10 of the Smallest Homes in the World

These are a useful reminder that bigger isn't always better.

A tiny home still on its wheels and lifts

Tumbleweed Tiny Houses

From energy expenditure to building materials, living in a smaller house is one of the best ways to reduce your ecological footprint. Giving up the luxury of space and living more minimally isn't always easy, but it does come with a few perks—fewer possessions, bigger skies, open spaces, and so forth. Plus, a smaller house makes living with loved ones more intimate.

Here are 10 of the smallest homes in the world, all proof that bigger isn't always better.

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Eco Bike Trailer (Washington, U.S.)

Cyclist towing tiny camper pod


Paul Elkins originally designed this bike trailer to get around the Burning Man Festival. At about 16 square feet, there's only space for one, and in order to lie down completely, your head might wind up in the transparent bubble that juts out from the side (perfect for stargazing, Elkins says).

The "bug-out" bicycle camper comes equipped with a solar-powered oven and heating system. The rest is run by wind turbine. Inside, you'll find a mini sink and kitchenette and a bed that turns into seats and a table. When you have to use the restroom, though, you have to resort to the great outdoors.

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Roll It Homes (Karlsruhe, Germany)

Person in an obscure spherical tiny house


Students at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany designed these chic, experimental modular homes to incorporate multiple uses inside one small living space—a bed and table section, an exercise cylinder, and a kitchen with a sink. The home is meant to function sort of like a hamster wheel in that the homeowner can change the structure of the house by "rolling" it. How? They walk in the center and the whole house simply rotates.

The futuristic unit is cylindrical. It can be turned to reveal a bed, lounge chair, table, shower, toilet, or a kitchen sink, all in the same space. While it's unclear how large the Roll It home really is, it's not much taller than the average person.

Arch Daily says, "Structurally, the prototype includes an outer shell with the four support rings over a rigid inner shell. A translucent membrane envelops the entire form and serves as advertising space for sponsors. Thin wooden slats are attached to the membrane to form the running surface of the roll."

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Smallest House in Great Britain (Conway, Wales)

Red tiny house amid normal houses on British street

Denis Egan / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Quay House in Conway, Wales, is known as the "smallest house in Great Britain" (confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1920), and there's even a website dedicated to it. Until 1900, the tiny red home—measuring only 10 feet by six feet—was occupied by a six-foot, three-inch fisherman.

It's hard to believe there was enough room to "squeeze in a bedroom upstairs and a living area downstairs, with very basic cooking facilities and a water tap behind the stairs," according to its website.

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Micro Compact Home (London, U.K.)

Boxy tiny home and electric car near stream

Micro Compact Home

At only about 77 square feet, the Micro Compact Home founded by British architect Richard Horden somehow manages to include room for two double beds, a bathroom, lobby, dining space for up to five people, a kitchen, and top-notch entertainment technology.

It's a prime example of cube design, inspired by the scale and order of Japanese teahouses—but with elements of modern aircraft interiors, which includes "indirect lighting and directed ventilation, integrated flat-screen displays... even carefully designed and scaled lightweight crockery and cutlery."

Micro Compact Homes are designed with short-term guests and cash-strapped students in mind. They've been built all over the world, even for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and installed in various locations throughout Central Europe.

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Twelve Cubed Mini Home (British Columbia, Canada)

Tiny cabin with campfire in yard at dusk

Prefab Architecture / YouTube

Twelve Cubed tiny homes—based out of British Columbia, Canada—come in 10- and 12-square-feet iterations. Each features a dishwasher, microwave and modern oven combo, bedroom, bathroom, and closet. Large doors and windows allow for plenty of natural light.

The mission behind the homes is to reportedly provide people with an easy way to live more sustainably, but the handsome design is a temptation in and of itself.

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Tumbleweed Houses (Sonoma, California)

Red tiny house on wheels among trees

Tumbleweed Houses

Since 1997, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company founder Jay Shafer has been living in homes smaller than most people's closets. He loves the lifestyle so much that he also co-founded the Small House Society in Iowa. Tumbleweed houses are 225 square feet at their smallest and come in various floor plans and styles. The Cypress, its bestselling model, starts at $84,959.

After Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005, some Tumbleweed homes were sold to residents who preferred these cozy tiny homes to government temporary housing. Each includes a work space, bedroom, bathroom (with toilet and shower), and living space. Some designs even include a porch,

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Tiny Texas Houses (Luling, Texas)

Green tiny house in wilderness with hammock on porch

Tiny Texas Houses

Not everything is bigger in Texas—especially not Tiny Texas Houses. Based in Luling, Texas, this company claims to be "building the future with the past." Each of the "organic cottages" is made from recycled salvage materials. They vary in size but measure in at around 250 square feet.

"After a generation of having it all and wasting so much, perhaps it is time to consider keeping it small and preserving what we have before we waste more of our limited resources," the company says on its website.

Tiny Texas Houses has created a 43-acre area of houses made with recovered materials called Salvage Texas. Visitors can stay in a Texas Tiny House, like this quintessentially Southern Vicky Too, by booking through Airbnb.

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Nano House (London, U.K.)

Abstract white house on grassy expanse against blue sky

Nano Living System

Created to help solve the world's global housing crisis, these 269-square-feet homes are designed to house a family of four. Nano Living System homes are also equipped with state-of-the-art insulation and passive solar heating for energy savings. The rooms are convertible to make the most of the tiny space.

Nano Living System also helps connect businesses and government agencies when it comes to constructing sustainable and cost-efficient materials and designs. The abstract homes are sold throughout the U.K. and U.S.

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Single Hauz (Poznań, Poland)

Homes suspended on poles against cliffs and blue sky

Front Architects / Facebook

Talk about a cutting-edge home design, Front Architects designed the king of bizarre tiny homes. Giving the age-old treehouse a run for its money, these tiny homes-on-poles were inspired by roadside billboards. They could even be built over water for a truly unique effect.

Its Polish creators described Single Hauz as being the perfect dwelling for someone who is contemporary, single, independent, and modern. It was 290 square feet. Unfortunately Front Architects does not appear to be operating anymore.

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Toronto's Little House (Toronto, Canada)

Tiny house wedged between urban townhouses

thelittlehouseonyt / YouTube

Tucked between two normal-sized neighbors, this miniature home could be the smallest and most famous abode in Toronto, Canada. BlogTO says it could be one of the smallest detached urban homes in the world.

It occupies just 312 square feet and is about the width of a single car. That's because contractor Arthur Weeden built it in 1912 on a narrow laneway between two other houses. From BlogTO: "The tiny parcel of land was originally marked out for laneway access but somehow the curb stones were never lowered to allow vehicular access, rendering the gap useless."

Weeden lived in it with his wife for 20 years before passing it on to a chain of subsequent owners who've subjected it to renovations. It received ample attention when it went on the market in the '00s, even garnering attention from Ellen DeGeneres. Apparently it has a living room, kitchen, and sleeping quarters with a Murphy bed, since the rear bedroom is too small to fit a bed plus furniture.