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Is 'tiny living' really irrelevant in Singapore?

Is 'tiny living' really irrelevant in Singapore?



I discussed the possibility of living in tiny houses in Singapore in an earlier blog post. But as we know, it isn't an option to begin with – no thanks, of course, to our lack of land space. 

Someone also pointed out that the idea of tiny houses is "romanticised" – which, I don't deny (but hey, that's why it's a dream). While it's clear tiny houses aren't going to work out here, the concept of 'tiny living' is; not just physically but also mentally.

Anyone who has lived enough years locally would observe that homes have become smaller. I take myself – an inhabitant of this island of a few decades – as an example. I may have had to spend about a minute to get from one end of an old house to the other. In a newly built flat with the same number of rooms though, I might well only need half that amount of time.

Blog-Entry-7_Pic-1.thumb.jpg.40514625b466d62a1d9be104bad7dedf.jpgThese gut feeling estimations aside, are we imagining the relativity of the size of our living spaces? Or is this truly the case? 

According to research meticulously done by Stacked Homes, HDBs have  i n d e e d  gotten smaller over the years. This, however, doesn't apply across the board. 

3-room flats are seemingly spared from the "shrinking" phenomenon. Through the test of time between 1966 and 2019, the average size of HDBs with three rooms has stayed faithful more or less to the magic number: 68 square metres (sqm).

Blog-Entry-7_Pic-2.thumb.jpg.4098d6f26ae1337c5d31c1e0e650b448.jpgThe same cannot be said of their 4-room counterparts, which tend to be a popular pick among Singaporean families. Just how much have local homes shrunk? 

Apparently, where we stand on the scale of time will tell a different tale of size.

In the 70s and up to the 80s, 4-room HDBs saw sizes that ranged from 80 sqm to over 100 sqm. Then the 90s came and 4-rooms started averaging 100+ sqm. Somehow this trend did not persist into the 2000s. Today, the size of 4-room HDBs lurk around the 90 sqm mark and has remained so since.

Blog-Entry-7_Pic-4.thumb.jpg.b07a68267c8507961b7a6c1e5a8be59d.jpgOne explanation that's commonly dished out to justify the downsizing is quite literally the increasingly few people occupying the houses – the modern nuclear family. If there's going to be at most three persons living in a flat, why bother packing in space that accommodates five? From an urban planning vantage point, this is strategic and optimum. 

Yet as the ones who live in these homes, it's possible for us to get the impression that our lives also got "downsized". Those who knew what once used to be will feel this more acutely. Say you've lived in a large house for more than half of your life; having to move into anything smaller would naturally lead you to feel like you're made worse off. 

But judging from how the numbers have been trending, variations in our home sizes are likely not going to sway the graph in a vastly different direction – at least not in the foreseeable future. 


With physical constraints featuring strong in the grand scheme of things, how do we circumvent the perceived feeling of reduced quality of life? How do we make peace with what has become our reality?

I reckon a change of perspectives can, for example, by going tiny. 

Rather than 'tiny living' in the context of tiny houses, I'm suggesting applying the notion to maximise our living space and our lives constructed within. This will require two things. 

Blog-Entry-7_Pic-3.thumb.jpg.e82a6ec15dd27a00fa9593e8c91371eb.jpgWe're already familiar with minimalism: Owning less and living more as a result. The other key element in the equation is to increase the number of uses for each space. This can be achieved through interior design, either by a remake of the home layout or furniture that allows for versatility.

Singapore isn't the only city that's confronted with urban planning challenges. Places like Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Milan are one with us in this problem that plagues densely populated, highly developed cities. Some have found solutions to much success and that means so can we

In a series of a few blog posts, we'll take a look at some of these cleverly designed homes (a.k.a my personal favourites) with fresh perspectives we may not otherwise have thought about. So, keep your eyes peeled!

- Denise

Media from: Unsplash

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You go to Hong Kong & see what is call ''Small''...

  • Angry 1
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Pigeon hole for sinkies 


B&W GCB for ministers 


huat ah 🤑🤑🤑

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  • Angry 1
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Maybe need to double the thickness of ceilings and shared walls so less complains from tiny living.

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I have moved homes a couple of times….. 


from SF 721 to 1076 to 689 to 1119… 


from zero kids to 1 to 2…. 

I have no complaints with my latest unit. With kids there should be no compromise. The minister who claims need mouse hole for sex isn’t wrong. But the baby mice need a lot space. Lol

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