Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Japanese Apartment: Small Living

Apartments in Japan are SMALL. Somehow, I've gotten used to smaller spaces and found ingenious ways to make it work. Typical one-person apartments in Japan are called 1K, which means one room and a (small) kitchen, separated with a door if you're lucky. Kitchens in Japan are usually so tiny, which is a shame when you enjoy cooking- it requires a lot of creativity.

My current apartment is interesting. It's a 1K kind, but with a loft space, so it feels extra spacious. The ceilings are high and windows are large, it gets lots of sunlight and it's comfortable. Instead of hanging out on my bed like I used to in previous apartments, I now have an actual living room, and my futon is upstairs in the loft space, along with some clothes.

I've always wanted to live in a loft apartment, because we don't have those types in Canada. A pretty high ladder goes up to the second floor, and that floor is large enough to store lots of clothing and suitcases. I like that my living space is separated from my sleeping space- how it should be.

Everyone warned me about the ladder, as it can be bothersome at certain times. For example, having to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and using the ladder when drunk, something I have half attempted but I'm still alive. I actually like climbing the ladder to go to bed every night, it feels like I'm going camping or something.

I love this apartment, I feel like it's very "me". Any tips for small space living?

My home- living room space

Aerial shot, perched on the ladder

Window corner with a plant and the humidifier cat

The ladder can be moved to the wall to give more space

Looking up, going upstairs. I hang skirts on the rod...

Work station and clothes dressers- and a big mess

The kitchen has NO storage space to I had to buy a separate shelving unit

The kitchen is seriously small, but the dish rack helps. I love my rice cooker!
Next to it is a one-burner cooker, and underneath a fridge and toaster oven.

The unit bathroom and my Ikea shower curtain. The bathtub is TINY.


Eddie M said...

Charming apartment - thank you for sharing. Traveling and having a interest in Japan, I've accumulated a number of architectural books on Japanese living. Fascinating to say the least, particularly with their creativity in making the most efficient use of small spaces (not to mentioning their wonderful chic sense of style in design and furnishings). Actually, just this Saturday I caught a wonderful documentary called: "Tokyo: Living Small in a Big City"

philly said...

Small space tips:
1.Clear surfaces of clutter and keep everything bare except for focal point gorgeous things like flowers or art. Something you love-love-love.
2.Don't collect stuff.
3.Minimize cosmetics. Pare back. Have only one of each item: lipstick, nail colour, shampoo, etc. No one needs multiples of each.
4.Store stuff in containers(like the suitcases in your loft.
5.Don't cook. Eat out. You don't have to store groceries (except for some snacks in the fridge).

Vivian said...

Thank you for your comment!! I'll look for that documentary. Indeed, Japanese design is fascinating and also how they make use of such small spaces. Most Japanese homes are quite cluttered, that was my biggest shock, but I think it's normal considering how little space they have...

Vivian said...

Great tips, thank you! I fully agree about not accumulating stuff, especially cosmetics! However I love to cook so that will be the biggest challenge...!!

Eddie M said...

You're welcome :) I'm sure there are far more interesting stores, but whenever I'm in Japan, I make a beeline to a Muji store. After that, it's off to Tokyu-Hands and Loft in Shibuya :)

Apparently this place is a neat:


Fashimi said...

Woahhhh, I love love love your new apartment! Can't wait to see it in a few weeks! It looks so comfortable and nice!!! :D

Malice said...

Your apartment looks lovely. Lofts always look so chic

Anonymous said...

What a chic little place! I love lofts too because that usually means high ceilings and open spaces. Other little tips I've learned since moving to Tokyo - find storage space above and beneath... and use mirrors :)

Isabel said...

Gorgeous! You've made so much of a small space. I love it!

Vivian said...

Eddie: Thanks for the links, so great!! And I do love MUJI so so much!!

Fashimi: You'll be staying here SOONNNNNN!!

Malice: Thanks! Yes lofts are great, but they seem to be found mostly in Japan...?

Ohmyomiyage: Thank you- especially coming from you, you have such an amazing sense of aesthetics, I would love it if you could design my decor!! Thanks for the tips, I'll add mirrors :)

Isabel: Thank you! Wish you could be here, we could have tea and a chat... Miss you. xx

Christine loves to Travel said...

Cozy apartment! It's looks great even if you have a small space :)

Vanessa said...

Yes! Apartment tour! Thanks for sharing this, I love seeing how other people live around the world. I especially always wonder how people in other cities notorious for small living paces pull it off. P.S.- We have the same IKEA kitchen cart!

kris_ said...

How about decorating your home? You could change the curtains to make it fit the changing seasons or every occasion. Also, for a more spacious looking home, how about adding mirrors as I have done at my Mississippi Apartments.

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