How Would You Manage a Very Small House?

We just bought a 3 “bed” 1 bath house, planning Airbnb it as a whole house listing. But it is tiny. Only 640 square feet. One of bedrooms is literally 7 feet wide, enough to fit a twin bed. The other can fit a full, but it’s tight. The “Master” can fit a queen but of course the ceilings in there are low. The living room is like 11x13 feet. SO basically I guess I am asking, how do I frame that as attractive? Should I bother with the twin in the tiniest room? Or would you just make it like an office or storage or something? Should we maximize beds by doing a sofa bed? You could potentially sleep 8 if you did a queen, a twin, a twin over full futon, and a queen sleeper sofa but it would be very tight quarters for that many people, especially considering only one bathroom. Will people even be interested? There are only a few other listings in my area and they are doing very well from my research but they are all bigger of course, since I’m pretty sure we bought the smallest house in town :slight_smile:

We recently stayed in a one bed beach house which also had a sofa bed, but it was just the two of us and it was great. I wouldn’t want to have eight people staying anywhere, too much washing afterwards :slightly_smiling_face:. I would stick to four or five to cater to most families then it doesn’t matter about sharing the bathroom.

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I have to say, the 1 bathroom is the defining attribute in my mind. Do you really want 8 people sharing one bathroom? Can you imagine cleaning that room after 8 people have used it for a week? Heck, can you imagine 8 people in 640 sq ft for a week?

I do think that marketing a “tiny” house is not hard, but I would be careful about how much cash you try to squeeze out of it. Now, if there is a lovely yard and you are located in a place that people hang outside year round, maybe this isn’t a concern.

I commend you that you are considering what your target market looks like. It will make a difference.


Yes we are in the southwest (NM). It is hospitable outside nearly year round (maybe a few rainy or especially hot days or maybe one day of snow). THe house has a nice deck and patio space plus a garden and then an enormous yard that I have no idea what to do with other than potentially allow people to bring outdoor dogs? I definately think the one bathroom is the bottleneck. We have a staff that will do the cleaning but even so…I will say though that I don’t think most people who come here will stay a week. I would guess 2-4 days. That is what I would plan if I were visiting and most people visit to see one particular thing here, then stick around because we are in the boonies and it took forever to get here so they might as well hang out a bit and see the city.

Have you considered putting money into it? If so, maybe make it a nice 2 bedroom unit, if a layout would work this way. Seems too small for a big family. Maybe go boutique and go after 2 couples.


I was just in NM and I wouldn’t agree about being outside year round. It was cold. Two nights we could not sit outdoors at all. Three nights there were lightning storms with torrential rains. And then, there is the windy season.

You might have “staff” but they will charge more if the space is consistently dirtier than they thought it would be when they did the bid.

I was in Santa Fe if that matters.

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Ha yes we are putting some money into it. The layout is weird though if we were to combine the two small bedrooms it would just make one long alleyway of a bedroom that is 7 feet wide and 20 feet long.

One of the bedrooms is kind of ok at 7x14 ft. The other is tiny, no way to hide it. My thought was just make sure it is 100% clear in the listing that this is a very small house, and maybe people won’t mind a small room since it is just for sleeping, and we would of course make it cute in there. I know when we travel with our kids I love just having a separate space to make bedtime easier, but then our kids are small. I could even set it up with just a crib or something?

jk i looked at my floorplan. One room is 7x12 and hte other is 7x9

Yea Santa Fe is a lot more north than us and a higher elevation. But yes you are right. I suppose really I would say that every day here has hospitable times. But certainly there are torrential downpours and lightning storms that pass through on a fairly regular basis, even if they tend to only last an hour or two.

I do think people are wise saying we shouldnt put more beds than will fit with the bathroom. So probably limit it to 5 or 6 maximum, if some of them are kids.

You asked about marketing it to be appealing: yes highlight positive exterior features & if dog friendly. I loved your description earlier “Smallest house in town” My sense of humor is a bit left of center so I found that wonderfully amusing and interesting as a listing title. I’m envisioning a lovely exterior picture with the rental title “Smallest house in town, Cozy, Cute, Sleeps 6, dogs OK”.

My condo is 650 Square feet & can accommodate 4 adults plus a child or two comfortably. 6 Adults would be problematic for dining & socializing space. There is a nice screen porch but it isn’t usable all the time.

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Your market will probably be mixed. 1 couple would stay in your house, as would 3 friends, and a family with 2 young children. The only group that will see your layout as ideal are the families with young kids (I always think it’s ridiculous that I’m paying to put a 20 month old kid in a large bedroom with an ensuite bathroom but the kids don’t sleep unless separated). In general, I wouldn’t think of all 3 bedrooms being used during every booking and you will want to price your home somewhere between a standard 1 - 2 bedroom unit.

Def don’t pack 8 adults into your space – that type of group will trash your space and the quirky charm of the house will quickly deteriorate.

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I used to own a house similar to that in Salem, OR. I’d market it as a “Big Tiny House In The Country” – “tiny houses” being all the rage these days. If you’re going to put money in it, consider an interior reno that turns 3 bedrooms into 2 and a second bath.

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I agree with this as an idea, particularly if you can make a second bath/shower room en-suite. A Boutique Tiny House, with lavish outdoor space. Quality over quantity!

We have two small single apartments in Albuquerque and often talked about how we wished we had a sleeper couch for when people want to bring another person or for families. I have no idea if you are ok with hosting kids if you are there is a place downtown that setup a kids loft room with a small mattress inside a funky tent. I personally think it is a really cute way to use a small space. We also have a small porch. Out of over 60 trips so far this year only two sets of people used the porch. I do agree with everyone here on that 6 to 8 for one bathroom is too many. We allowed our place only once to be used as a meeting place, Only two people stayed but a total of 20 were in and out and they did not trash the place but every single thing needed to be cleaned. I joked I could have made a whole dog out of just the people hair we swept up after that.


Have you checked out some of the videos on YouTube where people show off their pads as part of the Tiny House movement? They should give you some interesting ideas, plus as some have said, you can make that your USP.


It’s a small house but a good sized studio room. I don’t think the size or the 1 bathroom will keep you from getting booked. If you are going to allow dogs you are going to have to allow them indoors since it will be difficult to make them keep the dogs outside. But if you have a secure yard for a dog to relax in, it could be a bonus. I’m not far away in El Paso TX and I allow dogs. I do get the occasional road tripper who has their dog with them. You are also at an advantage because there isn’t much competition in your town yet.

I’d say leave the small narrow room empty with an air mattress or other temporary bed available. A max of 4 or 5 for that space. Remodel slowly as you see what kind of demand there is for your place. I agree you are going to get mostly 1 or 2 nighters who are passing through. A second bathroom isn’t going to get you a lot more guests so it will take a long time for it to pay for itself.


Thank you this is very helpful. I wondered about dogs but I do think they would be fine indoors occasionally. We are seriously considering adding a bathroom but I really don’t know that we would get more for it so perhaps not worth it.

Bathroom will always pay for themselves. Seriously. With a bath and two bedrooms, you can now appeal to both families and two couples.


You should market it as a Tiny House. It’s so hip now. :sunglasses:


I’m sending you a PM…