You're on the apartment hunt and know you want something on the smaller side. It's just going to be you, or you and your significant other, so one bedroom is all you'll need. You start looking around. You see some great one-bedroom places, but they're a little on the expensive side. Then, you see your first studio apartment. It's a little different as far as layout goes, but the price looks good and you could make this work … maybe.
It's not an uncommon debate to have, studio vs. one-bedroom apartment when looking for a new home that's the right fit for your lifestyle. Before deciding which one is right for you, it's good to understand how each place is different.
Unlike an apartment with bedrooms, a studio is going for a more compact design. “A studio apartment is basically a self-contained unit and houses everything in the single room space except the bathroom," says Stefan from homedit.
With a studio apartment, you're getting some variation of a single large room with attached kitchen or kitchenette, and a separate bathroom. It's a limited area to work with if you want to create the feeling of separate rooms without walls to break up the space. Your design strategies and furniture placement can help establish defined space. You can make it clear which part of your studio is for sleeping, eating or hanging out with friends.
Studio apartments usually max out at a total of 600 square feet but can get as small as 300 square feet. The smaller the space, the more creative you'll become in finding storage and places for all your things.
Rental prices for a studio apartment, according to the Apartment Guide 2019 Annual Rent Report, average around $1,065 a month. However, which part of the country you call home directly affects this number.
There's one essential difference between a studio and one-bedroom apartment, and that's the bedroom. You also get a few more walls and a distinct separation of spaces. There's a clear division between your living room, bedroom and kitchen. You may also have a few more closets and a dining space.
Square footage in a one-bed has a decent range. Smaller one-bedrooms can equal the size of a large studio. Even with the same square footage, a one-bedroom can end up feeling larger since you're not looking at all your space in a single area.
Understanding the benefits of living in both a studio and a one-bedroom apartment can help you decide which option is best for your next home. The two biggest differences between your options are the obvious ones — size and price.
Not only will you pay more for rent, on average, for a one-bedroom, but utilities will cost more. You'll have more space to heat or cool. There's also more rooms with more lights, and more outlets to suck up electricity. When budgeting for a one-bedroom, it's helpful to take into account your monthly costs of living on top of the rent. You can ask the property owner of the apartment you're considering to get estimates on utility costs.
The difference in size can mean a little or a lot more room, but it's really all about what space you need to feel comfortable at home. Some people do better in a more cozy home, while others need room to stretch out.
Beyond the cost and the square footage, there are a few other ways studios and one-bedrooms compare. These key areas should also get factored into your apartment selection.
In a studio, where you sleep is also where you eat, work and hang out. A one-bedroom gives you the dedicated space of both a bedroom and a living area. It offers more privacy overall because there's a door to close between rooms. This is especially important if you have friends or family visiting, crashing on the couch or if you need some time away from your live-in significant other.
If you live alone and don't use your apartment as a place for social gatherings, you may get all the privacy you need in a single room. Without guests sitting on your bed, because there's nowhere else to sit, you can retain the privacy of your sleeping space without needing a separate room.
With the extra size of many one-bedroom apartments, there's the potential for amenities that couldn't fit in a studio. Your one-bedroom could have in-unit laundry hookups, more than one sizable closet, full-sized appliances and more storage in general. These are great amenities, but not necessary.
The laundry room in your apartment building could be nice enough that you won't miss having laundry in your studio. Maybe you prefer to send your laundry out so don't care if there are machines in your apartment or your building. Having a smaller refrigerator is fine while you're living on your own, so the space-saving appliance in your studio is great.
Amenities, by definition, are bonus items in your home, and many people have different must-haves.
How you like to live can impact what kind of apartment you'll need. If you like to have friends over for potluck dinners, watch a favorite TV show or sample some wine at a happy hour, you may need an entertainer's amount of space.
If you're planning on living alone or with a significant other you're very comfortable with, you might not feel compelled to have as big of a place. The important thing is to find an apartment with enough space to allow you to keep being you.
The space you need also relates to your professional lifestyle. If you have a job where you're always traveling and are never home, why get a big place to sit empty? Having a studio that's compact and easy to care for might be the right step for your lifestyle. If you work from home, it might be more comfortable setting up a desk in its own space and not on top of everything else.
The price will once again impact your apartment decision when it comes to apartment location. If you want to live close to a city center or right near work, you can end up in an area of town where the property is more expensive. It might not be affordable to have a one-bedroom, but studio prices could be low enough to get you into your ideal location.
On the flip side, if you want a bigger space and can handle living outside of town, you may find an affordable deal on a one-bedroom right outside the city. According to Forbes, rent can be 31 percent cheaper if you're living outside of an urban area. You'll need to factor in the cost of commuting back into the city for work, but you can still come out ahead with the right apartment.
Both decorating and cleaning are easier when you have less space. It's faster to clean a studio apartment. There are also fewer walls to decorate. That said, the smaller space can lend itself to more clutter since you're without a lot of storage options. Either way, you're going to have to clean a bathroom, and nobody likes doing that.
There's actually no simple answer to this debate since the better place for you revolves around your own needs and budget.
“Deciding where to live is a choice that impacts your lifestyle in many ways. Take the time to compare the cost of living and determine what's best for you," says Roger Wohlner from KeyBank. This is sound advice to keep in mind as you consider the pros and cons between studios and one-bedroom apartments.