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For fans of tiny houses, there’s a new way to live small and affordably – even in the biggest, most expensive cities. Micro apartments are hot in many cities with developers busy building entire buildings of them in places like New York City and San Francisco. Read on to learn more about micro apartments and where they’re located.

The difference between a studio apartment and a micro apartment

Studios and micro apartments have many things in common. They’re often a single-area open floor plan and they’re both usually less than 600 square feet. The difference comes down to function and ease.

Micro apartments are designed to be space-efficient as well as LEED certified or energy efficient. They are designed so that they feel bigger and more open than their actual square footage. They typically feature a community feel with plenty of common areas and high-end amenities including gyms, recreation areas, spas and bike valets.

Best micro apartment developments across the U.S.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best micro apartment developments in the U.S. Even if you live in a larger space, the design and lay out of these tiny spaces can still provide inspiration. All images courtesy of the developer.

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Contemporary and crisp white decor, high ceilings and plenty of windows ensure a bright and airy 150 square foot space.

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A small designated office workspace next to the bathroom.

Seattle may have the largest selection of micro apartments in the country. This development offers small and relatively affordable units (as little as $800 per month) and also makes renting a snap. All units are pet friendly, have flexible lease lengths, come furnished and also include all utilities and wifi in the monthly rental price.

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best micro apartments and small studio apartments

The tall ceilings create space for large windows and a floating bed loft.

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The large rooftop deck features views of downtown Seattle.

This 70-unit development in Seattle’s Capital Hill neighborhood is a combo of 460 square foot micro apartments and 1-2 bedroom apartments. The property offers a central location and earned a walkability score of 98 according to Walk Score. Built with a net-zero carbon footprint, it is LEED gold certified with:

  • reflective roofing
  • passive cooling
  • reverse cycle air-to-water chillers for hot water
  • LED lighting
  • no-VOC paints and finishes
  • bike parking
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The cheerful and colorful interior matches the exterior’s warm hues.

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The community club house next to the large outdoor pool is the social center of the development.

Developers refurbished an old cylindrical hotel in order to offer Denver’s first micro-apartments in Colorado. One of the coolest communities for rent in Denver, in includes amenities like:

  • Central lobby/reception
  • 24-hour gym
  • 24-hour laundry
  • Common outdoor grill area
  • Car-charging ports
  • Pet-friendly units
  • Clubhouse with adjacent swimming pool
  • High-floor game room featuring pool tables and stunning city views
  • Key fob access
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micro apartment and micro studio

Generously appointed features, such as a pantry, dishwasher and gas range, offset the small size of the kitchen.

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The development includes plenty of outdoor spaces to enjoy.

San Francisco may arguably be the most expensive city to rent in the U.S. This 240-square-foot micro apartment located in the highly desired SoMa district rents for $2,247 per month. The available amenities add real value to the monthly price tag. They include valet dry cleaning service, an arcade, a rooftop deck with 360-degree views as well as a gourmet community kitchen.

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All units are furnished and have a murphy bed that converts the sitting area into a sleeping area.

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A small but functional kitchen in a contemporary white washed wood finish.

Shattuck Studios is a four-story building for Berkeley students with 21 units. This project is exceptional due to the fact that the building went up in just 4 days. This is the first building to use MicroPADS, tiny modular apartments modeled on shipping containers. Each prebuilt apartment follows a shipping container model and then gets connected on site.

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Minimalist yet cozy living. The sofa quickly converts into a drop-down murphy bed.

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The smart design of the sofa/bed ensures both are large and generous enough for 2 people.

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Part of the large outdoor terrace space.

This development of micro apartments in Manhattan consists of 55 units that vary from 260 to 360 square feet in size. It includes a ground floor gym and lobby as well as a top floor communal commercial kitchen, dining area and large terrace with grills.

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This breathtaking lobby offers micro apartment dwellers the perfect place to lounge if they need a little space.

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CB2 furnishes these 300 square foot ready-to-go micro apartments.

The developers of The Flats have several properties throughout Chicago, including three locations with micro apartments for rent:

  • Lawrence House in Uptown Chicago (shown in images), a formal 1925-built hotel, renting for $1018 per month
  • The Bachelor, a 1922-built industrial-style building Uptown
  • Bush Temple on River North, the most upscale of the three, starting at $1700 per month
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The studios feature 9-foot ceilings in order to avoid an enclosed feeling. The well-appointed kitchen offers a washer/dryer as well as stainless-steel appliances including a dishwasher.

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Renters can access amenities like a rooftop 40-foot-long infinity pool which overlooks the river in addition to the surrounding restaurants, nightlife and marina.

This high-end community set on the Potomac River combines luxury housing, restaurants, boutiques and more. A third are micro-units which average 350 square feet and are designated as affordable housing. According to the developers, the market rate for the micro apartments will be, “in the range of $1,500-$2,000 per month.”

Micro Apartments Around The World

Here are some stylish and very innovative micro apartments from around the world, proving you don’t have to have a big house to enjoy good design.

Vienna, Austria

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Rotenturmstrasse 5-9, located in the heart of Vienna. These eight fully furnished and nicely designed micro apartments range from 320 to 400 square feet with high-end finishes as well as smart technology like adaptive ambient lighting, keyless entry, high speed internet and satellite TV.

Budapest, Hungary

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This 322 square foot space includes plenty of practical and modular storage. The pegboard wall along the kitchen and bed area can hold shelves anywhere. The stairs also feature cubbies and large concealed pullout drawers.

Beirut, Lebanon

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Aptly named the Shoebox apartment by Eliemetni Architects, this rooftop micro studio is just 150 square feet. The bathroom is located behind the glass door while all the furniture is arranged against the walls for easier movement and flow.

Hong Kong

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These are perhaps the most unusual of the world’s micro apartments. James Law Cybertecture refitted these tubular pipes as homes and stacked them as shown to create a micro apartment community.

Sao Paolo, Brazil

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Casa 100 designed this 258 square foot studio to function like a modern hotel room.

Madrid, Spain

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This micro apartment in Madrid takes advantage of its 13 foot ceilings with a vertical space that goes beyond the 226 square foot floor plan. Design firm MYCC created a stacked design in order to provide levels for a living area, work space and sleeping, all accessed by a wall-mounted ladder.

Would you live in a micro apartment? Which design is your favorite?

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