When looking for a new home, one of the most important attributes of the home is the amount of living space that is going to be available. There are a lot of different items and tradeoffs to consider, such as where you are in life now, what needs you’ll have in the next five years, and whether the home makes sense for both of you, as a couple. As a couple, you will need to work together to simplify your finances and your life, so that you can get the new situation under control and live at peace and harmony with one another.
Our current situation
We currently live on the 23rd floor of a large apartment building; our unit has two bedrooms and is located on two floors. I find this layout quite interesting, because the bedrooms are located on opposite ends of the building, so we get light from both sides. Except for heat waves, we can get a natural breeze inside the apartment by simply opening windows on both ends. I would say our current apartment is somewhere around 900 sq. ft, and this is big enough for both of us.
Apartment living is not for everyone, but we’ve enjoyed it up ’till now. The are is very convenient, as there is a subway station right next door and we don’t even have to walk outside. The downside is that rents in the area are quite expensive.
As we didn’t want to keep paying a large amount of money every month in rent when we could be putting some of that toward equity, we recently decided to purchase a new condo in the area. The building is still under construction, and we will be able to move into the new place in January.
When we were considering the different models available, we eventually settled on two models:
The corner unit
- Facing north and east.
- 850 sq. ft + large balcony.
- 9 foot ceilings.
- Open layout with plenty of light.
- Two smaller bedrooms.
- One bathroom.
The center unit
- Facing east.
- 950 sq. ft + small balcony.
- 8 foot ceilings.
- Also an open layout, but with much less light especially if the bedroom doors were closed.
- Two slightly larger bedrooms.
- Two bathrooms.
And here are our thoughts:
- We definitely prefer more light, so facing north & east is better. The building is actually tilted a bit to the west, so we would be able to see the sun set from the north side during the summer.
- Although we both prefer more space over less, having more light is even better.
- 9 foot ceilings would make the smaller place feel a bit larger, even if it’s 100 sq. ft. less in size.
- We prefer larger bedrooms, but having one regular bedroom and one smaller bedroom might be doable. We’re still not yet convinced on this point, even though we went for the corner unit.
- We don’t really need two bathrooms. Neither of us takes one hour in the bathroom in the morning. 😉
Living in a small space
Our place is only a little smaller than our current apartment, but we do have to keep in mind that extra space is taken up by things like the laundry closet, a larger bathroom, a larger kitchen, a space for the water heater, and larger bedroom closets. Although our new place would probably seem huge in places like Japan, and although it is not quite as small as a mini-house, it is still small by North American standards.
I would say the two biggest sticking points for us are the small bedrooms, and the lack of a bay window, which the 3 other corners (all sold out) all have. One of the bedrooms has about 120 sq. ft. of livable space, and the other bedroom only about 80 sq. ft! These are some pretty small bedrooms. Nonetheless, we still feel that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Sleeping in one bedroom versus two bedrooms
Me and my girlfriend/wife have been sleeping in seperate bedrooms until now. Why? Well, one reason is because I moved in when her friend moved out, and I had all of my furniture to bring with me anyways. A second reason is that I only have a double mattress, and her a twin, so the sleeping space is limited. The final reason is, well, this was the first place that we lived in together, and as we’re not married or anything, this way kept certain parties happier. 😉
The condo is different since we are purchasing the place together. There is more commitment in that. In the new condo, the master bedroom is unfortunately too small for a king-size bed. We could still get one, but it would completely dominate the room; a queen-size bed probably makes more sense.
I am hoping that we will be able to handle sleeping together in the same room, because then we can convert the smaller bedroom into an office/den, which would be quite cool. Otherwise, the smaller room might turn into my own personal doghouse!
Furnishing the new place
If the second room is going to become a second bedroom, then we’ll have to get a twin bed and matching furniture. If it’s going to become an office/den, then I would like to get a nice desk and bookshelves to go with it. I would prefer a managerial desk, but the room at 10 feet x 8 feet is probably too small for that.
In the very beginning, we will likely be sleeping on an inflatable air mattress and staring at four blank walls!
So, for my fellow readers out there, how do you handle living together with your significant other? I’d love to hear stories about sharing the space, especially if it’s a small apartment or condo like our own!