The diminishing size of homes, is a topic you often hear discussed but what truth is there in it?  Is it just a cliché and common misconception batted around, along with the lines of; “It wasn’t like that in my day”.  So are humans getting bigger (we are but that’s another story) or are our homes getting smaller?

The fact is undeniable; our homes are decreasing in size.  The issue is in fact one of concern and debate. The relaxation of laws relating to planning have allowed offices to be converted into residential developments with no need for any planning permission.  It has been reported [1] that 1.6 million square feet (which equates to 6% of London’s office stock) has been converted to residential, many of them very compact studio apartments.

The official UK guidance for a studio apartment designed as a single person dwelling is to have a minimum floor space of 37m2. However, since office to residential conversions are not required to meet these standards many studios are even smaller, the smallest being reported at 9m2 .



When everything you need to live in has to be fitted in such a small space, the design challenge is really on.  This is what we (John Strand) have lots of experience in doing, so here are some ideas and suggestions:

Firstly, the kitchen.  The heart of the home.  Concealed kitchens really are such a brilliant option here.  They are compact – for example a unit of about 1.6 metres can provide everything within that space; combi-microwave, hob, fridge/freezer and washer dryer.  The best part comes, when you’re not using the kitchen you close the doors and your kitchen just becomes a cupboard.

Secondly, the bed.  As a studio is, in essence, a house in the room the bed can completely take over the space.  Wall-beds are designed for everyday use and really transform the usable space of a studio apartment.  They are even available with a free-standing option for those tenants who are not allowed to drill into walls.

Both the wall bed and the concealed ‘hideaway’ kitchen embrace an approach to styling a flat with an ethos focusing on being multi-functional. In addition to beds that fold away and kitchens that hideaway, other piece of furniture can be put to work.  Coffee tables that open out to become dining tables or desks and more. Take a look through our website for ideas.

There are also lots of articles and guides full of useful tips for designing a small apartment.   Links to a couple of our favourites are here:

[1] Source: