Life In A Tiny Home – Small House Plans Under 500 Sq Ft

A while ago we reviewed a bunch of small house plans under 1000 sq ft and we thought those homes were compact and packed with functionality but wait till you see these micro apartments. The following examples show floor plans under 500 sq ft. To make the distinction clearer, we’ll use the metric system. We hope to show you that tiny homes have a lot of potential and can be very charming as long as you make the most of the space you have.

40-49 square meter floor plans

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An apartment with a total surface of 47 square meters doesn’t offer too many options, especially if you also plan to use it as an office. Of course, that doesn’t make the project impossible. Studio Yuichi Yoshida & associates were tasked with reinventing this apartment from Tokyo, Japan and they managed to do a pretty great job at organizing all the different functions and fitting everything in without making the space seem cluttered.

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Japan is pretty famous for its small apartments so we’ve included some examples from there in our list, like this 47 square meter studio from Kyoto. The architects and designers at TANK were in charge of transforming the originally plain apartment into a modern guesthouse where artists can live and create. Apartment from the overall simplicity and openness of the space, the apartment proudly displays a few very special design details such as the resin-mended cracks in the floor reminiscent of repaired ceramics and the mirrored bathroom doors which create a kaleidoscopic effect when opened.

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Designed to serve as a temporary home for its owners when they visit Vilnius, this apartment from Lithuania doesn’t need to be big in order to offer maximum comfort and functionality. In fact, it has the perfect size for its intended purpose. The interior was designed by Interjero Architektūra and the studio took advantage of the apartment’s greatest feature: its high ceilings. They created a mezzanine space above the kitchen which is used for storage and they covered it with tinted mirrors which reflect the space and make it seem bigger. 

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Solid partition walls can make a small apartment seem even smaller so the architects at Ruetemple decided to avoid them altogether when designing the interior of this 47 square meter apartment from Moscow, Russia situated in a solid-cast building. The apartment already had a perfect setup from the start, with no load-bearing elements in sight and with all the wet zones concentrated in one place along the back wall plus two large windows. One challenge remained: creating a private sleeping area. The solution was to built a wooden multifunctional volume at the center of the apartment which includes the bedroom and which retains the open feel of the space. 

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Next, a loft apartment located in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona. It was designed by Eva Cotman for a young couple with an active lifestyle and it had to be a low-cost project. The emphasis was on bringing as much natural light into this 40 square meter apartment as possible and also on maximizing and diversifying the functionality and the ways in which different sections and features interact with each other, hence the bookshelf staircase which offers access to the sleeping area.

30-39 square meter apartments

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Given its 35 square meter floor plan, this studio apartment from La Spezia is surprisingly open and spacious, not to mention full of ingenious storage solutions. The interior was designed by llabb. The client’s main request was that the apartment be divided into two zones: a living room and a sleeping area. To maximize and to optimize the storage capabilities of the apartment, the architects created a multifunctional wall which connects the entrance, the living area and sleeping area and incorporates a small technical room, a wardrobe and the primary storage space

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A well-planned layout can really help when the apartment is small and there’s not much room for major structural changes to be made. This L-shaped apartment from Madrid is quite inspiring in this sense. It measures 33.6 square meters across and its interior was remodeled by studio elii in 2017. It was possible to organize the space into two areas: the main space which includes an open kitchen, the living room and a dining space and the private zone which is semi-secluded and literally on a different level, 90 cm higher than the main room.

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When there’s little space to work with and lots of features to be implemented, one has to be creative. An interesting example in this sense is an apartment from Moscow which was designed by Studio Bazi and which only measures 35 square meters across. The owners requested an open and welcoming space with generous storage and access to natural light. In order to make all of that happen, the studio came up with an ingenious plan: they designed a custom furniture system which incorporates the sleeping area and which also offers lots of storage inside, making the most of the little space that was available. 

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Planning a small apartment’s decor is both easy and difficult, on one hand there’s not much to plan really since there’s little space to work with but on the other hand you’d have to select the best options not just from an aesthetic point of view but most importantly from a functional one plus there’s no room for everything that you might want to include so you’l have to give up some features. It helps to think outside the box, like studio Catseye Bay Design did when remodeling this 36 square meter apartment from Darlinghurst, Australia. They managed to seamlessly blend the living room and the bedroom into one space and they gave it a triangular layout which seems odd but is pretty great in this case.

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We love surprises and secret rooms and this 38 square meter apartment from Sao Paulo, Brazil has one. The interior was renovated by Estúdio BRA and the biggest challenge was concentrating all the important features inside the few furniture pieces that could fit in this space. The owners didn’t want to clutter the apartment with too much furniture so the solution was to gather all the big elements into large modules and to place them against the walls. One of the walls, however, couldn’t hold any furniture because it’s actually a divider, a set of sliding doors between the living room and the bedroom. 

Apartment floor plans between 20-29 square meters

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Anything below 30 square meters is often considered too small to even be a regular apartment and that’s where the real challenges appear. Like in many other cases, the biggest challenge when renovating this 28 square meter apartment from Milan was to give it the comfort and feeling of a large home. The project was completed by studioWOK in 2015. The simplified the interior as much as possible and they dedicated as much space as possible to the main zone, ensuring a clean, open and bright decor. Everything is neatly concealing inside and behind the plywood modules.

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When an apartment only measures 29 square meters across you definitely can’t have it all and even making room for something as basic as a sleeping area can be challenging. Of course, there are many studio apartment decor and layout ideas which somehow make everything seem possible. Take this small apartment from Wroclaw, Poland for example. It was designed by 3XA and the studio took advantage of the 3.7 meter ceiling height to create a cozy sleeping platform above the bathroom and hallway. To get up there you just climb the staggered bookcase stairs

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When planning and decorating a small apartment like this 22 square meter studio from Taipei, Taiwan it’s important to accept the restrictions of the space and to use the available area as efficiently as possible. That implies one has to understand the particular needs of the inhabitants. In this case, the owner traveled a lot so the team at A Little Design focused on including features like a fully-equipped bathroom, a compact kitchen, some storage for books and clothes and a living space with a small dining table and a sofa. There is, of course, a sleeping area as well. It’s placed above the kitchen. 

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In theory, designing an apartment that one can live an entertain in shouldn’t be a very difficult task but when you take into consideration that the apartment only measures 27 square meters across, the difficulty rises considerably. We can see exactly how Brad Swartz Architects dealt with this exact challenge by checking out this apartment from Darlinghurst, Australia. They managed to fit in generous storage spaces, a laundry area, a dining space as well as a kitchen and a private sleeping area by keeping the design simple and by relocating some of the features to optimize space usage. This is the result.

Floor plans under 20 square meters

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Polish designer Szymon Hanczar who is also a lecturer at Wroclaw Academy of Fine Arts & Design believes that tiny flats are perfect for minimalists and for people to want to enjoy the city life so he chose to turn this 13 square meter micro apartment in Wroclaw into his home. As tiny as it is, this place has a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, plenty of storage and even a hammock. The sleeping area is raised on top of the kitchen and the bathroom and has a double bed. It can be reached by climbing a ladder. There’s plenty of storage inside the cupboards, one of which also conceals a washing machine. As you see, this tiny place has all the essentials one needs and even a few fun elements designed to give it character.