A Background Study of Living Spaces and its Benefits

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Living in small spaces is not a new observable event and is becoming more and more common as time passes by. Such a lifestyle is called “compact living”. In this kind of living style, the build space would be small but the quality of facilities are high. Compact living may also be described as smart living. (British Property Federation, 2018) There are many reasons why living in small spaces has become a trend, young people live in small apartments or boarding houses with their friends or with their partners, and older people also sometimes prefer living in small flats because of its easiness to clean and its accessibility. But mostly the main reason why compact living is becoming more frequent is the rapid population growth of a country. Like here in the Philippines, although most houses are small because of the cultural and contextual background, being Filipinos are known to be family-oriented this certain cultural background can be incorporated in the houses that were built. Population growth is also one factor why compact living is also being practiced here in the Philippines. In a recent census the total population in the Philippines was estimated at 106.6 million people in 2018 while looking back in the year 2010 the population of the Philippines was only 9.31 million people (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2018)

As a place becomes more crowded, scarcity in livable space will arise. Cramming more people in less space is the only thing that we can do with the growing population and decreasing in building space, thus resulting in tiny houses and micro-apartments. The smallest studio type unit found in the Philippines is only 17 square meter (Calzado, 2017). As we all know, most apartments only have a two “portion”, one is for the common bathroom, and then the other “portion” would be a multipurpose space. This means that you have to use the same space for several activities that should normally be separated into rooms. In the figure below, it shows that the one room would be your living room and bedroom at the same space.

Living in small spaces has many unexpected benefits. First they are more organized, easier to clean, and they are more sustainable – environmentally and financially. Another reason is that it is cheaper to decorate and easier to personalize. It also promotes stress-free minimalism (Weimert, 2017). Designing such spaces should come with a lot of consideration to human proportions and senses. “If one thinks about designing one’s own home as discovering what one’s own ‘perfect corner’ needs, then one will be well on the way to learning to appreciate a small space precisely because of its smallness (Brown, 1993). Even though small spaces can give individuality to a home, problems such as lack of spaces for storage and basic furniture arises.Having a small multipurpose space like in figure 2 shown in page 2, can quickly give off a crowded feeling, especially if it is furnished with a complete set of furniture. How would you fit a bed, a couch and storage in such a small space? Living in a small spaced apartment with complete standard sized furniture, like in figure 3 on the next page, could give you a feeling of being cramped. A crowded feeling is a psychological feeling of not having enough space available (Kulkarni, 1984). Technically speaking, in a smaller apartment, there is no way basic standard sized furniture would fit in, therefore the demand for smart and space saving furniture are increasing just as small space apartments are also becoming more demanding. Special design rooms that can be converted into different living areas are also one of the solutions found, and so as the multifunctional furniture. As the name suggests, a multifunctional furniture can perform two or more functions, an example of this is a chair that also functions as book shelves and storage, like in figure 4.

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