The median price for a house in Australia is $809,349. In Sydney, it’s $1,125,000… for a unit! And over the term of a mortgage, you’ll pay back almost double what you borrowed. The Great Aussie Dream of owning a home has become a nightmare in the modern age. Cue: the tiny house — the pocket-friendly solution for space-savvy home-seekers looking to break into the market or downsize without stress and minimise their impact on the planet.
PUT YOUR SPACE TO WORK
1 Bright, open-plan spaces
2 Functional and minimalist
3 Natural materials like timber, rattan and linen
4 Sustainable and eco-friendly
5 Accent with accessories
As a low-cost solution to living mortgage free and with a much smaller environmental footprint, increasingly it’s making more and more sense for Aussies, young and old, to ditch the mortgage and hefty big-house bills in favour of a converted shipping container or timber-clad trailer home on wheels. Fun fact: the word ‘mortgage’ come from Old French — it means ‘death pledge’!
A shipping container home ranges in price from $15,000 for a basic fit-out to $150,000+ for a luxe 12-metre two-bedroom container. It’s relatively quick to construct, you can customise it to your personal style and it’s highly resistant to extreme weather conditions. In addition, shipping container homes have less impact on the environment, as the containers are usually reclaimed from shipping yards, they’re generally fully insulated and have double-glazed windows, which will reduce utility bills costs.
More than a trend, this shift to tiny houses is a movement. It’s very much embraced by the eco-friendly and alternative community looking for ways to cut costs and reduce their global footprint. Going hand-in-hand with tiny house living is the need to cull all the cutter from your life and keep only what’s necessary, which pairs to perfection with Japanese Zen and Scandinavian minimalism.
ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL
A tiny home on wheels is essentially a luxe trailer and costs around $25,000 to $125,000+. Of course, neither the trailer home or shipping container home includes land, so this is something that needs to be taken into account. But a bonus with the trailer home — as long as it has wheels — is that it doesn’t require the usual permits of constructing a house on a slab… and you can relocate it when you feel like a treechange!
Zen is a Japanese Buddhist philosophy aimed at enlightenment through intuition. On an interior design level, it’s a way of life focused on elevating simplicity to an art form. Think the KonMari method of cleaning clutter: does it spark joy? If not, let it go. There’s no room in a tiny house for the 25 pairs of shoes you never wear or broken appliances you’ll never have repaired. A Zen home — and a Zen life — will feel calm and balanced.
DOES IT SPARK JOY?
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” — Marie Kondo
Zen living spills directly into Scandinavian minimalism as these two less-is-more design styles embrace similar principles, such as minimalism and the importance of function-driven spaces. As such, they work very well together. Where Japanese design is timelessly elegant, Scandinavia design is chic and modern. Yet the Scandi style can feel stark and cold, whereas Japanese interiors enjoy a richer colour palette to give spaces a little more warmth. They just work together.
Japanese Zen and Scandinavian minimalism work so well together in interior design, they’ve coined their own hybrid style: ‘Japandi’.
Emphasising the natural light is also a key element of a beautifully designed tiny house. Rooms feel more spacious when they’re open plan, have plenty of windows and are flooded with as much natural light as possible. Clutter-free spaces, clean lines and natural materials further accentuate the elegance and simplicity of smaller homes.
MAKE IT YOUR OWN
Add colour and character with well-selected accessories, such as a rich wallpaper, cushions, artwork and lots of indoor plants.
Of course, one of the biggest appeals of the tiny house lifestyle is the idea of connecting with nature and lowering your environmental footprint. They are the essence of off-the-grid living. They can easily be connected to mains power, water and septic. Alternatively, with solar panels, a rain tank, gas bottle and composting toilet, they can be parked on your vacant plot of land and have almost zero impact on the planet.
An affordable opportunity to establish your own off-the-grid oasis, all you need is a small plot of land and you could be living a financially independent lifestyle. We’ve got plenty of sleek furniture and Zen décor in-store and online to get your small spaces looking swish. And don’t miss our story on modern minimalism if you need more inspiration for cutting the clutter from your life.