A young couple moving into a 450-square-foot apartment in Jakarta, Indonesia wanted to prioritize fitting an enclosed, decently-sized bedroom into the space. But once that was done, they were only left with a mere 172 square feet in which to fit a living room, dining room, kitchen, storage, and yoga area. To make the task even more challenging, this space is ultra-narrow — just a little bit wider than the average tiny house on wheels.
If you’ve been following our posts about designing small spaces over the years, you probably already know the answer to this problem. A combination of built-in cabinetry and hideaway furniture that’s easy to access and put away can make even the most challenging tiny spaces livable, and that’s exactly what K-Thengono Design Studio did for their “3-in-1 Living” apartment design.
The designers gave the couple the master bedroom of their dreams, clean and simple with plenty of storage, closets, display spaces and room to walk around the queen bed. The bathroom is a standard size, as well, so they didn’t have to sacrifice any functionality there. They also managed to fit a small bedroom for guests or future children. But as you can see in the original floor plan, that didn’t leave much room for anything else.
K-Thengono’s alteration incorporated additional built-in storage into every room and created a streamlined cabinet system that takes up an entire wall of the remaining space. Hidden behind the minimalist white cabinet doors is everything you’d find in a bigger apartment, including a fold-down dining table and two fold-down benches, a couch hidden in its own little nook, and tons of room for all the couple’s stuff. Some of those cabinets even become displays when various components are in use, like the dining set. Others remain closed to hide things the couple doesn’t necessarily want to show off.
“When all the panels are closed, the clutter is hidden inside, the living space allows some extra activities like yoga and home workout to take place,” the designers say. “Both the master bedroom and bathroom are connected with a translucent pivot metal door to maximize the daylight penetration. Sliding panels are used to hide unorganized closet space in the rooms or allow the veneered wooden rack for displays. Functionality is key to the various design strategies, making every piece of furniture as efficient as possible for multiple uses.”
The wall opposite the cabinet is almost entirely mirrored, including the doors to the bedrooms and bathroom, to create the illusion of additional space. With a sliding glass door and balcony on the end and all that white, there’s plenty of daylight to go around, and the view becomes the focal point. It seems like the couple isn’t much into cooking, either, since the kitchen remained the same size before and after, located just inside the front door.
Another thing to note: there’s no loft involved in this small-space renovation. Lofts are often a great way to make use of vertical height, which often just ends up being wasted space. Sometimes, when ceiling height allows, they’re placed on top of new built-in cabinetry units like this one to free up even more floor room. It’s a smart tactic, but not everyone wants or is able to climb up into a loft to go to bed. But this design demonstrates that you really can make a tiny apartment work even if you treasure your bedroom as a spacious, private sanctuary.