While living in a tiny house may or may not be ideal for some, most people living in highly populous cities have no choice but to cram themselves into even smaller apartments. That often means coming up with ingenious ways of maximizing space through the use of modular furniture, clever storage tricks, and all-around innovative design. This could involve creating an all-in-one partition-wardrobe-bed unit, or putting everything into sliding drawers, or going vertical.
We’ve rounded up 11 of our favorite international micro apartments from the archives (and a couple new ones) that showcase tiny-urban-living at its finest. All of the homes clock in under 500 square feet, with one going as dangerously small as 86 square feet. Can you even imagine? Take a look a see. You might be surprised.
In Berlin, Spamroom studio and architect John Paul Coss revamped a 21-square-meter (226-square-foot) Art Nouveau apartment into something beautiful by creating a central kitchen and bathroom unit in pine, above which a lofted sleeping space floats. A steel staircase mounted to the wall gives access to the mezzanine, delineating the space between the kitchen and the entrance hall.
Boutique or micro apartment? Hard to say, but this expertly-appointed flat in Budapest, Hungary is cute as a button. Designed by local firm Position Collective for Airbnb, the 322-square-foot (30-square-meter) employs modular plywood shelving and storage units to maximize living space.
This 236-square-foot flat in Taipei, Taiwan recently got a makeover by A Little Design, with built-ins taking over in a major, space-saving way.
In Sydney, Australia, local "spatial design studio" Catseye Bay created an all-in-one partition-wardrobe-shelving-bed-frame unit for this 388-square-foot apartment.
Florence and Milan-based architect Silvia Allori transformed a compact 1970s studio apartment into a versatile, modular home and office for herself by using white laminate to cover the walls, and a strict parameter of dimensions to create uniform widths, lengths, and depths throughout the space.
Paris is a star when it comes to micro apartments. This one clocks in at only 160 square feet, but with a little creative rejiggering from local firm Batiik Studio and the use of a slide-away bed, it’s been made to feel much roomier.
This Parisian flat is even smaller, measuring only 86 square feet! Converted from an old storage closet, the teeny tiny home reimagined by Kitoko Studio makes incredible use of in-wall storage, sliding drawers and doors, and soothing color.
Polish designer Szymon Hanczar turned his 140-square-foot studio into an efficient pad complete with desk, hammock, and washing machine. Quite impressive.
In Madrid, instead of going horizontal, this flat went, well, vertical. With only 226 square feet to work with, Spanish design firm MYCC took advantage of 13-foot-tall ceilings to create a stacked house of sorts, with a work space, sleeping nook, and living area all on separate levels. A wall-mounted ladder and steps provide access to the home’s different zones.
A little wall-knocking, ceiling-stripping, and tile-restoring revealed the potential of this 484-square-foot open-plan attic studio in Barcelona. Doesn’t feel so tiny as it does palatial.
Japanese architect Shimpei Oda renovated a 36-square-meter (or 388-square-foot) apartment in Osaka by extending the floor plan into a covered balcony space. Different flooring materials were used to demarcate the change. Ingenious, or cheating? No matter, because the home feels bright and spacious.