As living spaces become more expensive and cities become more crowded, micro-apartments and compact living spaces are becoming increasingly popular. But just because these living spaces are small doesn’t mean they have to feel cramped and claustrophobic. Many architects and designers are finding creative ways to maximise space and create unique living environments that are functional and stylish.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 unique apartment designs from around the world. These designs range from micro-apartments with lofted sleeping areas to studios with hidden kitchens and built-in aquariums. Each design offers a different solution to the challenge of small living spaces and inspires those looking to make the most of their living environments.

Micro-apartment with a lofted sleeping area

Micro-apartments are a popular choice for those who live in crowded urban areas. However, living in a small space can be challenging, especially if you need room for functional living spaces like a kitchen, dining area, and workstation. One solution is to loft the sleeping area above the living area, creating more room for these functional living spaces. The Ori System is a customisable furniture system that allows residents to transform their living spaces into multiple configurations, including a lofted sleeping area. This system maximises space and creates a functional living environment in even the smallest apartments.

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Micro Apartment in New York City by JPDA Architects_Sean Karns

An apartment with a folding wall

can create a flexible space that can be adapted to different needs. For example, the wall can separate a bedroom from a living area, but it can also be opened up to create a larger space for entertaining. This apartment in Ljubljana features a folding wall that separates the entrance from the living area but can also be moved to create a larger space for entertaining guests. The wall is made of minimal white panels that are as unobtrusive as possible and reveal multiple doors and storage units.

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Folding Wall Apartment by Arhitektura with closed panels_ Jure Gorsic

Studio apartment with a hidden kitchen

Studio apartments can feel cramped and cluttered, especially if the kitchen occupies a large portion of the space. However, some designers have found ways to create a more spacious and streamlined look. One solution is to hide the kitchen behind a panel that blends in with the rest of the apartment. This loft apartment in Amsterdam features a hidden kitchen that can be tucked away behind a movable wall. When not used, the kitchen disappears into the wall, leaving behind a minimalist living area. The kitchen includes a stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher and is designed to be fully functional despite its compact size. This unique design helps to maximise space and create a flexible living environment.

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Hidden Kitchen Apartment in Amsterdam by Zoku_ Ewout Huibers

Apartment with a built-in greenhouse

A greenhouse can add a unique and calming touch to an apartment while also providing a natural source of light and sound. For example, the Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore features apartments with a unique design that includes a built-in greenhouse. The greenhouse provides a natural and calming environment for residents to enjoy and helps purify the air inside the apartment.

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Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore_Patrick Bingham-Hall

An apartment with a built-in slide

is a fun and unique addition to any apartment that can provide endless entertainment for both kids and adults. One example of an apartment with a built-in slide is the Skyhouse in New York City. The Skyhouse is a luxurious penthouse that spans three floors and includes a spiral slide that goes from the living area to the lower level. The slide is not only a fun feature, but it also adds an interesting architectural element to the apartment’s design. With this unique feature, the Skyhouse will surely be a memorable and exciting place to live or visit.

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Skyhouse by David Hotson Architec_

Apartment with a movable wall

A movable wall can create a flexible living space that can be adjusted to different needs. For example, the wall can be moved to create a separate bedroom or living area. This apartment in Melbourne features a movable sliding wall that separates the bedroom from the living area but can also be moved to create a more open space. The wall is made of timber panels and can be slid open or closed, providing privacy and sound insulation for the bedroom and creating a visually striking feature.

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Flinders Lane Apartment by Clare Cousins_ Lisbeth Grosmann

Apartment with a mezzanine level

A mezzanine level can add extra living space to an apartment without sacrificing its open and airy feel. For example, a mezzanine level can be used as a sleeping area, study, or lounge. This apartment in Brussels features a mezzanine level that serves as a bedroom and bathroom accessed by a floating staircase made of steel and wood. The mezzanine is partially enclosed by a glass balustrade, allowing natural light to flow through the space and creating a sense of openness and transparency.

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The Loft House by Adn Architectures_Filip Dujardin

Apartment with a built-in hammock

A hammock can add a playful and relaxing touch to an apartment while also providing a space-saving seating solution. For example, a built-in hammock can be installed between two walls, creating a cosy and unique seating area. This apartment in Brasilia features a built-in hammock that is suspended from the ceiling and can be used for relaxing or as an extra sleeping area. It adds a playful touch to the space, creating a cosy and relaxing atmosphere in the city’s heart.

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Expansion of Apartment in Brazil Building by Alvorada Arquitetos_ Pedro Kok

Apartment with a mirrored wall

A mirrored wall can create the illusion of more space in a small apartment while also reflecting natural light and adding a modern touch to the design. For example, a mirrored wall can be installed in a living area or bedroom, creating the illusion of a larger space. This apartment in Barcelona features a mirrored wall that reflects the natural light from the window and creates a sense of openness and airiness. The wall is made of large mirrored panels that add to the apartment’s modern and sleek design.

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House of Mirrors by Nook Architects_ Nieve

Apartment with a treehouse-inspired design

A treehouse-inspired design can add a playful and unique touch to an apartment. Tree-House by ROOM+ Design & Build is inspired by treehouse architecture and nature, with features such as a raised living area, a vertical garden, and a suspended bridge leading to a loft bedroom. The raised living area, accessed by a short set of stairs, provides a sense of being perched among the trees. The suspended bridge above the living area creates a connection between the living area and the loft bedroom, designed to resemble a treehouse.

Tree-House by ROOM+ Design & Build_ Sonmeo Nguyen Art Studio

Reference List:

  1. Aguilar, C. (2015) Folding Wall Apartment / arhitektura d.o.o., ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023). 
  2. Asto, J.C. (2022) Built ecosystem: Tree House by Room + Design & Build, BluPrint. Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023). 
  3. East Village Studio (no date) Circular. Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023). 
  4. Loft for by ADN Architectures (2014) Architizer. Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023). 
  5. Luco, A. (2020) Expansion of apartment in Brazil Building / Alvorada Arquitetos, ArchDaily. ArchDaily. Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023). 
  6. Luke Tebbutt |27 June 2014 8 comments (2015) Flinders Lane apartment by Clare Cousins has a timber box of bedrooms, Dezeen. Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023). 
  7. Nook architects, nieve: Productora audiovisual · House of Mirrors (no date) Divisare. Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023). 
  8. Oasia hotel downtown STX Landscape architects (no date) World. Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023). 
  9. Skyhouse / Chapter Two (no date) david hotson_architect. Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023). 
  10. Zoku Amsterdam: Concrete (no date) Archello. Available at: (Accessed: April 17, 2023). 

Jana Haj Ali is an aspiring architectural writer and designer based in Beirut. Throughout her undergraduate years, she has sought to experiment with storytelling through design. Jana’s research interests span the intersection of architecture, identity, and history in the Middle East. In her free time, she enjoys visiting museums and hiking.