"A scarcity of space can trigger talent and creativity," the Barcelona-based interiors architect Francesc Zamora Mola writes in 150 Best Mini Interior Ideas, a new book that profiles tiny homes around the world with a focus on the beauty and simplicity of their interiors. Architects and designers all have their own ways of trying to make micro homes feel spacious, and what emerges is a celebration of efficient architecture. Going far beyond the typical built-in cabinetry and lofted beds, Mola offers dozens of tips about how to design a tiny home in a way that's creative rather than claustrophobic.
The shingled Ufogel House has porthole windows and a "beak" that makes it look a lot like a bird. Built on stilts in Lienz, Austria by Architekterbüro Jungmann and Aberjung Design Agency, the home has a sleeping loft under a curving ceiling, a dining nook, and a kitchen all clad in the same blond timber. Glass partitions separate the bedroom and bathroom, which doesn't allow for much privacy, but does make the room look bigger.
Tip: "Light and brightly colored surfaces are reflective, making a space feel open and airy. Go easy on the decoration in a small space where finishes are attractive and can shine on their own."
This 183-square-foot guesthouse near a fjord in Praestro, Denmark was designed by Martin Kallesø Architects with privacy in mind. The black timber building sits near a number of other guesthouses, and was built in an asymmetrical shape so its windows would face away from the adjacent homes.
Tip: "Use a glass-panel door instead of a solid exterior door to bring more natural light into a room. Light sources from different sides balance the light across the room.
The Le Nuage house in Lormont, France is shaped like a cumulus cloud. The 183-square-foot shelter was designed by the French firm of Zébra3 / Buy-Sellf as a temporary art installation, but it now has a permanent home next to a lake. The transportable holiday home has irregularly-shaped blond wood interiors and several built-in bunk beds.
Tip: "Modern bunk beds blend comfort and space-saving convenience. They make the bedroom more spacious and add a playful atmosphere. Built-in bunk beds can provide storage that optimizes the space they are designed to fit in. This is an advantage over freestanding bunk beds."
The Hypercubus home manages to fit three floors into an off-kilter box of just 269 square feet. Designed by the Austrian firm WG3 Architektur und Moebel, the minimalist blue home with purple-tinted windows is both modular and transportable.
Tip: "Color is a powerful tool when it comes to changing the atmosphere of a space, including the perception of its size and proportions. Explore the creative possibilities of paint or colored light."
This 291-square-foot home is shaped like a shipping container with a gable roof. The Spanish firm Abaton Arquitectura designed it with the aim of making a portable structure as cozy as possible. The home uses sliding doors to great effect, with glass windows that double as an entryway, and a wooden partition that divides the bedroom and living area.
Tip: "A pitched roof adds extra overhead space to the room directly below it. It makes the room feel larger and at the same time more cozy by making the shape reminiscent of a cottage home."