On this site, obviously, we pay an awful lot of attention to the tiny-house-on-wheels format for the definition of what makes a house tiny. Of course, not every tiny house is a Tumbleweed style home on a trailer. In fact my own home, while built with original Tumbleweed plans, is on a post and pier foundation instead. However, does tiny living have to be so defined by the type of structure or does any small space fall into the tiny category? Here are some alternatives to tiny houses you may not have considered.
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1. Boats. Boats as floating homes are probably one of the most common tiny homes you’ll find on the coast. Sailboats, trawlers, and other boat designs can be docked around the country. My aunt lived on a boat near Tampa, FL for years. In fact, the first time she saw my tiny house she felt right at home and said it seemed just like living on her boat. The only difference is that our boat is on a mountain!

Jeanette’s home, The Natural Selection, a 42′ Kadey-Krogen boat in Victoria Harbor. More photos of her boat here.

2. Earthships. The Greater World Earthship Community in Taos, New Mexico was one of our first stops after we decided we wanted to build our own home. They are designed to be self-sufficient and ecologically sustainable. In fact, the ideas for our own solar power and water reclamation systems came from the Earthships. Because Earthships are built using recycled tires and rammed earth the can be very labor intensive so the smaller they are the easier they are to build. However, they can be constructed in any size.

The Brighton Earthship in Brighton, UK. Tour it here.

3. Vardo. Gypsy wagons, also known as vardos, are popular on tiny house photo sites because of their magical and romantic quality. They are often designed with bright colors and luxurious fabrics. A vardo is mean for travel and doesn’t usually have a bathroom or a full kitchen included but modern versions can come in all types.

The Elle de Vardo in Norwich, England. Featured on Tiny House Swoon here.

4. School Bus Conversion. When I met Kelly and Chris of Just Right Bus earlier this year I immediately fell in love with their converted school bus. It is comfortable, funky, and homey. A school bus is similar in size to a traditional RV but they need to be fully customized to work as a home.

The Busonomics Bus houses a young family in Washington. See more of their home here.

5. Tree House. A childhood fantasy come true, the tree house can make an excellent stationary tiny home. Some areas of the country lend themselves to building vertically. There are many ways to build a tree house and some methods don’t harm the tree at all.

The Fern Forest Treehouse in Lincoln, Vermont. More photos here. Stay in it here.

6. Yurt. This was the first tiny house style we actually fell in love with. We thought about all the ways we could have a temporary yurt on our mountain before we decided to build our 120 square foot home. Yurts have come a long way since Mongolian nomads carried them across Asia. Many yurt manufacturers are able to provide all of the most modern conveniences.

The Treebones Yurts in Big Sur, California overlooking the Pacific Ocean. More photos of the yurt are here.

What other tiny spaces would you consider living in?


Laura is a contributing writer for Tiny House Listings and she walks the walk. She lives in a 120 square foot cabin in Asheville, NC that she and her partner Matt built themselves. You can learn more about Laura and Matt at their website 120squarefeet.com.

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