAVE A SEAT

Sofas typically serve a single function: comfort for our resting bodies. We must ask more of this beloved furniture piece though. And we must ask it to not be so large. In hOMe, our 207 square foot modern tiny house on wheels, our storage unit (a cabinetry ensemble from IKEA) not only provides copious amounts of storage, but also serves as the base for our seating area (Image 1). The furniture piece in Image 2 uses an open shelving system that also doubles as the structural frame, creating a pretty comfortable seating area/reading nook.

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TIME FOR WORK!

Though a house may be tiny, productivity doesn’t need to be anything less than huge. In fact, we hear from a lot of other professional tiny housers that they are more efficient and effective working out of their tinys than they were in any other time in their lives. In hOMe, where we work full time, our office supplies are stored inside our IKEA cabinetry and since both of us have laptops, we simply pull them out of the cabinet when it’s time to work and put them away when it’s time to close up shop for the night. Other options are available such as the office desk in Image 3. It is simple, aesthetically pleasing and allows the desk top to fold up when not in use, freeing up a lot of floor space. The closet office in Image 4 is another great example of using space efficiently. If your office needs are very basic, then a simple folding desk may do the trick (Image 5).

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THE MURPHY BED GROWS UP

Beds are typically used for only a portion of the 24 hour cycle so why waste all of that prized floor space during the day? Fortunately there are genius multi-purposed beds out there now. The bed in Image 6 provides a sleeping surface, a sofa and a pretty decently sized shelf that pivots and remains horizontal during the process of lowering and raising the bed (allowing one to keep all of the items on it). Similarly, the bed in Image 7 offers a shelf but replaces the couch for a work desk. The set up in images 8 and 9 is brilliant. Simply raise the bed during the day and a work station magically appears. Lastly, one of my favorite raised beds is the one in Image 10. Though all of these beds as they are now would be difficult to incorporate into a true tiny house on wheels, there are design principles here that could be integrated.

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SWISS ARMY KNIFE KITCHENS

If you are the type of person that dines out on most occasions or is perfectly happy with a good ol’ TV Dinner several times each week, a hidden/folding kitchen may be just the solution. After all, kitchens can take up a significant portion of the space in a tiny house. The kitchen set up in Image 11 would be perfectly adequate for the occasional chef and provides storage for a decent amount of culinary accoutrements. Image 12 showcases a clever concept: once the cooking surface is pulled out, the counter space it was sheltered in transforms into an eating bar. The example in Image 13 is even smaller and boasts not just a cooking surface but also a sink.

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WOULD YOU PLEASE PASS THE GREY POUPON?

The concept of a folding/hiding/collapsing dining room table makes perfect sense in a tiny since one generally only eats three meals each day. Various options exist and one can buy one pre-made or build one to suit. The folding table in Image 14 is a great option because it allows for a comfortable eating area when out but when collapsed, it takes up a negligible amount of space. Folding chairs can be hung on the walls or stashed away. When deciding on which dining option to go with, assess how many people eat at the table regularly and how much space each person will need. Image 15 shows a table unit that provides nested storage for the chairs when not in use, and seating for six when opened up. Because it sits on casters, it’s easy to move out of the way once you are done eating. In hOMe, we use a $20 folding card table (which we store in the bathroom when not in use) and bring our two outdoor, lightweight metal chairs that sit right outside our front door, creating seating for four (Image 16).

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As you can see, various furniture options exist that can be easily modified to tiny house use. One of the fun challenges in creating a well designed tiny house is to ask each of your furniture pieces to do at least double duty (if not triple!). By taking some of these furniture concepts and making them your own, you too can have a brilliantly designed tiny house.

15 Responses to Top 5 Furniture Options For Tiny Houses

  1. /bob May 21, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

    This is great information. I am constantly thinking of how to incorporate multi-use furniture in a Tiny House. My plan is to build hOMe on a foundation with minor modifications. One would be include extra 12 inch deep storage cabinets on the floor under the dining/work tables since there would be no wheel wells there. These would serve the same purpose for a foot rest while sitting and also storage. The bottom row of storage cubbies under the stairs would go all the way to the wall for the same reason… no wheel wells to hide. With that little bit of extra storage I would build the couch seating into something similar the roll out bed that Andrew Odom made and sells plans for like this: http://tinyhouseblog.com/announcement/roll-guest-bed-plans/. It would look like the cabinets under the couch, but the false front would pull out and the seat would unfold into the bed base and the cushion would unfold also into the mattress for an extra bed for guests. Just a few ideas rolling around in my head.

    • Gabriella May 25, 2016 at 8:39 am #

      Great idea Bob!!! May incorporate that into our IRC compliant hOMe tiny house plan if that’s OK with you.

      • /bob May 25, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

        Fine with me. No patents pending here.

  2. AMY ALLEN May 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    Love all of these!!

  3. Charles May 22, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

    Out of this world awesome!

  4. Roderick May 23, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

    Thanks Gabriella – TinyHouseBuild articles are always to the point and educational

    For design ideas I like this idea Clei and other companies have been looking into for reducing kitchens to 24″ x 24″ http://www.yankodesign.com/2013/04/29/the-island-kitchen-is-finally-here/

    Also here in California with the weather being so mild we can have an outside kitchen most of the year if it’s sheltered from rain and sun. I lived in Puerto Rico for a while and some people there had used their inside kitchens twice since the seventies.

    As far as housing design – starting a 4’W 8’L 8’H microhouse next week an a 14’x8′ lightweight THOW after that.

    Finally – a question:
    I like this type in the comments – not so noisy – it translates as Arial but seems more like a Helvetica or maybe an Arial light and fat – Is it an unusual type or a default of the site?

    • Gabriella May 25, 2016 at 8:37 am #

      Hi Roderick! Great you are getting going. Would love to see what you create. For the font it is Open Sans. 🙂

  5. Antonius May 24, 2016 at 7:43 am #

    Some amusing ideas here, but it also makes me see some downsides to tinyhouse living. I can’t imagine myself folding down the desk more than twice – the hassle to build, deconstruct, and rebuild my “office” daily (or more) would render the foldable function of the desk redundant. Same for stowable dinner table.

    Also, ever tried to push your mattress vertical against the wall? All the pillows, blankets, pjs etc go everywhere! Image 14 reminds me of the unfortunate times I’m shoved into the last tiny available table at the restaurant and have to cut my steak with elbows together like a preying mantis.

    Hmm I’m not sure I’m ready for the leap into tiny homes just yet – sticking to small (by non-tinyhome standards) rooms for now. I guess those who are living in a tinyhouse can better appreciate this furniture though.

    • Gabriella May 25, 2016 at 8:21 am #

      Antonius, I should add that you can design a tiny house so that nothing needs to be folded out too. In hOMe the only piece of furniture we fold out is our dining room table and that is only when we have more than 2 people eating here. 🙂

  6. Jerry McIntire June 18, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

    I’ve been in the 10′ x 20′ Minim House (now expanded to 12′ wide) and it has a genius queen size bed that rolls out from under the raised office floor: http://minimhomes.com/ Click on “Tour.” It is a sleek, open design with everything on one floor.

    • Mark W. June 28, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

      The only downside to the Minim House is that there is a lot less storage and no lofts which means their wont be any separation of space.

  7. Ruth June 28, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    I love the use of space in the Minim house, but share Mark’s concern about less storage. I’m wondering about the possibility of under-floor storage in that large central section of the living/sleeping area.

    I’m enjoying reading these mini-discussions! Very relevant to the design topics tumbling around in my head as I move toward one-day creating my own TH.

    Thank you, Gabriella, for this quiet forum. 🙂

  8. Elle January 17, 2017 at 10:29 am #

    Thought others may enjoy this Pinterest board I’ve used for ideas in designing my current tiny home project. http://pin.it/dSuZJ_b Lots of different tiny home interior pictures.

  9. Jeff Harris July 25, 2018 at 10:26 am #

    A new solution for music & TV in a compact elegant
    design that takes up zero floor space – it hangs on the wall

  10. Morgan L Lawson August 1, 2018 at 6:44 am #

    A great way to save space is to have a projector with a projector screen that pulls down!

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