Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

How to Make a One Bedroom Apartment Work for a Family

Most parents rise before their kids and go to sleep after them (on good days, that is). When this is the case and size is at a premium, making a living room that doubles as a parent’s bedroom can make a ton of sense, eliminating the need for an extra bedroom without much sacrifice in privacy. Such was the choice Australian architect Anthony Gill made when renovating his 410 sq ft (38 sq m) one bedroom apartment in order to make it more accommodating for his young daughter.

The apartment’s previous layout included a normal sized bedroom. In his renovation, Gill significantly shrunk that bedroom, which would be given to his daughter, and enlarged the living room, which would double as the parent’s room.

The parents use a trundle bed nestled in plywood cabinetry. Trundle beds are somewhat rare–excepting the occasional daybed–because they require a large recess where the bed stows away; this is opposed to a wall (Murphy) bed, which fits against most any wall. We think Gill’s choice of sacrificing a couple feet of his daughter’s overall floor-to-ceiling height a good one. After all, kids are small. What might seems like a short-ceiling to an adult, might be cavernous to a kid.

Budget was of great importance in the renovation. The kitchen and bathroom remained in their original locations, obviating the need for expensive plumbing reorientation. And materials were selected for their thrift as well. Gill wrote in ArchDaily that “The shelves and kitchen are constructed from form-ply (low grade pre-finished plywood used for concrete formwork) and the wardrobe/bed block is hoop pine plywood with a beeswax finish.” The open shelves provide a ton of storage and a nice, lived-in quality to the otherwise sparse space.

We’re not exactly sure how Gill’s daughter will fare in her little sleeping area as she gets older, but the needs of a family with a young, small child are very different than those of one with an adolescent. In other words, I’m sure Gill and his wife will cross that size bridge when they get there in five or so years. In the meantime, their apartment looks highly functional, clean and affordable–things that make families work just as much (or more) than tons of room for everyone.

Via Remodelista and ArchDaily

  • Tim Domenico

    Not a one bedroom for a family of three, but how about a three bedroom for a family of 10.

    While I was growing up my parents always slept in the living room on a bed that folded out of our couch. The kids were split into three bedrooms, two at a time on trundle beds.

    My parents spread their eight kids (it was an Italian / Catholic thing) out over 20 years so that when the youngest needed a bedroom of their own the older ones were going off to college.

    My parents didn’t get their own bedroom until about the time they retired.

  • Marrena

    Glad the site is back up! Very clever use of space.

  • Maggie

    Good point about what will happen as the child gets older. Too many of these properties can’t easily be ‘grown into’.

  • jane

    i LOVE this apartment! It looks so spacious. i agree that as their daughter grows older, they can reevaluate. from my experience though, small space living grows kids who like being together. she’ll still have her own space. i have two teenage daughters and i think we could make it work. 🙂 not for everyone, i know.

  • love this apartment. And agree that a family of three can live in a small space. It’s working for us!

  • Jenifer

    We are a family of three living in a one-bedroom rental. Our son is 6.

    We like to explore multi-use processes, and decided that sleeping in a “japanese” style makes the most sense (we have beds that we fold up and put away during the day).

    We also decided that all of the rooms are “our rooms” — and we change the use of the rooms on-going.

    The bedroom is an office, yoga room, playroom and bedroom. The lounge and dining area is an office, yoga room, lounge (we use large cushions that are easily stored away with our bedding for seating), dining area, play room and bedroom.

    It really just depends upon who is home, the time of day, and what our needs are.

    Our furniture is adaptable. We don’t have any sofas, chairs or beds. Instead, we have cushions, rugs, and our thai mattresses for sleeping or lounging (sometimes, I keep them out during the day) if I am just sitting around. Our table is a gate leg table and we have folding chairs. Otherwise, we have a dresser, china hutch, and bookcases.

    We’ve lived in 450 sq ft for the last 5 years. It’s been great. DS is 6; this is no problem. 🙂

    • m0tiv8

      Hi jennifer, I was just wondering what you use for an office chair.

  • ReallyReallyBigMan

    “Most parents rise before their kids”

    Is that true? I thought most parents used their kids as alarm clocks.

    • Sabrina

      I’m not sure what parents do today, but my parents were always up by 4 or 5 in the morning. My brother and I were not their alarm clocks.

  • Christoph Barlow

    My neighbors live in a studio apartment with their 2 kids…both are in their 20s.