Here at the coast of Flanders, the general idea for building was to make as many possible flats for holiday hire/sale. Thus they try to press x-number of flats into one block and most of the rooms are rather small. Most of the kitchens are meant to be used for those who don't cook. Get it?
So if you want to sell your house in the county and move to the coast when you're pensioned, you need to adjust. You need t keep in mind you need a lot less when you're not working anymore (like my sister, she still thinks she'll need the same wardrobe once she's free of work) and can do with less. And also, that the rooms in care-homes are even smaller than the smallest flat here - unless you win the lottery and can afford the most luxurious kind of home.
But there is a lot you can make of small spaces! A keen eye and creativity can do a lot. Consider a bedroom of 2,50 m x 2.60m. Most people would place a double bed (1,40m) and a small dresser (around 1m, the two-door kind). But if you are two sisters who like to sleep in their own bed, you have a problem... The two beds would each be 1m. And then there's no more space for putting away clothes.
The solution? Find two single beds where one bed goes under the other during daytime and is clicked upright during night. Make a dresser along the wall of 2,50m but take care that the depth is no more than 36cm. That way the two beds can be put next to each other at night, and because the dresser is from ground to ceiling, you can put away an awful lot of stuff.
Work with light colores to make the space look bigger (white is great) and you can also use some mirrors.
By cleverly using every possible space, the small flat will be more than big enough to live it once we're both pensioned - and to make things even better, we do have a (very) big roof terrace!