hotel accommodation design

Designing Tiny Homes

If you haven’t noticed already, designing for tiny homes is all the rage at the moment and present a unique travel and tourism accommodation design opportunity.  Recently, The Living Room had a story about tiny homes.

And Urban List has written about the best tiny home getaways in NSW.  As an interior designer this interest in tiny homes is fascinating for a couple of reasons. 

Firstly, the small space presents interesting design challenges around functionality, comfort and aesthetics. Secondly, Australians generally love space. 

In Australia, we are used to open plan living, big backyards, and theatre rooms. Remember that not so long ago we heard terms such as ‘dog boxes’ referring to new apartment developments.  So, this shift towards a love of small spaces has been fascinating and quick.

What’s the big deal about tiny homes?

Sometimes referred to as a movement, tiny homes present a viable housing option for people who can’t afford a traditional property such as an apartment or a home.

Secondly, tiny homes appeal to a number of people who value sustainability and want to live their values by living off grid.

But they also present a fun, novelty factor for holiday makers.  For travellers and tourists, tiny homes are a unique accommodation option, enhancing their experience.

For designers a tiny home presents amazing accommodation design opportunities.

Cost of a Tiny Home

Personally, I’ve been researching the cost of a tiny home because I’m interested in creating a beautiful luxurious Airbnb experience.  My first port of call was Inoutside, who specialise in ‘outdoor rooms’. 

Inoutside have a range of designs, different sizes and packages which includes fittings and finishes.  On average the larger floor plans range from $28,000-$41,000.

There are many caveats to that and if you want plumbing for a bathroom or kitchenette the price increases by at least $20,000.

At the other end of the spectrum Canstar suggests the cost is more like $160,000 for a fully fitted out tiny home.  From my research, I think the reason why you want a tiny house impacts the cost. 

Whether you want a tiny house as your primary residence or other reasons such as extra space, granny flat or Airbnb, effects what the cost will be to build your tiny house.

The biggest issue with tiny homes as a primary residence is local council’s definition of primary residence and the Australian Tiny House Association is lobbying governments to change this legislation.

Tiny Homes for Tourism

As an interior design studio specialising in travel accommodation design our interest is in tiny homes is natural.  As mentioned above, these little abodes are very popular and it’s easy to see their appeal. 

Tiny Stays in Yarra Valley offers two cabins for $230 a night.  The cabins offer guests amazing views and a ‘back to nature’ experience.  With the Yarra Valley an easy drive from Melbourne’s CBD you can understand why these tiny homes are a popular midweek or weekend stay.

Tiny Stays Cabin, Yarra Valley

From a design perspective these cabins are both aesthetically pleasing and functional.  Comprising a double bed, kitchenette, hot shower and for that special touch you also get a fire pit and marshmallows. 

Featuring a neutral colour scheme of mostly white with blue accents, the cabin communicates a country style which instantly makes guests feel comfortable and at ease.

Tiny House 2 Go, also offers tiny house stays in the Yarra Valley but the interior design of these spaces is more modern and industrial.

The industrial design is indicated by the corrugated iron façade.  The inclusion of metal with wood instantly changes the look and feel of these cabins. So instead of a country feel you have an urban feel. 

Which presents a nice contradiction to the location but a familiarity as well for people living in the city.

accommodation design
Tiny House 2 Go

What’s Next for Tiny Homes

With the Australian Tiny House Association working hard to change legislation. And with more tiny houses popping up for tourism purposes, tiny homes are here to stay.

Personally, and professionally I think tiny homes and the tiny home movement is exciting.  I spent seven years living in London in either a studio or bedsit and really enjoyed the minimalism of this lifestyle. 

It’s also far easier to maintain and it forces you to explore what’s outside.  For example, rather than sitting at home binging on Netflix, living in a tiny house may encourage you to go out to the movies instead.

Our Design Approach for Tiny Homes

From a tourism perspective, we can’t wait to be involved in designing tiny homes for a client. The client may want to start an Airbnb side hustle. Or an entire accommodation business from these little gems.  Design is the critical ingredient to heighten the experience for holiday guests.

As well as considering how accommodation design can add value to a tiny home for tourism purposes we are also skilled at considering the value adds such as marshmallows and a fire pit to elevate the stay.

What I love about accommodation design, whether it’s a tiny house, motel, boutique hotel, is approaching such a project with a holistic mind set.

Considering all the touch points of the guests’ journey. From how they arrive to the accommodation to the very first thing they see when they open door. Including, how easy it is to actually open the door is also part of the equation.

How many times have you been frustrated that you couldn’t open a hotel door because the key card didn’t work. Which meant schlepping back down to reception, when all you wanted to do was enter the room and flop on the bed or take a nice hot shower.

For accommodation design projects flow of movement begins on the outside.  And once inside the design needs to be intuitive, easy to navigate, comfortable and beautiful. 

Let’s Chat about Accommodation Design

While we continue our own research to creating a beautiful Grace Interior Designs Airbnb experience we are constantly building our strength as specialist in accommodation design. Until then, we look forward to working with you to create an amazing experience for your guests. Let’s chat about your concept today.

Written by Trish Khoury, Founding Director, Grace Interior Designs