Tiny homes: Secrets to layout & interior design

Planner 5D, interior design platform, shares advice about tiny home layout and design based on a tiny house competition.

 Tiny house movement is changing the way many people live. A tiny house – rarely exceeding 500 square ft (46 sq m) –  saves a lot of unnecessary costs, whether it’s maintenance, heating, building or repair expenses. Popular furniture manufacturers, such asIKEA, are taking a plunge into “small living” idea, even taking inspiration from NASA.

However, one of the trickiest parts when it comes to making tiny house liveable is solving the puzzle of layout and interior design. Most of the furniture has to be multi-functional, and design has to be very well-though-of, using the right colours, textures and shades.

Planner 5D, an interior design platform, has recently organised a tiny house design competition, looking for the best small space solutions that would blend aesthetics with functionality.

The winner presented a creative solution not only for the interior design, but also for the exterior, creating a balanced contrast between furniture and surroundings.

The key to success was a thorough analysis of a small space in order to find place for each piece of furniture, but also to ensure the overall functionality. Furniture, decor and lighting – they all match together and complement each other.

The designer of the project chose to divide the space into two floors, to use a couple of colours and to install a staircase.

A fireplace was another interesting solution – as fireplaces are usually more common in bigger spaces; but in this case, taking a risk paid off, as the fireplace contributes to the uniqueness of the home.

Planner 5D suggests to follow these tips when working on a tiny house design:

  1. Be wary of stark contrasts.It’s advisable to use monotone materials, choosing a principal colour, as opposed to a mixture of colourful textures. This way the room will look bigger and not so overcrowded. The same goes for the walls – the lighter the walls, the bigger the space will look. Darker colours swallow the light and the house might look smaller than it actually is.
  2. Pay extra attention to lighting.Daytime light, as well as lighting during the night are very important to the interiors. It’s important not only to select a beautiful light fixture to match the interior design, but to choose an appropriate size and brightness.
  3. Be inventive with storage spaces.For example, a kitchen countertop can serve for eating, but can be folded when the dinner is over. It’s important to acquire furniture that can be put away or folded when it’s not used. It’s also smart to take advantage of every extra space available, such as under-the-bed storage boxes.
  4. Choose the right amount of decor details.Some competition participants tried to squeeze in as many things as possible, but this is not always the best solution, because the overall aesthetics suffers, and it is not clear what is the focal point of the room. However, it’s not advisable to go overly minimalistic either, as the decor can look unfinished.
  5. Consider including a staircase.Staircase can be a very functional way to gain more space, and can also become a centrepiece of the house. For example, in Planner 5D competition, the winner created a staircase that became a storage space, decorative element and a centrepiece that helps save more space.
  6. Be creative.Small spaces require more creativity, where original ideas can have a huge aesthetic or functional payoff. It could be a fireplace or a stairwell, as long as it enhances the tiny space decor and/or serves a function or two.
  7. Safety win-win.When a tiny home is divided into two floors, it’s important to make it safe, especially for children. It’s crucial to use a stair rail, to cover the sharp corners of the stairs and make sure the space is generally safety-friendly. After all, it’s another element that can be adapted creatively.

For more information about the winner’s project, please visit the competition page.