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  • Writer's pictureElla Tippo

Designing Your Floor Plan | Tiny Home Living

One of the first steps in converting your tiny home on wheels is designing your floor plan, and chances are, you’ll spend hours going back and forth on this, and with good reason. Your design will determine how well your space does (or doesn’t) work for you. Getting it right early on in the conversion will also help you to avoid mistakes and re-work in your build, saving you both time and money.

Start with making a list, and checking it twice

Who are we kidding, you’ll likely change this a thousand times…

Start with creating a list with your non-negotiable and nice-to have items. Consider what you can’t live without, where you plan to park (off-grid with your own shower/toilet or near amenities so you can free up the extra space in your floor plan?), what would make this feel like home for you (hello cute wall niche), what are your storage needs?

Here’s a few items that made our list:



Large fridge/freezer

Washing machine

Toilet and shower

Air conditioning


Full length mirror

Enough solar and water storage

capacity for 3 days off-grid

Skylight over bed

King bed

​Slide out pantry in kitchen

Research, research, research

The more you know, the more you know, you know? We spent countless hours, days, even weeks, trawling YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. Here are some of our favourite sources of inspiration for our build:










One of our favourite fellow DIYers ‘Roaming on Rubber’ shared a great tip, to download and read the installation manuals for your appliances before finalising your floor plan in case there are size, distance or other requirements you may not know about that you’ll need to incorporate into your build.

We also found it helpful to create a mood board for our build. There are SO many decisions to make along the way, we’re finding it helpful to add decisions and products here as we go to help keep track of our progress (this is very much a work-in-progress space that we’re updating regularly).

In researching for your bus, you’ll gain a greater understanding of what’ll be involved in the build. From here, you might choose to completely DIY your build like we’re doing, a combination of DIY and flat packs (from places like Noq Noq, IKEA or Bunnings) or outsource your build to a professional.

Design and visualise your space

Next, we packed all of our non-negotiables into a draft floor plan and taped it out in the bus. It’s so much easier when you can visualise the space, pretend to sit on your future bench seat to check your elbow room and stand at your future kitchen sink to enjoy that nice breeze streaming through the window.

If you’d like to see our draft floor plan taped out in the bus, head to our YouTube video by clicking on the below:

We wanted to really maximise the view in our bus so we opted for a low, open layout. If you do plan on creating more vertical structures in your design, like this insanely beautiful wall arch by @_aswewander, you may also like to use some cardboard or other materials you have lying around to build up a 3D design inside your bus, to really get a feel for the space before you finalise your floor plan.

It is so important to consider weight distribution in your design, from side to side, front to back and top to bottom. Here’s a link if you’d like to learn more on understanding weight requirements.

Draft floor plan, check!

But don’t stop there. Electrical, gas and water system planning, here we come…

Before you jump into your build, and believe me, we know how tempting it can be to dive straight in, it’s important to draw up a plan for your electrical, gas and water systems. You’ll want to know where you’ll be running wiring and pipes and cutting holes BEFORE you start your build. Like we said at the beginning, planning upfront will help you avoid mistakes and re-work in your build, saving you both time and money (and let’s be honest, save you a lot of heartache too).

We’ll have blogs coming soon stepping you through these, make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss them!

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