Small spaces are the next big thing in real estate, and with good reason.
Real estate is constantly getting more expensive, and we’re facing overpopulation and environmental damage. Tiny homes can help solve these issues, but many also prefer them to traditional housing because they’re the perfect hybrid of comfort and convenience, since they are often mobile.
On roofs, wheels, and in backyard, here are 23 of the smallest homes we could find around the world.
Melissa Stanger contributed to an earlier version of this story.
Size: 124 sq. ft.
Colorado couple Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller began building their home back in 2011 and documented the journey in a new movie called 'TINY: A Story About Living Small.'
The house has a small galley kitchen, a bathroom, and a sleeping loft nestled between the floor and the 11-foot-high ceilings. For storage, the couple makes use of a small closet and two built-in bookshelves, and works from a built-in desk a reclaimed hardwood table.
KODA Walking Concrete made the World Architecture Festival's shortlist of the best 'Small Projects' in 2016.
Size: 250 sq. ft
Location: Tallinn, Estonia
This cubic concrete home is completely mobile and has technology that allows it to learn and adjust to its surroundings. The company that developed it, Kodasema, designed the two-tiered home so that it can be assembled in as little as four hours.
The simple design allows it to function as whatever space is needed, be it a beach house, mountain hut, café, or office.
Size: 196 sq. ft.
Location: Boise, Idaho
Boise architect Macy Miller decided to downgrade from a full-size home to a tiny one, which she designed and built herself. She lives there with her partner and dog.
The home, which sits on top of a flatbed trailer, cost about $11,500 all in. The most expensive component is the composting toilet -- about $2,000 -- which uses barely any water.
A young American filmmaker converted an old van into a mobile studio so he could travel the country.
Size: 2003 Chevrolet Express, L x 79″ W x 82″
Location: United States
Zach Both, a 23-year-old filmmaker, lives and works out of a converted van. It took Both six months to transform the vehicle into a fully functional home and studio, complete with a bed, kitchen, and desk.
Famed architect Renzo Piano jumped into the tiny homes business with these 79-square-foot German models.
Size: About 79 sq. ft.
Location: Weil am Rhein, Germany
Best known for Manhattan's New York Times Building, London's The Shard, and Paris' Pompidou Museum, Renzo Piano is now turning his attention to tiny details -- specifically, to 'Diogene,' a tiny house prototype built for German furniture company Vitra.
The house, constructed of wood and aluminium paneling, collects, cleans, and reuses water; it also supplies its own power, and features photovoltaic cells and solar modules, a rainwater tank, a biological toilet, and natural ventilation.
Size: 170 sq. ft.
Location: Sebastopol, California
Web designer Alek Lisefski and his girlfriend fulfilled their dream of a simpler, more minimalist life by building a smaller home. The project took about a year and cost them $30,000. In the end they wound up with a small mobile home measuring about 2,261 cubic feet.
The home doesn't feel cramped, thanks to the 13-foot ceilings, fold-away furniture, and smaller appliances with dual purposes.
Size: L x 28′ w x 9′
Location: United States
Boat builder and designer Kerry Elwood crafted this tiny houseboat after sailing boats for 18 years. He wanted a more minimalist way of life, and to be more in sync with nature.
Elwood spent almost two years building the first 'WaterWoody,' and drove it across Detroit Lake in Oregon. The cosy cabin feature solar power, LED lighting, and a composting toilet.
The Ecocapsule is a self-sufficient, environmentally friendly, tiny mobile home that looks like an egg.
Size: 120 sq. ft.
Location: Bratislava, Slovakia
This futuristic, tiny home was a collaboration between architects Tomas Zacek and Sona Pohlova.
The uniquely designed house is self sustaining, as it generates its own power, and obtains water from its surroundings. It was built for two people to live off-the-grid for up to a year.
Currently, the company is accepting pre-orders for the first 50 homes, each starting at roughly $90k.
Size: 246 sq. ft.
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
This Scandinavian-inspired home was created by New Frontier Tiny Homes. While it may be small, the interior exudes luxury. Granite countertops and custom cabinetry furnish the kitchen, while the exterior features a small front porch and metal roof.
Size: 210 sq. ft.
Location: Washington, D.C.
The Minim House is a small space that is great for both living and entertaining. Because of its dual-purpose furnishings, the tiny home can adjust for various purposes, like dining or sleeping.
For example, under the couch (that also doubles as a second bed), there is storage space, a 40- gallon water tank, and water filter.
Models of this house are available for purchase on the company's website.
A Brooklyn couple bought small furniture to make their 350 square-foot apartment feel more spacious.
Size: 350 sq. ft.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Homeowners Tiffany and Allan use small furniture instead of full-size pieces to make the most of their 350 square-foot studio in Brooklyn. The space was formerly the parlor of a ship captain's home from the 1800s, and still features the original crown moulding and large, light-bearing windows.
Their home was the U.S. overall winner of Apartment Therapy's 2014 Small Cool contest.
Size: 112 sq. ft.
Location: Around the US and Canada
Zach Griffin and four friends decided to take an epic, cross-continental ski trip, and built a 112 square-foot mobile pod house in which they lived for the duration of the six week, 9,000 mile-long trip.
The tiny house has a 'drawbridge' bunk bed that comes down from the two-person sleeper loft, and a pull-out sofa bed. The skiers relied on the kindness of hostels and strangers for bathrooms, as the pod has none. It does, however, have electricity and a generator, and a toaster oven and propane stove as a kitchen.
They even made a movie about their trip in their tiny, temporary home.
Size: 104 sq. ft.
Location: Seattle, Washington
Chris and Malissa Tack built their 104 square-foot home just outside of Seattle. They had both been working in the tech industry and decided to leave their complicated, material lives behind and make a clean break, starting with a smaller, simpler home.
The home has cut their living cost substantially, and they predict the home will be paid in full in just two or three years. Chris Tack, who now works as a photographer, has taken many beautiful photos of the home, which has a kitchen, living and dining area, bathroom, storage area, and sleeping loft.
Size: 100 sq. ft.
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
This home is called the 'Eco-cube.' At 10 cubic feet, it's still sizeable enough to hold a small living room, dining area, kitchen, washer and dryer, a closet, full shower, toilet and full-sized bed.
It was designed by Dr. Mike Page of the University of Hertfordshire and founder of the Cube Project, an initiative created to prove that a person could 'live a comfortable, modern existence with a minimum impact on the environment.' Thanks to its solar panels, the Eco-cube can earn you $1,600 a year through the UK's feed-in tariff.
Size: 84 sq. ft.
Location: Olympia, Washington
Dee Williams returned from an eye-opening trip to Guatemala and decided to downsize her home from 1,500 square feet to just 84 square feet. She moved out of her big house, built a small one from scratch, and parked it in her friend's backyard.
This home, which she calls 'The Little House,' cost about $10,000 to build, and even less to maintain. With a propane tank for heat and solar panels for electricity, Williams pays very little to live there.
Size: 75 sq. ft.
Location: Rome, Italy
Architect and designer Marco Pierazzi saw potential in an abandoned, one-room alleyway house just steps from Roman landmarks like the Pantheon and Saint Peter's Square. He bought it, fixed it up, and lived there with his wife until their child was born.
Pierazzi now rents what he calls the 'smallest house in Italy,' making it a convenient place to stay on a Roman holiday. Featuring all the comforts of home, the little house has a full kitchen, a bathroom with a shower, a small lofted sofa bed, and an LED TV.
Size: 70 sq. ft.
Location: Poultney, Vermont
In a renewable energy and ecological design class at Green Mountain College, a group of students designed a stunning and creative mobile shelter that gives back to the Earth.
They called their home OTIS (Optimal Travelling Independent Space), a 70 square-foot, solar-powered dwelling made of all reclaimed materials. The home has a sleeping area, and the ability to collect and recycle rainwater.
Size: 60 sq. ft.
Location: Conwy, Wales
Also known as the Quay House, this tiny red home, which measures just 10 feet by 6 feet, is known as the smallest house in the U.K., and has actually become a tourist attraction.
The home has been occupied by various people since the 16th century, including a 6-foot-3-inch fisherman. The house has room for a stove, water tap, bed, and bedside storage.
Size: 46 sq. ft.
Location: Warsaw, Poland
This 46 square-foot apartment in Warsaw, Poland, is just five feet wide, possibly making it the skinniest apartment in the world.
Polish architect Jakub Szczesny sandwiched the tiny home in an alley between two other buildings. With no windows, a microscopic fridge, and a shower that's almost directly over the toilet, this place is as small as they come. The kitchen table has room for two chairs, and the fridge has room for just two sodas.
Beijing's People's Architecture Office and People's Industrial Design Office designed and built a polypropylene mobile home so small that it can be folded up, accordion-style, and carted around on the back of a tricycle.
The expandable home can attach to others for more space. Facilities in the house include a sink, stove, bathtub, and water tank. All the furniture is convertible: the bed becomes a dining table, the countertop becomes a bench for seating, and it can all fold up into the front wall.
Size: About 15 sq. ft.
Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Designer Paul Elkins needed a convenient and eco-friendly way to get around during the Burning Man Festival, so he designed a wind turbine-powered bicycle camper that functions as a bedroom, living room, and kitchen. It's even equipped with a solar-powered oven.
As for the bathroom, you'll have to resort to the great outdoors for that.
The Lego Apartment is designed to store all amenities inside wood paneled shelves, creating an insane amount of space.
Size: 258 sq. feet
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Photographer Christian Schallert tapped the talents of architect Barbara Appollini to redesign this tiny apartment into a space-saving pad. At first glance it looks like an empty cube, but once you open up the many wood paneled shelves the space turns into a fully-equipped living home.
For example, Schallert's bed rolls out from underneath his balcony, and his bedside tables serve as stairs. The small home is so impeccably designed that it even stores a full refrigerator, dishwasher, and sink... all hidden in the wood paneling.
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