Small Cool Apartment 2010′ winners

Moving into smaller homes hasn’t only become a financial necessity, it’s fast becoming a desirability.

If you’re looking for inspiration for big living in a small apartment, there are few better resources than the annual Small, Cool Apartment Contest presented by Apartment Therapy, which by the way, is one of the best blogs on the very same topic.

This year’s U.S. and international winners provide complementary examples for whether you have a more contemporary open floor plan like Chris’s ‘Furniture Tetris’ in Houston, Texas (above), or got stuck with (as she put it) a compartmentalized unit like Maria (floor plan below) in Barcelona, Texas, which she transformed into ‘Maria’s Pockets’.

Why is Chris’s small home so livable? The open floor plan that makes his 450 s.f. place seem a lot larger. How’d he make it more livable? The sheer divider curtaining off the sleeping area from the living room also serves as a projector screen without making the place seem smaller, as well as playing ‘tetris’ with the furniture pieces to maximize his ability to entertain guests comfortably.

Why is Maria’s chopped up 699 s.f. apartment so livable? High ceilings and a balcony, and close to nightlife and the beach. How’d she make it more livable? Curtained-off sleeping area doubles as a living room, very comfortable furniture, and lots of artistic touches via lamps, paintings and plants.

Maria's Pockets, Apartment Therapy's Small Cool Apartment Contest winner, Barcelona, Spain