The tiny house movement is all about downsizing your lifestyle so you can live a more fulfilling life without a lot of debt or a huge mortgage hanging over your head. While you can buy a prefabricated dwelling or a customized small house on wheels, you can save a bundle if you make your tiny house yourself.
Statistics from 2022 show that the average cost spent on a tiny home is about $45,000, but bare-bones kits for DIYers are available for as little as $4,000 to $10,000, but can easily exceed $100,000. Information from the mortgage industry shows that the average per-square-foot cost of a tiny home is about $300 per square foot (about double that of the average full-size home. Thus, a small 200-square-foot cottage can easily cost $60,000 to have built by professionals. But it is quite possible for DIYers to build one for less—a lot less.
Be aware that fluctuations in the cost of building materials can cause costs to vary widely from year to year—and from location to location. But here are five examples of tiny houses that can be built on a very frugal budget.
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This Tiny Home Cost Less Than $12,000
Macy Miller purchased an old recreational vehicle for $500 and then spent the following two years transforming it into a beautiful 196-square-foot home. Most of the home is made of upcycled materials. For instance, the siding incorporates wood from upcycled shipping pallets. The house is also loaded with resource-saving features, such as a composting toilet. For comfort, the tiny abode is tricked out with radiant floor heating.
During that time, Macy fell in love, got married, gave birth, and adopted a 150-pound Great Dane named Denver. Properly planned and executed, a tiny house can be a perfectly comfortable home for a family.Continue to 2 of 5 below.
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This Tiny House in the Trees Cost $4,000
One New Year's Eve, Dave Herrle promised his wife that he would build her a tree house. So he did, and it soon became their second home. The project cost $4,000 and took six short weeks to construct, though this was possible only because Herrle is a skilled craftsman. Elaborate treehouses for adults are increasingly common as permanent residences for those dedicated to tiny house living.
Dave's tiny house is nestled on a wooded hillside. The home features a raised deck overlooking the woods. Low-maintenance, natural wood siding covers the home, with aluminum roofing completing the cabin-like mood.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
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A Dome-Shaped Concrete Home for About $3,500
These tiny dome-shaped homes are called Binishells. They are constructed using a process that is similar to making a papier-mâché balloon base. In this case, concrete is poured over a heavy-duty air pump bladder and steel rebar framework. Next, the bladder is deflated to reveal a tiny, resilient home that can stand up to extreme conditions such as earthquakes, high winds, or even lava flows.
Originally used for emergency shelters and temporary structures such as auxiliary school classrooms, recent years have seen Binishells adopted by the tiny-house crowd.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
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This Tiny Vacation Home Cost Less Than $3,000
If you’re an urban dweller who fantasizes about building your own tiny vacation home, Pin Up Houses is a company that creates and sells building plans for tiny homes. The Cheryl Cabin is a 153-square foot vacation retreat with a 47-square foot porch. The estimated construction cost is $3,200. The plans vary based on size but a traditional tiny home blueprint starts at $290, and they come with a money-back guarantee.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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A Tiny Home Is Possible for Only $500
Finally, here is a fantastic custom tiny home built by Scott Brooks for a mere $500. Although it's only 83 square feet, it is remarkably cozy and comfortable. To slash building costs, he constructed this cozy Pacific Northwest abode out of salvaged materials, such as the large reclaimed picture window that looks out on the Northwest forest.
If you want to be dazzled by even more tiny homes check out the best tiny homes on Instagram.
Why live in a tiny house?
These small homes are a great way to downsize and simplify your life, save money on utilities, have little upkeep and maintenance, and a lot less debt with possibly no mortgage at all.
Does it cost less to build your own tiny house than buy one?
If you are a handy DIYer, it will save quite a bit of money if you build your own tiny house than buy one already built.
Can you live in a tiny home permanently?
Some people do choose to reside in a tiny home on a full-time basis, while others use them for a second or vacation home.
How long do tiny houses last?
Provided you keep current on repairs and maintenance, there's no reason why a tiny house can't last for many decades. There are small, well-maintained cottages that have surpassed the century mark. However, tiny houses built on piers or anchored to trees or floating on concrete slabs may be somewhat less durable than a home built on a permanent excavated and poured concrete foundation. This kind of tiny house may require more frequent inspection and maintenance.