Apartments are getting smaller and smaller in San Francisco and Berkeley. As a general rule, the newer the building, the smaller the rooms. 8′ x 8′ bedrooms are now common in new buildings, including expensive ones. And now, micro apartments measuring only 240 square feet are popping up all over San Francisco. Not to be outdone, the city of Berkeley has given permits to build 160 square foot apartments, and construction of them will begin soon. 160 square feet is the size of a one-car garage. These apartments are so small that every room has to serve multiple functions. For example, in the micro apartments scheduled to be built on Shattuck Avenue near Berkeley Bowl, the kitchen table will have a foot pedal underneath it. When you press down on the pedal, it will lower the table. Then you can cover the table with a mattress that is stored in the wall. Although micro apartments are small, they are not cheap. Most of the ones in San Francisco rent for over $2,000 a month. Would you pay $2,000 a month for an apartment that is so small that you have to sleep on the kitchen table?
Rooms in existing buildings are shrinking too. Many landlords are moving walls within apartments in order to create more bedrooms. They take space from other rooms, usually living rooms. I have seen recently remodeled apartments in downtown Berkeley with living rooms that are only 5 to 6 feet wide. You can touch the 2 opposite walls by stretching out your arms.