Thursday, July 26, 2007

How Much Living Space Do You Really Need?

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

Lorne St Apartment - Before We Moved In - My Room by NZ Alex

Photo by NZ Alex

The answer: probably not half as much as you have, but we’ll come back to that.

First, this emergency news flash: Los Angeles is out of space, and people are going to fall off the edge of California and drown in the Pacific Ocean any day now. Fortunately some developers have a solution: start building 250-square-foot apartments.

To give you an idea of how big (or perhaps, how small) 250 square feet is, grab two friends and have the three of you lay on the floor head-to-toe in one long straight line. That’s about the length of one side of a 250-square-foot apartment.

Can you fit the basic amenities of life into 250 square feet of space? Well, let’s consider how much space your typical home furnishings take and see if we can cram them into these tiny apartments.

Item Space
(sq. ft.)
Queen-size bed 40
Dresser 10
Chest of drawers 10
Closet space 10
Bookshelf 10
Desk and chair 15
Couch/loveseat 30
End table 10
Shower/tub 25
Toilet 10
Bathroom sink 10
Oven/stove 25
Kitchen sink 10
Refrigerator 10
Cabinets/countertops 25
Total square footage 250

Hey, how about that! 250 square feet right on the button. Looks like those L.A. developers aren’t crazy after all.

Oh, you wanted walking space? Somewhere to stand while you cook? A bathroom where you don’t trip over the toilet as soon as you walk inside? Not gonna happen. Sorry.

Looks like the moral of this story is that living in a 250-square-foot apartment likely means giving up some of the amenities to which you’re typically accustomed. Such small apartments aren’t unheard of either; the typical Japanese one-bedroom apartment is around that size. Of course, the typical Japanese apartment doesn’t have most of the kitchen appliances listed above, a couch, or even a standard bed.

Another lesson to take away from this: if you’re a single businessperson who spends most of his or her time at work or otherwise out of the apartment, you don’t need 1,000+ square feet all to yourself. Especially if you’re renting, you may be throwing money away on extra space you’re not even using.

Before you move in to your next apartment, sit down and figure out how much space your stuff really needs. (No, you don’t need that life-sized neon-lit flamingo statue.) Once you have a square footage number, multiply it by two to account for walking-around space. That’s how big your next apartment should be to make maximum use out of your minimal space.

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