Living in a small space has always required compromises, and with many of us now working from home indefinitely, our environs can feel even tighter than they used to.
The potential mental health consequences of feeling confined by your space became especially obvious during the worst of the pandemic, when "a lot of people felt very closed in, and it caused anxiety and some depression," says Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, a health psychologist at Texas Tech University School of Medicine. But while it's true that compact spaces can feel claustrophobic or stressful, they can also feel calming and cozy with the right approach. As Jaime Kurtz, a professor of psychology at James Madison University, points out: "As a species, we evolved in small spaces. We didn't evolve to live in 3,000-square-foot houses."