As American cities sprawl further and further away from city centers and commutes get longer and more frustrating, some people are trading the car for a subway, moving back to the city and getting creative to make use of smaller spaces.
Many "empty-nesters" need less space, so they are moving back into the cities to be closer to cultural and employment opportunities. Others are attracted to the pedestrian-friendly nature of cities and being part of a thriving, diverse community. Cities often offer a broader range of economic opportunities so more people can find suitable housing.
Urban living, however, demands different design elements, with city denizens often needing creativity to make use of smaller spaces than their suburban counterparts. Builders and developers today often utilize verticality and capitalizing on space available. Lofts are often an attractive option because of their flexible nature. Many different room designs can work in flexible spaces like lofts where one living area seamlessly flows into the next.
Builders and developers are making use of existing infrastructure in cities. Old factories become open and airy loft space or an older office building is turned into cozy, stylish apartments. These older buildings are often rewired for high speed internet and cable allowing the resident the chance to create a unique work/live lifestyle in their own abode.
Smaller spaces may mean getting creative when it comes to storage. “Raised floors” are one option for increasing storage. With a raised floor, part of the floor in a section is elevated like a platform high enough to include small access doors with space to store boxes, bikes, skis or just about anything the style conscious urbanite may need to hide away. Often a daybed or couch is placed on top.
In city kitchens, cabinets are getting taller to make use of space and microwaves are often being built in to free up valuable counter space. In the past, the space over a refrigerator was used for a cabinet close to the wall which was hard to get to. In modern designs, that once unreachable cabinet is being brought to the front of the refrigerator adding another area for valuable storage. Side by side refrigerators are also becoming popular as they make better use of a smaller space.
When designing for the urban jungle, the sky is the limit. Open lofts and tighter apartments make use of similar design tactics. With a creative mind and an eye for design, city inhabitants are making their spaces work for them and adding individual touches in the process.