The smallest apartment I have lived in was technically a double-occupancy room of about 250 square feet. It had been chiseled out of what was once a single with a private bathroom, on a hall shared with other Columbia-affiliates in Morningside Heights. My roommate and I agreed that, because I kept later hours, I would inhabit the "second room," which was actually just a narrow hallway leading to the bathroom. My share of the space was not closed off from hers, which is lucky, because otherwise there would have been even less air circulation. My domain fit only a twin bed, shoved against the wall beside a piping hot radiator, and a small desk. To get to the bathroom, my roommate had to walk sideways past my bed; if I was seated at my desk, I had to get up, push in the chair, and step back to clear a path.
This will be fine, I thought, I am a small person, how much space do I really need?
But of course, the size of one’s apartment is not so much about real estate as it is about breathing room for the mind. Precious personal space. And if your mind gets too cramped, you will start to lose it.