Despite abundant job opportunities and recreational activities in Kuala Lumpur, young adults have been unwilling to settle in the capital.
Instead, many prefer to travel in and out of the city, rather than pay hefty rental fees for a relatively small room in KL.
Think City, an organisation that looks at urban regeneration, has mentioned that KL becomes a ghost city at night when the working population returns home.
In light of this, micro-housing has been a proposed solution to make Kuala Lumpur more affordable for its people.
DBKL is planning to launch 200 micro-houses at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, catering to young working adults in the B40 category.
So, what are tiny houses?
Tiny houses are like studio apartments, except that they are even smaller! These micro houses can be between 9 and 37 sq m, with the smallest being the size of two parking lots combined.
Tiny houses are especially space-efficient thanks to their small size. Given the scale of a tiny house, it’s not surprising that the rental cost is 10 times less than that of renting a flat.
When it comes to tiny houses, you can not only buy or rent one, you can also build one (think Lego, but for adults).
Renting a tiny house in Malaysia
Since micro-housing is catered to those who fall under the B40 category, rental fees are fixed at a modest rate of only RM100 per month per person.
These tiny houses do provide you with a room of your own, but it'll have common areas such as toilets and areas for garbage disposal.
If privacy is of utmost importance to you, renting a house under DBKL’s scheme might not be for you.
Building your tiny house in Malaysia
While the rental for tiny houses is affordable, building your own might not be quite the same.
Apart from construction costs, renovation fees and purchasing of furniture will also determine the total sum you’ll eventually spend.
However, if that's the path you want to take, look no further than Atiqah Nadiah Zailani for inspiration. A Malaysian living in KL, she's one of the first few to build her own.
With the help of volunteers, friends, and family members, she successfully constructed a tiny house comprising a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and loft.
She has purportedly spent approximately RM200,000 on her half-furnished home.
Buying a tiny house in Malaysia
If you’re not keen on renting or building your tiny house, there’s always the option to buy. Prices for a fully renovated and furnished tiny house go for an average of RM40,000.
These tiny houses, however, equip you with only the basic amenities and just enough space to move around.
The perks of staying in a tiny house in Malaysia
There are several benefits to staying in a tiny house, and being eco-friendly is one of them.
From the construction of the house all the way to staying in it, energy consumption is far less than that of an average apartment. This means you’ll get to save money on electricity bills.
Another benefit is its low maintenance. A working adult most probably won’t have the time or energy to clean up an entire regular-sized apartment regularly.
If you’re living in a tiny house, you really wouldn’t need to spend much time on cleaning and maintenance.
Reactions from the public
Despite DBKL’s well-intentioned initiative to cater to the housing needs of low-income young adults, the micro-housing project has been met with scepticism.
Many don’t feel comfortable staying with hundreds of strangers in close proximity, and concerns relating to privacy and security have been raised.
Some questioned if it would be safe for females who live alone, while others weren’t sure if their belongings would be safe when they were away.
On the other hand, there are those who are in favour of DBKL’s initiative due to the affordable rental rates for the tiny houses.
All in all, it would seem that the public doesn’t appear to believe that tiny houses are a sustainable housing solution.
Pros and cons of a tiny house
Flexibility to rent, buy, or build your own.
Building it yourself or buying one can be expensive and cost more than the downpayment of a home.
Rental is 10x cheaper than renting a flat in KL and fixed at RM100/month per person.
No private bathroom and you will need to share some facilities.
Comes in fully-renovated and furnished options.
Only basic amenities provided.
Eco-friendly as there’s not much energy used compared to a standard apartment.
Might not be big enough for people to move around comfortably.
Small space, low maintenance, and less time spent cleaning.
Issues of privacy and security as there are many others living in the same close quarters.
Tiny houses are worth considering if you’re looking for temporary lodging in KL. Otherwise, it may be more practical to find an affordable apartment that suits your long-term needs.
How to live big in a tiny house
Life in a tiny house can be anything BUT tiny. In fact, it gives owners room to explore new creative ideas and twists to fit everythinggg in a typical house into a small space.
Tiny house living is also a favourite among minimalists as the concept is all about reducing clutter and leveraging “less is more”, much like the teachings of Marie Kondo.
In a tiny house, you want to think about smart storage and modular items that can be kept away neatly. Not only that, but choosing certain types of furniture can help create optical illusions to make your space look bigger.
Here are just some of our tips on how to design a tiny house and live in it:
1) Choose a sofa with exposed legs
Sleek lines and exposed legs, that’s the type of furniture you should have to create a visually lightweight and spacious look.
It reduces the ‘heaviness’ of filling your floor space, and your robot vacuum can clean underneath it too!
2) Multipurpose furniture
Think sofa beds, cupboards with pull-out racks, and beds with handy drawers to contain your clothes.
Murphy beds are excellent, as they can be folded and tucked away neatly. Do buy with caution though, as you wouldn’t want to accidentally fold up the bed while your partner’s still sleeping on it!
3) Use neutral colours and as much natural light
Filling the room with natural light will help your space appear wider and to enhance the illusion, it’s advised to opt for a neutral colour scheme.
It might sound boring to be completely decked out in only white, grey, and more grey, but it’ll provide a good foundation of colour for your home and you can still add in pops of colour wherever you like.
4) Knobless, matte kitchen cabinets
Without handles on your kitchen cabinets, it maintains the cohesive seamless design you’ve got all over your home.
Don’t worry about opening it without a handle, as there are many designs that you can choose from with hidden handles and even push-to-open options!
A matte finish will make your kitchen look clean, tidy, and seamless as there’s no light reflected off it, unlike regular polish finishing.
Tiny homes may be small, but with a little bit of creativity and effort to widen your living space, it’ll feel just as much of a house as anywhere else!