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12 space-saving hacks I picked up from staying in a 250-square-foot tiny home

Insider
Insider
 2022-01-10
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The author found that unique storage hacks and a cozy outdoor space made the tiny home feel livable, and are changes that could be easily applied to her own NYC apartment.
  • I stayed in a tiny home on Airbnb with smart decor that made the 250-square-foot home feel big.
  • Some hacks I could only dream of using in my home, like a barn door and an outdoor space.
  • Other space-saving furniture was so clever, I plan to replicate them in my NYC apartment.
For just over $100 a night, I stayed in a 250-square-foot tiny home in Miami on Airbnb that was full of space-saving hacks.
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The author sits on the stoop outside of the tiny home.

The Airbnb I booked was a tiny home on wheels located in the backyard of a private home in Miami's Upper East Side neighborhood.

For full disclosure, Insider paid for the Airbnb accommodation, according to our reporting standards.

Read more: I was skeptical about spending 2 nights in a 250-square-foot tiny home that's half the size of my NYC apartment, but now I think I could live in one

The space, while small, had a Queen-sized bed, a kitchen, a bathroom, plenty of decor, and storage, but didn't feel cramped.
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A view of the interior from inside the bathroom.
I took note of the best hacks I saw during my stay to see how I might use them to maximize my 500-square-foot Brooklyn apartment.
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The entire exterior of the tiny home.
The first thing I noticed was the variety of textures and styles used for the wall decor.
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The author notices decorative details in the home.

The wall decor included paintings, prints, and sculptures that went all the way to the ceiling, drawing my eyes up and elongating the space. It seemed to make a huge difference in making the room feel bigger without much effort.

I was especially impressed by the wall plants. At home, my plants take up valuable space.
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The author lies on the bed after a long day of reporting.

This is a great solution. If I had my plants on the walls, I'd have more space on bookshelves as well as on the floors.

On the sides of the bed were tables with thin legs that helped make the space feel larger.
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The author sits on the bed.

A previous piece on Insider sharing how to maximize a tiny space seemed to dovetail with my Airbnb. It gave me the idea to replace my chunkier pieces of furniture with thinner ones.

Above the bed, a mounted TV removed the need for another table.
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The TV at my Airbnb was mounted on the wall, which I thought was a smart move since another table would not fit comfortably. I soon found myself thinking of all the extra space I'd have in my own living room if I were to mount my TV, too.

A table with drawers and shelves served as a kitchen counter, as well as storage space.
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The table with storage inside the tiny home.

Dual-use furniture like this seems to help save space in tiny homes, and I thought it would be nice to have a similar piece of furniture in my apartment.

Above the table, a hanging basket freed up more room, and stacked decor cut down on clutter.
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The top of the table with storage inside the tiny home.

I should get one of these wall crates for my kitchen table, I thought. I've been eyeing this one from Wayfair .

Some hacks were less applicable to renters like me. For example, the sliding barn door to the bathroom.
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The tiny home's sliding barn door is past the kitchen.

While I wish I could replace some of my apartment doors with sliding ones, I don't own my apartment and can't make major, permanent changes.

Inside the bathroom, the closet door was replaced by a curtain.
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The storage closet is seen opened and closed.

A curtain was used in place of a closet door in the bathroom. An actual door would have taken up much more room, especially when open. This was another fix I admired, but could not emulate at home.

Wall decor in the bathroom was also highly functionable.
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The bathroom walls are covered in shelving and artwork.

One piece was where my host kept folded towels, and I thought I might be able to add a similar storage technique.

Many items on the wall eliminated the need for furniture and appeared like an extension of the wall art.
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More storage hacks and artwork across the bathroom walls.

The variety of storage pieces hung on the wall gave off a funky feel, and also removed the need for cabinets or an additional piece of furniture to store toiletries and other items.

Around the toilet, cute storage containers kept the space looking neat.
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The storage hacks around the toilet.

Small items in glass jars, pretty trays, and a toilet roll dispenser all seemed like genius ideas to me.

The best hack was also one I couldn't replicate in my NYC apartment: maximizing the backyard.
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A small portion of the outdoor space surrounding the tiny home.

The outdoor space was filled and utilized just as much as the indoor rooms. Tables, chairs, and couches were scattered around the lush, shaded backyard for extra lounge space. Sadly, I don't have an outdoor area at home.

Luckily back in New York, I do have another 250 square feet to enjoy.
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The author takes a selfie in the outdoor space.

I'd need outdoor space to live happily in a home this tiny. I might not have it at home, but I do have added square footage that I'm able to enjoy, rain or shine. And with my new tips top of mind, I think I'm about to have a little bit extra room, too.

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