Hong Kong has some of the smallest average apartment sizes in the world.
A typical family of four squeezes into just 60 sqm, but that doesn’t mean locals can’t enjoy the comforts of home.
Here’s how Hong Kongers maximize space and storage in teeny-tiny apartments – and how you can apply the same approach to your Aussie abode.
Bespoke is something Hong Kong does well – and we’re talking about more than tailoring. Everything from couches and beds to dining tables, TV cabinets and shelving can be custom-made to save space and maximize storage.
It’s an approach that also works for apartment dwellers Down Under, says Virginia Bishop, a designer at Virginia Bishop Interiors and president of the Queensland Interior Decorators Association.
“If you have a small apartment you really need to think about custom pieces because the standard furniture that’s out there is made for the standard Australian home, which is obviously a lot larger than a small apartment,” she says.
Built-in wardrobes are a rarity and beds are often surrounded by walls on three sides in Hong Kong, so locals make the most of the space under the bed. Drawers, gas-lift beds and loft beds for kids are popular space-saving solutions.
“You can get a lot of beds where you can pick either drawer storage or the hydrolift,” she says. “Kids’ beds may come with a desk or storage space underneath.”
Correct size & scale
Just because you live in a small apartment doesn’t mean all of your furniture needs to be equally tiny. Hong Kong is a city of wealth and excess and locals don’t shy away from statement pieces – and neither should you.
“It’s about having everything in the right size and scale,” says Lara. “A proper size rug, for example, will help the room look bigger. It should always be under at least the front legs of the furniture. If you get a small rug, even though it’s a small space it makes the space look smaller again.”
Virginia agrees: “You don’t just have to have tiny pieces in a tiny apartment. It’s important to have one good solid piece as it can help the space to feel larger.”
Kitchen racks & rails
Even though Hong Kong kitchens usually come sans oven, cleverly positioned racks and rails make the most of vertical space and free up valuable room in cupboards.
Attaching racks above the bench to store spices and rails from which to hang pots, pans and cooking utensils is a smart storage solution for kitchens the world over, says Virginia.
“Plus, if you’ve got a reasonable height in your kitchen, you can hang pots from the ceiling and even make it a decorative piece,” she says.