Solutions to Small Apartments? Balconies and a Minimalist Mindset

Some people in densely populated cities like New York and San Francisco think having a backup home with a backyard is the way to live these days. But then, not everyone can afford a second home. Yes, a small space can feel claustrophobic living in it 24/7 seven days a week. But then again, the virus is still out there and it’s not going away anytime soon. Left with no other choice but to stick it out, there are certain adjustments one can make — and it starts with one’s mindset.

Tight quarters can be the best space. They can feel like a snug blanket on a cold day. They can be ultra cozy and can make anyone more organized, because you need to make room for yourself. That means you’ll be purging clutter all the time. They’re easier to clean. They’re also cheaper to decorate. The way a small space takes your mind off unnecessary things, so you can focus on essential things will be good for you. 

For those living in corporate housing, it’s even better that you don’t have to worry about decorating your home. California Corporate Housing does wonders with small spaces, using minimalism to promote stress-free living.  

Just think about it. A bigger space requires lots of organization, cleaning and lost time to make it look homey. For someone staying in a rental, for six months or a year, the small space should be fine. Also think of how it’s more sustainable — environmentally and financially. Whether your employer is paying for the costs of heating, cooling and electricity or not, you know it’s good practice to just think mindfully. Besides, it’s easier to personalize your home if it’s smaller. 

Aversion to small homes?

Small homes, however, make up only a tiny portion of the Bay Area market, according to a study. Only 1.7 percent of homes sold in San Francisco since 2010 have measured 500 square feet or smaller. What is bane is to buyers is boon to renters. This makes it easier for renters and companies to give their assignees options to live in a small space — and assignees may find out they have no choice because they’re the ones available.

The pandemic will clearly change people’s mindset about small spaces if they’re living alone anyway. Big spaces are at a premium. If there’s so much aversion to living in small spaces, people just need to look at Madrid flats in Spain. 

Balcony is your “backyard”

The videos of people you saw singing to each other in balconies initially started in Spain. The answer to keeping loneliness at bay is to have some outdoor element in your apartment — a balcony is perfect. A small space with a balcony is the answer to people who feel cramped in theirs. It’s like having your own backyard.

Many Spaniards have lived in flats because there is no supply of houses at reasonable prices. This started in the 1960s and 70s when people left the countryside to find work in the cities, leading to massive urban growth. It was built massively for the working classes.  The only problem in San Francisco is that homes cannot be built vertically, although there are still some homes that can be reduced in size. 

Companies will embrace small-space living if it’s the only way for them to afford rent for their assignees. If the future of housing, even short-term rental, is going the route of small spaces, some design challenges need to be addressed. 

Yes, people will most likely think even bigger homes after this pandemic is over. But since not many people, even companies, can afford it, will American way of living change and think small can be good, cozy and efficient like this Japanese home? It has a balcony, after all.