Even the smallest of flats or studio apartments can look impressively large when photographed by estate agents. But unless you plan to issue all your guests with a wide-angle lens when they pop round for coffee, then you will need to consider how to best use your limited space.
Many of us have to compromise when buying our first home or moving to a different, more expensive area. But a lack of space need not mean a lack of style or storage, as many property owners in crowded cities around the world show. From Tokyo to New York, the savvy apartment dweller makes the most of what they have got, planning what they need, what they don’t and, most importantly, where everything can go. Think about what it is that you love and concentrate on that. Do you want a place to cook or a place to lounge? Sometimes you have to make tough decisions, but if done right they can transform your home life for the better.
Built-in storage is nearly always the best way to go if you have limited space. Many companies specialise in custom-built solutions for your needs, but these can be very pricey. A local cabinet maker, joiner or carpenter may be able to come up with something that works for you in the materials you want. You can even use floor-to-ceiling storage to divide rooms or make new rooms. It only works well if you can make yourself be tidy, but it will make a world of difference in a small space.
Image source: The Modern House
If you are looking round small apartments, or even if you live in one already, then try laying on the floor and looking up to see how much space you actually have in your room. It can really change your ideas about what can or can’t be done and what can go where. While you are looking up you should also think about how high your ceiling is. Many New York and even London apartment dwellers build up, creating a mezzanine for their bed or even manage to get a whole floor in. You will need to get sound advice from your builder and consult leasehold documents, but chances are you can at least create a bed mezzanine for a very reasonable cost.
Apartments in some US cities can offer less than 25 sqm of floor space, which even a pet cat may find a little claustrophobic. Have a look here.
But the very best architects can do wonders in limited spaces, with some making their name in competitions to innovate with tiny apartments. Although they still have to go some to beat the Japanese man, who lives in a Tokyo house that used to be a car parking space. Take a look at this astonishing video.
Amazingly, Fuyuhito Moriya shares the architect-designed three-storey home with his mother. We can only assume they get on very well and don’t argue over who is in charge of the remote control.