A survey conducted on existing-home sales by the National Association of Realtors in mid-June 2015 shows that millennials aren’t showing the same interest in the American dream of owning a house as their parents did. The initial pain of coming up with a down payment, plus the nomadic tendencies of today’s youth, contribute to this trend. According to the census, both the price of home ownership and rents have nearly doubled since the 1990s.
All this, plus the perennial attraction of urban living for our young professionals is creating what we like to call the age of small space living. This may include old fashioned studios, but now the trend is also toward “micro apartments”. This is a new concept that definitely does not conjure up images of empty, rundown rooms. To the contrary, micro apartments are designed to hold all the amenities of a large apartment, but in a smaller space - sometimes as small as 220 square feet (smaller than a standard hotel room).
Micro apartments may not suit everyone’s lifestyle. However, studios and micro apartments do offer a chic alternative to living in a large space - without sacrificing coveted amenities -and sometimes at notable savings. They’re common in Asia and Europe and in 2015 started popping up in American metropolises like Seattle, Portland and and even New York (the MyMicroNY project in Manhattan is one excellent example).
Expert interior designers play “décor Tetris” with floor plans to include space for a bathroom, kitchenette, bed, and living space. Making these spaces comfortable, livable, and attractive is the real challenge that requires a new level of effort and innovation. Murphy beds, built in storage, and disappearing desks help utilize all the space while movable walls and high ceilings leave the impression of more room than might actually be at hand. Innovative versatile products are being introduced daily to accommodate this new lifestyle.
Here are some pros and cons of Micro Apartment living:
Lower rent - While not cheap, Micro Apartments may offer you the urban “luxury” lifestyle at the lowest rent possible. Some of the alternatives for living in Manhattan are apartments pushing up to $5000 and more when studios and micro apartments are available for under $3000 (everything is relative!).
Saving the planet and lower maintenance costs - lower electricity costs might also come into play. Most of the Micro apartment buildings have new, eco-friendly appliances, light fixtures, and central AC - a definite money saver!
Efficient living - Having a small space means you don’t need 3 couches and 8 paintings to fill your space: A bed, a desk, and entertainment space are all you need for the paired down lifestyle more and more people want – not to mention, there’s less to keep clean.
No big dinner parties – While convertible furniture can greatly expand your living area, it’s difficult to throw a dinner party for twelve with one bathroom and a table that seats 4.
Less privacy – You and your significant other will have plenty of face time unless one of you is frequently out.
Less stuff – while both a pro and a con, you will also have less storage and closet space for yourself. Smart small space design and custom built ins make all the difference, but you’ll probably have to limit the shopping binges.
Family – You won’t be able to raise a family of 5 in a 250 sq. foot space comfortably. More than two people living in a micro unit could raise problems – though couples have done it with toddlers.
Small space solutions are not just for micro apartments and studios. People are working everyday to find solutions to conquering cramped spaces, or to simply make everyday living – no matter how large your home – more logical and efficient. We at Zoom-Room offer a variety of smarter, small space design solutions, especially our electronic, remote controlled Zoom-Bed (and the amazing Zoom-Desk). Comfort is achievable in any space, if you’re willing to apply intelligence and innovation to your design.