Could You Live In 400 Square Feet?

I saw this GORGEOUS Stockholm apartment on Apartment Therapy this week and thought “Now THAT is a tiny home I could be down with!”  I’ve seen so many “tiny home” shows on HGTV which really seem like a crock.  How is it possible to live in 200 square feet with someone else nevermind two children? I mean REALLY? The kids sleep under the stairs a la Harry Potter (“Junior’s bedroom doubles as the pantry and the wardrobe! It’s so convenient!”) and there is a composting toilet that also acts as a seat for the shower which is also the living room sofa.  I’d love to see a show called “Tiny Homes: Three Months Later” in which all the people have put their homes up for sale.  I love the concept of downsizing and living small, but in a realistic way.

Now this apartment would work beautifully for a couple.  It’s stunning in it’s detail- the iron framed window walls in the bedroom (I personally would have installed modern, streamlined white drapes on a ceiling track that could be pulled shut for privacybut not ruin the look) but I adore the way it keeps the space bright and light while also dividing the living spaces.

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Looking into the living room from the kitchen (I guess looking at my unmade bed while washing the dishes might stress me out but to live in a place like this I think it’s a requirement that you be a neat freak!)

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The adorable kitchen. Keeping the cabinetry simple and sleek makes everything sppear tidy and spacious.

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The bedroom- this looks so calming right now! And see- they didn’t even make their bed for the shoot so I guess I was wrong. :)

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I’d also add some side tables and a small chair in here. :)

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In the living room is a wall of closets for clothing and other needs.  I’d probably add some more storage pieces in here- perhaps a chest and some storage ottomans for extra seating?

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What’s the smallest you’ve lived in?  Andrew’s and my first condo we bought before we got married was 690 square feet and was so perfectly laid out it felt way bigger and we absolutely loved it.  It was so adorable and lovely that a girlfriend bought it when we wanted to sell!

36 comments

  1. Yes! This apartment is beautiful!!
    I agree with the tiny house movement. My husband and I were saying we should start a Right-Sized house movement. Not over-the-top huge, but not 200sq ft either. I guess the happy medium doesn’t make for exciting enough television though ; )
    Have a great day!

  2. I love this!!!
    I totally agree that the layout makes all the difference in the world. Our NYC condo is under 900 sq feet but feels much more commodious. Other than the need to purge often it does not feel cluttered or small. We have a 2 year old and hopefully will have another so we will see what our perspective is then. Other apartments in our building with a bigger footprint look smaller due to an awkward layout.
    There’s something cozy and intimate about a small space. Also, I like to think of our neighborhood restaurants , coffee shop, and park like an extension of our home.

  3. Wow this is beautiful! I always laugh at the Tiny House shows- most of them are just way too small. I’d watch the Tiny House, Where are they now show!

  4. I’ve lived in some small spaces and storage is always the biggest challenge. Extra bath towels, toilet paper, bed sheets, cleaning supplies…there was never enough space for these items. I saved a lot of money by not over-buying, because I didn’t have anywhere to put the items when I got home!

  5. Our first house was a little less than 800 square feet, and it was perfect for us at the time. We had our first kid in that house and it was great, but we did move into a bigger place before baby #2.

    I think I could handle a tiny house if it was just me, but there’s no way I could live in a tiny place with my partner or my kids.

  6. I love that coffee table ! Any ideas who makes?
    It is a really good layout! Love the kitchen and agree about the drapes idea. Or just leaving it open. Not sure of the point of a glass wall. Maybe to keep sound out?

  7. They did a brilliant job with those windowed walls, to make it feel open and bright while creating a separate bedroom.
    I think 1000-1200 square feet is plenty for a family with kids. I grew up in a 3BR house of 1200 square feet–four kids. It was plenty big. I don’t understand the gigantic mansions that are so popular. They just get filled with a lot of stuff. I also don’t get the gigantic yards, especially when they are vast expanses of grass. It’s one thing to have lots of grass in Scotland, but another in southern California.
    My smallest was a 1BR, 600-square-foot apartment with my husband and newborn.

  8. I lived in two small apartments. One was part of a house that was a bedroom and a kitchen = 220 sq feet. It was small. I had a roommates. I was young (early 20’s). The other “grown-up” version was when I lived in Hong Kong. It was billed as a 650-sq foot apartment, but I think the livable indoor space was actually more like 350 sq feet. And it was perfect and I loved it. The bedrooms were minuscule (the size of a lot of people’s walk-in-closets) at 6’x7′. The living/dining space was 7’x20′ or 7’x25′ feet. I measured once but I can’t remember exactly anymore. I loved the simplicity. The thing is, I lived in that space as a single person very comfortably. But a lot of people in Hong Kong live in that space as families. I had neighbors in the same size flat next door as a family of four (parents, 2 teenagers, and a dog).

  9. I know you just really want that single handle brass faucet ;) I’m right there with you–I even went so far as to mount mine backwards so the handle is on the left (I’m right handed and always have cooking yuck on my right hand–problem solved!). In college, I lived in a trinity house in Philadelphia that was 400 square feet, four rooms stacked on top of each other connected by spiral staircases. It was like living in a tube. This space is fantastically light filled, which is what I think in part, makes it so appealing!

  10. Oh wow! That IS tiny!!! But sometimes there is just no choice. If you have to live in a crowded city or a very expensive city! Or you just can’t afford anything else. The smallest place I lived in was my dorm in grad school. I really tried to make it pretty and “grown up”, but I only stayed there for a year, the I had to move to a real house.
    I’m in love with the colors of this apartment! Very feminine :) I think it’s the glass doors are smart :)

  11. My husband and I live in a 290 sqft condo in Beacon Hill. I bought the place 6 years ago because it was all that I could afford, I never thought that I’d still be living here!

  12. Love this. And I want that windowed wall + drapes. Any suggestions for who might be able to build one in the Boston area?

  13. This is super appealing to me right now with two active kids, two dogs, messy husband, and all the crap that comes along with that. You definitely have to be a minimalist neat freak to make this work, though. And you can’t have kids who play a lot of sports (hello sports equipment) and multiple pets. Can you imagine bringing a couple of dogs and kids into the images above? Ain’t gonna work. :-)

    My first apartment post-grad school was about 600 square feet, and my husband and I lived there for a year and a half after we married, before we bought our first home. Was so nice to just have one of everything — one sofa, one coffee table, one bed, etc. vs. the multiples we have now. It is overwhelming to keep up with “just” a 2500 square foot house!

  14. This apartment is a beauty. And, I’m in total agreement with you regarding the HGTV tiny homes show. It’s so annoying, yet I can’t look away. My husband always says….”why don’t they just buy an RV”? Right, though?

    1. That’s what my husband and I say! They always say they want to spend their money on traveling…with an RV, your house comes with you (except international travel of course). I guess an RV isn’t as “cool”.

      This apartment is beautiful! I could’ve lived in it in my twenties. With a crazy 2 year old now, not so much. :)

  15. My studio in Boston is somewhere between 200 and 250 sq feet and it’s perfect for just me. I got creative with storage and got rid of a ton of things I didn’t need or use when I moved in. Sure I wish I could have a bigger space, but don’t have the budget for it. Huge homes with unecessary space seem like such a waste to me now!

  16. Designed the way it is, this apartment totally works, and I’m ready to pack my bags and move it. It looks so airy and spacious, and I think it’s a big hand to the designer. Nothing too cramped, everything open. Gorgeous!

  17. The smallest space I ever lived in was my freshman dorm; about 120 sq ft with three other roommates. Double bunk beds, four desks with chairs, and two tall dressers we spit with our bunkmate. The closets were about 2 1/2 ft wide. I do not know how I got my clothes first in there, and then back out when I wanted to wear them. I had a lot fewer clothes in those days.

    Love this apt … for somebody else. While I’m pretty neat, i’m nowhere near as minimal. I think the window wall really adds to the feeling of space. Just jamming the bed behind the kitchen counter wouldn’t feel the same.

    How did the beach tent work out? Did Henry like his first time to the beach? I remember you mentioning on your babymoon that the next time you came to the beach, you’d have your child with you….

  18. This is a great use of space. I can definitely do it. I love the use, color palette and closet. For me storage is essential. I think part of having a nice space, or to feel like we have a BIGGER space is not holding onto junk.

  19. I live in a 398 sq ft apartment in Manhattan. It is technically a 3 bedroom (!!!!) but we use it as a two bedroom so we have a living/dining room. I have one roommate, so we each have our own bedroom with Full-Size beds. I don’t buy anything “just because” any more. If I buy a new item of clothing, something else gets donated. I have my off-season clothes in storage boxes under the bed and in storage cubbies above the closets. Twice a year I wash all the clothes (clean or dirty) and switch out my wardrobe for the new season. I still don’t make the bed everyday, but you really do need to pickup things quickly. For example if I leave a suitcase on the floor after a trip, that takes up my entire bedroom floor! I stay pretty tidy to stay sane.

    The dirty secret of city living is I have many sentimental possessions at my parents house (yearbooks, books, college t-shirts, fine china, etc). They are not things I use right now, but I wouldn’t be able to get rid of them!

    I love living in NYC and my current neighborhood, so I hope to stay in this apartment for a long time. I always joke I will bring 1.5 children home to this apartment one day. BUT it will definitely take a lot of work and maybe even some remodeling.

    1. Haha. Which room do you go to when your sick of yourself. I need 40 acres and a porch to live with myself.

  20. If you want to see small, Google Oprah Nate small space makeovers and check out the South End condo I lived in for over ten years :) I’m living proof that if it’s designed impeccably, it’s not only possible but you will actually cry when you decide to sell. Love won out….couldn’t fit the hubs in 319 square feet!

  21. Lovely! If I lived alone, I could totally handle an apartment that size . I think the smallest one my husband and I lived in was when we first moved to WA, and it was maybe 800 square feet? Coming from Ohio, where rent is cheap as hell and we always managed to swing living in townhomes, a one-bedroom apartment was a bit of a shock. I loved the challenge of a smaller space…the hubs did not…so we’re back to paying out the nose for 2 bedrooms and separate bathrooms (which if I’m honest, I’m glad to not share anymore…dudes are gross).

  22. I had to laugh because when I saw your photo this morning on Instagram my first thought was ” I would need to get some simple white drapes in that bedroom for privacy ” and my second thought was ” and I would have to make the bed immediately up on rising so I wouldn’t have to look at an unmade bed while making coffee…” Really though, it is a great space.

  23. Really, this apartment is just city living, and to that point, it’s New York and Europe city living. I’ve stayed in wonderful AirBnBs all over Europe and lived in a tiny apartment in New York and many of them are laid out like this one. Sleek abinets, separate sleeping space (thats really only for sleeping), and a 2-3 seater couch with small round dining table which keep it efficient and clean. It’s an American thing to want McMansions and huge couches and King beds and crazy espresso machines that replace going to a coffee shop. There is a reason people are outside more and enjoying the wonderful cafes in Europe… because they don’t have the space in their homes!

    -Stefanie
    http://www.thestylesafari.com

  24. I lived in 2 different studios in Queens. One had a little sleeping nook that I was able to curtain off with a tension rod and some panels. That made all the difference because I was able to fake out a bedroom. But even with the layout, I could not imagine having to share it with another person for more than a few days.

    I think outdoor space in a comfortable climate would be the only way I could manage it.

  25. 500 sq ft studio with my husband and dog! It was awesome and even though it was NYC, we had a full size kitchen. We had a shared roof top deck we could go visit when we wanted to eat outside so that probably helped make it feel more spacious. I loved that we couldn’t accumulate too much stuff. And if it is the right layout it is comfortable.

  26. Love this tiny house but where is the BATHROOM!!? If there is a tiny bathroom then it’s perfect!

  27. This is a stunner! I smile at the tiny house movement and think “I could never live like that!”. Small, yes. Tiny, no. We’re in an airy, 665 sq ft house in rural WY – parents, three teen boys, and a dog :) It all comes down to how well the home is designed. We totally love our place.

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