Tiny Houses Books

Best Tiny Houses Books

Who would’ve thought that someone with very little knowledge on construction (aka ME) with a conservative income and savings to spare can own (and build!) her own house? Since I live alone and spend most of my waking hours outside, my 200 square feet tiny home is my favorite place to retire to after a long day at work.


Along the way, I discovered some tips and tricks that helped me to easily plan, build, and maintain my own tiny house. If you’re planning to build your own tiny house soon, my own experience might help you, so here they are:


Read our Best Tiny Houses Books Review to find out.

Tiny House Design & Construction Guide


Tiny House Design & Construction Guide

Pros

  • As someone interested in the process of Tiny House construction, this book helped me understand why you have to do each step the way you are told to.
  • This is ideal for those with little to no background in construction tools and methods since the author also explains how each tool should be used under Tiny House standards.
  • Construction tools can be quite intimidating to look at, and while lots of instructions on how to use them are available online, the delicate and small-scale nature of Tiny Houses calls for a different approach when it comes to using construction tools.
  • Since it has both conceptual and methodical explanations, this book helped me decide whether I should hire a contractor or just build a Tiny House myself.
  • It also provides a balance between general and specific guidelines for building a Tiny House.

Cons

  • Less discussion on framing, plumbing, and designing a Tiny House
  • Not really a full how-to book you can follow; rather covers basic construction methods and issues you might encounter
  • Overall a great crash course book for Tiny House construction
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Tiny House Living: Ideas For Building and Living Well In Less than 400 Square Feet


Tiny House Living - Ideas For Building and Living Well In Less than 400 Square Feet

Pros

  • Even if you’re not planning to live in a Tiny House pretty soon, it has helpful organizational and de-cluttering tips that even apartment and house dwellers can make use of.
  • Features a friendly, conversational tone – it feels like you’re just talking to a friend.
  • There’s a healthy balance between creative and practical tips, you can even find basic information on related building laws and interviews from established Tiny House residents.
  • Shows not only the Tiny House design, but also gives insightful discussions from Tiny House residents – their day-to-day life, coping with small spaces, etc.
  • I was amazed by the use of high-quality and captivating pictures

Cons

  • There are no floor plans in this book that you can use as reference.
  • Focuses on inspirations and interviews from a bunch of different people’s projects.
  • I’ve mentioned that it has nice pictures, right? While the pictures inspired me a lot, the book doesn’t have much technical and construction details that you’ll need to get started building.
  • More of an introductory book for Tiny House living.
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Tiny House Designing, Building, & Living (Idiot's Guides)


Tiny House Designing, Building, & Living (Idiot's Guides)

Pros

  • Mentally prepares you for Tiny Living by asking yourself – why do you want to live in a Tiny House? It allowed me to get started.
  • This book helped me to have an idea on how to live in a Tiny House, even without living in one yet.
  • It covers topics I didn’t know I’ll need – thankfully. I read it before I started building.
  • Since the information here are basic and simple, this encouraged me to read through external sources for particular topics that I wanted to learn more of.
  • Overall, a great checklist and reference for anyone wanting to try Tiny House living.

Cons

  • Again, it doesn’t have much information on floor plans.
  • Focused more on mobile Tiny Houses instead of land-based Tiny Houses.
  • Pictures don’t have the best quality; you might need to look elsewhere for more ideas.
  • Still talking about pictures, I really wished it has more pictures of Tiny Houses including their floor plans.
  • Much information is US-based, so if you live in a different country, you might want to check it with your local building and zoning laws.
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Micro Living: 40 Innovative Tiny Houses Equipped for Full-Time Living, in 400 Square Feet or Less


Micro Living - 40 Innovative Tiny Houses Equipped for Full-Time Living, in 400 Square Feet or Less

Pros

  • A wide variety of Tiny House references – complete with artsy, whimsical, colorful, personal, and creative pictures. It made me think that actual, interesting people live in them – who are actually featured in this book too! 
  • I like this book because it shows approachable and quirky interiors that stray away from the usually imported, mass-market decors.
  • Most of the ideas here are also inexpensive, and it encouraged me to either up-cycle or recycle things that I already own.
  • Since its content is anchored on already existing Tiny Houses, it also included tips on what worked and what didn’t – giving you an idea on which to adapt and which not.
  • The author himself visited and stayed in every house he featured, isn't that cool?
  • If there's a one-stop-shop version of a Tiny House book, this would be it – it has stories, pictures, budgets, recommendations, and floor plans; basically, all you're looking for.
  • Also, very affordable for such great content!

Cons

  • If you’re planning to save more space by resorting to e-books, its Kindle version can be quite expensive
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The Joy of Tiny House Living: Everything You Need to Know Before Taking the Plunge (Creative Homeowner)


The Joy of Tiny House Living - Everything You Need to Know Before Taking the Plunge Creative Homeowner

Pros

  • It features many stories and testimonials on how to start living in a Tiny House. This book introduced me to the Tiny House Movement, and what should I expect once I started living in a Tiny House.
  • This book is written with warmth and great humor – it helped me digest all of its detailed information with ease.
  • After reading the book, it honestly feels like I’ve been welcomed to the Tiny House community even before I started living in one.
  • It has a nice collection of electric and practical approaches to planning your own Tiny House.
  • It has lots of outside-the-box Tiny House ideas.

Cons

  • Although the book is well-written, I would've liked it even more if there were more pictures. This is a big deal for visual learners like me because while the tips were surely informative, I had to find pictures online on how to actually do them.
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How “Big” is a Tiny House?

Tiny Houses Books

Based on the International Code Council, a Tiny House should have a floor area of 400 square feet or less – although this may differ based on your local area. While some local municipalities enforce standard floor areas and room sizes, some cities and municipalities only regulate areas for permanent housing built on a foundation.


Whatever it is, consulting your local city or municipal hall should be your first step, just to make sure you’re not violating any laws.

Where Can You Legally Build a Tiny House?

The rule of thumb in building a Tiny House is – if you’re building a Tiny House on a foundation, then it will be subjected to all local building codes and zoning regulations. If your Tiny House is built on wheels, it might not even be considered a house at all.


However, this offers you more flexibility and options on where you can have your Tiny House. For those of you planning to make a mobilized version of a Tiny House, contacting both your local zoning department and your trusted realtor will do the trick.

Should You Buy Brand New? Or Should You Build it Yourself?

Depending on the amenities, finishes, and size, a brand new Tiny House may cost you a few thousand dollars to over $70,000. You can have it pre-owned or made especially for you.


Of course, additional elements such as a screen or side door, board-and-batten siding, skylight, dormer, front steps, propane electric light energy, and a polyurethane-sealed interior, among others, may cost you a few more dollars. This of course will depend on how much you're willing to spend and the lifestyle you're planning to adapt to.


If you want to cut costs significantly, you may opt to plan and build your Tiny House yourself. While this saves you large sums of money, you also need to have lots of free time to complete. Building a Tiny House yourself will cost your around $12,000 to $35,000, although you can also build an extremely budget Tiny Home for less than $10,000.


Since I wanted to save money and I have a few friends willing to help me, I opted for a DIY Tiny House. I have to agree that I struggled a bit in the beginning, but thanks to my newfound construction prowess, I can easily troubleshoot and fix any part of my home that needs repair. It took me almost 12 months to build a Tiny House and get around with it, but it was all worth it!


For those of you who want the best of both worlds, that is, a pre-built Tiny House but with still some room for you to customize, you can opt for a Tiny House Shell. Depending on the size, a Tiny House Shell may cost you around $10,000 to $35,000. It comes with an unfinished interior and a finished exterior.


This saves you the hassle of lifting and tedious construction that comes with building a Tiny House from scratch, all the while allowing you to design the rest of your home yourself. For an even easier DIY process, look for a Tiny House Shell with pre-installed electric, water, and sewer utility lines.

What Happens to Your Mailing Address?

If you’re planning to have your Tiny House permanently built on the ground with a fixed location, then getting a real mailbox is your way to go. Thankfully, you can easily change your address online – just make sure to do it two weeks before moving into your Tiny House to allow your change-of-address form to be fully processed.


For those planning to settle in a mobile Tiny House, you may need to get a post office (P.O.) box, or for those who plan to regularly move around, getting an online mailbox with a fixed basic plan would be a more convenient option.

Should You Go Full-on Minimalist?

When I was still living in my decently-sized studio, I owned a lot of stuff. Books, kitchen appliances, and an unimaginable pile of boxes from my online shopping escapades. This is why moving into a Tiny House was a life-changing decision for me – as I had to transform from a maximalist to a full-on minimalist in less than a year.


Since a Tiny House is smaller than your traditional home or apartment, it can get messy really fast. The last thing you'd want to have is a messy, cramped home, and this is where less can be REALLY more. Do you need to keep your college textbooks? Or should you sell them? Aside from the visual and spatial offer de-cluttering gives, it allows you to get rid of things you don't really need. Trust me, your bank account will thank you later.

The Final Question: Should You Go For It?

Although a Tiny House offers limited space compared to your traditional house or apartment, current residents of Tiny Houses (including me) attest to the massive benefits that come from living in a relatively smaller space. Here are 5 perks I discovered throughout my stay in my Tiny House:


  1. No mortgage
  2. Lower Expenses and Energy Use
  3. Low-maintenance
  4. A free and simple life
  5. Being one with nature

Conclusion

After reviewing all the books I've mentioned, of course, I have to choose the winner, right? It was a tough decision honestly, but I'd give the trophy to "Micro Living: 40 Innovative Tiny Houses Equipped for Full-Time Living, in 400 Square Feet or Less.”


What made me fall in love with this book is how it encourages the readers to add personality and "quirkiness" to their Tiny Houses. See, when you think of Tiny Houses, you'd probably associate it with extremely minimalist, almost empty, and super clean interiors. This book, however, finds the right balance between de-cluttering without stripping off your house's uniqueness.


I also liked how aside from de-cluttering, it promotes up-cycling and recycling. Since among the many principles of Tiny House Living is to reduce one's waste and ecological footprint, up-cycling and recycling my stuff into interesting decors made me more accountable for the things I buy and throw away.


Did I also mention that this book is surprisingly cheap? With such compact information on expected budget, lifestyle, designs, floor plans, utilities, and testimonials from real Tiny House residents, this book checks all the boxes on how to physically, mentally, and financially prepare for living in the Tiny House of your dreams!

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