What is a studio apartment? Sometimes called bachelor apartments, efficiency apartments, or studio flats, these self-contained living units consist of a bedroom, living room, and kitchen all in a single open space.
What is a studio apartment?
This type of apartment allows (or requires) you to live, dine, and sleep in a single room with no barrier walls. It's a one-room arrangement, similar to a hotel room. Instead of being behind a wall, the kitchen and sleeping area are in your main room.
If you find an L-shaped studio, it may give you more of a feel of a separate living room or kitchen, without the expense of a larger apartment. Likewise, a high ceiling can give you a feeling of spaciousness, without adding to your square feet.
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You don’t have to do absolutely everything in the same room. A studio should have a separate room with a door for the bathroom. An apartment that doesn't have an in-unit, separate bathroom might be illegal to rent in some states.
To people following the tiny-house movement, the virtues of a studio are many and obvious. But for those used to space in a walk-in closets, guest bedrooms with spare beds, and separate kitchens to hide the mess from dinner, this kind of apartment life might be a little tight.
The advantages of studio apartments
If you're apartment hunting, you may have compared the costs to rent one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment units and wondered how anyone starting out can afford them. What other options do apartment renters have?
“Moving into a studio apartment can be a great way to save money on rent without getting a roommate or settling for a less-than-desirable neighborhood,” says Niccole Schreck, a rental experience expert. “You could save on your monthly rent as much as $924 in Denver, $867 in New York City, $500 in Los Angeles, and $427 in Minneapolis by choosing a studio over a one-bedroom apartment." That’s a lot of cheddar.
Another financial advantage of studio apartments? Utility bills will likely be lower. A microapartment space is cheaper to heat and cool, and the entire apartment could be illuminated with a single light placed in a strategic location. Also, there’s not a lot of space for a bunch of gadgets to sit around sucking up energy in your apartment.
Cleaning your apartment is a snap, according to many studio apartment dwellers. Since there's little room for clutter and extra furniture, the space is a lot easier to clean and maintain. You'll need to clean only one bathroom. Of course, you will need to find a place in your apartment to stash the few cleaning products you'll need.
The challenges of studio apartments
But there are a few drawbacks as well.
“Living in a studio while I was a proud, single cat lady was so much fun. It was supereasy to keep clean. I didn't have to spend a fortune to decorate it well, and the rent and utilities were affordable,” says Erica D. House, a lifestyle expert and blogger. “Once I got married, I couldn't fathom living with my husband in less than 500 square feet! We both like our alone time to veg out and do what we'd like to on our own, and that would have been impossible while living in a studio.”
When House moved into a studio apartment, she had to get rid of at least 50% of her possessions—plus, she had to think twice about her purchases. Would there be room in the closet for that shirt? Room on the shelf for that book? She considered the constraint a mixed blessing.
Some studio dwellers get around the lack of storage space by renting a storage unit for extra furniture and belongings—although the cost of storage might mitigate the financial benefits of renting a studio apartment in the first place. But for those who are willing to streamline their lives and spend less time and money maintaining their living space, studio apartments could be just the thing! They don’t call them efficiency apartments for nothing.