Since first going on air in 1994, HGTV has inspired millions in decorating, remodeling and design. As you’ll soon see from the list of our favorite HGTV tiny homes, that support extends as well to the phenomenon of tiny living.
Through programs on its networks to articles and essays on HGTV.com, HGTV has helped take sustainable, tiny living into the mainstream. Think that tiny living means giving up on the amenities of home ownership? Think again.
Learning About Tiny Living
HGTV encourages and nurtures the tiny house phenomenon through programs devoted to tips about tiny living and showcases of the best ideas in tiny house architecture, design, and decoration. Start off with "Tiny House Hunters," now in its fourth season, which chronicles couples and families as they look for their tiny paradise.
To supplement the stories on Tiny House Hunters, HGTV has created a Tiny House Central web portal. The portal features photo essays, videos, and blog posts that shine a light on tiny living. In doing so, the network has located and told the story of some of the most interesting and colorful tiny houses in the country.
The newest addition to HGTV’s tiny house content is "Tiny House Builders," which tells stories of those who ventured into tinyland from the ground up. Also out there for consumption: "Tiny House Paradise" and "Tiny Luxury." Sensing a bit of a trend here? The underlying stories are fascinating, such as the episode about the owner who wants simply to create a smaller version of her existing house. Then there’s the couple that built a tiny pad on a cliff overlooking the Bahamas. Now we’re talking!
Tiny House Basics
As we present our favorite HGTV tiny homes, it’s worth remembering what draws us to this way of life. It’s for ourselves and our planet. Tiny living is about sustainability -- about doing more with less. This takes less of a toll on the Earth and our wallets at the same time. But as we’ll see, there are definitely ways to get the best of both worlds through the creative use of color, materials, and space. After it’s all said and done, you lower your cost of living and your footprint. Everybody wins.
How We Researched Our Favorite HGTV Tiny Homes
Tiny houses are an HGTV passion. So the search for our favorite HGTV tiny homes did not require a lot of deep digging. We focused our time on reviewing video clips from HGTV programs, photo essays about the features of various tiny houses on the network’s website, and articles featuring the most unique properties out there. We sifted through many of these to find our favorite HGTV tiny homes, with a clear preference for the unique -- unique regarding design, functionality, color schemes, materials and more. We think you’ll like what we came up with.
Tiny Toybox home
Some of our favorite HGTV tiny homes just look fun from the outside and make you want to see inside. The Tiny Toybox Home is one of those, with a backstory to match. The house has its origins in the chance meeting between a music student and a designer in a store that sells sustainable building supplies. The house is sided in natural cedar and colorful corrugated fiberglass that evokes the rainbow bus made famous on the show The Partridge Family.
The interior furnishings are a genius of space-saving design -- a must in a house that’s all of about 140 square feet. Some of the modular furniture doubles as storage containers turned upside down. Cabinets are constructed with retractable panels that allow the owners to “cover-up” whatever you need stores on shelves, whether kitchen gadgets or other items. A dining table folds up when not needed and flips down when it’s time to eat. In the kitchen, in place of a pantry is a food cube shelf. The design takes the same approach to creating instant workspace when needed. The bed is a loft that requires you to climb a small ladder but is big enough for a king-sized mattress. All-in-all, it’s the creative design that landed this house a spot as one of our favorite HGTV tiny homes.
Need a little more space in your tiny house? We know that some of you will, so that’s why the Wheelhouse Wedge makes the list of our favorite HGTV tiny homes. (It’s also the first one featured on this special HGTV list of best homes on wheels.) This house, developed by Wheelhaus, offers 400 square feet of living space but can also be built as a modular house with fewer units. What sold us was the dual decks: a front deck, fully covered, and an outdoor back deck. The front deck has a slider to use as the entryway. We were also drawn to the soaring 10.5-foot ceilings.
Other creative touches: Siding made from rehabbed Wyoming snow fencing! The house comes with all existing utility hookups underneath each unit. The unit comes with two bedrooms large enough to fit queen sized mattresses. The Wheelhouse Wedge also comes with a one-bedroom option. You can also go with options that leave out the decks. But where’s the fun in that? Picture a summer day with the sliding glass door open, a glass of wine, and burgers on the grill. One can dream. Go here for more on the Wheelhouse Wedge.
Whistle Stop Tour
Being a lover of history, we knew we had to include this one on the list of our favorite HGTV tiny homes. The Whistle Stop Tour house is built to look like a train caboose and looks almost like FDR is ready to step out and make one of his signature speeches. Called The Elm and built by Tumbleweed Tiny Homes, this living space includes a loft bedroom accessed by a short ladder.
HGTV notes that you can add optional dormers to bring in more natural light and for a cooling effect in the summertime. To accommodate all types of weather, the Elm includes a built-in corner porch. Perhaps the best feature: This tiny beauty is constructed onto wheels and, according to HGTV, doesn’t need a special permit for towing. Take it, plant it, and then move on whenever you feel like it. Visit the world!
Tiny Eclectic Texas Home
The creative use of resources to develop unique living spaces on the list of our favorite HGTV tiny homes is astounding. A prime example is the self-styled Tiny Eclectic Texas Home, which consists of two trailers converging in one tiny abode. Eclectic is the best word for this house, starting with the nattily painted steps that take you onto a front porch. The designers may well have thought of everything to make their customers happy. For example, the porch includes benches, but with two open areas beneath that can be used as pet hotels for dogs or cats.
The kitchen and living areas feature a muted black-and-white color scheme, so you don’t really know you’re going from one part of the space to the other. The kitchen features attention to sustainability, in the use of vintage leather belts that hold up shelves for cookbooks, pots and pans, or other items. One of the trailers is built to accommodate bedroom space, while the attached trailer is more for daily living. The bathroom is squared off with unique copper doors. Here’s what sold us: The bedroom area includes -- get this -- a walk-in closet. Who would have thought of that in a tiny house? We give the designers extra points for determination on that one.
Modern in Miniature
One of the things we love about tiny homes is that they encourage builders to break all the rules. So for us, the story of “Modern in Miniature” was perfect for the list of our favorite HGTV tiny homes. This one is courtesy of HGTV’s sister network, DIY. The bedroom is a comfy and compact loft area. The rest of the home rests on an open floor plan and can be used as the resident desires. The house provides one loft-area bedroom. Guests can stay overnight using a sleeper sofa in the main living area.
Interestingly, DIY says the house includes a second loft bed suspended over the sofa bed. Better take your seasick pills! We weren’t thrilled by the design of the shower, which essentially shares space with the laundry. We can live with that, however. Probably the biggest selling point for us was the easily-accessed rooftop deck. We love the price tag as well: The designer built the house for around $70,000, according to DIY.
Some people aren’t messing around when they make the decision to go tiny. That’s the case for Portland Alternative Designs, which made as one of our favorite HGTV tiny homes on the strength of ingenuity. For instance, consider the Bunk Box Tiny House. The plans for this house intentionally expose the framing and electrical wiring on the inside walls. This gains you at least the illusion of more space.
The sleeping area is in an upstairs loft. That might initially give you pause as a hazard for hitting your head. The architects, though, built in a little extra leeway to put your worries at ease. You'll be able to clear the loft without incurring a concussion. Perhaps most interesting is the use of what PAD describes as “closed cell” foam as insulation. The plan designers even promise a thermal floor. If you are prone to cold feet, that’s a huge plus. The Bunk Box can also be widened for those who have bigger families, thereby fulfilling the need for more space. Check out the plans for the Bunk Box at this page on Portland Alternative Designs.
The Bottom Line
It all probably comes down to how much space -- or should we say, how little -- you’re able to live with. We love the tiny phenomenon, and we love tiny spaces. But you have to admit that there may well be such a thing as too small. Therefore, for us, it's a little difficult to make a single choice from our favorite HGTV tiny homes.
For our money, we value a variety of living environments, and everyone appreciates a well-conceived and designed porch. We’ll take the dual decks of the Wheelhouse Wedge, with the Tiny Toybox design a close second.