Last week we talked about space and energy saving ideas, and the advantages they have in tiny living, as well as for the world at large. This week we continue the conversation, focusing more pieces of gear and design ideas to help achieve this goal. Especially with the current technological revolution, living tiny doesn’t mean you have to forgo modern luxuries. With advances in displays, projectors, sound systems, and electronics a tiny house can easily be outfitted in such a way that outdoes even a well-equipped home of a decade ago.
Projectors instead of TV:
One of the biggest space sinks in a home use to be the television. Whole pieces of furniture twice the size of a dresser were made to house TV’s the size and weight of an iron safe. Below that was a plethora of shelves for VCR’s, DVD’s, a cable box, and maybe a tuner to connect to a speaker system. Additionally, there was the Medusa’s head of cables coming out in every direction, plugging into every device, running up the walls and through the floors, then underneath the carpet and along the wall. Don’t forget the crate for the 10 remote controls, 5 of which may not actually work on any device you have, but they might so you better hold on to them.
Today’s entertainment systems are a world away, and we are moving past even flat screen TV’s and cables to mini projectors and WiFi.
While a TV is still an option it takes up wall or counter space. Today’s selection of pocket projectors are great, can be stowed away in a drawer while not in use, and can be hooked up to a laptop to play DVD’s or stream movies, giving you a large screen experience with very little equipment.
Fold up beds:
Fold up beds have been the staple of small living spaces since we stopped sleeping on piles of hay in a corner. Running the gamut from beds that fold in to half or thirds to be tucked away like a convertible couch, to the futon, to a board that simply folds into the wall in one big piece. There are lots of options and it is a great space saver and can be used as your primary bed or tucked away to be brought out for guests.
A loft is another option and an almost classic feature of a tiny house, allowing to keep a bed while having it up and out of the way. Combined with skylights and a dark clear night a loft can be a space saving and wonderful experience.
An old standard, seldom seen in new houses but common in some older homes as well as on boats and RV’s is the settee. Essentially a seat with storage below, they come in many different styles and shapes but can accommodate many different uses. The most basic is as a couch or extra seating, but add a fold down table and they become a dining booth. Some are made with a seat that pulls out and locks so that you can drop the cushions from the backrest down and they become a comfortable bed for one or two people.
I can remember many mornings in the mountains, a coleman stove on the tailgate of my truck heating a pot of water for oatmeal, watching a slab of butter melt in my cast iron pan waiting for it to warm up enough to cook some eggs while the sun crept over a ridgeline in the distance and my breath folded into crisp clouds before my face.
To some people this can be a romantic image, but dealing with propane containers covered in ice from the condensation they would collect as they emptied to cook my breakfast, having them run out just as I turned my back to get the days gear ready only to come back to a cold and only half cooked breakfast and waiting 15 minutes for the water to boil for my coffee was mostly a pain that made me grit my teeth every morning before I crawled out of my sleeping bag into the cold.
There are many modern options for cooking appliances. Vertical stove/oven/microwave set-ups are common in even larger homes. Add to this an automatic coffee maker or electric water kettle and you have a fully functional kitchen lacking none of the conveniences and that can be used from the comfort of your nice warm home, in your slippered feet and bathrobe, freezing weather and cold eggs still available outside as needed.
As electronics get smaller, faster, and better materials become commonplace. Living tiny does not mean giving up convenience. There are many ways to live tiny, simply, and comfortably. These are only a few but feel free to send us your stories and tips!