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(Updated June 2015)

Does size matter? The current economic climate as well as a desire for a greener lifestyle has driven some Americans to examine how much space they really need. The small home movement is hardly a novel concept—just ask New Yorkers who often spend decades in studio apartments. This field guide shows the various aspects of living in a smaller home, as well as links to those considering the ultimate in downsizing. (D. McCormick, Budget & Operations Manager) 

E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.

Home Sizes and Home B​uyers

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Source: NAR's 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, Chapter 2.

Source: Inside the Tiny House Movement Sweeping the Nation, (ABC News, Aug. 14, 2014).

Small Home T​rends

Can Tiny House Living Actually Save You Money?, (WiseBread, Jan. 14, 2016).

Tiny house movement takes downsizing to the extreme, (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 15, 2015)

Ultra-Posh Tiny Homes: The Small Movement Goes Luxe, (Forbes, Feb. 17, 2015).

Is bigger always better? Meet the ‘tiny house movement’, (Today Home, Feb. 9, 2015).

What You Need to Know About the Tiny House Movement, (Home & Living Cheat Sheet, Jan. 27, 2015).

Tiny Houses Are Becoming a Big Deal, (AARP Magazine, Jan. 2015).

The Tiny House Movement, (Huffington Post, Sept. 12, 2014).

5 Fascinating Facts about the Small House Movement, (Ecos Paints, Sept. 11, 2014).

Why Houses Are Getting Smaller, (Freshome Design & Architecture Magazine, Sept. 11, 2014).

Downsizing to Smaller Homes is the New Trend, (Tallahassee Magazine, July-August 2014).

Tiny Houses with Big Ambitions, (Time.com, May 29, 2014).

Can These $20,000 Houses Save the American Dream?, (Slate, May 19, 2014).

Mind-Blowing Tiny Houses with Huge Design Inspiration, (WiseBread, May 5, 2014).

Where There’s One Tiny House, There are Often More, (HouseLogic, May 3, 2013).

Inside the tiny house movement: How one woman downsized her life to just 84 square feet, (CBS News, May 1, 2014).

12 Tricked-Out tiny houses, and why they cost so much, (Forbes, Apr. 28, 2014).

Why the Tiny Home Movement May Not Be So Tiny, (World Future Society, Feb. 13, 2014).

High-tech meets low-tech in tiny house movement, (Fox News, Feb. 11, 2014).

Inside the Rise of the Tiny House Movement, (Fox News, Jan. 8, 2014).

Tiny House Movement: Living the Small Life, (What in the World Is Going on?, Dec. 30, 2013).

Small-house movement: Living in 120 square feet, (SFGate, Dec. 12, 2013).

Cramming into a tiny house may not be so bad, (Gizmodo, Sept. 1, 2013).

Big Lessons From the Tiny House Movement, (WiseBread, Apr. 24, 2013).

Prices say it's time to think studios, (New York Times, Mar. 25, 2011).

The big thinking in condos now is to get small, (MSN, July 8, 2010).

When Home Shrinks, (New York Times, Sept. 9, 2009).

Home sizes shrink as downturn continues, (American Institute of Architects, July 31, 2009).

Architects Turn Gas-Guzzling Hummers into Earth-Friendly Micro-Homes, (Good Design, July 27, 2011).

The Green Impact

The Tiny House Movement and Its Impact on the Environment, (Recycle Nation, Apr. 10, 2015).

Tiny House, Large Impact, (Greenhawks Media, Feb. 10, 2015).

Tiny House Save the Environment, And Your Wallet, (The Green Effect, Dec. 1, 2014).

Big Change Dwells in Tiny Houses: Corporate Sponsorships and Making a Difference, (TriplePundit, June 10, 2014).

Oregon couple builds tiny homes to ease housing debt, carbon footprint, (AccuWeather, Apr. 24, 2014).

Free to be tiny, and to reduce carbon footprints, (Philly.com, June 29, 2013).

Tiny homes are attracting the thrifty and the green, (Globe Life, July 31, 2009).

The first step to downsizing your life, (Small Living Journal, Apr. 4, 2009).

Americans are moving on up to smaller, smarter homes, (USA Today, Mar. 17, 2009).

Live simply and decrease your carbon footprint with a tiny house, (Green Building Elements, Feb. 9, 2009).

How to downsize your house, (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 29, 2009).


Tiny House Listings

What is the Tiny House Movement?, (The Tiny Life).

Tiny Houses, (Tumbleweed Tiny House Co.).

Small space design guide, (HGTV).

The art of living in small spaces, (Back Woods Home.com).

Small House Society resources, (Small House Society).

5 Absurdly Cramped Houses and Cramped Homes, (Web Urbanist, Aug. 7, 2008).

Jay's Tiny House Tour, video of a 100 sq. ft. home, (YouTube, Dec. 12, 2007).

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

The Big Book of Small House Designs (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Prefabulous World (Adobe eReader)

Tiny House Living (Adobe eReader)

Compact Houses (Kindle, OverDrive Audio, Adobe eReader)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Building and Remodeling (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Choosing Green (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Green Building A to Z (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Green Building Products (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Greening Your Home (Adobe eReader)

Green Zone Living: 7 Steps to a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful Lifestyle (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Little house on a small planet: simple homes, cozy retreats, and energy efficient possibilites, (Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2006). NA 7205 Sa3

The Small House Book, (Sebastopol, CA: Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, 2009). NA 7533 S53

Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, (Bolinas, CA: Shelter Publications, 2012). NA 7205 K34

Tiny House Floor Plans: Over 200 Interior Designs for Tiny Houses, (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012). NA 7205 J26

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Green Homes & Green Mortgages

Information Services Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.