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Downsizing into a tiny house is difficult. You’re probably already aware of that if you’re seriously considering tiny home living. What about things you don’t want to give up? You might think that tiny house bathrooms require you to give up things like your vanity cabinet, or your bathtub.
Think about what you like about your current bathroom. Maybe you like taking long, soothing soaks in your tub after a hard day. Or perhaps your favorite bathroom feature is the cabinet space under your sink. What if you could still have these things in a tiny house? As it turns out, tiny house bathrooms can still have your favorite features and amenities.
Innovating Tiny House Bathrooms
Installing a bathroom in a tiny house will often prove challenging. You’re talking about a house with 500 square feet of space or less (often, much less). Many prospective tiny house buyers want that bathroom, though. It turns out that there are several ways in which you can build tiny house bathrooms with many of the same features as bathrooms you’d find in standard houses.
Different types of tiny house bathrooms
You really only find two types of bathrooms in tiny houses: Wet room and standard. A wet room is a bathroom where the shower is open, and there are no divisions between it and the rest of the room. The whole bathroom is the shower. Builders specifically design these rooms in a water-friendly manner, so you don’t have to worry that all your shower water will damage the rest of your bathroom fixtures.
Tiny house bathrooms also come in the design with which we’re all more familiar. A toilet, a vanity, and a separate shower.
How builders incorporate many features of standard bathrooms into tiny houses
There are many ways to incorporate all the features of a bathroom you’d find in a standard house, wet room or otherwise. Since wet rooms maximize the space in the bathroom, they may seem to make the most sense. However, you don’t have to have a wet room to have an efficient bathroom. What else can builders do?
Showers and bathtubs
If you don’t want a wet room, never fear. You can get tiny house bathrooms that have separate showers. They might be small, stand-up showers, corner showers with curved doors, or even corner bathtubs with shower curtains. But you can definitely have a separate shower.
You can also have a bathtub in which to soak. These bathtubs will most likely be smaller than you typically use, but you can have one. It just takes some creativity.
Tiny house bathrooms can have regular flushing toilets, composting toilets, or incinerating toilets. Standard toilets that flush work well for RVs, but not for tiny houses. You need a sewage tank or a sewer hookup. Sewer hookups aren’t a big deal if you’ve got a place to put your tiny house that allows such a hookup. Neither is having a sewage tank if you know you’re within easy distance of a dumping facility (you can’t just dump your waste onto the ground or into the sewer).
Incinerating toilets and composting toilets are both greener options. An incinerating toilet takes solid waste and turns it into ash. That removes all the little nasties that live in human waste. However, incinerating toilets are loud, and you need an advanced ventilation system for it.
There are two types of composting toilets: Diverting and non-diverting. Non-diverting composting toilets keep liquid and solid waste in the same tank and mix it with a composting agent such as peat moss or sawdust. A diverting composting toilet separates liquids and solids and sends them into separate tanks. For both toilets, you’ll need to empty the tanks and trays frequently. Composting toilets also require more maintenance than a standard flushing toilet, but they’re probably your best bet in a tiny house. That’s especially true if you’re looking to go as green as possible.
Sinks and vanities
Since these are small, they’re not difficult to incorporate into tiny house bathrooms. Narrow sinks, freestanding sinks, and cabinets that can include a washing machine underneath are all popular fixtures in tiny house bathrooms. You’ll probably want shelves where a mirror would go, but you can always put in a small makeup mirror to make up for that.
How Much Can Tiny House Bathrooms Cost?
There are so many different ideas for tiny bathrooms that their overall cost varies wildly. Everything from the type of toilet to the shower or tub and even the water heater goes into the cost of tiny house bathrooms. However, we did find some cost breakdowns that include certain costs associated with tiny house bathrooms. These bathrooms can add anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 to the price of tiny houses when you’re not looking for fancy fixtures (like a hammered copper soaking tub, which can run you $2,000 to $6,000 by itself).
How We Reviewed
We went to websites such as HGTV, The Spruce, and Tiny Home Builders, to learn about the various types and features available for tiny house bathrooms. To deliver more information on things like the types of toilets that work in a tiny house, we went to TinyHousehold.com. For overall pricing on tiny house bathrooms, we went to sites like Tiny House Giant Journey, DIY House Building, and Tiny Ambitions. Finally, we found our favorite tiny house bathrooms on Microabode, Oregon Live, and The Spruce.
Our 8 Favorite Tiny House Bathrooms
Now, it’s time for us to get down to business. Which tiny house bathrooms are absolutely to die for?
1. New Frontier Alpha bathroom
The bathroom in New Frontier’s Alpha house makes a lot of space out of a tiny area. The whole bathroom is white with dark accents, and the two windows above the composting toilet make the entire space feel light and airy. It also has a pocket door, taking up less space than a swinging door.
Perhaps the best part of this bathroom is that it has a washing machine under the counter but still has cabinet space. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other, nor do you sacrifice kitchen space for the washing machine.
- Lots of creative storage space
- Jacuzzi bathtub
- The pocket door has a full-length mirror on it
- Antique mirrors above sink eliminate possible additional shelf space
- Washing machine location means only one small sink
- White shiplap walls may be difficult to keep clean
2. Wind River Tiny Homes’ the monocle bathroom
One common design for tiny houses is to have long, narrow bathrooms. If your tiny house is eight feet wide, then you might want a long, narrow bathroom. When Wind River Tiny Homes built the monocle, they focused heavily on the bathroom. It features a long, oval tub underneath a large window, a composting toilet, and a gorgeous combination of wood and tile work. The monocle bathroom is a wet room, so you don’t have a shower curtain around the tub. You’ll find the shower head all the way on the other side of the room.
- Has two shower heads; a rainfall showerhead up high, and a handheld one within easy reach
- Narrow design means bathroom can fit along one side of the house instead of an end
- Toilet is away from the shower heads
- You’ll need to install a curtain over the big window for privacy
- As a wet room, it does not have much storage space
- The tub may be challenging to get into and out of
3. Hammer & Hand bathroom
The Hammer & Hand design is quite possibly the ultimate when it comes to the word “tiny.” While this particular bathroom isn’t actually in a tiny house, at just nine square feet, it can undoubtedly fit inside a tiny house. The toilet is a combination toilet and cistern, and the shower has a handheld head with shelving above it. You can keep your towels on these shelves without them getting wet. There’s even a small sink on top of the cistern/toilet combo.
- Designed with older people in mind
- Toilet seat doubles as a shower seat
- Water from sink flows into the cistern, which then empties the next time you flush
- This bathroom is small enough to create mobility problems for larger people
- Window placement limits privacy
4. Thai-style micro-bathroom
This bathroom likewise isn’t in a tiny house, but it’s squeezed into a 20 square foot space and would work inside a tiny house. It’s a Thai-style wet room with a teak floor that allows water to drain quickly. When you finish your shower, the next person in doesn’t find themselves standing on a slick floor in a puddle.
- Toilet paper is guaranteed to stay dry tucked under the sink
- Frosted glass blocks for windows light the space up while maintaining your privacy
- Sliding door has frosted glass to let in more light but also maintain your privacy
- Teak flooring isn’t the cheapest flooring
- Glass window blocks don’t let in as much light as a big window would
- Not much room for counter or dry shelf space
5. Timbercraft Tiny Homes Ridgewood bathroom
Timbercraft has several models of houses like the Ridgewood. Its tiny bathroom is unique because of its freestanding tub underneath the window. It has a tall shower head on the side of the tub, so if you’re tall, you won’t find yourself ducking to get under this head even though the tub is several inches off the floor. The three windows in the bathroom lighten the place up, so you feel less cramped despite the dark floor.
- Lots of storage space, including two cabinets on either side of one of the windows
- Bathtub means you can soak your troubles away
- Shower curtain ring attached to the ceiling means you can keep water in the tub and keep the world out of your shower
- The bathtub is small, so you can’t stretch out in it
- Has a standard flushing toilet, rather than a more environmentally friendly composting toilet
- The fan is against one wall, which makes it less effective
6. Tiffany Blue Eyes bathroom
The Tiffany Blue Eyes bathroom is a custom bathroom. It incorporates many elements that make having bathrooms in tiny houses feasible. There’s a separate shower, a composting toilet, and a bay window over the sink to allow in natural light. The shower has tile, but the rest of the bathroom has white paneling, adding to the airy feel of the room. Perhaps best of all, this bathroom has some very creative ideas for storage space.
- Bay window creates a nook for a counter and cabinetry, keeping it from jutting out into the room and maximizing floor space
- It has another nook with a bench in it, perfect for dressing after a shower or when getting ready for bed
- Uses space efficiently
- There’s a full linen closet
- The corner shower saves space, but is so small you can’t put too many shelves inside
- The window has shades over it that may limit the amount of light coming in
- Limited mobility in the shower due to size
7. Tiny Heirloom Tudor House bathroom
Designed to look like a miniature European chateau, this tiny Tudor House has it all. Its bathroom is spectacular. Slate walls, a copper countertop, and a copper bathtub make this particular tiny house bathroom feel like the inside of a castle. A beautiful window over the sink gives you the perfect natural backdrop.
This is a custom tiny house, so the bathroom is likewise a custom job. But if you want a bit of castle-like charm in your tiny bathroom, this one carries good inspiration.
- Gorgeous design
- Lots of cabinet space under the sink
- Sink, counter and cabinet have their own nook right under the window, freeing up floor space
- Despite the window, not a lot of light gets in
- Copper bathtubs are very expensive
- Aside from the cabinet under the sink, it doesn’t seem to have much storage space
8. Backcountry Tiny Homes’ Basecamp bathroom
This cabin looks like a tiny mountain cabin inside and out, and the bathroom is no exception. With knotty wood paneling and flooring, you get a mountain feeling even while in the bathroom. The shower, with a curtain separating it from the rest of the room, evokes an image of rocky cliffs and peaks. The shower floor is made of wood and drains water more quickly than your standard tiled or acrylic shower floor.
- Composting toilet uses much less water and helps you with things like gardening
- The shower is fairly large for a tiny house
- Knotty wood paneling is light-colored, helping to brighten up the room
- Small windows let in insufficient light
- There appears to be only one cabinet and a few shelves for storage
- The shower itself is beautiful but very dark with just a small window near the top of the wall
Bottom Line on Tiny House Bathrooms
The bathroom design you choose will depend on your unique needs and personal tastes. We like the Thai-style micro-bathroom, the Backcountry Basecamp bathroom, and the Tiny Heirloom Tudor House bathroom. The Thai-style floor makes so much sense in a wet room. Not having to walk around on a soaking wet, slippery floor is a plus. The Backcountry Basecamp bathroom has a very warm feel to it because of its wooden decor. The images it calls to mind, even though it’s a bathroom, are too majestic and peaceful to ignore. Finally, we can’t forget the Tudor House bathroom. It’s expensive and extravagant for a tiny bathroom, yes, but it’s too beautiful for us to keep it out of our top three.
Use this list for inspiration for your own tiny bathroom, whether you live in a tiny house or not. You’ll find that you can fit a lot of beauty, style, and charm into a tiny space when you know what you’re doing, and how you want to do it.