25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (2023)

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Caroline Fox

2019-10-23T18:57:33Z

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (1)

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  • Cities around the world are becoming overpopulated, and rent is skyrocketing.
  • More people are choosing to move into "micro-apartments" to save money, while others live in small spaces because there is no alternative.
  • Insider rounded up 25 photos of the tiniest living spaces around the world, from "coffin homes" in Hong Kong to compact apartments in the US.
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As populations around the world grow rapidly, some cities such as Hong Kong and San Francisco have seen a surge in the construction of tiny apartments. Some units are as small as 200 square feet, earning them the nicknames "micro-flats," "coffin homes," "mosquito units," and "gnat flats."

While some argue the tiny living spaces are not adequate to live in, others have gotten innovative with their small space, downsizing their belongings and embracing the tight squeeze.

Here are 25 photos of the most unbelievable tiny living spaces around the globe.

A mom prepares food while her son sleeps in their 60-square-foot apartment in Hong Kong.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (2)

Tyrone Siu /Reuters

Their monthly rent is HK$3,800 ($487) for this sub-divided flat in Hong Kong.

A tiny loft fit for a girl and her dog in Los Angeles, California.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (3)

Bob Chamberlin/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Fourteen-year-old Jay Segal plays with her dog in a tiny loft her father, Todd Segal, built. Segal is a contractor who completely refitted the family's 625-square-foot home in Highland Park, California. His goal was to make it feel bigger than it actually was.

A compact apartment in Seattle, Washington.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (4)

Elaine Thompson/AP Photo

Kris King stands in his kitchen, closet, and bedroom all at once. His apartment is about the same size as a large parking spot.

One of the world's narrowest buildings in Warsaw, Poland.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (5)

Kacper Pempe/REUTERS

The building is 36 inches wide at its narrowest point and was opened in Warsaw as an artistic installation. When Israeli writer Etgar Keret visits Warsaw twice a year, he uses it as his home, but it also serves as a kind of memorial to honor his parents who died in the Holocaust.

A man washes his hair in a makeshift tub in Tokyo, Japan.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (6)

AP Photo/Koji Sasahara

Dozens of 20-somethings in Tokyo choose to live in tiny apartments.

A 21-square-foot home in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (7)

Thanh NGUYEN/AFP/Getty Images

These tiny apartments are tucked between alleys, food stalls, shops, and houses. Usually, tourists and civilians completely miss these spaces because of how small they are.

A one-bedroom cottage in Orange, California.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (8)

Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register/Getty Images

The historical Shaffer Cottages were restored to house four different tenants, with each living unit no bigger than 500 square feet.

A nuclear submarine based in Faslane, Scotland.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (9)

Pictures Ltd./Corbis/Getty Images

In this image from 2007, Vinnie Browse tucks into his tiny bunk on a nuclear submarine, HMS Vigilant, which is home to a crew of 140 men. The crew's only personal space is their tiny beds, which are stacked on top of each other to save space.

A "gnat flat" in Hong Kong.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (10)

Kin Cheung/AP Photo

This flat in Hong Kong is considered to be a "micro-sized" upscale apartment, though it has drawn online ridicule. Critics say the apartments are widening inequality and promoting unfair living conditions.

A 238-square-foot tiny home in Pasadena, Maryland.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (11)

Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

Greg Cantori built his tiny home on a trailer so he can easily tow it and bring it on the road while he travels.

A co-living space in New York City.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (12)

Kathy Willens/AP Photo

Alexander chose a smaller space in a building that offers a housekeeper, grocery delivery, dry cleaning pickup, a gym, and a rooftop terrace.

A "coffin home" in Hong Kong.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (13)

Kin Cheung/AP Photo

Cheung Chi-Fong, 80, is pictured sleeping in his tiny apartment in Hong Kong, where thousands of residents live in shoe box-sized apartments that are not even meant to house people.

A loft apartment in Brooklyn, New York.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (14)

Getty Images

The apartment makes use of the tiny space, utilizing functional storage compartments and an innovative lofted bed.

A tiny home built from a container in Hamburg, Germany.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (15)

Daniel Bockwoldt/picture alliance/Getty Images

The tiny-home trend has taken off internationally, with people transforming shipping containers and trailers into modern, minimalist homes.

A 200-square-foot apartment in Seattle, Washington.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (16)

Nick Adams/Reuters

These "micro" apartments in Seattle usually come with a private bathroom and built-in furniture to save space and help make them even more appealing to young people.

A tiny home designed by two architecture students in Berlin, Germany.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (17)

Monika Skolimowska/picture alliance/Getty Images

This tiny home utilizes its entire space, with built-in shelving and storage units all over the home. Everything is meant to be easily hidden, including the bathroom.

A "cubicle flat" in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (18)

ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images

The "cubicle flat" is a tactic used by landlords, where they take a single apartment and carve out individual living spaces.

A micro-house in Atlanta.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (19)

John Amis/AP Images for Savannah College of Art and Design

The interior of the SCADpad "North America" on display during a micro-housing event in Atlanta. The majority of the walls are windows, which help to make the apartment feel a lot larger than it actually is.

An eclectic but jam-packed apartment in New York City.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (20)

Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics/Getty Images

New York is notorious for high rent and shoe box-sized apartments for multiple people.

A tiny studio apartment in Anaheim, California.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (21)

Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The Miracle Terrace Building in Anaheim, California houses more than 100 low-income elderly residents, the majority of whom are Korean, in tiny studio apartments.

A one-bedroom student housing unit in Berlin, Germany.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (22)

Britta Pedersen/picture alliance/Getty Images

This building is able to fit 153 one-bedroom apartments for students studying in Berlin, Germany. This space is small, but feels quite large compared to the "micro-apartments" in places like Hong Kong.

A 352-square-foot apartment in Los Angeles, California.

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (23)

Eric Reed/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation

While no one currently lives in this apartment, it was designed to demonstrate what alternative and innovative housing can look like in a busy city like Los Angeles, where low-income families and the homeless need more affordable housing.

An OPod tube home in Hong Kong

25 photos of tiny living spaces around the world (24)

Vincent Yu/AP

The idea for the OPod tube house is to create affordable housing inside giant concrete drainage pipes. A circular design is difficult to work with, but architect James Law proved it can be done.

  • Read more:
  • An architect who built his dream tiny home in Colorado shares 30 photos that go behind the scenes of designing a tiny house
  • This luxurious tiny home on wheels was built for off-road vacations
  • Austin's homeless crisis is so dire, a nonprofit built an $18 million tiny-home village to get the chronically homeless off the streets. Take a look inside Community First Village.
  • I visited one of the first tiny house communities in the US. Here are the 8 most surprising things I learned.
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