20' X 20' Tiny House Plans (with Drawings)

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Many people in recent years shifted toward a significant lifestyle change when they drastically downsized to 400 sqft or less. Undoubtedly, living tiny has its pros and cons, but is it for you?

If you decide to live in a 20’ x 20’, single-story home, you get a whopping 400 square feet of living space. You’ll certainly need to overcome some challenges, even if you double your square footage and get a two-story home. But, either way, living in a small space requires some thoughtful and creative planning.

The layout of a small home is critical; you need to ensure you maximize every nook and cranny of space. Of course, you want to have all the essentials, but squeezing in enough adequate storage is also paramount.

What Are the Essentials in a 20′ x 20′ House?

As fun as adding lots of bells and whistles is, if you only have 400 sqft, start with your essentials. For example, you need a sleeping area, a place to eat and make food, a bathroom, and storage. Ideally, you’ll also likely want a shared space for entertaining or lounging.

If you stick with a single story, you probably won’t have room for many extras, like a guest room or library. However, you could double-up in some areas or utilize multi-purpose furniture to sneak in some fun twists. Also, if you opt for a two-story or adding a loft space, you can incorporate some bonus spaces.

A Place to Sleep

While the majority of houses in the US have three bedrooms, in 400 sqft, you’ll likely have one. In fact, you might only have a loft space or sleeping area. But, if you have a two-story home, you could squeeze in two small bedrooms.

In some instances, you might have two stories with an extra sleeping loft or attic space. Albeit, this additional space might not be full ceiling height. If you live in a pleasant climate, you could also screen in a porch and create a sleeping porch.

A Place to Cook and Eat

A tiny-house kitchen doesn’t have to be bland. While you need to maximize your space, you can opt for high-end finishes for a more luxe feel. Consider how many people live in the home and how often you actually cook.

For example, if it’s just one or two people in the house, and you aren’t a gourmet chef, you can get creative. You could consider a two-burner stove and a smaller fridge, along with a studio dishwasher.

Plus, instead of a dedicated dining room, opt for a flip-up table that mounts to the wall. This table set-up can even double as a workspace or a place to play games.

Everything Else You Need in a 20′ x 20′ Home

Another room you’re sure to want in your home is a bathroom. But, in a 20’ x 20’ house, it likely won’t be an overly large space. The typical formula for bathrooms is two for every three bedrooms.

With 400 sqft, you’re apt to have a small bathroom with a sink, toilet, and shower. However, if you have two stories or multiple levels, you might opt for a larger bathroom or two small ones.

Storage space is also crucial, even if you have very few belongings. After all, you don’t want all of your things out in the open all of the time. Be creative with incorporating your storage; think hidden space between wall studs and even cubbies under your floor. You also can include a laundry area, either a stackable unit or an all-in-one unit to save space.

If your house has a high ceiling, don’t forget about your vertical space. Add a loft, lots of shelving, and suspend items you don’t need to access often. Finally, multifunctional furniture is a must when you live in a small home. Try to find furniture that includes some kind of storage or double function. For example, use a murphy bed with a desk underneath or a coffee table that doubles as a desk.

How Should You Size Rooms in a 20′ x 20′ House?

When you plan your layout for a small home, it’s different from your average-size home. For one thing, you simply can’t have as many rooms.

For example, builders typically allocate a certain percentage of a home’s overall square footage to each room. They factor in bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, dining room, and more. Plus, they usually include things like a laundry room, walk-in pantry, foyer, and office.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, these percentages vary based on whether your home is small (under 2,000 sqft) or large (over 3,500 sqft). However, in a home that’s only 400 to 800 sqft, you might need to eradicate some rooms. Therefore, focus on the essential rooms first when planning your 20′ x 20′ house layout.

Based on the recommended percentages, your room spacing might look something like this.

Average Space Allocation in a Single-Story 20′ x 20′ Home

RoomPercentage of Square FootageTotal Square Footage
Bedroom/Sleeping Areas29.8%119.2 sqft
Bathroom/Bathrooms11.4%45.6 sqft
Kitchen Area14.7%58.8 sqft
Breakfast Nook/Eat-In Area3.1%12.4 sqft
Living Room Area24.3%97.2 sqft
Laundry Area3.5%14.0 sqft
Other Finished Spaces/Storage Areas13.2%52.8 sqft
TOTAL100%400 sqft

Obviously, you can tweak these numbers to accommodate your specific lifestyle. However, this provides you a general idea of room sizes that would work in your size house.

Of course, if you decide to build up and go with a two-story, you can include more rooms. So if you go this route, your space allocation might look something like this.

Average Space Allocation in a Two-Story 20’ x 20’ Home

RoomPercentage of Square FootageTotal Square Footage
Master Bedroom13.1%104.8 sqft
All Other Bedrooms16.7%133.6 sqft
Master Bathroom6.5%52.0 sqft
All Other Bathrooms4.9%39.2 sqft
Kitchen12.7%101.6 sqft
Breakfast Nook/Eat-In Area3.1%24.8 sqft
Dining Room/Living Room16.1%128.8 sqft
Family Room/Library/Etc.9.9%79.2 sqft
Laundry Room3.5%28.0 sqft
Entry/Foyer2.5%20.0 sqft
Other Finished Spaces11.0%88.0 sqft
TOTAL100%800 sqft

Could You Live in a 20′ x 20′ House?

The current guideline is that each person living in a home needs between 200 and 400 square feet to be comfortable. Therefore, if you have a single-story, 20’ x 20’ home, one or two people would be the limit. If you’re single and looking for a small starter home, it could be perfect for you.

If you go with two stories and double your space, 800 sqft could be just right for a young couple. It could even work for a small family that plans to upsize one day. Another possibility would be retirees ready to downsize and have little maintenance and upkeep to handle.

Whatever your scenario, carefully weigh the pros and cons before deciding if living in a smaller home works for you.

Possible Layouts for a 20′ x 20′ House

If you want a smaller home to work for you, it’s all about a thoughtful and well-executed layout. Take your time to plan out the space that will work the best for your life.

Consider your lifestyle, habits, and daily routine when determining your home’s floor plan. Also, take time to decide your absolute musts and what you can live without so you don’t have any regrets.

Single-Story 20’ x 20’ House

This single-story layout includes a basic floorplan for a tiny house with the essentials. You do get a bathtub, which is a plus, as well as double closets.

Source: Etsy

Two-Story 20’ x 20’ Home

The bottom floor of this home increases the kitchen and living room size since the bedroom goes upstairs. The addition of loft space on a second level adds a nice seize master bedroom area plus more storage. Plus, a wraparound porch and upper deck area create the illusion of an even larger home.

Source: Pinterest

Adding Outdoor Space to Extend a 20’ x 20’ House

Even a single-story home can get more space with the addition of some porches. The rear porch is screened in, creating an outdoor living space that extends the home’s footprint. Here, the bedroom is a bunk room for a cabin retreat, but it can easily be a proper bedroom.

Source: Dream Home Source

Multilevel 20’ x 20’ House

This multilevel home has a footprint of 20’ x 20’ but a little over 1,000 square feet. This extra square footage is thanks to a third level that is a match to the second level. It also has extra outdoor space, making this house a roomier option.

Source: Pinterest

Related Questions

Roughly how much does a 20′ x 20′ home cost to build?

How much it costs to build a house depends on a few different things. The most significant factors are the size of the home and the location. For example, in Philadelphia, you could build a house for roughly $154 per square foot. However, in Brooklyn, NY, you would spend closer to $180 per square foot. Then, the numbers could drop to around $109 per square foot in Omaha, NE. Of course, the numbers vary based on the cost of available materials, accessibility, labor availability, and supply and demand. Therefore, if you’re building a single-story, 20’ x 20’ home in Philadelphia, you’d pay about $61,600. However, the same house in Omaha would only cost about $43,600. Keep in mind; these figures don’t include the cost of the land, just the home.

Are there special restrictions to consider if you build a small house?

It all depends on where you’re building. In some states, the building code states a home must be a specific minimum size, which can vary greatly. For example, some states require new homes to be at least 1,000 square feet. In other cases, there may be stipulations on room sizes and so forth. If you’re planning to build a new house, it’s vital to know the local building codes no matter the size. Ensure you work with a reliable and professional contractor that will stay on top of all code restrictions and permits. 

Related Articles

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

More by Stacy Randall