How Much Space Does a Person Need To Live? Tiny Living Options

If you are looking for somewhere new to live and are unsure about how much space you need, you might wonder how much space a typical person needs to live. Living spaces can vary greatly depending upon what type of home you are looking for, so it can feel overwhelming to determine the right amount of space needed for someone to live in. 

How Much Space Does a Person Need To Live?

A single person will need 100 to 400 square feet of space to live. Most people exceed this amount, but a person does not need a large amount of space to live simply with just essential everyday items.

Many people choose to reduce their living space, so knowing how much space an average person typically needs to live will give a good starting point when looking for somewhere new to live.

The information in this guide has been provided by experts in small space living to ensure you have the most accurate information about the amount of space a person needs to live. 

How Much Space Does A Person Need to Live?

The amount of space a person needs to live can vary greatly. The typical person only needs 100 to 400 square feet of living space. This is for a person that is only going to be living with the essential items that they need and does not want any additional space. 

Most people greatly exceed 100 to 400 square feet of living space per person, but they realize they do not necessarily need the added space. 

Many people end up actually downsizing their living space, and a large number of people are choosing alternative living spaces outside of a typical residential home. 

Types of Smaller Living Spaces

Tiny House

Tiny houses have become increasingly popular in recent years. Although there is not a true size definition for a tiny house, most tiny houses are 600 square feet or less. 

Their size is ideal for one person, but there are many couples that live in tiny houses as well as small families. Although tiny houses can be built on foundations, many are built on wheels. 

This makes them an ideal choice for a small living space because they are easily able to be moved. 


Many people choose to live in a cabin full time, especially if they are looking to reduce their living space. Cabins can be built in almost any size and range from some as small as 500-600 square feet to upwards of 3,000 square feet or more. 

Cabin living can be ideal for someone who is looking for a smaller living space, but does not want to go as small as a tiny house. 

Cabins can be easily transformed into a sustainable living space and off grid cabins have become popular for those who want to get away from the chaos of normal life in a city. 


A yurt is a type of portable round tent that is covered in skins or felt. The framework of the yurt is typically made out of wood and bamboo and permanent yurts are built onto a wooden platform for support. 

The size of yurts vary from 100 square to approximately 300 square feet. They can have their own kitchens, fireplaces, and some even have bathrooms inside of them as well. 

Vans and RVs

Vans and RVs provide a great way to live in a smaller space, but still get to travel. It is perfect for someone who does not want to be tied down to a certain location.

The size of vans and RVs can greatly vary. A smaller van may only be 100 square feet in size, whereas a large RV could be 300 square feet. There are many families that live in RVs long term and enjoy the small space and ability to travel. 

Container Homes

Container homes have become an easy way for someone to live in a smaller space. They range in size from approximately 150 square feet up to 350 square feet. Most people will connect at least two shipping containers together to get enough square footage, especially if they are planning to live in a container home with a family. 

Container homes are fairly easy to construct and will typically cost someone well under $100,000 to put together, which can be an ideal situation for someone on a smaller budget and looking for simple living.  


An earthship is an ideal space for someone that is wanting to live in a very sustainable manner and not have excessive living space. Earthships are made from natural and recyclable materials and are the epitome of off grid living. 

Earthships function on solar power and solar batteries in order to have the energy to run appliances. The roof is designed in such a way as to catch every drop of rainwater and then it is run through a pump and filter in order to be consumable. 

An earthship will be larger in size and can be built up to almost any size, however most people will keep their earthships small in order to have an easier time with the upkeep of the home.

Benefits of Small Space Living


For those that choose to reduce their living space, a big reason can be due to the simplicity of a small space. It does not allow for extra possessions and when living in a small space, you only have the essentials. This allows for a simplistic lifestyle that can be relaxing and less stressful.

Environmental Benefits

There are many environmental benefits to small space living. By simply having a smaller space with less possessions, you are lessening your carbon footprint. 

With a smaller space comes less energy usage, which is also beneficial to the environment. There are also many people who choose to live in some form of off grid home. An off grid home is sustainable and uses its own resources to provide energy and water. 

These homes will typically use solar energy and rainwater, which means no electricity is being used and no public water source is needed. 


The cost of a smaller living space is much less. Not only will your payment be less if you finance a smaller home, but if you do have electricity and water, then your bill will be much less if you are living in a smaller space. 

Downsizing can free up quite a bit of money for some people and that can be enough motivation to live in a smaller space. This allows more money to be spent traveling and enjoying hobbies rather than paying a large mortgage or high electricity and water bills. 


Many people have reported feeling happier after living in a smaller space, which is contradictory to what most people believe. This is due to the fact that having fewer things makes the mind feel less cluttered and therefore increases happiness.

People that live in small spaces tend to spend more time outside as well. They typically do not feel the need to spend time inside and therefore choose to have a small living space since they want to spend the majority of their time outdoors. 

Maximizing Space In A Small Home

Whether you choose to live in a cabin, RV, yurt, or container home, you will probably want to know how to maximize your space so it does not feel small. People can live comfortably in very small spaces with the right preparation. 

Creative Storage

One of the most important things will be to come up with creative storage solutions in order to keep items out of sight and therefore give the feeling of the home being larger. 

Items such as bookshelves or floating shelves can serve as great storage while also being a decor item. Ottomans and trunks are pieces of furniture that can be sat on as well as provide storage. 

Downsize Possessions

You will not be able to move into a smaller living space with the same amount of items that you had in a normal residential home. However, this is a great time to go through your belongings and determine what means the most to you. Keep the items that you cannot live without and donate the rest. 

Keep Colors Light and Neutral

Light colors and those that are neutral such as whites, tans, and browns, will help the space feel bright and airy. This can give the effect of a larger space, which will in turn, help you feel like your space is much larger. 

Add A Loft

A loft can be a great option for any space, including a tiny home or container home. Instead of needing more space, you are creating more space above you. 

Having a loft can give you extra storage space as well as space for another bed if needed. This can be helpful when living in a small space with family members. 


Keeping your small space organized is the key to making it feel put together and not cluttered. Whether this is drawer organizers in the kitchen or organizers under the bathroom sink, you will want to take advantage of every last inch of space that you have.

If you run out of space to move out, then you can always organize up. Stacking organizers can be helpful in ensuring that you use all of your available space. 

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