4 big ideas from tiny Tokyo ¥99 rental apartment

ikea japan tiny apartment in tokyo - first level after

IKEA is looking for a tenant for its 107-square-foot (10 square-meter) tiny apartment in the district of Shinjuku, Tokyo.

The carrot?

A mere ¥99 ($0.88) for rent each month.

Application is open from now till Dec 3. Click here to apply. You’ll need to be a IKEA Japan Family Member and at least 20 years old to apply.

However, there is only one unit up for grabs. Competition will be stiff because every IKEA fan (me included) wants in.

The winning tenant will get to stay in the apartment, fully furnished with IKEA goods, for one-year until January 15, 2023. Besides rent, the tenant will need to pay for utilities and any other expenses for the upkeep of the apartment.

Set up a tiny, cosy apartment in bustling Tokyo

Japan is no stranger to small space living, with 14 million people in Tokyo itself. With this project, IKEA wants to demonstrate how their furniture can transform small places into comfortable, cozy and functional homes.

IKEA and Blahaj (the “real estate shark”) did a great job furnishing this tiny Tokyo apartment and we can pick up a few smart tips from the masters of tiny homes. (Full list of items here)

#1 Effective use of vertical space

On their website, they say, “In a small room, one key is to make good use of the vertical space. By capturing the room three-dimensionally, new possibilities open up in a limited space.”

Which means to consider the entire volume of the space and not just the floor plan. To demonstrate that, they split the room into two levels.

On the first level, you’ll find the entrance, kitchenette, bathroom and living area. A ladder takes you up to the loft where they added a cosy sleeping area.

#2 Use multifunctional pieces of furniture

On the website, IKEA Japan lists the furniture used in this space. They picked some of IKEA’s most hardworking pieces.

IVAR storage system

The tallest IVAR side posts makes use of the wall space and provides flexibility with modular shelves, combination of cabinets, doors, boxes, drawers and more.

One of the IVAR modules functions as a wardrobe with a MULIG clothes bar and a pull-out box beneath, perhaps for shoes?

The second module becomes a workstation / dining area. A SKÅDIS pegboard between the posts helps to organize desk accessories.

MUDDUS drop leaf table

An extendable table between the IVAR posts provides a work area. Pull it out and transform it into a dining table for two.

VALLENTUNA sofa bed module

The single seat sofa can be quickly changed into a single bed for an overnight guest.

MOSSLANDA picture ledges

Adding a KUNGSFORS rail beneath the MOSSLANDA picture ledge is a great idea. It will hold up lights, plants, pictures and more.

TROTTEN utility cart

A mobile storage cart provides additional counter top space when you need it in the kitchen.

#3 A minimal colour palette

Keeping a harmonious colour palette does wonders in a small space. This tiny apartment though full of furniture, looks easy on the eye, in part due to the muted colour palette. IKEA Japan picked natural pine, white and black as the dominant colours. Even accessories like pots are in the same tone — clay or terracotta.

#4 Light it up

Nothing spells dingy more than one light bulb, trying in vain to light up the whole room.

Having multiple light sources give a space more depth and interest. In this tiny space, IKEA installed a string of bulbs, a TERTIAL work lamp besides overhead lighting. And a smart addition — the SYMFONISK table lamp with wifi speaker. Light and music in one! Candles are a nice touch too.

And that’s how it’s done. IKEA Japan ends with this: “No matter what space you live in, there’s always a way to turn it into an attractive, comfortable and happy home.”

Apply here before Dec 3, 2021.

Photos: IKEA Japan