14 Homes Share How to Make 400 Square Feet Feel So Spacious

published Mar 23, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Jason Rampe

Time and time again, clever homeowners and renters prove that a home’s, well, homey-ness isn’t determined or limited by the amount of square feet it has. (Just see how people created spacious-feeling spaces in just 200 square feet.) 

If you aren’t convinced that you could live well, stylishly, and comfortably in a super-small space, you’ll want to check out these 14 400-square-feet homes. These inhabitants might have smaller homes, but they’ve all fit in functionality with incredible aesthetics, despite their limited square footage.

Credit: Erin Derby

1. A 400-Square-Foot Brooklyn Apartment Balances Style and Function in a Small Space

When Fredd Wilson saw this industrial apartment in Brooklyn, the limited square feet didn’t deter him (and the spa-like bathroom was a fantastic bonus!). For someone who works from home and spends a lot of time in his space, it is essential to make his home functional and spacious. Hacks are abundant in his apartment, like using a trunk for music equipment and electronics and hiding a stool and cleaning supplies behind his couch. 

Visit the full home tour to see more of this Brooklyn apartment.

2. A Dreamy 400-Square-Foot Fort Greene Studio Apartment

Even though Emily Schildt only has limited square feet in her sunny Brooklyn apartment, she’s packed a lot of furniture into her small space without making it feel cramped. She has a full-sized bed, storage areas, and a full-blown dining table for hosting. Unsurprisingly, all of Schildt’s guests say they feel at home when they enter her apartment. 

See more of this dreamy apartment in the full home tour.

Credit: Jason Rampe

3. A 400-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Deals with a Small Space and Weird Layout Beautifully

Maleela had dreamed of living in New York City since she was young. So, when this 400-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn popped up, she jumped at the chance to live there — even with the disjointed layout. “I had to make this apartment special and comfortable because I spend most of my time working there (I work remotely from home), and I love to unwind and relax after work with a good book and some mint tea … although sometimes a good book is replaced with a Sex and The City marathon,” she said at the time of the tour. 

View the full home tour to see the stunning solution to the awkward layout.

4. This Beachy 400-Square-Foot NYC Rental Apartment Is Full of Rent-Friendly DIY Hacks

Even though Kelsey Trevethan and Ricky Tompkins’ sunny New York City apartment is only 400 square feet, the open-plan layout was a major bonus that made it feel spacious. The breezy floor plan likely contributed to the home’s beachy aesthetic. “I really loved decorating this apartment as if it were my own little beach house back in California,” Trevethan shared at the time of the tour. 

See all the DIYs in this gorgeous apartment in the full home tour.

Credit: Lisa Swatt

5. A 400-Square-Foot “In-Law” Unit Is Small but Cozy, Modern, and Minimal

Having a smaller home sometimes comes with a lower price tag, and that’s exactly what Lisa Swatt was looking for in a living situation for her and her 13-year-old daughter. So, she landed on living in the 400-square-foot in-law unit at her parents’ house in Oakland, California, which gives her the freedom to focus on travel and spending quality time with her daughter. “While a tight squeeze for the two of us, I feel it brings us closer together,” Swatt shared at the time of the tour. 

Visit the full home tour to see this airy space.

6. A Couple’s Cute, 400-Square-Foot Contemporary Houseboat

It turns out 400 square feet looks even more spacious when floating on the water. Brian and Jaclyn Westlake live on a 46-foot Carver Motor Yacht in San Rafael, California. Their home is both aesthetically pleasing and functional, too. “Many of our rooms serve several purposes and can be converted to meet our needs,” Jaclyn said at the time of the tour. 

See how this couple lives large on the water in the full home tour.

Credit: Haley Poling

7. An Upper East Sider’s 400-Square-Foot Apartment Is Crisp and Clean in a Neutral Palette

Perhaps a tip for making a small apartment feel larger is enforcing calm tones throughout the space. At least that’s what Hayley Brown did in her Upper East Side apartment in New York City. “I loved the idea of a neutral color palette, and the apartment already had great natural light, tall ceilings, and bright white painted brick. I wanted it to feel new and fresh and clean,” she shared at the time of the tour. 

Check out the full home tour to see this calming apartment.

8. This 400-Square-Foot North Carolina Cottage Is All Sorts of Cute Inside

When Annie Chernecky first saw a 400-square-foot North Carolina cottage, the original wood paneling made the space feel “claustrophobic.” With limited square footage, that feels like an easy feat. However, as an interior designer, Chernecky quickly made the three-room home feel much larger by painting the paneling white and accentuating the home’s original charm.

Visit the full home tour to see more of this cozy cottage.

Credit: Minette Hand

9. This Couple Made the Cutest Home in Just 380 Square Feet

Andrea and Brian Cotlove live cleanly and simply in a third-floor apartment in Brooklyn. At the time of the home tour, they had recently added a little one to their family and made their 380 square feet work. “The tall ceilings and the amount of natural light make the space feel bigger,” the couple said. 

See how this family lives comfortably in the full home tour.

Credit: Laurie Penny

10. This Tiny 370-Square-Foot Home Is Packed with Brilliant Organizing Ideas

Writer Laurie Penny transformed this “Hobbit Hole” (a small, strangely shaped, dark, basement-level apartment) into a soothing, functioning home. And it’s only 370 square feet! Plus, she incorporated several tricks into the apartment’s design that boosted her mood. 

Explore more of this gorgeous space in the full home tour.

11. A Creative Spirit Fills Her Home with Plants and Art

The natural features of Alina Fassakhova and Artem Churikov’s Upper West Side apartment (like the 11-foot ceilings and balcony overlooking Riverside Park) make up for the limited square feet they have to work with. However, they’ve made room for tones of green plant life and Fassakhova’s art supplies. 

Visit the full home tour to see more of this gorgeous space.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

12. A Small Home Gets a Design Refresh After a Breakup

Designer Farah Altoumah understands the importance of making a living space feel like home — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Following the end of a romantic relationship, Altoumah remained in the 400-square-foot home she shared with her partner. But doing so required a design revamp, which proved vital in her healing process. 

See this space’s fresh start in the full home tour.

13. A 400-Square-Foot Studio Makes Plywood Look Magical

At the time of the tour, Becky Elfes-Terjung’s boyfriend, Cliff Lance, moved in, reducing storage space in their shared 400-square-foot studio. Elfes-Terjung’s solution to make the space feel bigger was to work with plywood and neutral tones. Making furniture herself meant she could work with the room’s dimensions and customize them to fit their needs.

Take a deeper dive into this gorgeous apartment in the full home tour

14. This Chic 406-Square-Foot Tiny Rental Feels Much Larger

One lesson Kristyn’s 406-square-foot apartment has taught her is never to fear small homes. Instead of feeling fretful about where all her things would go, she got clever and came up with great storage solutions. “The biggest challenge has been storage, and I have gotten increasingly good at organizing due to the limited space,” she shared at the time of the tour. ”I finally caved and bought a PAX wardrobe from IKEA, which is providing me with much-needed storage space but unfortunately takes away from the aesthetics of the bedroom.”

Visit the full home tour to see more of this stunning space.