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A small apartment need not obstruct style. These four spaces under 100sqm create characterful and contemporary living areas. White walls meet light wood with artistic, calligraphed wall decals. Dark, dangerous colours meet slate flooring and street lighting. Muted tones meet beige and clean lines. Large panes of concrete are offered respite in pops of brilliant blackcurrant. Whether opting for white and minimalist, dark and moody, sleek and Scandinavian or simply industrial, a small space, with the right innovative architecture, can create a little haven in the skies of any city. Take a peek for inspiration.


Designer: Brain Factory  

Measuring only 45sqm, this real-life home in the historic district of Pigneto, Rome, was designed with white in mind. Signifying pure intimacy and hospitality, it reflects both its historic location and modern setting with a central white backbone and scattered living areas. Surrounded by white and wood, a high ceiling and large windows stream light into two spaces. Minimal elements demarcate each living area – an inspirational quote the living, an oven and fire panel the kitchen. A row of greenery offers life between the two.

The living room’s features are minimal but striking. A bold quote in a muted colour retains white space while infusing energy. A simple linen couch and casual light fixtures drape over white cardboard boxes.

Towards the middle, white and wood chairs offer relaxation. The breakfast table extends white benches and cabinetry, forming another corridor space, while the sun adds warmth and revives a row of plants.

The bedroom takes on an ethereal feel with a white, longitudinal design. A muted rainbow graphic straddled by strip LEDs alludes to dreamtime, while white box bedside tables act as fullstops. A white window to the side further lightens a room swathed in white.

The bathroom exaggerates wood with beige tiles, tricking the eye into seeing space. Performer lights dot themselves around a mirror, while an oval standing sink catches drips. Placing all amenities to one side creates extra space within a corridor.


Visualizer: Dimo Dimitrov  

Dark and dreamy, our second apartment shows white isn’t the only space-creating colour. Divided by a black partition wall, four spaces are marked while maintaining room-to-room flow. The living room starts with a mid-wood feature wall and charcoal furniture, extending wall space. A monochrome skyline designates, while a glass-stencil table mimics glass-door panels to the side.

Looking towards the TV, green appears to the right in dining chairs. Matched by a black circular table and stunning steel grate light, round shapes dominate. A set of taupe bookshelves doubling as a desk area provide a background.

A set of glass doors diagonal to the dining room hide the bedroom. Wedged between an LED-lit bookcase, the look is snug, contemporary – and black. A stroke of leafy green from the dining room throws over bedding.

The other side of the wall boasts a sleek kitchen, clad in charcoal and dark grey tones. A reflected bedroom window panel adds interest and extends the space. A central copper inlet is lit by LED strip lighting and an open window.


Visualizer: Alexander Lysak  

Our apartment in St Petersburg, Russia, is split into two by columns of wood. Featuring a modern, eclectic feel in the living, dining and kitchen areas, the main space acts as one. The living room shows its style in charcoal and light-grey walls with a black futon couch. Pops of interest in a turquoise quilted chair and glass-framed artwork meet a stencilled table and grasshopper light.

Stencils continue to the dining and kitchen areas, only metres apart. A stencil chandelier hangs over simple wooden chairs, while the kitchen continues in bookcase wood. A thick charcoal panel reflects the living room’s feature wall.

The corridor beckons with a series of porthole lights, located at different levels. A view towards the living room shows a double-walled bookcase column. Mimicking its length, the kitchen wall wraps around in a panel of darker wood, showing off a range of vases and jars.

The view towards the portholes reveals a guest closet swathed in wood. A mirror elongates the space, while a stencilled stool offers a place for a waiting date.


Visualizer: KDVA Architects  

Our final apartment measures just under 40sqm. Located in a residential area of Moscow, it includes all the amenities – two wardrobes and a toilet, shower, bedroom, kitchen, laundry facilities, an office and lounge. Its industrial vibe permeates the living room and kitchen, led by a blackcurrant couch and beanbag. Grey concrete and light wood ground a glossy black bench and extractor fan. Wide windows shed light on kitchen cabinetry blending into the walls.

A singular concrete pillar segments off a guest wardrobe. To the right, a light-grey curtain hides a low-lying bedroom encased in glass. Falling from bed to balcony, two chairs look out over the high-flying view.

Tucked away, the bathroom mixes wood with plywood walling and a concrete sink. A thin black door adds elegance, matching slimline stencil shelving and lighting frames. Simple fixtures detract from the shower and toilet, avoiding the slightest trace of clutter.

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