The Ups and Downs of Tiny House Lofts

For many people, the most common question about tiny living is, “Do I want a loft or not?” This always follows with a steady stream of, “Do I want one? Do I need to have one? Do I want to be climbing up a ladder or steep staircase every night of the week? What if I need to get up in the middle of the night? How much space am I going to save by having one?” Here is the breakdown of the pros and cons of Tiny House Lofts.

Tiny House Lofts: They’re not just for bedrooms anymore

Sure, one of the most common places to put a bed in a tiny house is in the loft. After all, you are spending the eight hours in bed laying down, so do you really need to be able to stand up? With a maximum height of 13’6″ for a tiny home, it is kind of a waste if you don’t go vertical. You can heartily increase your living area by putting in a storage and bedroom loft. Everyday there are new designs for multi use staircases and ladders for access. But there are some downsides to having a bed in the loft. First of all, you are going to have to get up and down every time you need to get out of bed.  For the elderly, handicapped, or even the insomniacs of the world, this may not be the best choice. Then there is the headroom deficiency that you have deal with. Most lofts are pretty spacious for sitting up, but if you are one of those people who needs to have a little more headroom, downstairs your bed must go.

Tiny House Lofts - decoratedhome

Even if you do decide to move your bed to the main level, don’t necessarily rule out having a loft. There are plenty of examples of people using lofts for office work spaces, children’s play rooms, guest bedrooms and most importantly storage. If going up and down often is a worry, use it as an attic. And to be honest, most people need as much storage space as they can get their hands on when they go tiny.

On the Level: the first level, that is

If you decide to stick with one-level for your house, you will definitely lose storage space and if you decide to compensate for that loss by lengthening your home, remember that there will be that much more home to tow. The advantages are pretty straightforward: you can get out of bed more easily, don’t have to travel down a ladder or staircase to use the bathroom, and you can lower the overall height clearance of your home.

Tiny House Lofts - studio tuck underIf you are physically unable to have a loft, don’t give up on your tiny house dreams yet, as there are still options that can help you optimize your space. Murphy beds and slide under beds are popular in many tiny houses, but keep in mind that you are going to have to clear the space each and every time you want to have access to your bed. Still, if you are getting home from a night out with the wife and a little tipsy, would you rather move furniture or climb a staircase to crash into bed?

Whether you are Team Loft or Team Flat, paring down your physical items is definitely a mandatory part of tiny living. There are always choices. This is one of the biggest reasons for the tiny home movement: customization. You have the ability to go in unlimited number of directions! All you have to do is figure out the priority of your want list is, and the world is your oyster.

What is your opinion on lofts? Which team are you on? Let us know in the comments below.

30 thoughts on “The Ups and Downs of Tiny House Lofts

  1. Tim said:

    What is the tallest that a Tiny House can be? I would like to fit an office with stairs to the office loft. Can there be enough headroom for sitting at a chair if there are long dormers in the office area?
    What is the maximum length that a tiny house can be so that a bedroom fits on the first floor? Thank you… Tim R.

    • Tom Bastek said:

      The tallest a tiny home can be is 13’6″. Yes, I have seen lofts where people can use a short chair in the loft. The maximum length that we build is 32′

    • EruditeOne said:

      A consideration that seems to be ignored in this article is gross tiny house/trailer weight and whether your truck has enough power to tow that weight. I think one may be wiser to extend front upper loft area 3 to 5 feet (over trailer tongue) and 3 to 5 feet to the rear (over air space). I don’t think overal weight of the Tiny House that requires three axles would prove worthwhile since towing weight may exceed capacity of many trucks on the marked.

  2. Carrie-Ann Jobe said:

    Is the height of 13.6 ft an American standard or Canadian. I am looking for the Ontario Canada maximum height and I am having trouble finding it.

    • Tom Bastek said:

      13’6″ is the standard legal height established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not sure on Canada.

    • Laura said:

      Hi Carrie-Ann,

      Ontario’s max height is also 13’6″. Other than Alberta (12’6″) and NFL (12’5″), all the Canadian provinces have a max height of 13.6 ft or more. Our max widths are also all 8’5″ (except the Yukon, which is 8’2″ for some reason). Source:

      Keep in mind though that a Wide Load towing permit is only $65/province/trip.

      Good luck with your house!
      Laura from Ottawa

      • Jennifer said:

        We fudged it building out tiny house, and made it 14′ high. We’re not really planning to move it on the roads, but realize that if we do, we will need to suss out bridge heights, etc. and avoid heavily travelled roads where the height might be monitored. But this gave us enough height under the loft to be comfortable and enough height in the loft itself not to bang our heads when getting up in the middle of the night!

  3. Linda Shrauger said:

    I am designing mine with a bedroom with a murphy bed in the rear, then walk-through bath room, then kitchen and then a few steps up to the living room. So it is a Gooseneck. over the bedroom and bath is a loft with access (stairs) from the bedroom for storage.

    • Dan Louche said:

      Goose neck trailers are a great option to add extra space!

  4. norma aldrovandi said:

    need more information ; land for sale in west coast thank you n

  5. MaryOD said:

    Consider a lift, for all the people in cold climates who have to have the bedroom upstairs for warmth.
    You can design them like a swing, or a platform, have them manual with gears or electric/solar.
    The only take up as much space as you want them to be. When raised up they are out of the way.
    Ladders or stairs take up valuable space.
    At least look into using a lift. It doesn’t have to be an enclosed box for thousands of dollars. A power wince moves heavy weights easily and with little cost.
    For us in the South, we want our beds as low and cool as possible, so it’s not an issue for us.
    We could always use the loft in the winter, if needed.

  6. Diana said:

    Looking for a good plan that slows bedroom on bottom floor and loft for sewing. Also want a decent size living space would prefer to have front living space.
    Going tiny soon!

  7. Pat Dunham said:

    We have a 21 ft. long by 9 ft. wide stationary tiny house with a small wing off of that for the bath. Not counting the bathroom, we have an 8 ft. long kitchen counter and a 6 ft. long closet. Our bed is a full size, but could be a queen if I cut 1 inch off of my kitchen counter. The bed sits up on 2 rows of drawers that I believe were designed to go under a water bed. I just stacked them on top of each other and put a plywood platform over the top. This makes it slightly higher than a traditional bed. But totally eliminates a loft. One thing I like about the bed being on the first level besides having to climb up and down, is that I can fold laundry on it or spread projects on it during the day.

    • Dan Louche said:

      Tiny home folks are super innovative! Great use of space!

  8. Christine said:

    I went back and forth between loft & pullout for all the reasons that you mentioned. Finally, I have decided on stairs that go to a short landing that is about 2ft lower than the top of the mattress for easier getting in and out. It seemed like a logical compromise for me. Less stairs w easier bed entry. It is part of the Leaf Tiny house Design among others. I found it bc I was looking at houses for extreme climate. Doug has to focus in and can only offer so many options but this design is practical for my needs.

    • Dan Louche said:

      So glad you found a style that suited your lifestyle. There are so many options out there right now.

  9. Kati said:

    I’m going to have two sleeping lofts, one for me and the other for my daughter. It’s going to be 24 feet long and 8 feet wide and on a trailer. The downstairs will be the common living area with a living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Due to mobility issues, my loft will have a winch lift, and probably stairs or a ladder as well. I’m still in the designing phase right now, so nothing is set in stone yet.

  10. Thomas Heiting said:

    I am very interested in the Tiny House movement. One thing I would note is that it is my belief (guess) that once someone has a tiny house at a location, they will not be moving it very often (other than those who are basically using it as a ‘travel trailer’. Assuming the house will not be moved much, I’d say go as big as you want (length & width – note other’s comment about wide-load fee being only $65), with the knowledge that once (or twice, or ???) in your life with that house that you will move it, know that you’ll need to budget a few thousand to a have professional trucker move it for you. Seems a no-brainer to me.

  11. Silvija said:

    What are the heights of lofts and height of the area under the lofts? A range or an average….

    • Dan Louche said:

      HI Silvija,
      In our homes the space under the loft is 6’9″ and the loft height itself is 3’2″.
      All the best!

  12. Aurora said:

    I am personally going to have a bed on the main floor with storage underneath to solve the closet problem, but if money was not an issue, than i would get a gooseneck. Theres actually two options with a gooseneck though. I’ve seen them with the bedroom on the gooseneck so its only a couple of steps up, and have a storage loft on the otherside. And I’ve seen where they make the gooseneck a family room or master bedroom, and then theres a loft in the middle of the house that’s accessed from the gooseneck, for like a kids bedroom, with the bathroom under the loft. Its less of a climb with a landing at the gooseneck, and safer for kids.

    I personally don’t like murphy beds or slide outs because you have to clear them off to put them away. But also the main problem is that you do this to have extra room during the day, but that means you can’t have any extra furniture in the space because you wouldn’t have a place to put it during the night. So yes it does create some extra floor space during the day and a slide can be made a couch. If you really want something that converts, look into the elevator bed. It would take up the space of a loft, but instead of going up stairs to bed, you lower the bed to the perfect level. And if you still want storage, put cabinets up where it would stay during the day, and when you need to get into them, although I don’t know how safe it would be, stand on the bed to access them. I’ve seen one that goes up and down metal posts at each corner, but also one attached to the ceiling that’s completely hidden during the day.

    • K. said:

      A lot of the negative aspects of lofts involve crawling around on hands and knees, and going up and down ladders. A floor plan that incorporates a dropped landing along side the bed (allowing you to stand up in your loft), with a nice little stairway, makes a loft bedroom so much more livable.

  13. K. said:

    A lot of the negative aspects of lofts involve crawling around on hands and knees, and going up and down ladders. A floor plan that incorporates a dropped landing along side the bed (allowing you to stand up in your loft), with a nice little stairway, makes a loft bedroom so much more livable.

  14. Barbara Pinto-Choate said:

    Hi All,

    I have read that the maximum ceiling height is 13.6′ due to road travel. I was wondering if a ceiling pop-out (up) is available so that the celing could be expanded once the home is in place?

    Thank you,

  15. Hailee said:

    I am a 8th grader and my class and i are building a tiny home as our pay it forward project for the year. our trailer that we are building it on is 8′ wide by 24′ long. We are planing on selling it in the spring of 2019. We were wondering what the average height of a loft in a tiny home. If you could answer us as soon as possible that would be great.

    • Dan Louche said:

      Hi Hailee,
      Sounds like a great project idea!The average height of the top of the loft (the sleeping area) is 3’2″ and the space under the loft is 6’9″.
      Good luck on your build,
      THB Team

  16. Jeremy Perkins said:

    West of the Mississippi river legal height is 14′ East of the Mississippi River it is 13’6″ . The width is 8’6″ everywhere. And length is 65′ from front bumper of towing vehicle to rear of trailer. Keep in mind if you have any type of over hang on your trailer it is included in the dimensions. I am a truck driver and these measurements are what we have to use. If over the dimensions an enforcement officer can give you a hefty fine.

  17. Carrie Fansler said:

    Question. How much does a cantilever (extension) add to the cost. We want one on each end for mine and my son’s bdrm. 3ft each, I guess. We love an 8.6 x 32 home that we’ve seen a video of, with just a couple of changes. The design has the stairways on the side within the loft areas. This will make them easier to climb. We both have physical issues to consider. Carrie

  18. Carrie Fansler said:

    We also want a drop axle trailer so we have more inside space. Only want 6’3 under the lofts each end, to give us more headroom in our lofts. The center of the home would be open to full height. Carrie F.

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