Micro apartment designed by Nichola Gurney
A sleeping area in a ‘joinery pod’, designed by Sydney-based Nichola Gurney

In space-starved cities around the world, rooms are shrinking to ever smaller proportions. Designers are having to dream up new ways to reinvent micro living – with fold-away furniture or clever use of colour – without scrimping on style. We’ve selected seven small space magicians proving that tiny can still be liveable.

Batiik, based in Paris

Micro home designed by Batiik
Courtesy of Batiik

Sometimes, even the grandest of cities need space-saving tricks for their more compact homes. When tasked with renovating a 11 sq m micro apartment in Paris, local studio Batiik used secret storage and folding furniture to make the most of the small space.

Micro home designed by Batiik
Courtesy of Batiik

A dining table pops out from the wall, with room to hide away seating, while the bed doubles as a sofa. Flashes of cobalt blue liven up an otherwise muted colour scheme.

Studiomama, based in London

Micro home apartment designed by Courtesy of Studiomama
Courtesy of Studiomama

Fold-out multipurpose furniture, storage designed for specific objects, and a lot of plywood was Studiomama’s answer to a 13 sq m London residence, converted from a minicab office. Every element in the tiny building works hard – with doors doubling as desks, extendable seating for surprise visitors and a bed that’s also a pair of bookshelves.

Courtesy of Studiomama
Courtesy of Studiomama

‘We see the issues of how to live in a compact living space to be of growing importance,’ says co-founder Nina Tolstrup. ‘We wanted to use the project to pose a question about what are the things that we really need to live comfortably.’ The designer’s aim was for the space to ‘work intuitively, without too many electronic or hidden functions’.

Maayan Zusman, based in Tel Aviv

Micro apartment in Tel Aviv designed by maayan zusman
Photography: 181-Architecture Photography

Tel Aviv designer Maayan Zusman has a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to transforming small spaces. While working on the refurb of a 55 sq m micro apartment in the city, Zusman designed bespoke carpentry that added hidden storage, as well as a tiny office niche for working at home.

Micro apartment in Tel Aviv designed by maayan zusman
Photography: 181-Architecture Photography

Wooden panelling divides the living space from the bedrooms, and saves a precious 10 cm that would have been added by a wall.

Paola Bagna, based in Berlin

Micro home apartment designed by Paola Bagna
Courtesy of Paola Bagna

‘Every centimetre is crucial in the design of small spaces,’ says Paola Bagna, who’s overseen the transformation of several tiny apartments in Berlin, including Micro Apartment Moabit, measuring just 21 sq m.

Micro home apartment designed by Paola Bagna
Courtesy of Paola Bagna

For Bagna it’s all about the details, focusing on using good lighting and materials, and insisting on multifunctional custom-made elements that use every bit of space available – with floating staircases, mezzanine sleeping areas and pull-down wardrobes.

Alexander Fehre, based in Stuttgart

Micro home designed by Alexander Fehre
Courtesy of Alexander Fehre

‘A bad room is always poorly organised,’ says Alexander Fehre, whose renovation of a 45 sq m London apartment proves that pattern can still work in pocket-sized homes. Bespoke shelving adds storage space to a narrow kitchen, while a diner-style eating area is marked out in bright red. Mirrored surfaces also add the illusion of extra space.

Micro home designed by Alexander Fehre
Courtesy of Alexander Fehre

‘The real luxury doesn’t come from material, it comes from a good working room with a minimum design standard,’ says Fehre. ‘So it doesn’t take a big budget.’

Michael Chen, based in New York

Micro home apartment designed by Michael Chen
Courtesy of Michael Chen

Once dubbed the ‘micro-living guru’, Michael Chen has tackled several miniscule Manhattan apartments. While overhauling a 21 sq m studio in the city’s West Village, the architect tapped into its attic space, turning it into extra clothes storage as well as a place to hide an extendable dining table and pull-out work station. Focusing on ‘transforming elements’ allows each area of the apartment to do double duty, while a colour palette of white, charcoal and pink creates a ‘subdued but lively’ environment.

Nichola Gurney, based in Sydney

Micro apartment designed by Nichola Gurney
Courtesy of Nichola Gurney

‘There is something satisfying about inhabiting spaces without surplus or excess,’ says Nicholas Gurney, who often uses sliding or folding mechanisms, and hybrid furniture-storage pieces when designing diminutive homes. Colour is also a powerful tool for the Sydney designer, who uses it to mark out specific living zones – creating a bright red sleeping area within a ‘joinery pod’ for a 27 sq m apartment in Woolloomooloo.

Read next:
My micro-apartment: inside photographer Andrea Wyner’s capsule home in Milan

Emma is an editor and writer who contributes to Dezeen, Grafik and Creative Review

Latest Stories

Latest Stories

Share Tweet
+

Our privacy policy has changed - please go here to update your preferences.

Privacy Policy