What are tiny homes?

What are tiny homes? The definition of a tiny house is one that is 400 square feet (37 square m) or less in floor area, excluding lofts. If you’re wondering how big that is, the average new home and apartment size in Australia is now at 189.8m2 – so a tiny house is about one-fifth that size. 

What are tiny homes and why do they exist?

The tiny house movement kicked off in the US in the late 2000s as a reaction to an economy that meant many people couldn’t afford to own their own home. Tiny houses made that affordable for many.

How many are there in Australia?

Only some hundreds probably, as legislation around tiny houses is still largely in the pipeline and so many people are hesitant to build a house without knowing the laws around it. However, the shortage of affordable housing in cities like Melbourne and Sydney mean they will almost certainly be a thing in the not-too-distant future.

What are the upsides to tiny homes?

They’re cheap, meaning you can get your own place for a fraction of the cost of a traditional home. They are mobile, meaning you can move to a different location whenever the mood strikes (this of course, also brings its own red tape with it). They’re very green as it’s possible to live off the grid in a tiny house. And they force you to declutter (no need for Marie Kondo in tiny homes).

So what are the downsides?

They may be a way of getting your foot onto the housing ladder but they don’t really offer the same benefits when it comes to selling and moving on. Tiny houses depreciate in value over time, unlike most traditional homes which – over the long term – can be expected to grow in value. Also, most tiny homes are on wheels and this can make some inhabitants feel ‘groundless’ and ‘fragile’.  Because they are not fixed to the ground, they are also susceptible to being stolen. And finally, unless you are extremely ruthless with possessions, it’s very hard for most adults to fit all their possessions into a tiny home. As a result, many tiny home dwellers end up renting storage space as well, which may defeat the purpose of living in a tiny home.

Read more: 8 eco-friendly homes around the world for green gateways

The best home décor shops in New Zealand

Many of the best home décor shops in New Zealand offer not only a great selection of locally-sourced and international brands, but also offer expert interior design consultations and even room planning guides to get you started. 

We’ve chosen six of our best home décor shops in New Zealand that offer a great mix of homewares and guidance on styling your home.

Best home décor shops in New Zealand

Green with Envy, Matakana

This store, which was one of five global winners at this year’s Global Innovator Awards (gia), encapsulates the laid-back Kiwi attitude. Green with Envy started out as an online store. It was so popular, owner Nicole Ward set up shop in an old fruit and vegetable barn, which also has a delightful café in the old potting shed. You’ll find items from local and international designers.

David Shaw, Various locations

With showrooms in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch or shop online, David Shaw offers home furnishings of high quality, bespoke pieces made in New Zealand and complemented with exquisite furniture and décor from Germany, Italy, France and Australia. For an architectural and high quality design, this one is not to be missed.

Coco Republic, Auckland

Leading furniture and design brand, Coco Republic is now in New Zealand. With the fit out of the showroom and café underway for the anticipated first launch stage of Westfield Newmarket, Auckland you are now able to order Coco Republic items online.

With an extensive range of chic, discreetly-elegant furniture and stylish homewares, coco Republic’s team of experienced buyers select the most beautifully designed and crafted pieces. A versatile collection of classic and contemporary products is complemented by uniquely tailored design services from curating furnishing schemes to renovations and project management.

Also available is Coco Republic’s unique and personalised design services. Customers can book an appointment with an interior designer in their home, with a qualified team on hand to assist on interior decoration and design from furnishing schemes to material selections and bespoke joinery design.

Anthony Spon-Smith, Coco Republic Creative Director & co-owner, says of the New Zealand launch: “We are thrilled to be open for business in New Zealand. Our beautifully crafted furniture and homewares are available online now with shipping to the Auckland region. Full New Zealand delivery will roll out prior to our store opening and we are excited to start working within homes, developments and commercial spaces across the country.”

The Vault, Wellington

In a hidden away location, it’s not likely you’ll stumble across this gem without being in the know. The Vault is tucked away down by the Plimmer Steps and stocks a bunch of amazing functional items and homewares from around New Zealand and the rest of the world.

Sarsfield Brooke, Auckland

Showcasing the very best hand-crafted, home décor direct from Italy, Sarsfield Brooke Imports & Wholesales furniture to Design Professionals within New Zealand and Internationally. Sarsfield Brooke represents (on an exclusive basis) 13 international furniture manufacturers, brands that are recognised worldwide.

Loft Furniture & Homeware, Christchurch

Owned by two Kiwis with a strong passion for selling good furniture – in the furniture business for close to 10 years now – Loft Furniture’s range of furniture is full of character and built to last. Loft Furniture prides itself on keeping the store full of unique, hand-finished pieces that you won’t see just anywhere. 

Read more: Be inspired by these home décor trends for 2019