We all love pretending we can live in penthouses like Taylor Swift, but that isn’t a reality for a majority of us. Small spaces can be wonderful, though — especially in big cities like San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York, etc. — inspiring us to get creative with the square footage provided to make it feel larger than it actually is with assorted hacks. While it may seem like your 300- to 400-square-foot apartment is an anomaly at the moment, according to a new report, micro-apartments may become the norm in the not-so-distant future.
The nonprofit think tank Urban Land Institute recently released its “Macro View on Micro Units” report, which goes into detail on what the future holds for small-space living. You aren’t going crazy — urban living is indeed getting smaller. Check out the five key findings from the report below.
1. Make it Small, But Not Too Small: Thanks to new zoning changes in numerous cities throughout the US, micro-housing buildings are being developed all over. While many believe these types of apartments run around 400 square feet, according to a developer interviewed for the report the ideal size actually falls between 275 to 300 square feet — basically enough space for your Murphy bed, a single occupant and possibly a dog or cat. Sorry, no live-in lovers here, please.
2. Appliances Aren’t Getting Any Smaller: According to the study, Americans aren’t embracing the tiny appliance lifestyle our friends in Asia and Europe seem to enjoy. While it would be nice to have an all-in-one washer + dryer combo machine and smaller fridges, ovens and dishwashers (so much more room for activities!), we’re not willing to toss the convenience of the full-sized option out the window just yet. Interestingly, the report did find that people would sacrifice an oven if there was a microwave + convection oven pairing to replace it. Personally, we think we’d be fine living that crock pot life.
3. Amenities Galore: Since the actual living space would be smaller (no room for dinner parties), buildings filled with these tiny units would include amenities to keep residents engaged and active. From gyms to communal tables to rooftop decks, these buildings would be the social equivalent to your favorite weekend spots. Only you’d be hanging there nightly.
4. The Spaces Will Grow: While the study makes it clear this trend is going to stick around, many developers are being cautiously optimistic about it just in case buyers + renters aren’t actually as crazy about it as they predict. Many of the buildings are being designed with the option to easily convert to one- or two-bedroom apartments if the interest in small space living is not a sellout. We love this idea, because if you enjoy the building you move into, you could essentially keep growing in the same space (+ boo + dog + baby, if you catch our drift ;)
5. Stop Trying to Make “Micro” Happen: Yep, even though we’ve been using the phrase “micro-apartment,” it actually isn’t all that well loved. As stated in the report, “The term has begun to arouse negative connotations associated with higher density, overcrowding, and transient populations.” Obviously developers and sellers are looking to sell and rent these units, so the term is getting rebranded. While phrases like “innovation units,” “launch pads,” and “fun units” have reportedly been suggested, we think the simple term apartment should work just fine.
What are your thoughts on the tiny housing trend? Let us know in the comments.