How to fit a family of four into a 500-square foot apartment

I've written before about how my son's bedroom is a converted walk-in closet, so I'm always super inspired to see how other families are make small urban homes work. Here's a video about a growing family of four, who are making their 47 square meter (505 sq ft) apartment work for them:


I love that, despite the minimal space, they've hosted a Christmas party AND have room for a small guest to stay over. The commitment to entertaining guests and family even within the limitations of a smaller space is super inspiring. There are times when I miss having a guest room for visiting friends (thankfully, most of our visitors are ok with a toddler who wakes at 7am and promptly demands sitting in a lap to read some books), but Marta and her Barcelona home remind me that having company doesn't have to be extravagant. Guests don't need their own bathroom and a guestbed with a welcome gift waiting on the pillow.

(Via Fair Companies and the Tiny House Blog, my destination for all wee-living inspiration)

  1. Her home is the posterchild for Ikea. :)

    I love how she made the spaces mold to her life and not molded her life to her space. The way the rooms are repurposed are creative. And I adore her statement about her boys when they get bigger they will learn to be independent earlier. :)

    2 agree
  2. Damn that's a tight fit! Way to make it work. Most people would shut down (myself included) even brainstorming that plan! Appreciate the inspiration, though. Will be passing this around.

  3. This is amazing — every apartment dweller needs to watch this, especially when I'm wanting for more space. We're getting ready to move again May 31st, and while I'm pretty sure our new place is larger than that (it's a two bedroom, but fuck if I remember the square footage), I'm gonna keep this is mind when I'm all "MOAR SPACE AQJKSBFJKSBLG."

    Unf. So in love. <3

    1 agrees
  4. My husband, his teenage daughter, and occasionally his two young sons and I shared a 47m2 apartment for two years. I respect the heck out of people who can manage, but I just about lost my mind. Husband and I were in the bedroom, daughter had a bed in the living room, and the boys slept on the two sofas. It was hell! Happily we now have a home that provides more than enough space for all of us AND two cats.

  5. This is the most kid friendly inviting family home I've seen featured yet on Offbeat Home, really glad you shared it with us!

  6. I have to say…it is not the size of a space that truly matters, it is really all about layout and furniture options!

    When a place is built poorly, then if it is small and built poorly, it can be very uncomfortable but when someone builds a small place knowing and thinking about people living there, then it is amazing!!

    This place, is just amazing. The TV room they added upstairs on part of the terrace is beyond wonderful. That was a very smart move on their part. The whole thing is just brilliant. I am ready to move in!! haha

  7. Wow.

    Also have to give props to Marta for how rapidly her English skills developed. :)

    6 agree
  8. Using vertical space FTW. Getting things up off the floor is the best way to keep things from feeling cluttered, and her pull out tables, keeping things in closets, and all the dual-purpose furniture is super awesome. I'm impressed!

  9. I love, love, love this! I am currently living in a 1300 sq. ft. home with a baby, a husband, a roommate, and a dog. I desperately want a smaller space. I hate how some rooms don't feel lived in yet, they are somehow still messy (my fault obviously, but still). I love seeing homes where every inch is used and loved. Wonderful!

  10. Wow, this has totally made me re-think the amount of space we need. Husband and I are looking at buying a house (oh my gosh! responsibility!) and have been limiting ourselves to places with at least 3 bedrooms because everyone has been saying 'you have to plan ahead'. We want 2 kids -ergo- 3 bedrooms. Why do they need their own rooms?! Ridiculous. We get so caught up with perceived needs. Individual bedrooms are a luxury. Why slave away over a huge loan for luxury we don't need?

    5 agree
    • While I agree young kids don't need their own room, I remember when I moved into the teenage phase my sister and I had serious space sharing issues. I'm sure my parents could have forced us to get along somehow but thankfully they got a three bedroom house about that time.

      I'd also imagine this becomes even more of an issue if the kids are different genders. I didn't like my sister seeing me naked at that age, I can't even imagine if I had had a brother haha.

      1 agrees
      • There is something to this, I think; when I was a mid-teen my family lived in base housing overseas — four of us in a three bedroom, so my sister and I shared a room. While I go along well enough with my sister (insomuch as an overly moody teen could), the lack of personal space overall really caused a lot of problems in our family.

        When we moved to Kansas and the size of our house expanded? We suddenly liked each other again.

        1 agrees
  11. I love this video. Now, I need to make a video of our space. We have 5 of us in about 700 sf (I think).

  12. Let me preface this by saying I think this is wonderful, I think everyone should live more efficiently. That said, I'm skeptical as to the size they are claiming. But then as a previous comment also said, maybe it's all about they layout. We used to own a 700 sq ft house, but it had a huge kitchen, and the rooms weren't laid out well. When our daughter was born we had no attics or walk in closets to convert, so our living room/computer room also became a nursery. We managed ok, but when it was time to think about baby number two, we could see no way to fit everybody in. Sorry long story short, lol, if you're thinking of doing this take very careful consideration of how the rooms are laid out before you purchase or rent a smaller space.

    2 agree
    • Totally agree!!

      I lived in a 1000sq ft apartment with 3 roomies and it was GREAT! Tons of storage and places to hide things and nothing ever felt cluttered or crazy.

      Now I'm in a 1500 sq ft house with a hubby and kids and everything feels cramped. No closets, no storage, so everything is visible.

  13. Man kudos to them for making that work! After living in a 400 sqft, two room apartment for two years with my boyfriend and cats while in Japan it gives me nightmares thinking of doing that again haha. Now my 850 sqft apartment feels like a mansion!

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