Are you tired of renting sub-par apartments? Are your neighbors too loud? Think twice before you belittle your own living space. These 10 apartment spaces will make you feel grateful for what you do have. Unless that is, you actually live in one of these tiny cramped spaces. The largest cities in the world are also home to the smallest apartments in the world. As long as you can get out of the house, most of these rooms offer cool “hip” solutions to living in a vibrant place without a lot of cash. Tenants manage to cram their entire lives into spaces smaller than prison cells. Personalizing every inch of space to make it feel like a suitable place to live. All the while they spend most of their time “somewhere else,” inside the biggest cities in the world.
Unless you’re talking about the rooms of the second half of this list, then you’re talking about what could be entire families all packed into a room, smaller than the spaces we send murderers to. Abominable living conditions. The two dominating cities on this list are Manhattan, New York and Hong Kong. You can read on and be thankful that no matter what happens in your daily life, you don’t need to live in these 10 small dwellings. Those that choose to stay in these humble abodes choose to only for the city itself, or because they are beyond poor. The number one spot is especially tragic, as you’ll see.
10. 140 Sq. Ft. In Poland
One-hundred-and-forty square feet is about as small as you can go, for any living space, without being completely insane. It borders on the edge between minimalist and claustrophobic. Szymon Hanczar crammed his entire home into a 140 square foot micro-apartment. The tiny room includes a kitchen, study area, elevated bed, and a hidden bathroom.
“Extremely small flats are great for people who are Minimalist, who want to enjoy the city life,” says Hanczar. There’s a tiny kitchen (sink) and hidden bathroom, located underneath the bed. The shower and the toilet are pretty much the same thing. What looks like a cupboard also has a washing machine. “A bike is an integral element of life in the city,” said Hanczar. “It’s the best means of transport, it’s eco-friendly and fast. Because of lack of space I hung it on the wall and it became a decoration.”
9. 130 Sq. Ft. In Paris
Unlike the other horror stories on this list, the architecture for this room is so well done that it doesn’t seem as small as it is. Making do with only 11 ft. by 11 ft., architects Marc Baillargeon and Julie Nabucet created a dwelling space that looks and feels much bigger. “Our approach to architecture is that the house is not so much a machine for living, but a tool for living well,” says Baillargeon.
Thibaut Ménard, an owner of the space, commented that he noticed new things about the apartment everyday. “This studio has been created in a very intelligent and adaptable way of thinking, and with plenty of storage space and cupboards, which makes it suitable for each type of situation,” says Ménard. It’s divided into two levels, and the bed folds into the upper-level. Once folded in, there’s a living room, a bathroom, a full kitchen, and a dining room.
8. 100 Sq. Ft. In Manhattan
And here is proof that people are willing to live in sub-par conditions if it means they are living in the heart of the big city. This apartment costs $1,100, which is a lot of money for such a small space, even in Manhattan. But “commuting an hour and a half or walking five minutes to work was the deal maker,” said Grayson Altenberg. It’s interesting that Altenberg is a chef, yet he doesn’t seem to need a kitchen. His dining room is a small tray. Altenberg says, “I do miss having my big kitchen, but I also have a very very giant kitchen at Lincoln Center […] My living room is central park.” There is only a bed and the usual personal items. The toilet, hunched away in a tiny corner, doesn’t have a barrier to block the smell, and the shower is literally right next to the bed.
7. 90 Sq. Ft. In Manhattan
Felice Cohen doesn’t get claustrophobic, saying she gets out of the city just as much as she stays in the city. She gets the full Manhattan / New York City experience for only $700 a month. It’s in a great place; one block away from central park. Lincoln Center, several libraries, the gym, and subways are only a short transit away. There’s no kitchen, but there is a fridge, a hot-pot, and a toaster oven. The bathroom is “pretty big;” only a bit smaller than the average bathroom you would find in a normal-sized apartment. The bed is above the entrance area, saving plenty of space for a “place to hang out and read” and do yoga. There’s also a small office, complete with a desk, a laptop, and plenty of artwork. “I’ve had probably eight or nine people hanging out,” she says of this “quiet” and “cozy” space.
6. 86 Sq. Ft. In Paris
This apartment is actually quite beautiful. Converted from a former maid’s room by Kitoko Studio of France. Over time, the maid’s rooms lost their original purpose. Instead of letting the rooms sit as storage spaces the increase in property prices drove these rooms into renovation. The room’s main feature is its wall of cabinets. They slide open to a closet and a small bed, four feet above the floor. The cabinets also detach into a small table for two, and storage cubes, which can contain personal items. Next to the bed there is a tiny bathroom. There is also a tiny kitchen beneath a window.
The apartments characterize “non-architecture,” (i.e., simplicity and minimalism). The rooms are all white. And finally they are just underneath the roof of the building. So amenities include sunshine, and views overlooking rooftops of Paris. Fifty percent of the rooms stay as foyers.
5. 78 Sq. Ft. In Manhattan
This apartment comes with two rarities. It’s in one of the most expensive cities in the world. And it is one of the smallest apartments in the world. The space costs $800 a month. There’s no running water. The apartment does not have a kitchen. And three other neighboring apartments share the bathroom.
Living in such a small space is not actually a necessity in New York City. You can rent a full bedroom for $1,000 a month. “I could get a bigger place I guess, but I like the compact nature of it,” says Luke Clark Tyler, the tenant in this apartment. The bed folds up into a couch. Once he flips it up, the room becomes a living room / home office. His “kitchen” is just a tiny refrigerator. And there is a cabinet complete with a custom-made door. Fitting everything he needs to live, including his microwave, printer, and silverware.
4. 60.5 Sq. Ft. In London
This apartment is interesting not only because of its size, but because of its price tag. This 60 sq. ft. former broom closet came into existence as an apartment in 1987, and is worth about $313,000. But hey, some people just like having small efficient spaces. It’s actually not too bad compared to the next two rooms on the list. If you don’t have guests over much, if you don’t need the extra space, and if you spend most of your time outside of your home, this could be the perfect place for you!
“I [could] wash up, answer the door, make a cuppa and go to the loo all at the same time,” said former owner Ray Barker. The apartment comes with a small kitchen, a bed that converts into a sofa, and a shower which doubles as a wardrobe. There’s also several cabinets, and six-inch deep cupboards. The only downside is that it does not have a window.
3. 40 Sq. Ft. In Hong Kong
Only 24 sq. ft. bigger than the number 1 item on this list. The Society for Community Organization commissioned the above photograph. Meaning to draw attention to the housing crisis in Hong Kong. The city now features rents that average 35% higher than New York City. As of now, 100,000 people in Hong Kong are living in tiny 40-square-foot apartments, according to the Society for Community Organization. Hong Kong is also one of the world’s richest cities.
These spaces are often rented out by more than one person. Looking at the photos, these “apartments” actually look almost exactly like prison cells. Except there’s usually about three people living in these apartments. Prison cells only contain about one or two people. It’s beneficial that Hong Kong is such a vibrant city. You would imagine that such tenants would spend most of their time outside of their homes.
2. 16 Sq. Ft. In Hong Kong
Prison cells are bigger than these depressing boxes. These tiny spaces go for about $384 USD per month. They’re located right in the heart of Hong Kong. Residences have access to anything their minds could conjure. But it’s actually more like a small closet than an apartment. There is a window and an air conditioner, plus internet access. Yet some of the apartments are without even the basic windows and air conditioning.
The hallways leading to the apartments are tiny themselves. I doubt a person like Shaq could navigate his way through a place like this. Once tenants open the door, they immediately bump straight into their bed, which is a whopping 4 ft by 4 ft. Inside the apartment, tenants keep such ornaments as pottery and other personal accessories. Use your imagination for what it would be like trying to bring a girl back into this closet space.
1. Four Sq. Ft. In Hong Kong
Bedbugs permeate the tiny spaces. So instead of mattresses they use thin pads or bamboo mats. “Cramped living space in cage homes, cubicle apartments and sub-divided flats has become the reluctant choice for tens of thousands of Hong Kong people,” said the city’s chief executive. The tenants wash all their clothes in a single bucket. The bathroom is two toilet stalls. The shower stall doubles as a squat toilet. The kitchen is a small room with a sink. And the “hallway walls have turned brown after dirt has accumulated on them for years.”
Stacked on top of each other, the four-and-a-half square foot mesh wire cages go for $167 a month. They came into existence in the 1950s. Most of the tenants are single men. Many of whom never married or had any kids, and live on government assistance. After paying rent, they survive with only pocket change to live with each day.