Living in a Yurt

Complete Guide to Alternative Housing

Living in a Yurt Introduction


Living in a yurt offers an appealing alternative housing solution that embraces simplicity, sustainability, and affordability. With roots as a traditional home for nomadic cultures across Asia, yurts have seen a surge in popularity for modern residential living. The circular, domed structures provide shelter while bringing occupants closer to nature.

For those seeking an eco-friendly and minimalist lifestyle, yurts offer the perfect opportunity to downsize and focus on experiences over possessions. This comprehensive guide will explore everything related to yurt living, from construction and design to maintenance, heating and cooling, costs, and creating a thriving community. Read on to learn all about the unique benefits and considerations of making a yurt your full-time home.

bush yurt living

What is a Yurt?


A yurt is a circular dwelling made up of lattice walls, rafters, insulation, and a roof that come together to form a natural shelter. The traditional tents originated in Central Asia as portable homes for nomadic groups and shepherds across the Mongolian steppes. The round structure provided sturdy and insulated housing that could withstand extreme temperatures and winds while also being easy to take apart and transport.

Modern yurts maintain the essential elements of the ancient design, including:

  • Cylindrical walls using interlaced wood or bamboo
  • Insulation materials like felt or sheep’s wool
  • A domed roof frame
  • A central skylight for ventilation
  • Handcrafted wooden doors
  • Raised circular floor platform

While still lightweight and transportable compared to conventional homes, many contemporary yurts are more permanent residences with electricity, plumbing, and climate control systems. The simple and eco-friendly structures have become popular getaways, guest cottages, and primary dwellings.

Benefits of Living in a Yurt


Yurt homes offer advantages over traditional housing:


  • Made from natural and recycled materials
  • Energy-efficient round design
  • Well-suited for off-grid living


  • Lower cost to build compared to typical home
  • Minimalism reduces possessions and bills
  • Appreciating land value for permanent structures

Freedom and Flexibility

  • Creative interior design unbound by walls
  • Portability allows moving locations
  • Add-on modules like bathrooms can expand space

Closeness to Nature

  • Large windows and skylights provide views
  • Curved walls create flow and openness
  • Bring the outdoors inside with plants and decor

Peace and Simplicity

  • Cozy, calm environment for relaxation
  • Circular flow for harmony and comfort
  • Focus on experiences over material goods

For those drawn to sustainable and mindful living, yurts can provide the perfect sanctuary.

another yurt living

Planning Your Yurt


Careful planning is key before embarking on yurt living:

Assess Your Needs

  • Consider your lifestyle, values, space requirements
  • Account for family size, pets, hobbies, work life
  • Determine must-have features and amenities

Research Local Regulations

  • Verify zoning laws and permit requirements
  • Compare building codes for permanent vs temporary
  • Check deed restrictions, HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION rules

Choose an Ideal Location

  • Find suitable land with utilities access or off-grid capability
  • Consider proximity to community resources and recreation
  • Account for climate conditions like wind, snow, rain

Design and Customize

  • Select yurt size from 10-30 feet options
  • Add-ons like decks, extra walls or doors
  • Interior decorating style and multifunctional furniture

Taking time to plan results in the perfect yurt retreat to call home.

Constructing a Yurt


Building a yurt involves careful preparation and assembly:

Site and Foundation

  • Level ground and clear area double yurt dimensions
  • Gravel or concrete pad to prevent sinking and shifting
  • Potential for piers, deck or raised platform base

Walls and Roof

  • Assemble lattice wall sections around framework
  • Add insulation between wall and exterior fabric
  • Build central roof wheels and circular rafters
  • Complete waterproof roofing layer

Doors and Windows

  • Install insulated wooden door
  • Cut out windows and screens as desired
  • Seal any gaps thoroughly

Interior Finishes

  • Cover plywood flooring or subfloor
  • Add electrical wiring, plumbing, gas if needed
  • Insulate and install interior paneling

With proper site prep and quality materials, a yurt can last for decades.

Designing Yurt Living Spaces


The unique shape of a yurt allows for creative living solutions:

Maximize Space

  • Lofted beds over desk or living areas
  • Modular and multi-purpose furniture
  • Hidden storage under floor and benches

Kitchen Features

  • Compact propane appliances
  • Convertible island with storage
  • Small refrigerator/freezer combos

Bathroom Considerations

  • Composting or incinerating toilets
  • Low-flow sink and shower fixtures
  • Stackable washer/dryer units

Off-Grid Power and Water

  • Solar panels, wind turbines, generators
  • Batteries and power converters
  • Rain catchment systems and cisterns

With some innovative design features, small yurts can feel spacious and complete.

Maintaining Your Yurt


Proper maintenance keeps a yurt in top condition:

Canvas Walls

  • Spot clean stains immediately
  • Allow walls to breathe and dry out regularly
  • Repair small tears with adhesive patches

Wooden Frame

  • Check for damage, rot, or pests
  • Keep wood conditioned and sealed
  • Replace any compromised structural parts


  • Fluff and replace compacted areas
  • Look for moisture accumulation or sagging
  • Re-coat waterproofing treatments annually


  • Keep condensation levels low through airflow
  • Clean roof vent covers and screens
  • Use dehumidifier and exhaust fan

With routine care, a yurt can last for many years in any climate

Heating and Cooling a Yurt

Maintaining comfort in a yurt takes some planning:

Passive Heating

  • Site yurt to maximize sun exposure
  • Close flap over door when unoccupied
  • Let in daylight through skylight

Active Heating

  • Install a wood or pellet stove
  • Use portable electric heaters
  • Insulate floors, walls, and ceilings

Natural Cooling

  • Open all vents and doors
  • Use window fans to circulate air
  • Install shaded porches or awnings

Active Cooling

  • Swamp coolers or portable ACs
  • Ceiling fans to keep air moving
  • Outdoor fire pit for nighttime heat

With some creativity, yurts can stay warm in winter and cool during summer.

The Financial Reality of Yurt Living

Yurts provide cost savings but still carry expenses:

Initial Investment

  • Prefab yurt kit – $6,000 to $20,000
  • Custom build – $15,000 to $30,000
  • Land purchase – $10,000 to $100,000
  • Site preparation – $2,000 to $4,000
  • Utilities setup – $5,000+

Ongoing Costs

  • Insurance – $300 to $600 annually
  • Utilities if connected – $2,000+ annually
  • Maintenance and repairs – $500+ annually
  • Off-grid systems upkeep – $200+ annually

However, mortgage freedom and minimalism balance out costs over decades.

Embracing the Yurt Lifestyle

Despite challenges, yurt living rewards those seeking freedom:

  • Connect with nature and embrace gratitude.
  • Appreciate the simple moments each day.
  • Focus less on possessions and more on experiences.
  • Establish a routine adapted to seasonal changes.
  • Join local sustainable living and minimalist communities.
  • Make environmentally conscious choices for all systems.
  • Learn to thrive whether on or off-grid.
  • Discover harmony between mind, body, and dwelling.

The yurt lifestyle awakens our inner peace.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How difficult is it to assemble my own yurt kit?

A: With proper tools, some carpentry skills, and help from friends, assembling a yurt kit is very manageable, with most people finishing in 1-3 days. Detailed instruction manuals are provided. Consider hiring an expert for any electrical, plumbing, or gas system work.

Q: What are my options for bathrooms and laundry?

A: Composting or incinerating toilets are popular off-grid options, while RV-style portable toilets can also work. For on-grid

Where can i buy a Yurt?

Below is a list of some yurt suppliers although it is recommended to do some research to find the best deal that suits you.

Pacific Yurts

Blue Yurts

Yurts of America