News Home & Design Couple's Micro-Apartment Renovated to Welcome More Light Small doesn't have to mean dark nor cramped. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Published September 19, 2022 01:00PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email littleMORE design News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive With housing becoming more and more expensive all around the world, many here in North America are looking into alternatives like smaller homes and apartments that are more affordable—and incidentally, are often cheaper to heat, cool, and maintain. But in many parts of the world, smaller homes are the norm, rather than a new trend that's emerging out of financial necessity. These tinier homes might have been built in cities that developed prior to the invention of the car, or to deal with a less-than-ideal geographical situation. With its mountainous landscape, the small island city of Hong Kong fits into the latter category, and as one of the most expensive places in the world for real estate, many of the city's residents are used to living in smaller spaces. As a way to deal with the city's costly real estate market, many first-time homebuyers opt to buy an older and more affordable apartment, which can then be renovated and upgraded. One local studio, littleMORE design (previously), did just that in revamping a dated and dimly lit 352-square-foot (32-square-meter) apartment for one young couple, who were looking to bring more natural light into their home. The apartment is located in the corner of the building, meaning that it had some existing windows that brought light in, but the original layout of the walls blocked much of that light from penetrating deeper into the unit. To solve that issue, designers Ada Wong and Eric Liu did away with the existing walls, replacing them with a new layout that includes glass partitions instead. littleMORE design The new scheme prioritizes an open layout that allows for more flexibility and functionality, as well as more consideration for hidden storage so that space is maximized, without the feeling of everything being cluttered all over the home. The entry area here is a great example of this approach: the coat rack, overhead lighting, and bench are all integrated as part of a full-height wardrobe, rather than as separate elements that might take up more space. littleMORE design The living room has been designed according to the couple's daily rhythms. Since the couple work from home quite often, the new design opts for a slimmer, single upholstered rocking chair—perfect for sitting on and working with a laptop—rather than a bulky sofa. The inclusion of a round, compact coffee table here also helps to encourage an easier flow of circulation around the space. The material palette features the warm textures of wood, as well as pastel accents of green and gray. Past the living room, we have a home office area, which has been situated to make the most out of the window here. There is plenty of built-in storage here, from the customized shelving cubbies to the drawers and cabinets on the desk. Interestingly, the desk is oriented right up next to the black-framed glass partition that separates the main living areas from the bedroom. littleMORE design This placement creates the sense that the bedroom is separate, yet the glass still permits light from the bedroom windows to come pouring into the rest of the home. littleMORE design Sliding the glass door into the wall, we come into the bedroom, which has been designed to feel like a true urban haven. littleMORE design The space centers around the bed, which has been elevated onto a wooden platform in order to incorporate some clever underfloor storage nooks that are hidden on either side of the bed. It feels quite comfortable here, thanks to the padded headboard, integrated side tables, and matching reading lamps. littleMORE design The bedroom has two oversized bay windows, which are a frequent fixture in many Hong Kong apartments of a certain vintage, and which have an interesting history of their own. Here, this pair of bay windows have been revamped to create new light-filled areas for plants, or potentially curling up with a book. Opposite the bed, we have lots of places to store or display things, whether that's on the full height, built-in shelving, or in the wood-lined closet. littleMORE design Back out of the bedroom and turning the corner, we see that the kitchen is tucked away in one corner of the apartment. littleMORE design Like a lot of other apartments in Hong Kong, the kitchen is necessarily small. To make the most of this tiny space, every inch up to the ceiling is used up for storage. Lighting is streamlined to reduce visual clutter, and we like how the backsplash is made with a semi-glossy material to give the illusion of greater space. littleMORE design The small window in the kitchen here helps to bring some natural light in. littleMORE design The bathroom is equally small, but once again, things are laid out to make efficient use of the tiny space, without compromising the luxurious details of a full shower, vanity sink, generous storage cabinets, and a window. As this apartment and many other examples show, small living spaces don't necessarily equate to a cramped, deprived lifestyle—it really depends on how it's laid out and how light is considered. To see more, visit littleMORE design.