You've decided to forgo living with roommates. Whether this means finding a place on your own or moving in with a significant other, the question then becomes, “What size apartment should I rent?" In the battle between getting a studio vs. a one-bedroom apartment, the answer isn't always clear cut.
The elements that made these two living situations so different before aren't as significant today.
Before deciding which apartment size is right for you, it's best to know why each one attracts renters.
What is a studio apartment?
A studio apartment is a living space comprised of a single room. There aren't any doors or walls to separate the main living space. Usually, only the bathroom has its own door. While the kitchen can be separate, it's also often part of the central living space. You may have a closet, you may not. If you do, you'll only get one, and it's most likely going to be very small.
"If you're living on your own for possibly the first time, it's the perfect way to examine your priorities and see exactly what you really need from your living space," writes Odessa Denby in Medium. There's something about starting from the bottom when it comes to apartments. You can only go up when it's time to move somewhere new.
On average, studio apartments are a little above 500 square feet. It's big enough for a single person to live comfortably, but this little space lacks storage, privacy and makes it hard to entertain. Most often a bed, dresser, bookshelf and small desk will fit, leaving little room for anything else.
Even with limited room for furniture, the size lends itself to creating an incredibly cozy space for one. Coming home at the end of each day to a space all your own is therapeutic. Having a small space to maintain saves time. Sure, you'll have to think outside the box about how you store everything, but living all snug in a studio apartment is easier than you may think.
Studio apartments often have lower rent than larger units. Although monthly rent varies by city and location (there are some cities where studios are actually more expensive than one-bedroom apartments), price is one of the key factors for single renters looking to save money on rent.
Because of its size, you'll save money elsewhere living in a studio, as well. There's less space to heat and cool, so utilities are lower than in a larger apartment. You'll have fewer rooms to light, so your electric bill goes down.
Price and location go hand-in-hand when looking at studio apartments. The perk of a studio's price is it can get you closer to the action, especially in an urban area. A studio apartment is often the least expensive option in the best neighborhoods, whether that means they're closer to work or shops and restaurants. Opting for a studio can make these in-demand areas affordable and give you more choice about where exactly you live.
Overall benefits of a studio apartment
While living in a studio apartment means you'll make sacrifices, there are still a lot of benefits to picking it over a larger apartment.
- Studios are often less expensive when it comes to both rent and utilities
- With less square footage, you won't have as much space to clean or maintain
- It's easier to create that homey feel in a smaller space, allowing you to come home to a true retreat after the grind of the day
Studio apartments also offer renters a great design opportunity. With a small space, you're almost compelled to get creative in your décor. You can use your furniture or some ceiling-hung curtains to create natural dividers in your studio space. Before you know it, you have “rooms."
You can also devise a storage system that nobody has ever seen before, taking things vertical or elevating furniture for under storage. The possibilities are endless.
What is a one-bedroom apartment?
When thinking about a studio vs. a one-bedroom apartment, the biggest differentiator is privacy. A one-bedroom has more separation. Whether there's more square footage doesn't matter, the addition of more walls and doors creates a feeling of more space. Who doesn't want a bedroom with an actual door? You're also more likely to have a fully-separate kitchen, closet and, of course, bathroom.
One-bedroom apartments average around 750 square feet, and this extra space is in all the right places. You get a dedicated bedroom, a bigger kitchen and a closet that might be big enough to walk into. You may even get more than one closet.
Living here with a pet or partner, entertaining guests and having a friend or family member crash for the night is much easier. In a studio, your bed often doubles as the couch, but in a one-bedroom, your couch can become a spontaneous spot for a friend to sleep.
This extra space can also lend itself to more amenities. A one-bedroom may have hookups for a washer and dryer simply because there's space for these appliances that a studio wouldn't have.
While there's an assumption that a one-bedroom costs more in rent than a studio, that isn't always the case. Depending on where the apartment is located or its age, it could cost less than a more modern studio.
All factors being equal, you're getting more square footage, so you'll pay more in rent for a one-bedroom. You'll also pay more in utilities since you've got more rooms to heat, cool and light.
As with studio apartments, where you live impacts the price, no matter the size. If you want to live closer to the city center, a studio may be all you can afford. Move a little bit further out, and things can change.
For example, in Dallas, studio apartments average around $1,340 per month. Head to Arlington, a suburb, and you can find a one-bedroom for less than $1,000. That's a big perk if space is more important than the length of your commute.
Overall benefits of a one-bedroom apartment
Even if you're living alone, you can feel constricted in a studio. Having a separate bedroom can make all the difference. These benefits can provide a convincing argument for a one-bedroom over a studio.
- One-bedrooms create a feeling of privacy you won't get from a studio apartment
- A bedroom can make an apartment feel larger regardless of square footage
- A bedroom can also provide a much-needed change of scenery for people who telecommute and are home all day
There's not always a clear studio vs. one-bedroom winner
No matter what factors are leaning you toward one side of the studio vs. one-bedroom apartment debate, you'll always find exceptions. If you're shopping for a studio because it's cheaper, you're bound to find some nice one-bedrooms for less.
If you're looking at one-bedrooms because of the size, you'll come across studios with more square footage. The important thing is to really think about what you want in your ideal apartment and not pigeon hole yourself into one particular size.