How Plants Play an Important Role in a Tiny House


For many, living in a tiny house is all about bringing the outdoors back into our lives. Living in a small space encourages us to get outside and have a closer connection to nature. It’s easier to assess the weather, watch the seasons change, and notice the cycle of the moon and stars from our lofted bedrooms. Often the off-grid compatible systems within tiny homes further connect us to nature and our own rhythms. When living off solar it’s a necessity to be conscious of the patterns of the sun throughout the year. Composting human waste and having limited space for garbage and recycling also makes us more aware of our waste on a daily basis.


What about bringing nature into our homes? It’s common to see plants taking up valuable storage space in a tiny house. For many it’s purely for the beautiful greenery is adds or for our love of plants, but they also are helping us breathe healthier air inside our tiny spaces.

Tiny houses are built super tight, because of how our building methods have evolved. Of course this is dependent on the builder and the materials used in the wall system and window installation, but for the most part these are not leaky houses allowing air to escape and come in. Without a proper air exchange unit, which many tiny homes unfortunately are lacking, the home is essentially all sealed up in the winter when all of the windows and doors are closed.

One average sized person in roughly a 20 foot tiny house will use up the oxygen and air in about 8 hours. With more beings inside the space, that time dramatically decreases and the recycling of exhale begins. This is unhealthy to say the least.

Installing an air exchange unit like this one is key, however plants can also make a considerable impact on the air quality and oxygen levels inside a tiny home. Some plants are more beneficial in this department than others, and of course the quantity of plants as well.

Here are three house plants that are total rockstars at turning carbon dioxide into oxygen.

  1. Snake Plants also known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue are common house plants due to their hardiness, and therefore are great for beginners or less attentive house plant caretakers. However, their best quality is their nighttime oxygen production, which is often when a tiny home in the winter is sealed up. They also have an ability for air purification like removing formaldehyde (a common chemical in building materials), and in a completely air sealed room a human can survive off of 6-8 waste high Snake Plants according to the Lung Institute.
  2. Sprouts! Not only are sprouts a great source of nutrients and fun to grow, but they also create their own mini greenhouse effect. There are some neat sprout kits or ways to save space and grow your sprouts on a shelf or wall.
  3. Areca Palms can get fairly large, but are stellar at producing oxygen and cleansing the air of harmful chemicals from synthetic materials and cleaners. With proper light a storage loft or sleeping loft might be the perfect place for an Areca Palm in a tiny home. They don’t like having dust on their leaves, and tiny homes get dusty quickly due to their size, so it’s important to dust the Palm periodically.

Hopefully this is an inspiring reason to bring a little bit of nature into your home, and to be more conscious of your indoor air quality. In our living space the air quality is easy to overlook, yet some simple and beautiful house plants can make a major difference.

*Originally written for NOAH

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