The journey to owning a tiny home is unique and adventurous. It involves a commitment to a simpler and more sustainable life. And it requires careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of living small. But if you’re ready to start out, you need a map. I.e., some tiny house plans.
Of course, you could have a tiny home custom built for you. Or find a prefab kit and put it together yourself. Some folks, however, like to really, really lean into the adventure and build their home from scratch.
Building your own tiny home brings the final cost down significantly and comes with a great sense of satisfaction. Or so people tell me. If this sounds like it’s up your alley, you have a few options for plans. You can hire a professional to develop them, scout out free plans online or buy stock plans from companies that sell them. This article will explore each option in turn.
You can hire an architect, a draftsperson or a designer to help you create custom plans. The downside to this is cost. Designing a home is difficult, specialized work, and that’s reflected in the price tag. Plans can easily run into the thousands of dollars, particularly when you bring an architect on board.
On the plus side, when you work with a professional, you’ll end up with plans that will meet local building codes. You will absolutely need this for permits and insurance. You also absolutely need plans that will create a structurally sound dwelling when put together as intended. Professionals can make sure that happens.
Finally, you’ll be able to get professional guidance on your project. If there are features you want, or site considerations you need to account for, a professional can incorporate those requirements. They’ll also be able to help you maximize the space you have, a key consideration in the tiny home game.
Free Tiny House Plans
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Wild West of the internet. There are lots of free plans online, plans which may or may not have been put together by someone who knew what they were doing. You’ll need to use your own judgement and decide whether you trust the creator and whether their vision abides by the laws of physics.
For something very rustic, check out The Classic Archives’ plans for a wood cabin with loft. At 108 square feet, it’s basically a Bunkie, and does not feature a bathroom or kitchen. That said, there’s nothing to stop you from adding on. The plans include a materials list and instructions.
These tiny house plans from Tiny House Design are for a shed-roofed, 8 x 16-foot dwelling. The house is meant to sit on a dual-axle trailer bed. Plans include 2 floor plans, framing diagrams and a list of materials for the building shell, including costs. They feature free plans for other styles on their website.
Today’s Plans offers detailed plans for a neat two-storey cabin designed by architect Dan O’Connell. It’s a total of 500 square feet and built on a slab foundation. Plans include floor plans, framing and electrical diagrams and roofing details.
You can download these plans for a tiny house on a trailer base from Ana White. The plans are for a 24-foot-long trailer, but she cautions that because of the roof overhangs, the house is wider than regulation and that she needed a permit to transport it.
Stock Tiny House Plans
There’s a middle road here between the cost of custom plans and the free plans you can find online. A few companies sell tiny house plans that have been created or reviewed by an architect or an engineer.
This can be a comfortable ground for people who want the peace of mind that comes with having professional plans, but who don’t want to pay full custom design fees.
Architectural Designs is a wonderland of tiny house plans. There were 249 plans when I last visited their site. Square footage, style and features range significantly. They have useful filters that let you search by architectural style, square footage, numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms, foundation and wall type and more.
Many feature client photos, so you can see what the home looks like in real life. Plans started around $600 and go up to about $1200.
Pin-Up Houses also has a number of plans for tiny houses. The site is not as searchable, but there’s a nice variety of square footages and styles. The homes are timber framed and seem to be designed to be built on pilings, footings and ground screws.
The plans come with a cost estimate, material and tool list, as well as an eBook on how to build tiny houses. Plans start at $129 and go up to $590.
Tiny Home Builders features 3D, PDF and print plans for their trailer-built homes. You can choose between 6 different styles. Their more basic offerings come in a single length, but the more sophisticated models have a few options for sizes. Costs range from $147 for a basic model up to $347.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company offers plans for 2 different models of home, plus custom designs. You can also purchase plans just for stairs or for dormers. Plans are detailed, and include specifications for the trailer the homes should be built on. Tumbleweed states that their plans have been reviewed “by architects and engineers for roadworthiness.” Plans cost $759, which includes the plans for the dormer and stairs.
Vina’s Tiny House has PDF plans for 3 styles of home. Square footage and length vary with the style, but all are meant for a trailer base. Two of the homes are designed to be off-grid. The plans have been reviewed by a structural engineer. Prices are $245 for plans for Vina’s smallest house and $399 for the larger two. $100 of her fees go to Habitat for Humanity, so you can support a good cause with these plans.
With any plans you download or buy, note that they may or may not come with step-by-step instructions. Likewise, don’t assume that any plans will be up to code in your area, even if they’ve been reviewed.
Do your due diligence up front and make sure your plans will meet local building standards and zoning requirements. The tiny home journey has enough twists and turns. You don’t need to find out down the road that you have to double back and start again.