Right on trend: micro apartments

Mar 2022
  • What makes a micro apartment

  • Why micro living is in the news

  • Who might want to consider micro living

Quality of living has nothing to do with the size of a home, as demonstrated by micro living. Micro living isn't just about living in a tiny home. It's a holistic concept that extends from the building envelope to interior furnishings. The micro housing scheme implemented by Rhomberg Bau in Dornbirn, Austria is a fine example of this new approach, in which Blum acted as a consultant.

What is a micro apartment anyway?

As the name suggests, a micro apartment is an especially small home. The concept of micro living also extends to communal spaces that are sometimes found in the direct vicinity. Micro apartments typically consist of a one-room flat measuring less than 35 square metres and often provide access to shared amenities, which might include communal kitchens, gardens or living rooms. While many micro apartments come pre-furnished, this is not as common in other countries, such as Austria. Micro living is especially popular in urban settings

Micro apartments score in terms of their clever floor plan, ingenious furniture and a focus on the essentials.

Urbanisation and shortage of living space

According to the German Federal Statistical Office, 57% of the world's population now lives in cities – an estimated 4.6 billion people.And the urban population is expected to reach 60% by 2030. At the same time, households are getting increasingly smaller. The number of one-person households is projected to rise to 44% in Germany alone by 2035. This is a global trend and likely to give additional impetus to the micro living boom. Looking to the future, more and more people will be living in urban centres and looking for a flexible lifestyle. Furnished apartments with short-term tenancy agreements are just the job for digital nomads.

Young and old

The concept is designed for residents of all ages. Whereas students and young professionals used to be the key target group for one-room flats, more and more older people are coming to appreciate the benefits of micro living. The difference lies in the additional services that make these apartments more attractive than standard sized homes. They range from free WLAN, car and bike sharing and cleaning services to serviced apartments in which older residents can benefit from care services.

Co-living: together not alone

Regardless of age or stage in life, living alone should not automatically mean living in social isolation. Residents can withdraw to the privacy of their own apartments but are not alone. The micro living concept gives those who would like to socialise and interact with others the possibility to do so in shared spaces. As a result, co-living in a community is an integral part of the micro housing concept.

Our modern housing approach tackles three major challenges at once: lack of building plots, construction costs and affordable housing.

The DAVID project

Let's take a look at our example, the DAVID project, which got its start in Dornbirn, Austria, in 2020. This housing project implemented by Rhomberg Bau features small-size apartments with attractive co-living amenities that are right on trend with micro living trends. Other similar projects are in the pipeline or already under way. 

The flats in the DAVID project...

  • ... have approx. 33 square metres of living space

  • ... come fully furnished

  • ... feature meticulously planned storage space

  • ... combine top-quality materials with timeless, highly functional design

  • ... offer access to communal spaces. In keeping with the co-living concept, everything that doesn't fit into the residents' own apartments is located here: a lounge with a kitchenette and book corner, bicycle parking, workroom, utility room and outdoor areas with raised beds, a BBQ and seating area.

Designed to the last detail

Creativity is essential if you want to pack a lot of functionality into a small footprint. You have to utilise every inch of space to the max. Design, quality and convenience also play a very important role. These requirements are met with made-to-measure, (ideally) floor-to-ceiling fitted units and multifunctional furniture.

The DAVID micro apartments in Dornbirn, Austria boast a well-thought-out room layout and smart storage solutions in all living areas. For example, floor-to-ceiling units are used in place of walls for a more efficient design, offering storage space all the way to the ceiling. Residents report that these features make the space feel bigger than it actually is.

At the same time, this way of living inspires you to pare things down to the essentials. Less can be more in many aspects of life. With this in mind, DAVID streamlined the number of elements used, opting for wider versions instead. This maximises the available storage space – because one wide drawer achieves up to 15% more storage space than two narrow ones. 

Drawers in different heights provide a good view of what's inside and easy access to kitchen utensils. Wall cabinets go right up to the ceiling to make full use of the room's height. This kitchen's handle-less design meets modern style requirements.

In addition to providing storage space, the wardrobe acts as a room divider separating the bedroom behind it from the rest of the flat.

This small, cleverly designed bathroom maximises storage space with a mirror cabinet and washbasin cabinet with drawers.

All advantages at a glance:

  • More and more people are opting for a micro apartment; the number of one-person households is projected to reach 44% in Germany by 2035

  • The concept is designed for residents of all ages

  • The services offered make micro apartments attractive to older people as well 

  • DAVID project apartments have approx. 33 square metres of living space

  • Floor-to-ceiling built-ins and multifunctional furniture use space to the max

Got a question or ideas you want to share?

We'd love to hear from you!

Top articles