See How a 450-Square-Foot Layout Looks in a Studio vs. a Micro Home

published Jul 5, 2023
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2 photos side by side. Left: 1 story micro home in los angeles, california. Cream exterior, glass doors, patio table and chairs, rock landscaping. Right: 4 story brick exterior of apartment building with green roof in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Credit: Compass

Square footage may be one of the reigning stats you consider when looking for new digs, but that number doesn’t tell you everything. Not all floor plans are created equally, and a home’s layout can drastically affect what it’s like to live there. 

Are you willing to sacrifice some living space for a gloriously vast bathroom? Do you prefer a big, open layout to one that’s divided up into several small rooms? To get a better sense of just how much a floor plan can change what a space looks like, I took a look at two 450-square-foot homes: one a studio condo in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the other a micro home in Los Angeles. 

Credit: Compass

In the Cambridge condo, when you walk through the front door, it’s angled slightly toward the living room — which is, per the nature of a studio, also the bedroom and office. Although it’s on the garden level of a brick building, high-up windows bring natural light into the open space. The petite home, which is technically 453 square feet (3 square feet larger than the Los Angeles comparison) last sold for $459,000.

Credit: Compass

Although no walls delineate a bedroom, that doesn’t mean the floor plan doesn’t offer interesting ways to create different zones. Tucking the bed into the rounded edge of the room, to the far left of the front door, creates a cradling effect that makes the sleep zone feel slightly set apart from the rest of the living area.

Credit: Compass

A granite-topped kitchen island draws another line, using barstool seating to create a separation of Sleep and Eat. The wall bumps out beside the kitchen, too, to make for a natural dining alcove. You could tuck in at an adorable bistro-style table to fit with the studio feel, or maximize your dining capacity with bench seating and a table with self-storing leaves. 

Credit: Compass

Over on the opposite coast, the stucco Los Angeles bungalow stands on its own (although it’s part of a small three-home community that shares a common courtyard). Stepping through the glass front door of this home, which most recently sold for $420,000, also brings you into the main living area. 

Credit: Compass

Red tile floors and warm, neutral-toned walls bedeck the room, and a one-wall kitchen makes efficient use of the square footage, packing in ample drawer and cabinet storage, a dishwasher, gas stove, and fridge. 

Credit: Compass

That leaves the rest of the room open for a dining and living area to arrange depending on your lifestyle needs — I can picture a big banquet table taking up the bulk of the space for use as an off-duty desk when you’re not hosting dinner parties, or a cozy DIY conversation pit that transforms the room into one big couch. 

Credit: Compass

Unlike its studio counterpart, the bungalow boasts a bedroom with a door. The cream-colored space is just wide enough to fit a bed and a pair of twin nightstands on either side. But snugging the bed in front of the window and letting the natural light fill the room, as well as keeping any furniture low-profile, helps the sanctuary feel completely uncramped. 

Because both homes cost a similar price per square foot ($933 for the Los Angeles home, and $1,013 for the Cambridge version), the preference largely comes down to what layout best suits your life — and which coast you’d want to live on.