Small Living: Case Study House “R1”

As of late, opting to live in smaller houses and spaces is a choice that is becoming more popular. Currently in America is the ‘Tiny House Movement’ which is promoting living in an area of approximately 10-40sqm as opposed to the average 200sqm.

Project R1 is a 28sqm studio and there is more than enough space for one person and a cat. Rather than investing in bulk storage solutions, how about cutting down on material possessions to fit the size of your space? A small space by no means limits you to what you can do in terms of furnishing and it is possible to keep your space looking large and open. Continue reading to see a few simple ideas to save space in your home. (R1 is actually furnished with almost 100% IKEA products and that is the only reason IKEA products have been displayed in picture below).

Studio layout options

The current layout at R1 is the ‘single bed layout’. The studio has two inbuilt wardrobes between which a double bed could fit and a euro-laundry at the end of the kitchenette.

When you have a small space, try to find multiple uses for one piece of furniture. In the single bed layout, the bookshelf is used as a bookshelf (!), bed head, privacy partition and bedside table. Finding adaptable furniture is also a good idea, depending on what you like and dislike such as the sofa bed and fold down table. Partitions are good for dividing spaces or using it as a screen to hide things that don’t have homes (eg. yoga mats, suitcases or clothes horses). If you love bunkbeds but have no one to share one with, why not try a loft bed under which you can fit a couch, desk or whatever you fancy. And if you’re really short on space, instead of getting a couch, opt for beanbags or milk crates (with seat cushions).

Fun facts – 

According to (from 2009), the average Japanese house is around 90sqm. Japanese apartments are well known for their tiny footprints (real feet and also in terms of square meterage). Australia on the other hand is in the lead for large houses with an average size of 214sqm. Sure, there are probably a lot of factors unaccounted for such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, houses vs. apartments, family size etc. but this gives us a very basic idea of the scope of sizes. Since land size and characteristic housing typologies are important in comparisons, let’s have a look at areas per capita instead. Japan’s area per capita is 35sqm, America is 77sqm and Australia is again in the lead with 90sqm.

Perhaps Japanese apartments are just too space efficient, whilst Australian homes are a little excessive.

If you really want to get into creating multiple spaces within one very small space, check out this video of an architect in Hong Kong who created sliding walls to each room in his tiny apartment. Personally, if this was my place, I’d be too lazy to ever pull out my bedroom but it’s a very creative and interesting take on small apartment designs.

Shoebox Apartment into 24 Rooms