In the growing world of minimalist living, “tiny house” and “tiny home” are often used interchangeably.

But if you were like me, maybe you are wondering, “Is a tiny home and a tiny house the same thing?”

The short answer: Nope!

They actually refer to different concepts.

While researching this topic, I noticed a lack of clear information so I decided to provide some clarity to the internet world.

In this article, we’ll explore what sets tiny houses apart from tiny homes and some fun examples of the many types of tiny homes.

Key Takeaways
  • Tiny House vs. Tiny Home: Tiny houses adhere to traditional building codes and are often under 400 square feet, while tiny homes include a broader range of small living spaces without specific size or code restrictions.
  • Types of Tiny Homes: Tiny homes can be RVs, converted buses, shipping container homes, yurts, A-frames, treehouses, floating homes, tiny cabins, and tiny houses on wheels.
  • Regulations: Tiny houses are subject to building codes and zoning laws, whereas tiny homes offer more flexibility but may face different legal and practical challenges.
  • Lifestyle Choices: Choosing between a tiny house and a tiny home depends on your lifestyle preferences, need for mobility, creativity in design, and the level of regulatory compliance you are comfortable with.

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is a Tiny Home and a Tiny House the Same Thing?

It is one of those, sorta, kinda, but not really answers. Technically, no, they aren’t.

A tiny house follows specific building codes, while a tiny home is a broader term for various small living spaces that are just small.


What is a Tiny House?

A tiny house is a small dwelling built according to specific building codes, like Appendix Q of the IRC.

These houses are under 400 square feet and can be on a permanent foundation or a trailer. They follow strict safety and quality standards, ensuring they meet traditional housing regulations.

Pictures of Tiny Homes

What is a Tiny Home?

A tiny home is a broad term encompassing a wide variety of small living spaces. Pretty much, anything goes. A cardboard tent, can be a tiny home.

These spaces do not necessarily follow traditional building codes or size standards, they allow for greater flexibility and creativity in their design and construction.

Types of Tiny Homes (With Pictures)

1. RVs (Recreational Vehicles)

RVs are mobile homes on wheels, designed for travel and temporary living.

You have essential amenities like a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area.

Rv life

2. Converted Buses

Also known as “skoolies,” converted buses are retired school buses transformed into functional homes.

They offer ample customization, including full kitchens and bathrooms, appealing to DIY enthusiasts.


3. Shipping Container Homes

Made from repurposed steel containers, these homes are durable, cost-effective, and modular.

They allow for creative designs emphasizing sustainability and industrial aesthetics.

Shipping Container house

4. Yurts

Yurts are circular, tent-like structures with modern versions, including insulation, plumbing, and electricity.

They blend comfort with a connection to nature and are often used as vacation homes or eco-friendly dwellings.

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Royal Oak Yurt” by vastateparksstaff is licensed under CC BY 2.0

5. A-Frames

A-frame homes have a distinctive triangular shape that maximizes living space while minimizing the footprint.

They are popular for their simple, charming aesthetic and are often used as cabins or vacation homes.

triangle house with trees on sides
Photo by Kristin Ellis on Unsplash

6. Floating Homes or Houseboats

Built on floating platforms, these homes are ideal for living on water bodies like lakes, rivers, or coastal areas.

They offer stunning views and a tranquil lifestyle, integrating with the natural surroundings.

blue red and white houses beside body of water during daytime
Photo by Thomas Lardeau on Unsplash

7. Tiny Cabins

Tiny cabins are small, rustic homes typically made from natural materials like wood.

They are often used as vacation homes, retreats, or permanent residences for those seeking a minimalist lifestyle.

photo of brown wooden cabin in forest during daytime
Photo by Olivier Guillard on Unsplash

8. Earthships

Earthships are sustainable homes built from natural and recycled materials, often incorporating off-grid capabilities like solar power and rainwater harvesting.

They are designed to be self-sufficient and eco-friendly.

9c169102 3749 4069 9c05 eb5312e4850a
Earthship” by Lisa Haneberg is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

9. Micro-Apartments

Micro-apartments are extremely small, urban living spaces, typically under 400 square feet.

They are designed for efficiency and often include multi-functional furniture and shared amenities.

white wooden desk near bed inside the room
Photo by Gabriel Beaudry on Unsplash

10. Dome Homes

Dome homes are geodesic structures known for their energy efficiency and strength.

They can be built from a variety of materials and offer a unique, open-concept living space.

Geodesic home

11. Condo or Townhouse

A condo or townhouse is a type of housing that typically consists of multiple units within a larger building or complex.

This is of course, if it is a smaller unit.

They are often used as vacation homes, retreats, or permanent residences.

woman in blue shirt sitting on chair
Photo by SCREEN POST on Unsplash

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Comparing Tiny Houses and Tiny Homes

AspectTiny HousesTiny Homes
Costs$20,000 – $100,000 to build or buy$10,000 – $50,000+ for options like RVs, buses, etc.
CustomizationHigh customization potential but can increase costsHigh customization potential, often DIY, can save money
LifestyleMore stable, community-focused livingFlexible, mobile lifestyle suited for travel and adventure
CommunityClose-knit, resource-sharing, sustainable practicesCould be Transient but strong online networks and support
SustainabilityOften use sustainable materials and energy-efficient designsSmaller environmental footprint, eco-friendly features possible
Energy EfficiencyCommonly include solar panels, composting toilets, rainwater harvestingEco-friendly designs vary; smaller size reduces overall impact
RegulationsMust comply with building codes and zoning lawsFewer regulations, greater flexibility but may face legal challenges
MobilityCan be mobile if built on a trailer, but less frequently movedHighly mobile, ideal for those who frequently change locations


As the appeal of minimalist living continues to grow, the terms tiny house and tiny home will be used regularly and often interchangeably.

Now, you can confidently confirm that you know the answer to the question, “Is a tiny home and a tiny house the same thing?”

The short answer: Tiny houses are under 400 square feet and adhere to building codes. Tiny homes provide broader and more flexible living options, from RVs to Yurts.

The question I leave you with is, Are you ready to go Tiny?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cheaper to buy a tiny home or build one?

Buying can be cheaper and quicker, while building offers customization but may cost more due to materials and labor. It depends on your budget and needs.

What is the difference between a small house and a tiny house?

Small houses are larger (400-1,000+ sq ft) and follow traditional codes. Tiny houses are under 400 sq ft, built to specific codes, and focus on minimalism and space efficiency.

  • Erin Hybart

    Meet Erin, a real estate enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge and an insatiable curiosity for all things Real Estate and living with intention. She passionately advocates for alternative, affordable, and eco-friendly housing solutions. She believes in pushing the industry's innovation boundaries and thinking outside the box. As a licensed real estate agent in Louisiana, Erin dedicates herself to assisting clients in buying and selling properties and mentoring fellow agents to succeed in their own Real Estate businesses. In addition to her professional pursuits, Erin channels her expertise into captivating house-flipping adventures.

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