Even if you could never imagine living in a tiny house, you have to admit there’s something inspiring about them. In about 400 square feet, with some clocking in much less, these mini dwellings challenge inhabitants to think big about how to live small. We’ve rounded up 8 tiny homes, cottages, and cabins we found on Airbnb that manage to accomplish two things: they satisfy our wanderlust and our curiosity for tiny living. From a family-friendly cottage in Norway on its own private island to an A-Frame cabin nestled in the woods of an off-grid village, there’s a range of options depending on your definition of “roughing it”. Whichever compact getaway you choose (even if it’s only to put on your wishlist for now), these retreats may encourage you to live more simply and explore the bigger picture, including the gorgeous natural surroundings.
1. “Half-Moon” Cabin in California
It may be tiny, but there’s a lot to tiny living love in this off-grid cabin nestled deep in the woods of Northern California. The rustic half-moon shaped structure was hand-built as part of an off-grid village which counts chickens, dogs, and frogs, as well as a few humans hard at work, as its neighbors. Located in the Six Rivers National Forest, the cabin includes a lofted bed and a wood stove. Despite the dwelling’s high coziness factor, you probably be spending most of your days exploring the national forest beyond the cabin, hiking over mountains and streams, or perusing the organic gardens for ingredients for a meal in the shared outdoor kitchen. Just make sure you bring a flashlight-the cabin doesn’t have electricity.
2. Industrial tiny house near Seattle
The owner of this tiny house is an artist, designer, and welder, who brings those sensibilities together in a sleek space located a few miles from downtown Seattle. Industrial touches such as a steel ladder leading up to the lofted bed, metal shelving in the kitchen area, and lockers for stowing your stuff are warmed up by the wood floors and bright walls. The house feels surprisingly spacious and can accommodate three people for sleeping, with a high ceiling that keeps the home from feeling cramped. It also has a bathtub with wooden planks instead of fussy claw feet.
3. Writer’s Cabin near Stockholm
For travelers who want to get away from it all but still have the security blanket of a city nearby, this cozy Swedish writer’s cabin may be the answer. Located in Trolldalen (which means “Troll Valley”), about a 15 minute drive from Stockholm, this basic cabin with a cheery exterior is ideal for either holing up when those Scandinavian days are short or serving as a place to collapse after a full day’s adventure in the city. Or just explore nearby: depending on the season, there’s hiking, blueberry picking, ice skating and cross-country skiing nearby. The writer’s desk does look like the perfect place to complete the finishing touches on your own masterpiece, or simply for catching up on the works of some Swedish masters. If you find your muscles are cramping from being hunched over your laptop, head on down to the property’s sauna to melt away the tension.
4. Atlanta treehouse
This trio of rooms connected by bridges is the ultimate treehouse fantasy, and we’re not the only ones who think so. It’s been featured in magazines and TV shows as well as being Airbnb’s “#1 Most Wished-For Location Worldwide”. It certainly checks off a lot of boxes: minutes from downtown Atlanta, a living room, a bedroom, and a deck, and plenty of windows for admiring the lush natural surroundings. Twinkling lights on the bridges and a hammock add to the rustic chic vibe.
5. A Norwegian cottage on its own island
Because everyone should feel like the king or queen of an island at least once. Another example of Scandinavian ingenuity and tiny house charm, this waterside cottage is located in the Hvaler archipelago in Norway. The cottage can be a getaway for two or a family that doesn’t mind tight quarters: a seat in the dining doubles as a convertible bed for two and the attic can sleep up to three kids or two adults. Cottage renters also have the use of a boat; swimmers can take advantage of the area’s safe waterways and a floating dock. A marina and several restaurants and stores are only minutes away by boat, but we doubt you’ll make it that far. Pretending you are shipwrecked or pirates is just too much fun.
6. Mushroom Dome in California
Steal away for a few nights to a cottage with a geodesic dome loft and a deck that overlooks a grove of redwoods. Part-treehouse, the mushroom dome is compact, yet light-filled: even the bathroom (with self-composting toilet) has a skylight. This unique retreat tends to book up months in advance given its ideal location for stargazing. It also makes a great temporary home base for hiking or heading out to the nearby beach. Hummingbirds, goats, and chickens will anticipate your arrival.
7. California A-Frame cabin
In the wise words of Emerson, “Simplify, simply.” Staying in this off-grid A-Frame cabin will certainly inspire you to minimize even if just for a night or two. There’s just enough space for a futon mattress and a candle or two to light the way at night. Located in the same village as the Half-Moon Cabin, it has a shared outdoor kitchen, wood stove sauna, and acres upon acres of surrounding natural beauty.
8. Garden Caravan
The owners of this 200-square-foot Garden Caravan on wheels squeezes a lot in without creating a cramped environment. The property has RV appliances, a kitchen stocked with pots and utensils, a toilet, and a shower. Situated on the hosts’ 5-acre plot, the caravan was built by hand with plenty of recycled materials by a boat builder accustomed to making the most of tiny spaces. The tiny home is located just a few miles from Sandpoint, Idaho, so you can sip your morning coffee while watching the ducks, head into town for some shopping or to the nearby lake for a swim, and be back in time for an evening cocktail.
All images via Airbnb. Lead image by Lindsay Appel