Purchasing an older and smaller apartment is the most affordable first step for many Hong Kong newlyweds. However, with older things come much needed updates. So how do local architects try to make living small more tolerable? Sammy and Eunice, architects for their self practice EASY Design Studio, have so graciously offered their solutions. Here is how a tiny 261sq ft(net area) apartment was redesigned to maximize space as much as possible.

Swapping Rooms

In order to create a more expansive view and literally make more room for the owners, the layout had to be rearranged to this apartment located in Tai Wai, Hong Kong.

Our strategy is to swap the locations for bath and kitchen, so an open kitchen can be designed for a more pleasant view into the living room.

Screenshot of original floor plan of flat – GFA 452 sq-ft  ; Saleable area 261 sq ft

EASY DESIGN STUDIO

Bathrooms need to be enclosed for privacy, whereas kitchens don’t. The strategy of expanding visual space can be accomplished through this clever swap of rooms. The open kitchen is in the shape of a galley and one side can function for meals and used as extra bench space for food prep and meals. This area is effectively delineated by the two slim and subtle pendant lights.

EASY DESIGN STUDIO

Hiding Things in Plain View

So what happened to the bathroom then? It’s still there but it is strategically painted black(floor to ceiling) to highlight that the bathroom is there. But it also does the opposite, as it deters it from being too noticeable. The door is flush with no handles making it seem more like a kitchen pantry (virtually non existent in HK kitchens). Nice sneaky trick here EASY DESIGN STUDIO. We love what you did here!

EASY DESIGN STUDIO

The split air conditioning unit is hidden behind the white slats above the wardrobe and the blinds ‘ color matches the same tones of the floor and wardrobe. All these details help bring a sense of uniformity which creates a more expansive atmosphere.

EASY DESIGN STUDIO

Having an Open Floor Plan

Having no walls as visual barriers really expands space. Originally, the architects wanted to enclose the bedroom for privacy, but the owners didn’t want this as there are only two people living here. What goes unnoticed is the bed positioned against the wardrobe and behind the main kitchen wall. They have essentially created a delightful nook for the bed tactfully hidden from view when you enter the apartment. It’s also not a coincidence the bed faces the large window, as it extends your view outside; super important for small spaces.

EASY DESIGN STUDIO. You can just barely notice the bed.

Using a Multi Purpose Platform

Platforms(yes we know this was hidden) are great space saving ways to add more storage for a small space. But they are also very effective in zoning an area for different uses, particularly when you don’t have walls. Two built in desks on either side of the platform serve as a space of work.

It’s OK to Bare it All

The entire platform has pretty much no furniture. It’s completely fine having nothing to clutter up the space because it can serve as other possibilities right? A game of cards with a few friends over? Got it! Yoga or Pilates anyone? Bring out that mat! From a functional perspective it’s probably easier to get to your belongings inside the platform too. This is a perfect example of “Less is More.” 

One thing to note is this. In many parts of the world 261sq ft is considered a NANO apartment. In Hong Kong, this is unfortunately a standard. If it wasn’t for architects and design professionals like Eunice and Sammy from EASY DESIGN STUDIO, living small comfortably would be impossible for the many many people who live here. That’s why we were so thrilled to share this apartment. They are trying their very best to make life just a little bit sweeter and spacious, despite our limitations.

Live small comfortably

| Spaced Out