Tiny Spaces: Why Do We Like Them?
A recent article questions our love of small spaces.
How do Tiny Spaces make you feel? Do you want to stay? Or run away?
Recently, The New York Times published a quick and very interesting article that made me wonder: why do people like Small Homes? Molly Young thinks she has the answer.
Young posits that humans have an instinct to burrow:
I am not talking about cabin porn. I am talking about the universal human instinct to burrow... “There is a kind of play common to nearly every child; it is to get under a piece of furniture or some extemporized shelter of his own and to exclaim that he is in a ‘house’ ” wrote the British architectural historian John Summerson... None of us, Summerson writes, entirely outgrow our love of “squatting under the table.”
Now, I know there are many people who like to spread out in the largest space available to them. But is that really human instinct? Do you feel better standing in the middle of a giant ballroom or hunkered in the cave-like shower of an RV? Despite my claustrophobia, I like the RV shower! I feel safer, more protected, less overwhelmed. I feel more control over my environment. Young echoes this when she writes:
The American hunger for big cars, big screens, big personalities and Big Macs abides. Enormousness is still the easiest way to signal dominance. But scaling down can be aspirational, too. In large open spaces, we feel slight and vulnerable. In small, contained spaces, we feel large and powerful. Wouldn’t you rather feel like a giant than an ant?
When I was 13, I stayed with my (fabulous, gorgeous, intelligent) cousins on their farm in Scotland. When I arrived, they showed me to my space for the next 3 weeks: a MASSIVE bedroom. It may have been a ballroom in a previous life. The ceilings are 20 feet high and the square footage is bigger than our last two apartments. HUGE.
The first night, I didn't sleep for fear of the space, the black abyss that laid outside my bed. It would surely swallow me up if I gave it the chance. The next morning, I asked for a new room. I swapped the king size bed for an air mattress tucked in the corner of my cousins reasonably sized room. I slept like a baby for the rest of my stay. So much less empty space in the room. So much less anxiety.
Of course, nowadays I jump at the opportunity to sleep in that giant room. Reveling in the idea that I could do yoga in the bedroom! In the pool of light streaming in through the giant windows. But my childhood reactions say a great deal about human instinct.
Personally, I love small spaces. Large enough that you don't feel cramped or uncomfortable, small enough to make you feel safe and secure. What kind of space do you find most soothing? Comment on my Facebook or Instagram, I'd love to hear your opinion.