I have a big dilemma, I am claustrophobic but I love tiny houses, I usually don’t talk about my private life on the websites where I write, not because I don’t like it, but because those topics could seem useless.
But when they are topics in which many people can feel reflected, then if it is worth writing to you, the case is that I am claustrophobic but I love tiny houses, and if you have come to this topic is because you know what claustrophobia is so I don’t even need to describe that condition.
Whenever I see pictures of tiny houses, my eyes light up with the designs and my dream is to live someday in one of these houses, but sometimes I see pictures of some specific spaces that cause me an intense feeling of anxiety because I imagine myself locked in there, it’s all a horror movie for me.
Fortunately for me (and for you too if you are claustrophobic like me but love Tiny houses), I am an architect and designer, I can design my own tiny houses taking the best ideas from other designs on the web and eliminating all those spaces that cause me panic and claustrophobia.
What are those spaces in tiny houses that make me feel claustrophobic and how do I make my designs feel comfortable?
The loft of tiny houses is my big problem
I am claustrophobic, but I have no problem with living in small spaces, in fact, since my childhood I lived in very small houses due to certain social conditions of my family, I never felt claustrophobic in the spaces of my house, with only one exception.
I remember sleeping at the bottom of a two-level bed, and sometimes in the middle of the night I would panic because of how confined I felt, the problem was to feel the ceiling of the upper bed almost oppressing me.
I know that my claustrophobia is not simply a childhood trauma, since I also feel the anxiety about being locked in elevators and other enclosed spaces, but my big problem with tiny houses is to see those lofts in upper spaces where the ceiling is too low to the space intended for sleeping.
Whenever I see a tiny house loft with a very low ceiling, I always imagine that violin music they always use in horror movies.
In some tiny house lofts, the ceiling is so low that you have to literally crawl to get in, and you’re supposed to sleep there?… I understand that sleeping doesn’t require much vertical space, but crawling like a snake to get into a space doesn’t seem very dignified to me actually, and very uncomfortable.
My intention is not to criticize tiny house designs, although I’m already doing it, my problem is that being claustrophobic, living in a tiny house with a loft where the ceiling is so low that I can’t even stand up would be a real nightmare.
The lofts in tiny houses are cozy but think about it
Since my biggest problem being claustrophobic with tiny houses is simply the loft, since, in reality, loft space is very popular in tiny houses, this space is usually vital, as it helps to optimize much more space, and usually, the “classic” design of a tiny house is to leave a room in a loft.
If you are claustrophobic, I know that your biggest problem with tiny houses will be a loft with a very low ceiling, it is like feeling that a garbage compactor truck is compressing you, it is a very unpleasant feeling for a person with claustrophobia, although there are some elements that can help.
A tiny house with a loft with long side windows, even if the ceiling is a bit low, helps a lot to make the space not feel claustrophobic, allows a more illuminated space and somehow visual communication with the outside eliminates the feeling of being enclosed.
Orienting the space of the bed of the lot of the tiny house towards a window with a low sill, or a door leading to a small terrace is also something that helps a lot to reduce the feeling of claustrophobia.
Actually, any window or space that adds light to the loft helps to reduce the feeling of claustrophobia and it is also very important to integrate the exterior with the interior in the visual aspect, having elements that allow the visual to the outside, some designs also include a skylight in the roof.
The ceiling height of the tiny house is key
I could go on embellishing and telling you many superficial elements to make you feel “a larger space” such as color, using mirrors, etc.
For me, as a claustrophobic who loves tiny houses, it all boils down to one thing, ceiling height.
If you are claustrophobic and would like to live in a tiny house, deep in your heart you know you need a house with a high ceiling, you can’t be claustrophobic and at the same time want a house with a low ceiling.
Whenever I design tiny houses, I always design them with a high ceiling, on rare occasions I design tiny houses where the loft has a very low ceiling, well, not everyone is claustrophobic like me.
But personally, I enjoy seeing images of tiny houses with loft, where the ceiling is quite high, and even from the first floor, you can appreciate the height of the ceiling.
A loft bedroom in a tiny house is ideal for a claustrophobic person, as long as the ceiling is high enough.
I say this because I have seen designs of tiny houses with rooms on the second floor (which I think is very necessary) where the room, apart from being very narrow, is enclosed with walls, can be closed with a sliding door, and has a very small window.
This is the description of spending a life sentence in Alcatraz for a claustrophobic, in a loft bedroom, if you have a ceiling with an acceptable height, you could have a view of the whole house if you wish, you can have large windows with a view of the sky, it would be spectacular to see the stars from a loft at night, and it is possible in a loft room, which is not enclosed with walls on all sides.
In short, what elements should a tiny house have for a claustrophobic person?
I have already mentioned most of the elements that a tiny house must-have for a person who is claustrophobic on the subject, but in case you only require a very short summary, here I explain it to you:
A high ceiling
This is the main factor for a tiny house so that a person with claustrophobia does not feel terrible inside it, a high ceiling in the loft, and if it has a double-height ceiling that can be seen from the first floor, much better.
Windows, everywhere, with low sill, when possible, in case you can not have windows with a low sill that are elongated windows, for a person with claustrophobia it is essential that the spaces have visual communication with the outside.
A loft bedroom
Yes, I already said that for a person with claustrophobia a loft with a low ceiling is a nightmare, but a loft bedroom with an acceptable ceiling height is a marvel for a claustrophobic person, this is because the loft can have the particularity of not being enclosed between four walls and you can also have a loft that is not enclosed by a door.
Whenever I can I include in my tiny house designs a terrace, I know this is not very common, but for a person with claustrophobia, having the possibility of being able to go out to a terrace to get fresh air is great, and more if you have a terrace with direct access from the loft.