Buying furniture for a home can be tricky. Buying furniture for a tiny home can feel downright impossible. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, you can get furniture that suits your home’s needs and size, whether you buy it from a big-box store or you have to break out the power tools to build it yourself. Check out this room-by-room guide to help you pick the ideal furniture for your space.
Bedroom and Loft: A Breathable, Multipurpose Bed
Unsurprisingly, the key furniture piece in a bedroom is the bed, and you want to choose one that’s comfortable and multi-functional. Custom or store-bought beds with built-in storage are ideal, said Whitney Leigh Morris, small space designer, author, consultant, and blogger behind Tiny Canal Cottage.
She recommends looking for storage pieces that aren’t bulky, and instead utilize precious vertical and corner spaces when possible.
“The great thing about this is it can challenge you to think beyond the trends and get creative with crafting or sourcing one multitasking item in lieu of three or four other pieces of furnishings. This can save you time, money, and lighten your emissions impact in this era of climate crisis,” she says.
If you're lucky enough to have the space for a bedroom on the ground floor, a Murphy bed can also be a great space saver, notes Jenna Spesard, founder of the blog Tiny House Giant Journey.
“No need to shop at big-box stores when sourcing for your small space—try secondhand, vintage, and handmade to increase the unique nature of your home, and to craft a residence filled with history," suggests Morris. "Pick sturdy materials, as objects and surfaces in a tight apartment or house tend to get much more wear than those in their larger counterparts."
Bathroom: Take Advantage of Overlapping Functionality
When it comes to the bathroom in a tiny house, you can go very minimal with furnishings, Spesard said. Many tiny home owners even opt to forgo a bathroom sink, because of the close proximity to the kitchen sink, she explains. As far as bathroom essentials go, a toilet and shower may be enough.
“I use a small tub in my tiny house shower," she says, "which has come in handy for washing my toddler and my dog--not at the same time of course!”
The choice of which toilet or shower system you use is completely up to you and your available plumbing. Composting toilets are good options for bathrooms without hard plumbing in their tiny house. However, adding a flushable toilet into a blackwater system is still possible for tiny houses, especially those parked in tiny house communities.
Showers can vary from small standing setups with a water-conserving showerhead to full tubs with shower attachments. Your personality and personal style can shine in these spaces, whichever route you take. And of course, you can always add a sink if you choose.
Morris emphasizes the importance of adding mirrors and light to spaces, which is handy in small bathrooms.
“If possible, try not to obstruct windows, as they’ll enhance your square footage and welcome in more light," she notes. "Consider placing a mirror or set of mirrors opposite a window for an even richer effect."
Kitchen and Dining Room: Appliances That Suit Your Needs
Folding, collapsible, rolling, expandable, and retractable furnishings and accents of all types are ideal throughout a tiny house, Morris says, and the kitchen is no exception.
Spesard uses a custom-built fold-down table in her dining room. This way it can hide away when she and her family are not eating. For seating, she uses ottomans that also double as footstools and extra storage.
She emphasizes that tiny house kitchens are very subjective as far as what to include, and what not to include. Furnishings depend heavily on your cooking preferences, habits, and energy resources.
“For example, I didn't require an oven in my tiny house, as I don't bake often. Also, it would take up too much space and use too much electricity," explains Spesard. "I also don't have a coffee maker or microwave for the same reason. I find that all I really need is a few stove top burners, a mini-fridge, a sink, dry pantry, and lots of countertop space."
Living Room: Buying or Building the Perfect Couch
When it comes to the living room, a comfy couch is a must in any home, but especially a tiny house, Spesard said. Unfortunately, compact couches that are actually comfortable can be hard to find.
“I've been searching for the perfect solution for years, and I am still not completely satisfied with my couch, which also needs to unfold into a twin bed for guests,” she notes. “If anyone has a perfect solution, I'm all ears!”
As for other furniture pieces in a tiny house living room, having furniture that serves multiple functions is key.
“One of the tricky but glorious things about living in a small space: one room will often have to perform the roles of several rooms, meaning that typical furnishings intended for specific spaces might not apply,” Morris says. “For example, a living room coffee table might also have to become a playroom activity table, a dining room table, an entertaining buffet or even a work surface.”
To have the perfect furniture piece, several tiny home owners have resorted to building their own, which Spesard thinks is an ideal route to take.
“The truth is, you mainly want to build your own furniture in a tiny house. And, it really depends on the style and layout of the home itself,” she explains.
Of course, if building isn’t your forte, small couches that convert to beds do exist and can be purchased at big-box sellers like IKEA, Walmart, and Amazon. Lift-top coffee tables that convert into desks are also available for purchase at big-box stores.
The Key: Be Willing to Adapt
Furnishing a tiny house can be a challenge, and sometimes it might be best to invest in custom furnishings or built-ins. Most importantly, you need to be willing to adapt as your needs change.
“You won't know what you really need in a tiny house until you start living in it, so I suggest starting with less than what you think you need," Spesard suggests. "You can always add more or upgrade your furnishings as you go."