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50 Tiny Houses That Actually Float

If you've ever wanted to take tiny-house living for a test drive, reserve one of these unique Airbnb homes for your next vacation.

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The River Den: Gatineau River, Quebec

If you love tiny houses, you can take tiny-house living for a test drive in an Airbnb. These 51 tiny houseboats offer plenty of inspiration. The River Den, custom-built, features eight-foot patio doors and distinctive circular windows. If you’re thinking of building a tiny house of your own, the Build Your Own Tiny House course at Family Handyman DIY University will show you the ropes.

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Houseboat Myrtle: Knysna, South Africa

This tiny houseboat looks just like a little clapboard shed, floating on the water — and that could be just the motivation you need to turn your backyard shed into a tiny retreat. Houseboat Myrtle is permanently anchored in the Knysna Lagoon, just a two minute dinghy ride from the Knysna waterfront in the Western Cape area of South Africa.

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A Pirate’s Life: Charleston, SC

Featured on Tiny House Hunters, A Pirate’s Life was recently gut renovated using reclaimed materials — and that’s the latest trend, if these 30 houseboats made of recycled materials are anything to go by. The vaulted ceiling in the main cabin makes even tight quarters seem spacious and the wrap-around windows let in the light and provide stunning views of Charleston Harbor.

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Jette’s Houseboat: Copenhagen, Denmark

Read-up on these 15 ready-to-roll tiny houses that you can buy right now, because one night in Jette’s houseboat, located in what was once a working shipyard in the heart of Copenhagen, could have you hooked on small-space living forever. Upstairs, the living room is bright with big windows and a view of the water and neighboring houseboats. Below deck you’ll find a bedroom, bathroom, and small but well-equipped kitchen.

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Thames Houseboat: Central London

This Thames houseboat is just a stroll away from Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the London eye, the Tower of London, the National Theater, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, among other famous sights. It operates totally off the grid, with solar panels, yet has all the modern comforts, including hot water, a washing machine, and even a swimming pool.
Here’s how to install a solar hot water heater, if energy efficiency is a must in your future tiny house.

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Ziggy Stardust Surf House: New York City

This recently renovated houseboat situated in the Jamaica Bay area of Rockaway Beach is located in the Queens borough of New York City. The owner is the host of Back Yard Goldmine on DIY Network where he builds funky/beautiful Airbnb rentals for folks across America, and here his expertise shines. It’s hard to believe a tiny house could store this much fishing gear, but you can too with these storage tips.

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Brand Eigenbau: Berlin

This tiny houseboat located in Heidesee outside Berlin is designed for summer fun, with lazy hammocks, a BBQ grill, and a sun deck that extends over half of the boat, but a wood-burning fireplace turns it into a cozy retreat come winter.

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Haagenaar Ship: Amsterdam

Check out these tiny houses that you can buy right now, because a stay in this charming B&B will definitely have you ready for small-space living. Situated in an authentic Haagenaar ship that was built in 1900 to carry salt throughout Holland and Europe, it’s permanently anchored on a picturesque and sunny canal in the heart of Amsterdam. The modern, multi-level apartment Airbnb Amsterdam houseboat within was completely restored to look and feel just like a tiny house.

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Louve Barge: Paris

This tiny houseboat is anchored in an historic Dutch barge, moored on the left bank of Paris, between the picturesque Pont Neuf and Pont Des Arts bridges. Enjoy a glass of wine on the deck, or below deck at the gorgeous reclaimed-wood bar. The fully equipped kitchen with built-in appliances gives even these 13 genius small-scale kitchens a run for the money.

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Houseboat on the Nile: Cairo

If the adventurer in you yearns to have your morning cup of coffee overlooking the Nile, a week’s stay in Sam’s houseboat should be on your bucket list. A tiny home among the famous Kitkat houseboats on the Nile makes these 15 best tiny homes to buy after retirement seem almost pedestrian.

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De Cornelia: Amsterdam

This 100-year-old houseboat is pretty spacious for a tiny house, with two beds, two baths and a large, bright common area. The fully stocked galley kitchen makes good use of the kind of space-saving ideas that make a small kitchen feel and work better.

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Friesland Houseboat: Grou, Netherlands

The Friesland houseboat takes advantage of easy sliding doors to let in the never-ending sunshine and view of the water and passing boats. What you can see of this tiny house is just the tip of the iceberg. Upstairs is one communal living/dining space and kitchen. Below deck there’s even more: two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a small laundry room.

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Fantastic Houseboat: Copenhagen, Denmark

Jens’ houseboat has upper and lower decks and floor-to-ceiling windows that make the communal living areas bright and airy. When you know how to clean windows like a pro, a tiny house that’s all windows can be low-maintenance and high reward.

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Houseboat on Amstel River: Amsterdam

This 1913 boat has been completely renovated, with central heating, hot water, and solar energy. Enjoy dinners on the upper deck with panoramic water views, seated at the Saarinen-inspired pedestal table and tulip chairs. Excited by deck furniture that doesn’t all have to look the same? Here are 15 awesome outdoor furniture DIYs you can build yourself, so your tiny house has your unique stamp on it.

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Eiffel Tower Houseboat: Paris

This houseboat, located across from the Eiffel Tower in the 16th arrondissement, is almost guaranteed to have you jonesing for a tiny house that you can buy right now. It’s small but mighty, packing a lot of living into 650 square feet of space—and the artful decor has that certain Parisian je ne sais quoi.

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Sugar Shack: Seattle

The Sugar Shack may be small, but this tiny houseboat is brimming with charm. Big windows and a colorful interior make it feel homey. And if a relaxing reading nook is your jam, just picture yourself spending mornings in that windowed breakfast nook with a good book.

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Amsterdam Center Houseboat: Amsterdam

It’s hard to believe a small houseboat can pull off such a loft-like feel, but this canal-side floating B&B packs a lot in a small space. The cook’s kitchen with a six-burner range is enough to give even these 13 genius small-scale kitchens a run for the money.

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Glamping Loft: Braine-le-Comte, Belgium

There’s a lot of small-space inspiration in this ultra-modern houseboat. It’s living proof that even a minuscule kitchen can be beautiful and functional when you utilize a few space-saving tricks. What this little houseboat in the beautiful Flemish countryside lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in form and function.

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The Lil’ Bamboo: Key Largo, Florida

The Lil’ Bamboo packs a lot of fun into 38 feet of house boat. It’s permanently docked in a Key Largo marina that features beachfront, tiki huts, and a bathhouse. Check out our tips for decking out a man cave, including tiki elements, if you’re digging the party vibe of that roof.

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Île de la Cité Barge: Paris

This tiny french houseboat offers tourists a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live on the Seine, like a Parisian — in a tiny space. This just goes to show that mid-century modern furnishings along with some clutter-busting strategies for every room of the house can give even the smallest living spaces a sleek, uncluttered look and feel.

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Converted Dutch Barge: Amsterdam Airbnb houseboat

The owners of this 1903 Dutch barge rebuilt it from top to bottom, and carved out a suite with it’s own entrance for guests. The private terrace overlooks the water, the city, and part of the old industrial harbor. You’ll want to break out your DIY skills and install some skylights in your tiny house, because it’s the skylights that make these below-deck rooms feel bright, modern, and spacious.

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The Calidris: Amsterdam

The Calidris offers guests the experience of waking up to a panoramic view of the historic harbor. The one-room dwelling has ingenious built-in storage solutions, like this platform bed with a dining table and fridge literally built right in.

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Kings Cross Houseboat: London

This King’s Cross houseboat offers visitors a chance to live like a Londoner — and try out tiny-houseboat living. Check out that small, but efficient bathroom. The space-saving sink and toilet leave room for a full-size tub.

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German Barge: Paris

This 1930s barge is docked across from the Eiffel Tower. Tiny home aficionados love kitchens that pack a whole lot of utility into a tiny space, and this barge has one. You could cook an eight course meal in this little houseboat, then dine al fresco on the roof deck.

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Tony’s Trawler: Copenhagen, Denmark

Tony’s Trawler is located in the heart of Copenhagen, right over the bridge from the trendy meat packing district. The guest suite in this floating B&B is like a miniature condo, offering all the conveniences. If you’ve been looking for awesome platform bed designs that you can DIY, that multi-tiered platform bed is sheer inspiration.

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GiaMaria: Richmond, Virginia

The 50-foot Chris Craft GiaMaria is moored in a full-service yacht basin. Marina lifestyle ranks this tiny home right up there with the coolest tiny houses in all 50 states. The efficiency kitchen has a full-size range, fridge, and double sink.

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The Barge Jacoba: Nantes, France

Moored on the banks of the river Erdre, in the heart of Nantes, the barge Jacoba offers all the comforts of tiny-home living. The use of pocket doors is just one of the many space-saving tricks employed in this tiny houseboat. If you’re installing a pocket door in your home, our pocket door guide shows exactly how they operate.

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The Ark: York, England

Adding wainscoting to your tiny house may seem like an intimidating project, but with our guide to putting up a wainscoted wall, even a moderately skilled DIYer can do it. The ark’s lower-level bedrooms were renovated with board-and-batten walls — and that’s what makes these rooms so cozy and inviting.

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Vecht River Houseboat: Vreeland, Netherlands

This small floating villa has big, bright appeal, thanks to a wall of windowed doors that offers 360-degree views. Our expert tiny-shed carpenter actually prefers installing sliding doors over hinged doors. Nice to know that windowed affect is achievable in your tiny dream house!

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Péniche Studio: Paris

This petite apartment may be small on space, but it’s big on charm. We’ve seen some incredibly tiny kitchens, but that sink, stove, and under-the-counter refrigerator all in one takes the prize. This Parisian péniche is located on the water in the tony Trocadero neighborhood of Paris, just a quick walk from the Eiffel Tower.

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Wheelhouse Studio: Amsterdam

Portholes give every room that nautical touch, and if you know how to cut curves in wood, you can easily add some to your tiny home. This quaint captain’s quarters in a renovated cargo ship is a 20-minute train ride from the heart of Amsterdam, but has stunning views of the water, a nature preserve, and even romantic Castle Muiderslot in the distance.

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Knot Home: Seattle

When you take advantage of space-saving kitchen ideas, you can fit a full-size galley kitchen in a tiny house. This 700-square-foot houseboat featured on FYI TV’s Tiny Houses was custom-built by Urban Houseboats of Seattle, and it is packed with modern charm and utility.

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Boutique Houseboat: Cambridge, England

Situated on the historic river cam, a short walk from Cambridge city center, this widebeam houseboat has beautiful shiplap walls and hardwood floors. Get that loft-like feel in your tiny home by installing beaded wainscoting on the ceilings with the same arched, tongue-and-groove effect.

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Tiny Tugboat: Amsterdam

This tiny tugboat is moored on a canal on the Amstel river, central to everything worth seeing. Quarters are tight, but the owners made use of every inch of available space. Here are 10 awesome DIY platform beds that rival even this crazy triangular bed.

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Le Grand Large: Metz, France

A tiny houseboat with a big name, the guest suite in the Le Grand Large is like a tiny floating cottage, complete with gingham-skirted kitchen sink. The built-in bench seating in the lounge area creates entertainment seating and provides a partition to the sleeping area.

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Péniche Bretonne: Rennes, France

The main cabin of this petite péniche is like a cozy cabin on a canal. It features beautiful knotty-pine tongue-and-groove walls and ceiling. If you’re a fan of the knotty-pine look, here’s how to install a tongue and groove ceiling in your future tiny house (or houseboat).

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Sleep Aboard: Providence, RI

The houseboat Sleep Aboard is the epitome of a tiny house, with a tiny white picket fence thrown in for good measure. The interior is kitted out like a small cottage that somehow contains all the comforts of home. You can create an unexpected attic space just like this, by making the most of a pitched roof.

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Tugboat Sally S: Seattle

There are some great vintage metal pieces on the Tugboat Sally S, from the industrial lights to the porthole hardware to the brass grab bars and bathroom taps and towel bar. These 12 unexpected ways to use metal in your home can get you that same industrial vibe.

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 The Three Sailors: Avignon, France

The barge The Three Sailers is located on the banks of Piot Island, opposite the ramparts of the old town of Avignon, with a breathtaking panorama of the Palais des Papes. The spacious deck includes a swimming pool — something rarely seen in a home this tiny. These 15 modern deck-building tips and shortcuts make adding a deck to your future tiny home easy.

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Room to Rent: Amsterdam

New-construction lovers will go crazy over this brand new houseboat with a multi-tiered deck for outdoor fun. We’ve got dozens of free deck plans that will get you started on an original deck design for your tiny house.

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Authentic Barge: Amsterdam

Built in 1905, this Dutch houseboat has lots of vintage charm, from original plank floors to gleaming metal portholes. Here’s how to install pine floors, if wide-plank flooring like this is on your wish list for your future tiny house.

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Narrowboat: London

This authentic narrowboat manages to provide every necessity in a small space, and the stove is a working heating system.

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Dutch Houseboat: London

Everything you need is literally at your fingertips in this tiny Dutch houseboat. The fully stocked galley makes use of ingenious space-saving kitchen ideas, including clever built-ins that curve right into the triangular bow of the boat.

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Maria: Amsterdam

You might want to line up a some ready-to-roll tiny houses right now, because once you’ve lived with the efficiency of this freestanding kitchen, you’ll be hooked on tiny-house living forever. The houseboat Maria guest suite has everything you need to make your stay enjoyable.

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Houseboat Studio: Paris

It’s like they read our 25 tips for turning your backyard shed into a tiny hideaway, because this tiny houseboat looks just like a little wooden shed, floating on top of a barge. A ship’s pilot house has been turned into a guest suite in this houseboat near Notre Dame Cathedral. Get to know when Notre Dame was built.

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Stella Rask: Amsterdam

Historic coaster Stella Rask, built in Denmark just after the war and recently converted, offers real inspiration to make your tiny bathroom seem larger, including wall-hung fixtures. Below deck is a private guest studio that offers a kingsize bed, sitting area, and kitchenette, plus this luxurious ensuite bath that makes the most of a tiny space.

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Classic Riverboat: Paris

This classic riverboat, crafted in the Netherlands in the ’70s, has an all-wood interior, including tongue-and-groove walls and ceiling. Here’s how to install a tongue and groove ceiling in your tiny dream house.

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Aqua Villa: Stockholm

The houseboat Aqua Villa is moored in Pampas Marina. Like a stylish, ultra-modern house, floating on the canal, it has two levels of deck edged in metal balustrades that give it an industrial look that’s right at home in this canal-side scenery. Here are 15 modern deck-building tips, including metal balustrades, for your tiny house (or houseboat).

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Jordaan Houseboat: Amsterdam

If you like the decor of the living space, check out our guide guide on how to hang wallpaper. Bold wallpaper can visually open up a tiny space. This houseboat is located in the Jordaan neighborhood, home of the Anne Frank House, near lots of bustling cafés, restaurants, shops, and art galleries.

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Forida Houseboat: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

There are two bathrooms in this small houseboat, and both employ tricks that make a small bathroom feel larger. One even has a full-size vanity. This Florida houseboat is located directly across the road from Fort Lauderdale Beach. It’s moored in a full-service marina that offers a swimming pool, fitness facility, and tennis courts. If that’s tiny-house living, bring it on!

Sally Jones
Sally Jones is digital editorial director at Reader's Digest. A writer and editor living in New York City, she has worked at many websites in her career including iVillage, Ladies Home Journal, More, Parenting, Cosmopolitan, The Knot, YourTango, and Brit + Co, in jobs ranging from editor to COO. Renovation and interior design are her hobbies. You can catch her at her blog Renov8or.