With the human population continuing to increase and the issue of homelessness more prevalent than ever, it only makes sense that living space and house dimensions evolve to accommodate these developments. This begs the question: what is the average size of a tiny house?

This minimalist approach to house living is gaining increasing traction thanks to the numerous perks it affords house owners. However, before breaking away from the house dimensions of traditional homes, it makes sense to first know as much as possible about tiny homes.

What Is a Tiny House?

The tiny house movement is one that took the country by storm.

According to Appendix Q of the International Residential Code, a tiny house is a dwelling space that doesn’t exceed 400 square feet, excluding the lofts.

However, a more liberal approach has recently been taken to house dimensions in this category, allowing many tiny homes to be as large as 1,000 square feet.

This unique residential design that inspires living in limited space has become so popular because it’s a resource that house owners who want to declutter without stress can fall back to.

Just as the amount of extra space these micro homes afford you can differ greatly, so does the way they’re built.

For instance, one homeowner might opt to build their 700 square foot tiny house on a permanent foundation, while another might opt to build the same on a trailer, effectively making it a house on wheels.

Houses on wheels are usually attached to a heavy-duty vehicle like a common utility trailer, making your living space mobile and transforming your house experience in the process.

Important Facts to Remember About House Dimensions

Some noteworthy things to remember about living spaces include:

  • The median size or average-sized home for a single-family in America today is 2,301 square feet.
  • If a structure is considered a tiny house, the average size of its ceiling must not be less than 6’4”.
  • On average, the height of a tiny house is about 8 ft.
  • The house dimensions of a tiny house can be as small as 80 square feet.

It’s vital to note these details, as they’ll prove crucial further down the road.

Types of Tiny Houses

There are two options prospective tiny house dwellers can explore. These are:

Recreational Vehicle Home

This is the legal name that zoning laws ascribe to a tiny, livable space connected to wheels for mobility. Because of the unique nature of this type of dwelling space, many municipalities have deemed them a recreational space unsuitable to be used as a primary dwelling.

To use recreational vehicle, or RV, homes, you must first register them in your state. With a few exceptions, regulations in most states demand that self-built RVs undergo extensive inspections first. After they pass these tests, they’ll be issued a license permit.


Access Dwelling Unit

The second type of tiny house you can consider is built on a foundation and firmly rooted in one spot.

Unlike a house on wheels, these are considered fully fit to be used as a primary dwelling.

An access dwelling unit, or ADU, is still a long way from being used as a resource to solve the issue of homelessness. This is because, at the moment, building this type of home is far more complicated than building house trailers.

To start with, zoning regulations in the country prohibit buying land and building this type of house living space on it.

So, to build an ADU, you must secure a single-family lot first.

A collection of several ADUs built around multiple larger structures is known as tiny house communities.

Top States With the Most Flexible Zoning Regulations (or Building Codes) for Tiny Homes

Even after you’ve figured out the answer to the question “what is the average size of a tiny house,” you still need to get a special permit for building this type of house size.

The zoning laws and regulations in certain regions make this easier to do. If you’d like the least resistance when getting the necessary building permits for your tiny home, some of the best places that afford you this luxury are:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
  • Colorado
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Michigan
  • Oregon

Why Are Tiny Homes Becoming More Popular?

There are several reasons why the real estate market seems to be looking towards tiny houses now. Even though the traditional house structure is still more popular by far, the benefits that a tiny home’s personal space brings to the table ensures that sooner or later, the former will be relegated to the background.

Some perks of tiny houses over traditional homes are:

They’re More Affordable

In terms of the amount of personal space you get per dollar, tiny houses are exponentially more expensive than their more conventional counterparts. But, since space is a premium commodity in a tiny home, each square foot you’re afforded is designed to be multi-purpose.

What’s more, they’re also far more personalized and give you more bang for your buck compared to traditional homes.

Also, as they carry a far smaller price tag, they may be just the right recourse for you, considering the financial downturn the world seems to be going through at the moment.

They Leave a Smaller Ecological Footprint

A smaller home will almost always translate to a smaller carbon footprint. It also means you’ll use less electricity and natural gas, ultimately leading to the shedding of fewer pounds of carbon dioxide.

Studies confirm that the average-sized home releases as much as 28,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, while tiny homes emit only 2,000.

Also, because electricity doesn’t factor strongly into a tiny house lifestyle, these house owners tend to consume more fresh foods instead of frozen and preserved foods, helping them get back to nature and live cleaner.

It Encourages an Outdoor Lifestyle

Again, because living space is guarded more jealously in this type of housing unit, a more outdoor lifestyle is encouraged here.

As an example, the small size of your tiny home likely won’t allow you to have a dining area indoors. Due to this, you’d need to create outdoor seating for this. By extension, you get to enjoy pleasant scenery while you dine.

However, it bears mentioning that whenever the weather takes a turn for the worse, it’ll affect you more directly. This is because such occurrences will show your house limits where space is concerned.

Because of this, you’re more likely to get more out of these homes when you situate them in warm and temperate climes.

How to Tell if a Tiny Home is Right for You

Because of the unique house dimensions and novelty of this type of living space, it’s not always immediately apparent if getting tiny houses is the right way to go.

What’s more, until this niche market has fully established itself, much will remain unknown about it. In light of this, here are some things to consider before ditching your traditional home for a tiny one.


As we’ve said, for the most part, this aspect of the real estate market is yet to be fully explored. Consequently, many mortgage and house companies remain hesitant to fund this type of housing. This is more so the case if you plan to build it yourself.

So, if you don’t have a considerable amount saved away, we don’t recommend getting this type of housing unit.


You’ll very likely encounter the same problems you did with mortgage companies with insurers.

Only a precious few insurers will be willing to offer you coverage for a tiny house, especially if you built the structure yourself.

What’s more, if you’re able to get insurance for house trailers and ADUs, the process is often a rather difficult one.

Because of this, if you won’t be able to put in the effort to secure insurance for a tiny house, this type of home may not be right for you.

Personal Space

A recent study showed that buying too small a house was the second biggest regret of most house owners in America. In retrospect, this is only to be expected, as we tend to underestimate how much living space we need.

A tiny house can be the worst impulse buy, as its real estate sales and resales value are yet to be established. So, make sure you take the time to think things through carefully before making a decision.


So, what is the average size of a tiny house? Between 400 to 500 square feet.

However, the exact size of your home will ultimately be determined by your preference.

The tiny house movement remains a truly promising one, and given time, it might prove a worthwhile solution to the problem of chronic homelessness.

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