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For decades, it seemed like the name of the game in the United States was if it's bigger then it will be better. This is a big country; we like big portions, big cars, big homes, big everything. But what's true for many isn't true for everyone. In the housing market, some families need a 4,000-square foot home, while others do fine in a two-bedroom condo.

Recently, some bold, stylish families decided to embark on a journey to live in radically downsized dwellings called tiny houses. These 200- to 500-square foot homes are designed to maximize space efficiency and sustainable living, while people get to live in stylish, modern floor plans.

Tiny homes have gone from a niche hobby to a popular way of life. In many ways, they have grown up and become a more refined luxury home. These features of the next generation of tiny homes might get you thinking that bigger isn't necessarily better.

1. Architectural design

Few people expect to walk into a tiny home and see something they would call luxurious, but that's exactly what happens when architect Jeffery Dungan brings his clean, modern approach to traditional architectural styles and applies it to tiny homes. Growing out of the tiny house lifestyle, he embraces simplicity to add fresh, invigorating expressions to the homes he creates.

2. Tall, vaulted ceilings

Who says a tiny home needs to be cramped, claustrophobic or a tight squeeze? With the right design, a tiny home can exhibit the same sense of openness found in many luxury homes. Take The Saltbox, by Clayton Tiny Homes. Upon entering this meticulously designed home, the 11-foot-high ceilings and large windows blend the outdoors with the indoor, producing an astonishing sense of depth and space.

3. Designed by the square inch rather than the square foot

Every square foot counts with a tiny home, but many builders want to go even smaller and hone in on the smallest detail. This means installing subway tiles in the bathroom, adding shiplap wood siding or quartz counter tops. It's no longer just about getting the most out of each square foot, but how to make every square inch remarkable.

4. Built to code

As more people took to the tiny home lifestyle and more of these homes evolve into being professionally designed and developed, they should understand the regulations to which they are built. Clayton tiny homes are built to the International Residential Building Code (IRC) as well as all applicable state and local building codes. These small modular homes are designed for permanent year round living and are permanently affixed to your land.

5. Minimalists living with maximum comfort

Living simply doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself of certain comforts. With oak floors, top of the line appliances, bathtubs, laundry machines, French doors, dishwashers and full bathrooms, Clayton tiny homes offer all the features you would expect in a much larger home.

To discover more about modern tiny houses, visit the Clayton Designer Series Tiny Homes site and see for yourself why tiny living can also be luxurious living.