March 17,

Friday, March 17, 2023

Is a Micro-Apartment Right for You? Here’s What to Consider

micro-apartmentCity dwellers may consider micro-apartment to save money on high rents for small apartments. However, before committing to a lease, it’s essential to understand what micro-apartments are, their benefits and drawbacks, and how to determine if they’re the right choice for you.

In this article, we’ll provide micro-apartment details to help you make an informed decision.

What is a micro-apartment?

Designers create micro-apartments as compact, single-occupancy studios that include all essential amenities of a traditional studio apartment, such as a kitchen, bathroom, and living space, but in a much smaller area of about 200 to 400 square feet. Despite the small size, they aim to maximize the available space as much as possible through design elements such as high ceilings and tall windows, creating an illusion of more height and airiness. Micro-apartments set themselves apart from pod living by offering private living space.

How much do micro-apartments cost?

Micro-apartments typically have higher construction and operating costs than standard apartments, which may affect their purchase price. The location of a micro-apartment building can significantly affect its cost. Moreover, pricier micro-apartments usually offer additional amenities that justify their higher cost, such as a fitness center, a roof deck, a pool, a lobby bar, a private backyard, and fully furnished units. 

Where are micro-apartments most popular?

In densely populated urban areas where housing is often scarce and expensive, micro-apartments are more prevalent and in high demand. . The largest micro-apartment concentrations can be found in cities with a high cost of living.

What is driving the growth of micro-apartments?

The U.S. population is now mainly concentrated in urban areas, with 83% residing there. This is a significant increase from the 64% recorded in 1950. Projections indicate that by 2050, 89% of the U.S. population and 68% of the global population will live in urban areas. As a result, micro-apartments could become a more practical and cost-effective housing option compared to larger homes, despite the general association of the U.S. with suburban living. Additionally, the demand for smaller homes has risen due to increased single-person households, further fueling micro-apartment growth.

Who is renting micro-apartments?

Millennials and downsizing older renters are the primary renters of micro-apartments, a more affordable option for those priced out of costly rentals in major cities. However, micro-apartments are unsuitable for young families and couples since they offer limited space for more than one person. In many cases, property managers only allow single occupancy.

The ULI report cited above reveals that one in four renters would consider living in a micro-apartment due to the benefits of lower rents, preferable locations, reduced utility costs, and the ability to live alone. Renters who move into micro-units report similar satisfaction rates to those living in conventional apartments but are less likely to renew their leases.

Pros and cons of a micro-apartment

You should conduct a pros and cons analysis to determine if a micro-apartment would suit your needs. Micro-apartments undoubtedly provide significant advantages and disadvantages, and it is essential to consider both aspects before deciding to move forward.

Micro-apartment pros

  • Cheaper to rent per month than a standard studio. 
  • Having lower utility costs
  • Being cheaper to furnish and decorate
  • Providing communal amenities such as pools, gyms, laundry rooms, game rooms, and on-site security, 
  • Being easier to maintain and keep clean
  • having desirable locations
  • Offering more privacy since there are no roommates,
  • Having a smaller footprint, which has less impact on the environment.

Micro-apartment cons

  • The rent may sometimes be lower than the average rent in the area. Limited living and storage space. 
  • Strict pet policies or restrictions.
  • Not suitable for families or long-term living. 
  • Not ideal for couples. 
  • Furnishing can be costly due to the requirement for specialized furniture. There may be no full or personal kitchen.

Making a micro-unit work for you

Quick design tips can help optimize the available square feet in a micro-unit, proving that just because a small space doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish and functional.

  • Dual-purpose furniture can be an excellent investment to optimize space, such as couches that turn into beds and coffee tables that turn into desks. 
  • Light paint colors can make a room feel more extensive, and playing around with texture and color contrasts can add dimension. 
  • Loft beds can elevate the bed and use the space underneath for a seating, dining, or office area. 
  • Storage can be creatively utilized, such as behind the couch and on the fridge, but be mindful of leaving enough walking space.
  • Reducing the number of belongings can also help maximize space, so consider going through your things and donating, tossing, or recycling anything that is no longer necessary.

You can benefit significantly from a micro-apartment by not having to spend a lot to personalize it. Instead, you can have fun decorating and experimenting with colors and art to showcase your personality.

Features that can make a micro-apartment appear bigger

When looking for a micro-apartment, consider features that create the illusion of space since physically small micro-apartments can seem more significant with these features.

  • Consider micro-apartments with built-in storage, saving floor space and organizing your items.
  • Also, foldable furniture like chairs, tables, and beds can optimize your living space. Look for micro-apartments with outdoor areas like decks, balconies, and patios to give you more roaming space. 
  • Ensure the apartment has plenty of windows to provide lots of natural light. 
  • Additionally, high ceilings can compensate for the lack of square footage, giving you the feeling of not being boxed in.

Frequently asked questions about micro-apartments

What is the difference between a micro-apartment and a studio apartment?

Both types of apartments comprise a single living space that usually includes a bedroom, bathroom, and small kitchen. However, a micro-apartment is a reduced version of a studio apartment that may also have shared amenities and communal living areas such as pools, lobby bars, gyms, roof decks, and other similar spaces.

How is a micro-apartment right for me?

If you are moving on a budget but still desire to live in a famous city with a high cost of living, a micro-apartment could be a great starter apartment. This lifestyle is also suitable if you prefer to live alone and value more privacy. Additionally, if you enjoy communal living perks such as having a gym or a pool in the building, having fewer belongings, and wanting to reduce your carbon footprint, consider a micro-apartment.

Should you move into a micro-apartment?

You must prioritize your preferences and compare them to potential deal breakers to decide. Your priorities will determine what works best for you. Searching for a suitable apartment is always challenging, as every unit has advantages and disadvantages.

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