Designing your tiny house is one of the most exciting parts of tiny home living. You can build your tiny home yourself or decide to hire a professional tiny house builder. In any case, part of the process is determining what style you want your tiny house to be built in.
There is a wide variety of architectural and interior design approaches you can borrow for your tiny house, with the most common ones being rustic, contemporary, and Victorian.
Among these design choices, the modern look usually stands out the most. Tiny home builders often fall in love with the simple, stylish, and fuss-free aesthetic of modern design.
What Makes A House Modern?
Modernism is a concept that emerged in the early to mid-20th century, with roots stemming from German and Scandinavian traditions. This design choice was incredibly popular during the ‘40s - ‘60s as many people began to embrace functionality over form.
Instead of building elaborate structures, the modern period leaned towards the utilitarian look: cubic or cylindrical shapes, flat roofs, and large windows.
Modern sensibilities have refined what counts as contemporary. We looked up the most popular modern tiny homes on the internet to help you build the sleek tiny house of your dreams:
Popular Modern House Tiny Designs
1. Clean, Crisp Lines
This eye-catching tiny house was built at a modern subdivision in Wanaka, New Zealand. Even though it only covers square footage of 355 square feet, the tiny home showcases a modern design through its use of straight lines.
Modernism rejects the heavy textures and dramatic elements that define preceding Gothic and Victorian styles. Instead, modern architecture plays with horizontal and vertical lines. The simple lines and columns that feature in modern homes make them look lighter and more casual. The crisp, straight lines of this tiny house’s windows also contribute to its open and friendly vibe.
Symmetry is an important aspect of making your tiny house attractive because the human mind is constantly drawn to symmetrical things. If you want your modern tiny house to look extra polished and elegant, be sure to incorporate clean, symmetrical lines.
2. Industrial Elements: Metal, Glass, Wood
Wyoming builder Wheelhouse created this RV and tiny house hybrid model called the Roadhaus Wedge. Here we can see a combination of various construction materials: wooden floors, glass windows, concrete walls, and metal detailing.
During the Industrial Revolution, building materials such as concrete, steel, iron, and sheet glass became more commonly used. These materials opened new doors in architecture, giving way to bold structural frames, clean lines, and plain or shiny surfaces. Instead of historical references and traditional embellishments, Modernist architects favored functional and structural elements.
With your tiny home, you can mix and match industrial materials with natural ones like wood. To really achieve that modern look, you can focus on details like exposed steel beams and concrete surfaces.
3. Earthy Color Palette
This is the interior of a 360-square foot tiny house situated on the island of Maui. The tiny Hawaiian home is surrounded by wide pasture lands, complete with grazing animals and a cool breeze. To complement this backdrop, the interiors are decorated in warm tones.
Modern design puts a lot of emphasis on natural materials so an earthy palette is key. Shades of white, beige, and black are often the primary design colors. These are accented with tones of rust, turquoise, brown, and olive green to give an otherwise bland room some much-needed pop.
Choose a neutral color scheme for the larger parts of your tiny house like the walls and the floors. Decorate with complementary tones or vivid hues that pop. Details such as wood accents and potted plants will also make your house feel more like a vacation home.
4. Sleek and Minimalist Furnishings
Created by Build Tiny in New Zealand, this tiny house is incredibly compact. It’s 5 x 2.4 meters long and weighs 238 kg. Because it occupies limited square footage, all the furnishings are simple and the decor doesn’t clutter up space.
Modern interior designers always choose furnishings with straight lines and restrained decoration. It’s unlikely for you to see embellished doors and cabinets or bold patterns and prints in a modern tiny house.
The calm look of a modern house can be achieved by choosing less frilly options. Plain fabrics, straight lines, and neutral colors should guide your decorating process. Minimalist accessories and utensils in bright colors will add more character to your tiny home without overwhelming the space.
5. Smart, Functional Solutions
Ultra-modern tiny houses can easily blend innovative technology into hidden details. Take this 232-square foot tiny home for example. Since the cooking space doesn’t have a lot of room for storage, the owners decided to make the stairs multifunctional. Their microwave, oven, and fridge are actually integrated under the staircase. Each step also has a strip of lighting underneath, so they can easily climb into their loft bedroom at night.
A clutter-free space defines modern tiny house living, so effective storage solutions are an important consideration when designing your house plans. Appliances and other technological devices are also a part of modern housing: controls for electronics, lighting, heating/cooling systems, and security can all be incorporated into design ideas for tiny homes.
6. Natural Materials
A couple from Portland, Oregon embraced modern tiny living to the fullest by drafting their tiny house plans around a biophilic design. “Biophilic” is a term describing the connection between man-made environments and the natural world around us. Using wood tones and natural materials, they were able to create one unique tiny living structure.
Natural materials are a big part of the modern design era. Modernism aims to strike a balance between practicality and aesthetics, which is why designers play around with combinations of wood, ceramics, porcelain, stone and marble as well as plastic and steel.
You can choose to decorate the interiors of your tiny house with organic materials like wood, rock, slate, teak, cotton, and wool. Feel free to mix and match these natural textures and elements so you can channel the beauty of the outside world right into your tiny living spaces.
7. Open-Concept Floor Plan
Tomecek Studio Architecture designed an open-plan layout for this 450-square foot tiny home in Boulder, Colorado. Instead of separating the living room from the kitchen and the patio area, the open floor plan creates the illusion that tiny homes are much larger than they actually are.
Traditional houses tend to have a lot of rooms separated by walls and doors. Modern home design eliminates these unnecessary structures, encouraging free airflow and movement by intentionally organizing rooms without walls in mind.
Instead of walls, use furniture to differentiate spaces. A kitchen counter or island can help separate the living room from the dining area. You can also have larger windows for natural lighting, which helps create an airy and welcoming feel.
8. Less Cluttered Decor
This is one example of traditional homes taking inspiration from modern tiny living designs. Standard Studio referred to layout plans for small houses to convert an old office building into 218 student units. The result is a series of studio apartments that resemble well-decorated and functional tiny homes. Instead of including inessential items and trinkets, the space is clean and free of clutter.
Modern interior decorating is influenced by the minimalist movement. “Less is more” when it comes to accessorizing tiny houses, especially because there isn’t much space for decorating to begin with. Keeping your countertops, mantels, walls, and other visible areas free of clutter makes tiny homes look chic and clean.
People who find it difficult to keep their tiny houses from looking chaotic can invest in extra storage space. You can easily tuck away items under the stairs that also work as shelves, or find special furniture with built-in storage compartments.
9. Wider Windows
Tiny homes can look much larger than they are with huge windows. This 260-square foot tiny house located on Hawaii’s Big Island is a perfect example of a modern tiny living design. Instead of keeping tiny houses closed off, the owners decided to build several windows to bring in maximum natural light and fresh air.
Modernist architects took a break from traditional dark interiors by replacing small windows in traditional homes. Instead of walls, floor-to-ceiling windows are also built to provide homes with extended views.
Tiny houses incorporate this technique with large windows, skylights, and solar tubes. The effect is a convincing illusion that tiny homes are more airy and spacious than they originally seem.
When planning your dream tiny home, remember that modern tiny living is all about making the most out of the space you have. You don’t need a lot of space to live large; prioritize your needs over your wants and work creatively to find the right tiny home solution.
Hey, there! We're Ivan and Manuela from Croatia, and we're crazy about tiny houses. We don't own one (yet).
This website is a result of our passion to share all the knowledge, photos, tips and tricks that we were able to learn while studying everything possible about the tiny house movement.