Curious about tiny homes? Here’s your chance to inspect one

Poppy Johnston

People are considering cheap blocks in remote areas to plonk a tiny home on and work remotely. Photography: Tiny Home Expo Facebook page.

If you’ve fallen in love with the idea of compact living, you’re not alone.

Australia’s appetite for tiny homes hasn’t gone anywhere: over 10,000 people have expressed interest in an upcoming tiny homes expo in Brisbane, with events in Sydney and Melbourne also scheduled to go ahead soon, depending on Covid restrictions.

If you ask Australian Tiny Home Expo organiser Phae Barrett, the pandemic is what has sent Australia’s tiny homes fever into overdrive.

Covid has made an already hot housing market even hotter, which has left many hopeful home buyers looking for cheaper ways to put a roof over their heads.

Phae says people are also interested in the off-grid potential of tiny homes, in Queensland at least, and are eyeing off cheap blocks in far-flung places to plonk a tiny home on and work remotely. “I think people are looking to be self-sufficient.”

“Covid’s really made people sit back and say I thought we can do things differently, but yes, now we know we definitely can.”

Tiny homes come in many shapes and sizes. Photography: Tiny Home Expo Facebook page.

The other group she gets a lot of interest from is people caring for those with (mainly mental) disabilities, such as one family that wanted a private space for a live-in carer for their adult child with mental disabilities so put a tiny home in their backyard.

Phae says most tiny home enthusiasts want to see one in the flesh, and get all their questions answered, before they make any hasty decisions.

It seems people are particularly concerned about the bathroom situation, with the majority of questions she fields toilet related. That’s why the Brisbane event will have at least three toilet companies displaying their wares.

If you’re curious about this small footprint style of living, snag yourself a ticket (around $25-35) to the expo to have a sticky beak inside some of these teeny tiny dwellings. You’ll no doubt be impressed with what people can do with just 50 square metres or less – small certainly doesn’t mean deprived.

inside tiny home

It’s amazing what can be done with a small space.

Why live tiny?

While few would say that tiny homes are the answer to all our environmental woes, smaller homes do take up less land and chew up fewer resources to build.

And while they are no way a housing solution for everyone, tiny homes do offer another housing option in a housing market awash with standalone four-bedroom homes and not much else.

ESC Consulting director of sustainability and environmental management Valerie Bares is a fan of tiny homes on wheels as a way to offer cohousing in the suburbs.

Tiny homes in backyards could help address spiralling housing affordability, create social cohesion and reduce the environmental degradation caused by our apparent obsession with massive houses (the biggest in the world, in fact).

It’s all in the execution, she says, which is why councils are wary about allowing dwellings-on-wheels to set up shop wherever they please. It’s not too hard to imagine a landowner filling up their block with as many tiny homes as it could fit, she says, which wouldn’t be a good outcome for anyone (bar the landowner’s wallet).

tiny home

It’s not hard to picture yourself here. Photography: Mark Duffus.


That’s why many councils have limits on how long impermeant homes can stick around (largely aimed at caravans). Valerie says these regulations, and all the other state and federal regulations that prospective tiny home owners must wade through, are patchy and differ by region, which can be difficult for people to navigate.

If a tiny home is something you are interested in and want to know more about the regulatory landscape, the Australian Tiny House Association website is a good place to start.