Design Architecture

11 Lessons to Learn from Airbnb’s Tiniest Homes

Ever wonder if you're cut out for small living? Through the power and reach of the web, tiny homes are but a click away to rent through a website like, the travel community wherein members can visit and stay in the most unique locations in more than 180 countries. But even if you can't make it out to test-drive a super-small space, you can see, admire, and learn from the tricks tiny homeowners are employing in their miniature abodes all around the world. We certainly did! Check out our 11 favorite space solutions.

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Lesson #1: Double the function of storage.

Want to make your small space feel bigger? Wall-mounting is the way to go! The owners of this cozy studio hung a double-duty rack above their sink for drying and storing dishes, freeing up valuable counter space beneath.

See the listing:
Independent House in Mallorca (Binissalem, Balearic Islands, Spain)

Lesson #2: Wherever possible, fake a high ceiling.

Not every home is going to be blessed with 11′ tall walls, so learn to work with what you have. To make low ceilings appear further away than they actually are, fill the room with short furniture—even a bed without a frame.

See the listing: Private Cozy Tiny House, Large Yard (Berkeley, CA, United States)

Lesson #3: Open storage is very forgiving.

Skip the standard, bulky cabinets; open shelving takes up less space visually while still offering comparable storage space. Airy storage coupled with glass doors to the outdoors really works to lighten the space—no claustrophobia here.

See the listing: Mini House, a Magazine Profiled Home (Seattle, WA, United States)

Lesson #4: Use every inch.

Take a creative eye to every bit of unused space in the room to make sure it reaches its fullest potential—even when it looks inaccessible. Small spaces work best with unconventional solutions tailored to the room. Here, an eight-shelf unit can house books or kitchen necessities behind a ladder to a lofted bed, converting an almost-empty wall to open storage

See the listing: Container Home, a Unique House! (Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain)

Lesson #5: Cut corners in the kitchen.

It takes both discipline and creativity to fit the functionality of a kitchen into a space of compact proportions. As often as possible, give insert extra purpose. These butcher block countertops, for example, make every available surface potentially usable for prep work.

See the listing: The Rustic Modern Tiny House (Portland, OR, United States)

Lesson #6: Stick to a theme.

There’s no such thing as a space that’s too small to decorate. The key is to choose—and remain loyal to—a single theme, motif, or color palette. Though eclecticism certainly has its place, that’s not in cramped quarters, where disparate elements create chaos. Here, the consistent decorating scheme exudes calm.

See the listing: Igloo by the Sea #6 (Trinity Beach, QLD, Australia)

Lesson #7: Use vertical space.

When you can’t build out, build upLofted beds over the kitchen and the bathroom allow guests to use the rest of the 200-square-foot floor plan to spread out. Meanwhile, a wall-mounted TV eliminates the need for a bulky entertainment center and a narrow set of floor-to-ceiling shelves makes space for kitchenware. 

See the listing:
Music City’s Tiny House (Nashville, TN, United States)

Lesson #8: Rely on double-duty furniture.

If space is tight, make sure your furniture can serve dual purposes. A drop-leaf table serves as a breakfast table by day and a desk by night. This window bench is a great place to drink your coffee each morning, but comfortable enough to serve as a guest bed.

See the listing: Garden Caravan Tiny House (Sandpoint, ID, United States)

Lesson #9: Conserve floor space.

The more open floor space, the better your illusion of a neat and spacious room. Here, a floating shelf works as a bedroom nightstand, positioned just so that a door doesn’t whack it as it swings open.

See the listing: 
Cozy! 2BR Apt in Greenwich Village (New York, NY, United States)

Lesson #10: Best storage is always under the bed.

For maximum functionality, get creative with storage options for your small space. Time after time, space beneath the bed is where it’s at. Here, bookshelves on wheels slide open to create a top-secret storage area under this custom lofted bed.

See the listing: Tiny but Special Studio Apartment! (Rome, Lazio, Italy)

Lesson #11: Try platform seating.

This minimalist Mallorca rental is in a container home, so space-saving was top of the checklist when choosing furniture. Here, the shared space is a cozy living room by day; by night, the seating’s oversized cushions serve as extra mattresses for guests staying over. 

See the listing: Container Home, a Unique House! (Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain)