Apartment Search Renting Tips & Tricks for Renters

Renting Small: Main Differences Between Studios and One-Bedroom Apartments

studio interior

Apartments come in many shapes and sizes, not to mention prices, so it’s important to understand all your available choices if you are searching for a place to rent. When moving out on your own, a studio or one-bedroom apartment are your most likely choices, especially if this is your first time renting. The two options are quite similar, but here are some crucial differences for you to keep in mind when out hunting for the perfect apartment to call home.

What is a studio apartment?

Studio apartments feature a single, multipurpose room plus a bathroom. The large room combines the bedroom, kitchen, and living-room all-in-one. Sometimes the kitchen is partially separated from the rest.

Studios have been shrinking over the past few years, according to an earlier RENTCafé study: at 504 sq. ft.,  today the average studio for rent is at least 100 sq. ft. smaller than it was in 2006. Studio rents, however, have grown: renting a studio in the U.S. costs on average around $1,200 per month, although real prices vary tremendously at ground-level, depending on location.

The smaller version of a studio is called an efficiency apartment, and for good reason: utilities and rent are usually cheaper than in larger apartments, cleaning up doesn’t take as much effort, and they can feel incredibly cozy and personal at the same time.  Studios can be a challenge when it comes to keeping things roomy and clutter-free. The truth is there are so many crafty solutions to this problem (think multipurpose furniture), and so many furniture stores that specialize in small-space designs, that you can easily keep things under control. An added bonus: you won’t need to invest a lot of money into buying furniture.

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1-bedroom apartment

Sounds perfect. What is a one-bedroom apartment, then?

Often larger in terms of square footage, one-bedroom apartments feature the bedroom as a separate room. This is what primarily distinguishes one-bedroom apartments from studios.

In the U.S., an average one-bedroom apartment has around 750 sq. ft. of living space –about 250 sq. ft. more than the average studio. Rent is around $1,250, only a bit higher than the price for a studio apartment –again, keeping in mind that prices change according to location.

One-bedroom apartments, unlike studios, have a separate kitchen, sometimes also a dining area, although in open-layout floorplans, the kitchen may not be separated by an entire wall. Bringing friends over is less of a hassle when the bedroom is hidden from guests’ view. If having a separate space for you to sleep in is crucial to you, a one-bedroom apartment is a better option than a studio.

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One-bedroom apartment vs studio, are the two that different?

It really depends on how you look at it. Space-wise, a one-bedroom apartment provides more room than a studio but the difference is not that major. If you’re more of a loner and don’t usually have friends over, the compact space of a studio would suit you just fine.

On the other hand, if you prefer spaces that allow you to move around freely and maybe even throw a little dance party once in a while, then the choice is pretty clear. A room comprising your living room, kitchen, and bedroom will probably not be a very suitable dancefloor, therefore a one-bedroom apartment instead of a studio would be the most suitable option for you.

Choosing a one-bedroom apartment over a studio means having access to more amenities, like in-unit washer and dryer and ample closet or storage space. However, more amenities come at a cost, meaning that the monthly rent and utilities for a one-bedroom apartment will set you back a few more dollars than the monthly costs associated with renting a studio.

What about privacy?

Another important difference between a one-bedroom apartment and a studio is that the latter has more walls. With the bedroom separated from the living room and kitchen, you wouldn’t have to worry that your friends might catch a glimpse of the huge stack of clothes piling up on your bedroom chair or the other random things thrown around the room. You would just have to close the bedroom door and voilá – problem solved!

But having more walls should not be a deal-breaker if you care about privacy and choose to live in a studio instead of a one-bedroom. Without making any structural alterations to the studio, you can easily compartmentalize the room by hanging curtains, adding sliding doors, folding screens or room dividers. If you’re feeling more creative, you can also use bookcases where you can add not only books but also other belongings, sorting them in wicker baskets. The improvised walls will prove to be an efficient way of arranging your things while at the same time, offering the perk of privacy whenever you have friends over. They won’t be as effective as actual walls, but they will help create some boundaries.

What to choose?

Regardless of the size of the home and amenities that come with renting one or the other, think of what you need and go from there. Home is where you’ll spend most of your time, so don’t rush to make a decision and carefully consider the pros and cons of living either in a one-bedroom apartment or a studio.

While space is definitely an important factor, it’s good to take into consideration the costs that come along with renting an apartment. Both one-bedroom apartments and studios are budget-friendly options for people starting out on their own. One-bedrooms come at a higher price, but it’s not uncommon for them to be shared by two people. If that’s your case, it could mean paying less in rent and utilities than for a studio. On the other hand, a studio is the option to go for if you prize living smaller, but in a better location. The choice is all yours!

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