A modern yurt house with a minimalist design, featuring a black exterior and a wooden lattice frame, set amidst lush greenery.
More and more people are drawn to a simpler life. Instead of grand mansions, small-sized homes have become increasingly popular. There are indeed many possibilities to cut down on space without having to compromise on comfort. The modern yurt house is a prime example: with thorough planning and some creativity, you can build a tent-like abode that offers everything you need.

Round rooms have a special feel. They exude a sense of calmness and safety, zooming in on the essential: placing furniture or hanging up decorative items doesn’t prove easy without corners. But it’s exactly this minimalist approach that sparked the growing interest in yurt houses: living close to nature, free from material burdens, has now become the dream for many.

From ancient tradition to contemporary trend: what exactly is a yurt?

In the Turkish language, “yurt” originally means “home”. Nowadays, the phrase also refers to the dwellings of Central Asian nomads: a crossing between house and tent. Stretched over several wooden grids, cotton and felt fabric serve as the outer layers for a round-shaped construction.

Apart from the distinctive appearance, a yurt house also stands out due to its physical flexibility: it can be put up or taken down in a matter of hours. All necessary components easily fit onto the back of a truck – or the backs of two donkeys. Thus, you can take your home with you wherever you go. Mongolian shepherds have been moving through the country like this for over 2,000 years.

Compact kitchen area in a modern yurt with light wooden cabinets, black countertops, and a sliding glass door leading to an outdoor deck.
Yurt kitchen with ecological charm: durability and simplicity combined. Source: Peter Jurkovič

Building a yurt house: what to consider in advance

Today, the yurt has long since found its way to Europe – as a tourist accommodation, workshop venue, or kindergarten facility. And lately, it has also been a source of inspiration for private homes. But turning a yurt house into a main residence requires more than a simple tent.

Traditional models made from cotton and felt are ill-equipped for European weather conditions. Exposed to humidity, they will likely mould – not to mention the lack of insulation during the winter. Contemporary builders therefore need innovative solutions if they intend to live in a yurt-house on a long-term basis.

Talking numbers: how much does a yurt cost?

First and foremost, you will want to make sure that your project lies within your budget. Depending on the size and equipment of a yurt, prices may vary immensely. Basic models are available within a range between 3,500 and 4,500 euros. Complete with sanitation and heating, a yurt house will cost at least 6,000 euros.

Variants that offer a bit more living comfort amount to around 10,000 euros upwards. However, this might quickly double if you’re looking for a “luxury yurt” including proper flooring and electric heating. The higher your demands, the higher the investment – and there’s no upper limit.

From tent to main residence: is it possible to live in a yurt?

Whenever you settle somewhere permanently, you need official permission – no matter how small or humble your abode.

Specific regulations differ not only from country to country, but also between cities and regions. Hence, you should always contact your local authorities first to educate yourself about legal possibilities and restrictions.

In most cases, building a yurt house will require a building permit. This means that your plans must be in accordance with the guidelines stipulated by the respective municipality.

In other words: will the construction fit into the overall picture of the residential area? Working your way through all bureaucratic steps to get a final stamp of approval often takes several months – so you should lay out your time schedule accordingly.

Interior of a modern yurt house featuring a cosy built-in seating nook with cushions, a circular wooden table, and a built-in bookshelf.
The living room in the yurt: a cosy retreat that combines closeness to nature and relaxation. Source: Peter Jurkovič

Round meets square: how to build a modern yurt

Recently, a project in Slovakia has proven once again that minimalist living spaces can be just as comfortable as big residences.

The reinterpretation of the yurt: a unique living concept with clever solutions for more space and functionality. Source: Peter Jurkovič

Architect Peter Jurkovič came up with a genius idea to incorporate all essential amenities into a round-shaped construction: kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area.

For his novel take on the classic yurt, he put a circular room into a rectangular box. The “dead corners” thus created cover all the basic features of a regular home – without undermining the unique indoor experience.

In one corner of the yurt house, you can find two bunk beds hidden behind a cabinet door. Another corner hosts the kitchen counter. All in all, the main room offers enough space for interactive workshops, just like the owners had envisioned.

The Slovakian project illustrates how yurt houses not only take various shapes and forms but also serve various purposes. Their common denominator? A homely, feel-good ambiance inside. Anyone who has ever spent some time in a yurt will agree on that.

As you can see, a modern yurt can not only have a wide variety of appearances but can also be used in a multitude of ways. What they all share is the unique atmosphere they create within. Anyone who has spent an extended period of time in a yurt will surely attest to this. For those who would like to give this lifestyle a try, there are numerous holiday yurt rental options available across Europe.

Don't let the perceived drawbacks deter you; instead, do your research thoroughly. Perhaps a yurt as a residence is exactly what you've been looking for.