If that sounds just a bit too crowded for you, stay away from NSW and Victoria where the state governments have limited the minimum studio apartment size to 35 sq. m and 37 sq. m respectively.
These restrictions fly in the face of the “micro apartment” concept that’s springing up in cities like New York, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg has given the go-ahead for construction of some teeny tiny apartments as small as 25 sq. m.
If the thought of having such a miniscule space to live in horrifies you, you’re certainly not alone.
Australia has a long-standing reputation for having some of the biggest homes in the world, but things are starting to change. Driven by price constraints and an emerging trend for minimalism and micro living as seen in Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York, many Aussies are seeking a smaller, simpler life.
The recent changes brought in by governments and regulatory bodies are, they say, aimed at protecting inhabitants against unscrupulous property developers and ensuring people have a certain quality of life. How ironic that by doing so, they remove people’s choice to live in a smaller – but more affordable – space.
Houzz editor Jenny Drew notes that many people are downsizing and making the move to the city so they can be closer to their kids or have the benefits of a more central location. This has resulted in demand for more effective use of small spaces.
“The space-saving solutions we’re seeing as a result are exciting and inspiring … a small home doesn’t have to reduce the comfort or utility for the owner or renter, so long as the space works hard,” she said.
These designs are challenging our ideas of what a home should look like. You need a place to sleep and a place to eat, but you can’t do both at the same time so you don’t necessarily have to set aside a separate space for each activity. Micro living combines practicality with aesthetics, function and form to create living solutions that make the most of even the smallest spaces.
We shouldn’t focus so much on floor size, as having extra space just encourages us to waste it or fill it with things we don’t really need. Larger homes are full of dead space and unnecessary zoning, while micro living simply requires more thoughtful consideration regarding the use of space. Of course, micro living comes hand-in-hand with a minimalist lifestyle – where space is limited, excess possessions have to go.
“I heard once that you should ‘interview’ your stuff; think about what value each item provides you and your property …” Jenny says. “It means asking yourself: ‘Does it spark joy?’ (to reference Marie Kondo) and making those assessments on a daily basis, rather than only during the big spring clear-out.
“Also, get stuff off the floor. Can you hoist your bike up on a pulley? Fold away the kitchen table? Floor space is precious commodity in tiny homes …”
In our “land of sweeping plains”, it’s understandable that many Australians are reluctant to follow this trend, but the statistics are undeniable. The ABS has revealed a rise in studio apartment purchases as people accept a more simple life in return for a property they can afford.