People have always lived in tiny spaces, and it has often meant sacrificing on comfort and quality. Many have suffered from the small-square-footage stigma, as the “go big or go home” mantra has dominated America. But this situation is finally starting to change. More and more people are embracing micro-living as a comfortable and high-quality living solution.
The Internet is awash with jaw-dropping photos of beautiful miniature houses and stylish apartments that are a testament to intelligent design and execution. They range between 300 and 600 square feet, and some models even include dishwashers, bathtubs and other luxury amenities. With the cost of renting and buying apartments in cities like New York and San Francisco constantly on the rise, developers have turned to tiny living as a way to provide much-needed accommodation.
New York City has even agreed to waive its minimum 400-square-foot requirement for some new developments, allowing for studio apartments as small as 300 square feet. Look at the photos, however, and it's clear that these aren't the cramped and uncomfortable spaces you might have been expecting.
Lower prices and utilities mean these smaller spaces make perfect sense in a city like New York. But not everyone is suited to this trend. Approaching a tiny apartment requires a lot of preparation. Many people don't realize how much they miss all the extra space a larger apartment offers until they've lost it.
But fear not. There are plenty of ways you can deal with this challenge. Here are four hacks for living in a small space:
1. Cut the wardrobe clutter.
It's an obvious one, but it's also an important one. Saving space means living with less, so you need to learn to let go. Figure out which clothes are staying, and which clothes should be donated.
You might have loved that sweater in high school, but can you honestly say you've worn it after your freshman year of college? Tiny homes may boast clever storage solutions, but they definitely don't include giant closets. Scale down your 20 coats to five, and stop buying new stuff you don't need.
2. Maximize your kitchen space.
A kitchen is a breeding ground for clutter, and it's often the first room to lose out when space needs to be cut. If you're looking at cupboards overflowing with items and drawers full of utensils, it's time to get smart.
If you don't already have one, buy a knife block for your blades. If the space on your counter is at a premium, invest in a magnetic strip on the wall that will hold your utensils in place. Spice racks are another wall-mounted treat.
To cut wasted space in cupboards, transfer food from your half-full boxes to jars and glass containers of uniform sizes. Not only will this make stacking easier, but it will also increase shelf life and help you save on your grocery spending. Think outside the box to make your kitchen perfect.
3. Move up, not out.
Does your new micro-apartment have beautiful, high ceilings? That space is your biggest untapped resource. Stack things vertically, and buy organizational racks that are tall and thin. A loft bed is another great way to fill up those extra cubic feet.
By raising your bed above head height, you can fit valuable storage space underneath. You can even try fitting in a desk, dining table or sofa. Plus, you'll never have to worry about whether or not you remembered to make your bed before you invite friends over for a drink.
4. Decorate for space and light.
Mirrors are perfect for creating the illusion of space, and choosing the right colors for your walls can make a huge difference. Light and neutral colors will give your tiny apartment the feel of a much bigger space, and painting your ceiling the same color will make it feel higher, too.
If you don't have the time or money for a total redecoration, you can brighten the room by swapping out all the drawer knobs and cabinet handles. While you're at it, why not put a fresh lick of paint on the cabinet doors? These little touches won't break the bank, and they'll add a lively and personal touch to your perfect new home.
You'll probably spend most of your nights out with friends rather than in with the TV, but a tiny house doesn't have to mean tiny living. If you cut out the clutter, maximize your space and get your decor just perfect, you'll soon love life in your new micro-apartment.