5 Features Every Tiny Home Needs

A tiny home with two kids sitting on an open window ledge.
Tiny homes are all about utility, but no one said they have to be boring. There are quite a few ways to spruce up your space with a little imagination. Think smarter—not harder—with these innovative ideas. Each of the following features serve multiple purposes so you can make the most of design and functionality. They're a must for your tiny home.

1. A Rooftop Deck

A pair of wood garden boxes on a rooftop deck.

If the style of your tiny home is more boxy, you can make use of your outdoor space by planning a porch on the roof of your tiny home. Add a few rails and some stylish chairs or wooden benches, and you have a great outdoor living space that takes advantage of your space in a unique way. To access the area, add a floating shelf ladder to the back of your home.

You can even try fostering a garden on your flat rooftop. Make use of all sides of your space by adding a terrace oasis on top of your home. Because this garden will most likely not be in the shade, choose plants accordingly. Some plants that grow well in full sunlight are petunias, shasta daisies, sunflowers, and lamb's ear. Bonus: after you finish your gardening, you can relax and soak up some rays!

2. An Indoor / Outdoor Bar

If you love to have guests over but have no space for them in your tiny house, this hack will help. With the simple addition of a long durable window in front of your kitchen countertop that you can can swing downward 90 degrees, you can create a bar on the outside of your tiny home. Add some fold-out wooden legs to give the glass bartop some support. The result is a free-flowing indoor/outdoor bar that allows for entertaining.

Much like a food truck, you can serve brunch, snacks, or any meal straight from your kitchen to the bar. When your party is over, just snap it back into place as a window. This feature will have your house guests amazed at the versatility of the space.

3. A Sliding Barn Door Ladder

A barn door against a brick wall.

One of the common struggles among tiny home owners is the ability to access loft space. Ladders are a common choice, but then there is the matter of storing the ladder when it's not in use. Stairs are nice to have, but take up the bulk of downstairs space. One trendy solution is to add a sliding barn door with a ladder attached. The sliding door won’t take up extra space, and serves as a functional alternative to a swinging door.

To DIY this door, take a standard sliding door and nail a thin layer of barn wood to the front. By securing some industrial-looking pipes as ladder rungs, you can easily access your additional upstairs area. Finally, attach your door to the wall using the proper rolling door hardware.

4. A Secret Safe

If you're struggling with where to hide non-kid friendly items in your tiny home, take some tips from a secret agent. Behind a painting in your tiny home, you can incorporate a spot for a safe that can only be accessed by adults. All you need to do is cut a small hole in the wall behind some of your artwork. Then, install a safe that will be out of sight. This idea will save you room and keep important things out of the wrong hands. This would be a smart idea, especially if you have little ones who like to explore. You can stash away medicines, sharp knives, or anything you need to keep their tiny hands away from. Out of sight, out of mind.

5. A Stairs and Closet Combo

A small closet with clothes hanging on a rack.

If you do opt for stairs, make use of the obstructed space by utilizing the hollow area inside the stairs. Some choose to divide the space into cubicles, however, that tall space is ideal for a closet. Dresses and pants can be hung from the highest stair interior, while shirts can be hung lower down the stairs without dragging on the ground. The bottom few stairs can be used as cubicles for shoes or rolled clothing.

All you need to do to make the closet is hang a tension rod between one stair interior and the wall next to it. The bottom space can be turned into cubicles by adding panels of wood in a boxed-off pattern. If you don’t love the idea of an open air closet, you can easily add cabinet doors or a curtain to the staircase.