The Future for Renters: Micro-Apartments and More

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60 or 70 years ago, residential renters in the US only made up a minuscule part of the housing market. Back then, people rented rooms in private homes or boarding houses on a short-term basis, mostly while traveling for work or finding a house of their own to buy.

As the world evolved and the population explored every nook and cranny of the country, renting became more commonplace, especially among young people who couldn’t afford to buy or simply didn’t want to put down roots until they found the “perfect” place to live.

Now, it seems like even smaller apartments are coming into fashion. Luckily, many of them are being equipped with amazing arrays of amenities, which not only make micro-apartment living endurable, but attractive, too.

Micro-Apartment Defined

Micro-apartments are exactly what their name implies: tiny modular living spaces intended to house a single resident. The resourceful design of these dwellings typically consists of a kitchen, bathroom, and living area in the space of 200 to 400 square feet. These mini-apartments typically have higher-than-average ceilings (over nine feet tall) and extra long windows (eight feet tall or so) to create an impression of open space.

Who Lives There

Micro-apartments appeal mainly to single people in their 20s with fairly lucrative jobs in major cities. This demographic consists of young people who live alone, have few possessions, and are willing to relinquish square footage for a lively, well-located domicile.

Unique Amenities

Since these super small dwellings offer little space for socializing or entertaining, a good number of micro-apartment buildings include lounges and rec rooms where residents can kick back and mingle. Other complexes only have private bedrooms and have their tenants share stocked kitchens, bathrooms, lounge rooms, and laundry rooms.

While this might sound more like a college dorm than an apartment, many people in their 20s don’t seem to mind. They spend all day at work and most of their evenings socializing, so all they need is a place to sleep and bathe. For rent that’s often less than half that of conventional apartments, many find this unorthodox living arrangement a practical and appealing option.

Upscale Micro-Units

Just like all housing options, luxury micro-apartment buildings are available in many major cities — as long as you can afford them, of course. For instance, Carmel Place is a high-end micro-apartment complex in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan, a region ranked number 3 on’s “Best Neighborhoods to Live in the New York City Area” list. The whole Carmel Place building only takes up 4725 square feet. It offers 55 micro-units in total, each of them between 260 and 360 square feet and equipped with extra high ceilings, eight-foot-tall sliding windows, and Juliette balconies (very shallow balconies with safety railings). Most units rent for between $2440 and $2910 a month and included a private bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, an app-based butler/maid service, Wi-Fi, cable access, and custom furniture. Carmel Place also offers their tenants a large lobby, a gym, a rooftop deck, and multiple lounges/community rooms for socializing. An on-site community manager hosts barbecues, hires guest speakers, and plans other social events for the building.

Related Futuristic Trends

Many of the latest advances in technology play right into the micro-apartment lifestyle. From personalized furniture designed using holograms to drone deliveries, autonomous vehicle parking, and artificial intelligence advances, the future looks fantastic — and a little intimidating.

Furniture Fantasies

Microsoft HoloLens, the first self-contained holographic computer in the world, lets you create a piece of furniture in your mind and see it in the room you’re in. You can pace around it, use your hands to manipulate the size, and even move it around before you place your order for home delivery.

Other innovations in furniture include the incorporation of invisible technology. Instead of charging your electronics via cable or on a pad, new end tables will have hidden charging devices built into them. Just place your phone, tablet, or laptop on them, and you’ll be all set.

Droning On

Delivery Drone

Your new furniture probably won’t be delivered in a traditional truck. Instead, a drone will land on a rooftop pad and deposit the items into a secured pod for you. An elevator-style device will lower that pod into the building, and another drone will deliver it straight to your door. No tip required.

Cars and Parking

Self-driving cars will likely dominate densely-populated urban neighborhoods within five years. Since they park themselves, assigned parking spaces will have to be provided. If you’re old-fashioned and still have a manually-driven car, robotic systems will be in place to tandem park your vehicle, or you’ll be able to park it on a drone pad that will move it to an assigned location for you. When you’re ready to leave, a smartphone app will deliver your car to the front of the building.

Snooze Control

You may not have a living room in a micro-apartment, but your bed will be so fantastic that you probably won’t miss it. The latest innovations in sleep technology have elevated mattresses and box springs to unbelievable levels of comfort and convenience. One of these “Tomorrowland” features is an air suspension system that keeps tabs on the pressure of your body all over the mattress and adjusts its firmness accordingly. You can also enjoy a climate control system that streams air on each side of the bed to ensure comfort for you and your bedmate, a gentle vibrating massage system, motion-activated ambient lighting so you can safely get up in a dark room, a built-in sensor to monitor your sleeping patterns, and a setting that raises or lowers your pillow based on sound to stop snoring.

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