I feel like I frequently hear from people I know that they don't have any idea what the square footage of their apartment is. Their rough estimates always seem off, making me believe they don't actually know what 500, 300, or even 100 square feet actually looks and feels like. Here, we show you just what the possibilities (and limitations) are for each of these small residential footprints.
500 Square Feet
Let's start with the largest of our ranges. Five hundred square feet is already pretty small for an American home, although it might seem about par for the course for our European neighbors. In Lauren's home, 500 square feet means a separate kitchen and small dining room, spacious living room/bedroom, and a pretty generous closet. (The space below the bathroom in the floor plan is part of a neighbor's apartment.
400 Square Feet
This is about the size of a two-car garage. In New York, 400 square feet is the minimum size for a new apartment (although apartments built before the law took effect, in 1987, are often much smaller). This 400-square-foot Austin apartment has a separate kitchen and also a bedroom, although all the rooms are quite small.
300 Square Feet
Now we're starting to get really small. A 300-square-foot pad is still livable, if you're clever—that is what we're all about, after all—but you might have to make a few adjustments, like giving up a dining table or a full-sized sofa. In her 330-square-foot apartment, Stephanie, instead of tucking the bed away in a corner, placed the bed front and center. In an opposite corner, a small sitting area with a loveseat and an occasional chair provides a spot to lounge.
2oo Square Feet
Two hundred square feet is truly tiny—about the size of a one-car garage. This itty bitty Swedish apartment is 200 square feet, but it manages to squeeze a lot in, thanks in part to the lofted bed. (Lofts, and any other spaces with clearances less than head height, usually aren't included in square footage calculations.)
100 Square Feet
If 200 square feet is tiny, then 100 square feet is almost ridiculously small. Chances are, your childhood bedroom was bigger than 100 square feet. A typical double mattress takes up 27 square feet, which accounts for a third of your square footage, so you're probably looking at a lofted bed, or a futon or some kind of bed/couch hybrid. Actual apartments (that is, spaces with their own kitchen and bathroom) under 100 square feet are exceedingly rare—what you often see described as an apartment in this size range is just a single room that shares a bathroom and/or kitchen with other spaces. Mary Helen Rowell's 90 square foot 'apartment' falls into this category, with a teeny-tiny kitchen but no private bathroom. A custom bed fits the width of the space, but there's very little other furniture: just a few storage pieces and a table and chairs that hang on the wall when not in use.
Could you do it? Check out these four other apartments that measure less than 100 square feet.