Real Life Advice: From a Stylish Couple Living Well in Just 450 Square Feet

published Jan 30, 2017
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(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

My apartment is a whopping 500 square feet. Alone, it feels just right. With people over, my place transforms into a cramped box, making it difficult for me to feel comfortable in for a few hours, let alone longer. So when I see spaces smaller than mine sustaining two people, I want to know how it works. I asked Kyle and Alex, who share a 450 square foot San Francisco home in style, how they pull it off.

Be honest: Do you guys work together to control the influx of “stuff” into the house…or is one person sneaking stuff in or out when the other isn’t looking?

Kyle: I’d say we’re both conscientious about the stuff that comes into our space. I’m definitely guilty of buying more of the stuff around the house, but I try to be very considerate about what I buy—from both a design and functionality perspective.

Alex: Kyle tends to buy more of the “stuff” and I’m usually sneaking it into Goodwill donation bags.

(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

How do you settle co-habitating disagreements?

Kyle: I usually have the final say around the house. I tend to be more particular than Alex when it comes to the domestic world.

Alex: Kyle usually gets the final say with anything domestic. Since I’m more the planner outside of the home, what he says goes in his domain.

(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

What’s the best thing about sharing this home with your partner?

Kyle: With our busy schedules, it feels special to have a quiet moment to chat about our days over dinner.

Alex: Waking up every morning to find Kyle sipping coffee at his desk in the early light. We both travel a lot and I always miss that moment when I’m away.

(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

What’s the worst thing?

Kyle: The lack of counter space in the kitchen is a bit of a bummer. Eventually it’d be nice to be able to cook together in the kitchen.

Alex: Not having my own sink.

(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

Is there anything that surprised you about living in a small space with someone else?

Kyle: Even in a small space, it’s possible to create many zones for different purposes. Though it is small, it doesn’t have to feel small.

Alex: I’m surprised by how quickly you can accumulate “stuff” in a small space and how often we run to the donation center.

So, what’s the secret to harmoniously sharing a small space with someone?

Kyle: My answer has a lot to do with what I think makes a successful relationship: a lot of shared beliefs/activities/goals, but enough differences to keep it interesting.

Alex: Knowing and respecting when your roommate/partner needs space. Making sure you’re both represented in the design aesthetic of the space. But mostly, successfully coordinating bathroom time.

(Image credit: Celeste Noche)

Thanks Kyle and Alex!

See their whole home (all 450 square feet!) → A Pared-Down Pad for a Stylish Pair