Living space: wants vs. needs

Inspired by Masha Sedgwick’s post, that tells about how happy and content she feels in her new apartment, no matter how unfinished it still is, I want to pick up a similar subject; living space: how many square meters does a single person really need?

Let’s be honest, I have moved around quite a bit within the past 10 years. I moved to Finland in October 2007 and moved 3 times in 2 years. In January 2010, I moved to Denmark for 3 months, then to Madrid and one month later to Valencia. In August 2010, I moved back to Finland for a year. Within this one year, I moved twice. I moved back to Finland and moved 2 times until I moved into this very same apartment I’m sitting now in August 2012.


I’m sharing this apartment with 3 other girls – all are really nice and we get along but I’m also feel that I’m getting way to old to share an apartment just with anyone. The apartment itself is really nice and quite big at 95m² including bathroom, separate toilet, big kitchen and hallway and 4 rooms; two at 14m² and two at 14,5m². All over 2 floors. But it’s a Student apartment complex and so my time here is going to end at some point…

© Simon Mollison
© Simon Mollison One of the preferred areas I would want to live

Of course, I have been looking for new places to live and even after I have lived in Helsinki for 6 years altogether, I’m alway shocked how expensive living here actually is. If I gonna move it should be something central but apartments in the center are small and very, very expensive. You pay around 750€ for 25m². At least or unless you are really lucky. These are usually one-room apartment and only have a small kitchenette which is annoying.

I talked with my friend Nele, who lives herself in a small apartment with a tiny open kitchen and we came to the conclusion, that it actually is enough for a single person who has no pets. Most of the time you are not home anyway because you are usually out and about from 8 am to about 6 pm. So why paying more for space you actually don’t need? Many of these apartments are old buildings where ceilings are high enough to place loft beds and a couch underneath so that you gonna have more space to use.

One thing would bother me, though; the kitchenette is often under the loft bed and all the smell would go right into the bed…and I would have to give up my lovely bed.

10979643_942170719126458_2110805102_nOf course, how much space you want and need is a very personal decision and it depends on your life circumstances, if you have pets and how your work life looks like and there’s no right or wrong. There’s always pro and cons but I would rather choose a small apartment in the center of Helsinki than a larger apartment outside of the center. But if I will even stay in Helsinki is a whole different story I will tell you next time…


Author: Fhina

Ocean soul. 30 years old book lover living in Helsinki, active reader and coffee addict.

2 thoughts on “Living space: wants vs. needs”

  1. Interesting to think about 🙂 We’re a family of five, (2 adults, 3 kids), with a ridiculous amount of pets, and we live in a 1,800 square foot house, which if I’m doing the conversion correctly-works out to something like 167m? I live in the U.S. and our monthly mortgage payment, which includes escrow ie taxes and insurance, is $920, or 835 euro (again, if I’m converting correctly). We also have a pretty large back yard 🙂 Its fun to compare prices with different locations! We live in a decent middle class suburb of a large city. But, go a few minutes in the other direction and you’re in the country/farm land 🙂


    1. Thank you for your comment.

      Like I said, it’s very different for families. As a family, you really need a lot of space and I think it’s important that each kid has their own room to escape to if wanted. Not to mention about pets 🙂

      Rents in Finland (or Norther Europe) are generally really high and with cities growing and many people wanting to live there, it’s natural. Helsinki itself if also close to nature and countryside so it’s easy to live in some suburb and get to the city in less than an hour but as a young person living in the city is just easier.


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