In the suburbs, 270 square feet might be the size of a luxurious master suite within a much larger home. In the city, the same amount of space might encompass an entire micro apartment. Such is the trade-off an urbanite makes in exchange for flourishing arts, culture, liveliness, and more diverse employment opportunities, right?

But as burgeoning populations and environmental constraints continue to make density a greater priority around the world, a lot more of us could end up living in smaller spaces in the near future. Could you rise to the challenge of making a small living space not just functional, but comfortable for you and your family?

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The need to fit more people into smaller spaces has produced an array of creative and innovative interior solutions, encouraging us all to look at the spaces we have available to us in a whole new way. The Lithuanian architecture practice HEIMA, for instance, offers not just one, but four different micro apartment layouts in the Ševčenkos loft district in the country’s capital city of Vilnius. Completed in 2017, this series questions what we really need from our living spaces and what could be discarded for the sake of simplicity.

All four studio apartments include a bed, kitchenette, living area, and bathroom while presenting unique floor plans that might appeal to different kinds of inhabitants. Some might place the bedroom nook alongside a galley kitchen, while others might set it just off the living area and put the kitchen on the other side.

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Each lofted bed sits atop a storage platform that can keep clothing, shoes, and other personal items organized and out of sight, with curtains on ceiling-mounted tracks sliding open and closed to conceal it from the rest of the apartment. The beds lift up on hydraulic arms to reveal even more storage space beyond the built-in drawers and wardrobe cabinets, in case you’re wondering where the owners could possibly keep tools, recreational equipment, and other items that typically need to be tucked away.

The micro apartments also have their own individual color schemes to differentiate them from each other, as reflected in the furnishings and the shade of the grout between the tiles. They range from an introverted green, which places the bedroom around a corner for maximum privacy, to a more extroverted dark red, where everything is a little more open. Some of the furniture is multifunctional, too, like desks that become coffee tables when turned on their sides. Each studio comes with two of these, and they can even be stacked to save more space.

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The architects note that they’ve stripped away everything that isn’t essential, leaving only the most important elements behind. Everything is streamlined for a clean and orderly appearance, but look closely and you’ll see that the spaces still contain a few luxuries. Living in a tiny space doesn’t have to mean going without a washer and dryer, a range hood, a workspace, a spacious bed, or even a window seat.

As long as you’re able to avoid accumulating too much stuff — which is easier said than done — a space like this could be surprisingly livable.

All photos by L. Garbačiauskas