Search form

(Updated June 2016)

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

click to expand

Source: NAR's 2015 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

Trailer or tiny home? The Tiny Drop is the best of both for off-the-grid living, (Digital Trends, June 5, 2016).

50 Impressive Tiny Houses that Maximize Function and Style, (Country Living, Mar. 21, 2016).

A Timeline of Tiny Home Architecture, (Eco Building Pulse-Architect, Feb. 3, 2016).

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

What the Tiny Home Trend Really Says About Us, (PopSugar Blog, Dec. 30, 2015).

9 U.S. Cities Where Small Homes Are Big, (®, Nov. 4, 2015).

What is the Tiny House Movement?, (The Tiny Life, Sept. 30, 2015).

Tiny house trends: Builder discovers untapped demand in small home market, (Construction Dive, Sept. 18, 2015).

Brad Pitt Bringing Tiny Homes to New Orleans?, (TinyHouseTalk, Aug. 24, 2015).

Small Wonders: 9 Amazing Tiny Home Designs That Live Large, (Builder Online, Aug. 17, 2015).

Tiny house, big benefits: Freedom from a mortgage and worries – and stuff, (The Washington Post, June 25, 2015).

Could You Survive in 150 Square Feet? The Lowdown on Tiny Homes, (U.S. News & World Report-Money, June 18, 2015).

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, 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).

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).

The Green Impact

Meet the Adorable Green Movement That’s Revolutionizing the Housing Market, (Green Future, Feb. 15, 2016).

Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better: The Tiny House Movement That Makes a Big Impact, (Green Schools Alliance, Jan. 24, 2016).

8 Popular Home Trends That Happen to be Green, (Green Residential, July 23, 2015).

3 Tiny Houses That Let You Live Green – and off the Grid, (Take Part, June 24, 2015).

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

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

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, (Philadelphia Inquirer, June 29, 2013).


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

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)

Building Today’s Green Home (Kindle, 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)

Microshelters (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Prefabulous World (Adobe eReader)

Small Houses of the Forties (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Tiny House Living (Adobe eReader)

Your Green Home (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

Field Guide to Greening Your Neighborhood

Field Guide to Solar & Renewable Energy Features & Tax Credits

Information Services Blog

Have an Idea for a New Field Guide?

Click here to send us your suggestions.

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.