The micro apartment experiment – living in 22 square metres

March 21ShowroomErgonomics, Lifestyle, Design
Ein Mann mit einer Brille, einem schwarzen Jacket und einem grauen Kaputzenpullover umarmt eine junge Frau in einem dunkelroten Strickpullover, während sie im Wohnzimmer stehen
Marie and Oliver have been together for seven years – but have never lived together. Now they are moving from the countryside to Berlin, where Marie is starting a new job. The pair will be moving in together for the first time. The housing market in the German capital is strained. Marie and Oliver are therefore testing what it might be like to live together in a confined space in the Blum requirements studio.

Marie works in scientific research. Her new job in Berlin, 200 kilometres from where she currently lives, has provided the opportunity she's been waiting for: she is finally moving in with her partner, Oliver. It has long been a running joke amongst her friends that the pair don't live together. "We've known each other for a long time but have never lived together," says Marie. "For one reason or another, it's never happened," adds Oliver.

The trouble is, the Berlin housing market is strained. The search for a spacious apartment can take a long time. Marie and Oliver may initially have to make do with smaller accommodation. To discover what that might look like in practice, the two are travelling to Austria to take part in Blum requirements research. As part of an experiment, they will explore a so-called micro apartment, which measures just 22 square metres.

Ansicht einer kleinen Wohnung mit einer Küche, einem Esstisch, einem Wohnzimmer und Garderobe

Modern living – empirically researched

Belinda Gasser from welcomes Marie and Oliver. She belongs to the team that researches the worldwide use of kitchens and is leading the experiment.

What does kitchen use have to do with how we live? The answer is a lot: "We observe kitchen users in their own kitchens. We study their exact workflows and needs. And of course we can apply our findings to the rest of the living space," explains our expert.

The focus is on the following questions, for example:

  • Which drawers do we open and how often do we open them every day?

  • With what speed do we close doors and pull-outs?

  • How many kilogrammes of items are stored in the various cabinets?

Zwei Frauen und ein Mann stehen an einem Kleiderschrank in einer kleinen Wohnung mit beigen Möbeln

Marie and Oliver explore the micro apartment with Belinda.

Marie and Oliver spend an afternoon together in the Blum miniature apartment, followed by cameras that record their workflows and reactions for later evaluation. The pair test different solutions in individual living areas, for example for storage space optimisation, and also quality of life.

Ultimately, it is not only about maximising space in the cabinet: "In our 22 square metre apartment, we want to both implement innovative living ideas and create as much storage space as possible in a confined space. But it's also very important to feel at home," reports Belinda.

A large room – nothing more

Twenty-two square metres is just a large room, comments Oliver: "That sounds like a room in a shared student flat." How can an entire apartment be created in such a small space? Quite easily: with clever ideas.

  • The bathroom not only contains a shower but also a washing machine cabinet – including an extendible clothes airer.

  • The kitchen has been ergonomically designed so that all workflows can be carried out in just 4 square metres.

  • The living/bedroom performs a dual function: during the day it is a space for relaxation, at night the sofa folds out as a bed.

  • In the hall, the storage space is maximised and organised with clever cabinet solutions.

The micro apartment at a glance:

Grundriss eines Apartments mit verschiedenen Wohnbereichen

The plan view of the micro apartment

Storage space: one of the greatest challenges

"Of course, we'll have less space than we've had up till now. I'm a bit worried we might not have enough room to store everything we need in such a small living space," explains Marie. "That's why we're so excited about the experiment," she adds.

Ein Mann und eine Frau stehen in einer kleinen Wohnung in der Küche und lächeln in die Kamera

Video: The experiment

The conclusion? Living in a micro apartment – it works!

"I just couldn't imagine how you could fit everything into a micro apartment like this, not to mention a bathroom and kitchen with all the food, etc.," says Oliver. The IT specialist and his girlfriend are enthusiastic about the implemented in the individual rooms.

What impressed Oliver the most was the optimal use of storage space. His overall impression was positive: "This made everything feel neat and tidy. I could well imagine moving into a flat equipped like this in Neukölln." "Yeah, and I could even imagine moving in with Oliver," quips Marie, who was a bit concerned at the start.

At a glance: Living in 22 square metres

  • Marie and Oliver want to move in together in Berlin. The housing market is strained – so their first shared home may be a bit smaller than they'd like.

  • As part of an experiment with Blum requirements research, they spend time in a micro apartment to discover what it's like to live in 22 square metres.

  • The conclusion: Thanks to clever storage space planning and innovative cabinet solutions, there is space for everything the two hold dear in the most confined space.

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