Tag: best tiny house for large families

Guide To Tiny Homes for Big Families

Guide To Tiny Homes for Big Families

big family in a tiny home

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a guide to tiny homes for big families who want to live in them? If you are also wondering about such a topic, you’re in the right place. 

Living in a tiny home with a family of four or more can be quite challenging, especially because of the limited living space. However, through careful planning and minor adjustments, you can make your life in a tiny home more comfortable and enjoyable. 

While a tiny home can only provide up to roughly 400 square meters of floor space, it’s still possible for a big family to live in it. For example, the couple Debbie and Gabriel Mayes were able to live in a 250-square foot converted school bus tiny home with their four kids. 

However, there are still a lot of things that must be addressed to ensure that living in a tiny home won’t be an issue for any of the family members. At the core of it all is the shift to a minimalist lifestyle with less stuff and privacy.

Downsizing is not for everyone. Most families need to give a lot of stuff and keep only what is most needed in their daily lives. Furthermore, it requires everyone in the family to adopt a new way of life that is only familiar to a few. 

That being said, there are also some rewards for families who choose to live in a tiny home. Generally speaking, living in a smaller home is much cheaper because of the low upkeep costs. Furthermore, it’s easier to own a tiny home because of their low cost that usually doesn’t require you to take a mortgage. 

Residing in a Tiny Homes for Big Families Guide

Big families usually have two options if they want to live in a tiny home. They can either live in a tiny house on wheels (THOW) or in a unit that is stationary and built over a foundation. Both have their own pros and cons.

Living in a Mobile Tiny House

Living in a THOW gives it more mobility as they can just move from one place to another in a jiffy. For a family who loves to travel and discover new places, this is quite a good incentive. However, most states in the US don’t allow people to live in a tiny home for a long period. 

Furthermore, there are several struggles with living in a tiny home. For example, there are only a few places where you can legally park your THOW. Finding a spot that provides water, electricity, and sewage can also be quite challenging in some states. 

Extended family in a tiny house

Pros

  • You can travel to a variety of places which is good if you want to teach your kids to explore the world
  • Allows you to visit distant relatives and perhaps stay at their place for a few days
  • You can easily relocate if you want to change your job or if there are new opportunities in another city or town
  • Most states don’t require you to have a building permit if the liveable space is below 120 square feet

Cons

  • Liveable space is much smaller as you have fewer storage options
  • Requires you to have an off-grid setup and your own sewerage system 
  • You have to research the zoning and parking laws of every place you want to visit

Living in a Stationary House

On the flip side, living in a stationary tiny home gives you the same comfort as living in a traditional home– only smaller. Additionally, if you bought a piece of land where you can settle your small house unit, you can pretty much use the outdoor space for multiple purposes. 

Some families can build a small shed on the property and use it for storing some of their stuff. Meanwhile, some families who live in a tiny home build a playground on their lot so that the kids can play outside. 

Pros

  • Doesn’t take as much time for the whole family to adjust living in a smaller house compared to a mobile tiny home
  • If you live in your own property, you can build other structures such as a shed, a deck or some patios
  • Easier to connect to power and water lines. You can also build your own sewage system instead of relying on the facilities of RV parks or campgrounds
  • Allows you to extend your living space by adding another tiny home or a separate structure

Cons

  • In most jurisdictions, you will be subject to zoning laws and building codes
  • You have to design your tiny home based on certain specifications required by the local government 
  • In some cases, you might be required to pay real estate tax

Big families usually choose to live in a tiny home built on a foundation because it’s more convenient to raise kids in such a setup. However, there are also instances where large families elect to live in a tiny home, especially if the children are already teenagers who require less supervision. 

Things to Consider in Designing Tiny Homes for Big Families

The first challenge for a big family to fit in a tiny home is to design a unit that can maximize every nook and cranny of their dwelling. Hence, you need to take into consideration what is most important to you and your family to live a comfortable life in a tiny home.  

The process usually means you have to take some things in precedence to others. Ideally, you want to spend more resources or space in things that can help you meet your basic needs. For example, you need to prioritize storage for food and clothing as you usually need them on a daily basis.

To figure out which goes in your tiny home and which does not, you need to come up with a list of things you can’t live without. They take priority over other things, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a little bit of luxury in your home. You can still install things like television and even gaming consoles if you have the space for it.

That being said, below are some of the things that you have to consider adding to your tiny home. 

family with seven members in a tiny house

1. Storage area for your food

Large families living in a tiny home need more food storage than a couple in the same living situation. As such, you need a full-size refrigerator in your home rather than a mini-fridge.

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GE GDE03GGKBB Mini Fridge with Freezer Freestanding Compact Refrigerator, 3.1 Cu Ft, Black
GE GDE03GGKBB Mini Fridge with Freezer Freestanding Compact Refrigerator, 3.1 Cu Ft, Black
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The average full-size fridge measures 24 to 33 inches in depth, 23 to 36 inches in width, and 65 to 69 inches in height. In terms of interior volume, a full size fridge can have anywhere between 10 and 25 cubic feet. For a family of four to six, that is enough to store more than a week’s worth of food. 

Besides your fridge, you might also need other food storage options such as rice dispenser or a cabinet for canned goods and other non-perishables.  

2. Additional food prep and cooking space

Aside from storage space, your kitchen also takes a lot of your tiny house’s floor space. Larger families consume more food and thus need a large food preparation area. Other cooking appliances like an oven or full gas range also take a decent amount of space.

Fortunately, you can find many ingenious kitchen solutions that can curb the amount of space you need for food prep. For example, some kitchens have sinks that can easily transform into a tabletop just by putting a block of wood on top of them. 

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Mensarjor 28 x 22 inch Drop-in or Topmount 16 Gauge R10 SUS304 Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink Single...
Kraus KWT311-25 KORE Kitchen Sink Single Bowl, 25 Inch
Mensarjor 28 x 22 inch Drop-in or Topmount 16 Gauge R10 SUS304 Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink Single...
Mensarjor 28 x 22 inch Drop-in or Topmount 16 Gauge R10 SUS304 Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink Single...
Kraus KWT311-25 KORE Kitchen Sink Single Bowl, 25 Inch
Kraus KWT311-25 KORE Kitchen Sink Single Bowl, 25 Inch

Some gas ranges also have an oven below them which generally saves a decent amount of space compared to having them as separate appliances. Induction cookers also don’t take as much space as your traditional burners which need a propane tank.

3. A place to store your child’s toys

At first glance, kids don’t seem to consume as much space as adults, that is until you account for their belongings. Most kids usually have dozens of toys that require their own storage space. In the US, parents spend, on average, $306 a year for toys. 

That being said, you can expect that your children’s toys will require a decent amount of space in your tiny home. What most parents living in petite houses do is store the toys in multifunctional furniture. For example, a sofa bed may also have a storage compartment for small items like toys.  

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storageLAB Under Bed Storage Containers, 33x17x6in - Woven Fabric with Plastic Structure (Grey...
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storageLAB Under Bed Storage Containers, 33x17x6in - Woven Fabric with Plastic Structure (Grey...
storageLAB Under Bed Storage Containers, 33x17x6in - Woven Fabric with Plastic Structure (Grey...
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SimLife Single Bed Platform Kids Boys Adult No Box Spring Needed Princess White Twin Size Bed Frame...

Children ages 6 to 12 tend to have larger toys such as a bicycle or a small billiards table. Moreover, they may also have educational toys and board games that you want to keep because they can contribute to your kid’s development.

4. Sleep and play spaces for your kids

Kids can be quite active, especially during their early years. Hence, they may require a spot in your tiny home where they can just play and just be children. If you have a toddler, you may need a playpen with a fence that is almost the same size as a crib– 40-inches in length and 30-inches in width. 

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Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen, Baby Safety Play Yard with Whiteboard and Activity Wall,...
Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen, Baby Safety Play Yard with Whiteboard and Activity Wall,...
Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen, Baby Safety Play Yard with Whiteboard and Activity Wall,...
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Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen, Baby Safety Play Yard with Whiteboard and Activity Wall,...
Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen, Baby Safety Play Yard with Whiteboard and Activity Wall,...
Fortella Cloud Castle Foldable Playpen, Baby Safety Play Yard with Whiteboard and Activity Wall,...

 If you live in a tiny home built over a foundation, this becomes less of an issue. You can simply build a play area outside of your home. What about a simple tire swing, slide, or see-saw on your front yard?

For families living in a mobile tiny home, this can be quite challenging. However, if you are able to teach your kids to play around nature, then it becomes less of a burden. For example, you can teach them to fly kites which doesn’t take a lot of space and can be carried around almost anywhere. 

5. If a child is homeschooled, they need a learning area 

One of the great things about living in a tiny house is that you can homeschool your kids. If your home is also mobile, you can take your kids to historical places and nature parks as part of their homeschooling experience. 

However, homeschooled kids also require a learning area where you can teach them. The learning area doesn’t need to be as big as a classroom, but it must be a part of the house where they feel most comfortable. 

Whether it’s in your balcony or a loft, the learning area needs to be quiet enough for them to concentrate on their studies. It should also be far from any distractions such as your television. Furthermore, it also needs to be next to or near where you keep their learning materials. 

6. Extra storage for winter clothing

Aside from your wardrobe or cabinet for your regular clothes, you might also need storage space for your winter wearables. If you live in an area that experiences snow, then this place is a must in your tiny home. 

Winter clothing takes more space than your normal clothes because the former is much thicker. Additionally, the bulky ones can’t be folded, so you need a place where you can hang them. Most families who live in a stationary tiny house store their winter clothes in a shed or rented storage and have them out during winters. 

Consequently, you might also want to install a portable heater inside your tiny home to regulate the heat during cold weather. Doing so may also help you keep just a few winter clothes that are not as thick.

7. Additional storage for bedding and blankets

The more people living in a tiny house, the more blankets and beddings you need. In most cases, you need to have at least two sets of beddings and extra blankets so you will always have at least one clean set in reserve.

Storing your blankets and beddings can be quite challenging, especially in a tiny home. For that reason, you need furniture that also functions as storage spaces. Some beds, for example, function as a cabinet and have a storage compartment underneath them.

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Regal Bazaar Clothes Storage Bag, Four Extra-Large Capacity Foldable Organizer Bins with Sturdy...
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VENO 4 Pack Extra Large Clothes Storage Bag Organizer with Reinforced Handle Thick Fabric for...

If your tiny home has a loft, you can also store them in there while you still don’t have a cabinet where you can store them. Some tiny home families store their beddings and blankets on chair blocks whose lid can be opened to reveal a hidden compartment.   

8. Waste disposal area 

Trash cans and waste bins are some of the most overlooked parts of a tiny home. However, you will still need them, especially if you live in a tiny mobile home. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person produces roughly 4.4 lbs of waste in a day. For a family of five, this could amount to more than 20 lbs daily. You can just imagine how much space this can take in your tiny home!

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EKO EcoCasa II Dual Compartment Rectangular Kitchen Step Trash Can Recycler, 20L+20L, Brushed...

Additionally, some garbage needs to be sealed or handled more carefully. Diapers, for example, need to be placed on a tightly sealed waste bin so that its smell won’t spread inside your tiny home. Ultimately, you want to segregate your trash and dispose of them properly, even if you don’t have access to garbage collection. 

9. Laundry and drying area

Every tiny home also needs to have a sizable laundry and drying area. Large families have more laundry, especially if there are more teenagers and adults at home. It will help you save a lot of money if you wash your own clothes instead of having them cleaned in your local laundry shop.

Your tiny home also needs a drying area or a place where you can just hang your clothes. Drying your clothes isn’t a problem during the summer and warmer months. However, it can be quite a huge issue during winter months. 

In this case, you might want to invest in a washer and dryer combo. These machines not only wash your clothes, but they also wring them out until they are a bit dry. Fortunately, they come in a variety of sizes that can fit even in a small corner of your tiny house.  

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COMFEE' Portable Washing Machine, 0.9 cu.ft Compact Washer With LED Display, 5 Wash Cycles, 2...
laundry area for a tiny home

Two Places in Your Tiny Home that Requires More Space

Now that we have identified some of the design considerations of your tiny house, it’s time to point your attention to places that will surely eat a lot of space. In a tiny home, two places are usually larger than any part of your home– the kitchen and  the bedrooms. 

1. Kitchen & Dining Room

Most tiny homes usually have their kitchen and dining room next to each other. This is quite a practical design as you won’t need to walk far to transfer food from the kitchen to the dining table. 

Preparing meals for more people requires a bit more kitchen space. Consequently, you will also need more space where family members can sit and enjoy their meals. When designing this part of your tiny house, it’s important to make it as functional as possible. 

For example, your dining table may also function as your work desk. Hence, you may want to place additional sockets where you can plug in your laptop or any work-related devices. Additionally, you can install additional lighting options to ensure you can see well while working. 

2. Bedrooms

Bedrooms, too, can eat up a lot of space, especially if they are made for adults. The typical double size bed measures 4.42 feet by 6.2 feet. Aside from beds, you also have to take into consideration the size of the wardrobe, cabinets, desk, chairs, and other furniture inside the bedroom. 

On the other hand, children don’t require as much bedroom space. Some kid’s room can be as little as 5-feet by 3-feet. They can also fit in double-decker beds, especially if they are ages 12 and below. 

If you need additional beds in your tiny home, you can try building a loft, which can easily fit one or two adults, depending on its design. However, you also need to build stairs as an access point towards the loft. To save space, you can also use these stairs as additional storage options. 

tiny house loft for big families

Steps to Maximize a Tiny Home’s Livable Space

1. Use Multi-Functional Furniture

Furniture such as sofas, cabinets, tables, and chairs take up a lot of space in your tiny home. However, you just can’t eliminate most of them in your residence as they are integral in everyday life. In that case, using furniture that serves more than one function is a practical way to save space.

For example, some beds have storage underneath them, which you can easily pull and tuck away when not needed. You might also want to invest in wooden boxes with casters that can easily slide beneath your bed or other tight spaces in your house.

2. Go for Smaller Appliances

Downsizing your appliances can also save you a lot of space. For example, if you live near a supermarket or store, you can easily replenish your food supply. In which case, instead of going for a 6-feet tall refrigerator, you may instead want to settle with a smaller 3-feet fridge. 

Additionally, instead of working on a Desktop PC, you can instead invest on a top-performing laptop, which doesn’t take as much space. Furthermore, you can take your laptop with you which enables you to work anywhere from your dining table to your bedroom. 

Using the same principle, you may want to install a smaller flat-screen TV. Even a 24-inch television is quite plenty if you live in a tiny home. The space you save on your appliances can be used for more important parts of your home, such as more space for your bedroom. 

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Hisense 32-Inch Class H4 Series LED Roku Smart TV with Alexa Compatibility (32H4F, 2020 Model)
Hisense 32-Inch 32H5500F Class H55 Series Android Smart TV with Voice Remote (2020 Model)
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Hisense 32-Inch Class H4 Series LED Roku Smart TV with Alexa Compatibility (32H4F, 2020 Model)
Hisense 32-Inch 32H5500F Class H55 Series Android Smart TV with Voice Remote (2020 Model)
Hisense 32-Inch 32H5500F Class H55 Series Android Smart TV with Voice Remote (2020 Model)

3. Get Multi-Purpose Furniture

Saving space inside your tiny house is a priority for many big families. In this regard, one of the best ways to save space is to use furniture that has one or more functions. You can find multi-purpose furniture on most home depots like Ikea and even online.  

For example, some couches can be folded and reconfigured into a bed. This feature can be quite useful if you are expecting a visitor to stay overnight. Just make sure you have extra beddings, comforters, and bed sheets that they can use.

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Milliard 4.5-Inch Memory Foam Replacement Mattress for Queen Size Sleeper Sofa and Couch Beds (Sofa...
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If you have overhead room left in your home, you can also place a loft in it to serve the same function. Aside from being extra sleeping quarters, lofts can also be used as extra storage space. Be sure to build a secured foothold or stairs leading to it. 

Conclusion

Big families can live in a tiny home provided that each member can be provided with enough space to make them comfortable. The great thing about living in a tiny home is that it may help bring the family closer, as you have to work together to manage a simple life. 

Related Questions

What’s the best tiny home for a big family?

Tiny home builders offer a wide variety of tiny house units that are meant for large families. For example, Escape Traveller built the 344-square-feet Traveller XL, which it claims can fit 10 people. However, some of its occupants need to be children. This tiny home is also off-grid ready and has the convenience of most modern homes. 

What do I do with all the stuff that I can fit into the tiny home?

One of the challenges of families transitioning from traditional housing options into tiny homes is letting go of their stuff. If you can’t part with a particular item just yet, you can store them in a rented storage space or containers. If you have relatives or neighbors who have extra room to store your items, you may want to ask them for such favors.