Small Space Living : Micro-Apartments Trending Big with Urbanites

Posted on October 01, 2013 | 0 comments

With minimalism and environment - friendly movement becoming two of today’s buzzwords, it’s no wonder that mini-apartments, or micro-spaces as they are often called, are fast becoming the trend now with city-dwellers. In fact, property and urban planning experts claim that miniscule apartments for small space living will not simply be a trend – they are here to stay.

Tiny as tiny as can be

If you’re used to having a huge space all to yourself, and a sprawling backyard to boot, your jaw might dramatically drop when you see how urbanites live in the tiniest of micro-spaces today.

So, how tiny are these dwellings? These tiny apartments, believe it or not, are really compact – sizes range between 150 to 400 square feet. And these are fully functional living spaces, too – with a single bed, kitchenette, dinette, wash area and private bathroom. However, some micro-apartments have communal areas like den, laundry area, activity room and bike storage among others. It’s like a hostel but better since you lease the space at a very affordable rate, and it’s the home you comfortably go to after a long day at work or school.


Trending in major cities in the U.S.

This minimal and limited-space living model originally started in Japan, where lands are sparse; hence, the need to maximize the limited available acreage available. Avi Friedman, a professor and director of the Affordable Homes Research Group at McGill University’s School of Architecture, calls the trend for micro-digs the “Europeanization” of North America, given the fact that in the UK, the average home measures only 915 feet. Today, with the irresistible appeal of downsizing, minimalism and going-green movement, we have adapted and accepted mini-apartments as a way of life.

With the economy improving, rents have gone up considerably. So, it’s practical for college students, working young professionals, senior citizens or retirees to live in smaller, cheaper and low maintenance spaces. This trend apparently started in Seattle, where dorm-like apartments have sprung up and become popular to young people.

While others may deem impossible to live in such a tiny space, mini-apartments have become the primary choice. After all, despite the limited space these apartments have, these are conveniently located at commercial districts, schools and other social places. Doug Bibby, chief executive of the National Multi-Housing Council, seconded that, indeed, “they’ll (those who live in micro-apartments) sacrifice space for quality location.”

In New York, where ridiculously expensive apartments abound – and mind you, these units are also small – micro-apartments have clicked with urbanites as well. In fact, Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched a micro-housing project of 55 units with sizes ranging between 250 to 370 square feet. Similarly, in San Francisco, more and more people have embraced living in these tiny wonders because the rents are cheaper, starting at $1,800, rather than the usual $2,400 monthly for a regular-sized apartment. Likewise, in Seattle where micro apartments initially boomed, monthly rent starts as low as $730. Other states are following this trend, too, including Austin, Boston, Vancouver, and Chicago among others.


The lure of micro-living

College students, working professionals, baby boomers and those who love and choose to live alone prefer leasing mini-apartments for several reasons. Aside from the cheap rent and awesome accessibility of all the perks of city living, they appreciate the beauty of minimalism – accumulating only the necessities they truly need for daily life and downsizing the number of their possessions.

However, living in micro-spaces is not for everyone. If you feel claustrophobic in an enclosed, small space, then micro-housing is probably not for you. More so, if you appreciate decorating your modern rooms; you want ample space for movement; and you love entertaining guests at home, then these mini-apartments are not a suitable lifestyle choice. Needless to say, these miniscule apartments suit those who have busy lifestyles, who enjoy being out and about in the city they love and just want a place to crash and do it all again tomorrow.  

Stay tuned for tips, tricks and modern decorating ideas for small spaces such as mini-apartments in our new Small Space Series on 212Blog.

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