If you’re tired of cleaning, bored of living in the middle of nowhere, or a budding minimalist with far too much floorspace and storage for your dwindling possessions, then you’ve likely toyed with the idea of moving to a studio apartment. But if you’re on the fence about studio living, there’s probably one nagging question holding you back: just how small is a studio apartment? Luckily, I’m here to help answer that question, and debunk some myths about studio living.
So, how large is a studio apartment? The average square footage of a studio apartment in the U.S is 514 square feet, 10% smaller than an average studio apartment in 2008, which was 573 square feet. This is almost half the size of an average apartment in the U.S.A, which stands at 882 square feet.
Compared to the two car garage
The average size of a two car garage in the US is 480 square feet, only fractionally smaller than the average studio apartment. Clearly, moving into space this small is not a decision to be taken lightly! But if you have you ever dreamed of living in the heart of your city, but refused to pay huge rent for a one- or two-bedroom apartment, a studio may be the space for you. Or maybe you have found yourself swept up in the craze for minimalism and, having thrown out half of your earthly possessions in a whirl of Konmari-inspired cleansing, been faced with a half-empty house and the nagging temptation to downsize.
Maybe you’re just tired of constant cleaning and DIY and want low maintenance, low floorspace alternative to your enormous house. Or perhaps you’re a student or early career professional in search of your first home and worried you’ll have no furniture to furnish it.
In any of these cases, a studio apartment could be a way not just to revolutionize your living space, but to revolutionize the way you live full-stop. Below I’m going to dig into what it’s really like to live in a studio, as well as some of the things to consider if you’re thinking of making the move.
What is it like to live in a studio apartment?
I moved from a two-bedroom terraced house in the UK to a studio apartment two years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. Here are my top 5 reasons you should consider moving to a studio apartment, based on my own personal experience:
- Location, location and location: studio apartments are a great way to live in a central location without paying the earth. Often built into refurbished office or commercial buildings already standing in the city center, the small footprints of studio apartments mean the rents they command are extremely reasonable when considered against the central location you’ll likely be able to enjoy. I moved from an hour away, to five minutes away from the center of my city, and while my floor space shrunk dramatically, my rent didn’t increase at all.
- You’ll get out more: a small living space surrounded by a big city is the perfect recipe for a life filled with a bit more adventure. With the city on your doorstep, you can make up for the rooms you lack by making use of the urban environment around you. No office? make your favorite coffee shop your
work space. No garden? go to the nearest green space! Soon enough you’ll find yourself stumbling upon corners of your city you never knew existed!
- Your bills will be cheaper: living in a small space means you’ll need less energy to light, heat, or cool it, which in turn means your energy bills will significantly decrease. And if you’re renting, many agencies will even include some or all of your utilities in with your rent, taking away the hassle and stress of hunting for deals and taking out a bunch of new contracts with different
- You’ll be living more ethically: with a small space and lower
utilitiesconsumption comes aneco-friendlier lifestyle. Living in a studio apartment generates a considerably lower carbon footprint than an average house, and your central location will also mean you’ll have less need to travel using energy-guzzling cars and buses.
- It’s cleaner (and tidier): one of the biggest advantages of studio living is the time you’ll save on housework. A tiny apartment has fewer surfaces to clean, and these surfaces tend to be more accessible (unlike the dreaded cupboard-under-the-stairs found in typical houses). Alongside that, having less space means you’ll have fewer storage options, and so you’ll be much less likely to accumulate clutter and keep hold of unwanted, space-hungry possessions. Goodbye camping equipment you bought once for a festival years ago and never used again, hello the peace and tranquillity of properly curated space!
What do you need to consider when studio hunting?
Studio living isn’t all about big city adventures and clean, airy minimalist living. Relocating your life to a space not much bigger than a garage comes with a range of challenges. Many of these can be dealt with in advance, however, by keeping certain things in mind as you hunt for your new apartment.
- What amenities does the apartment have? if you’re in the UK, you’d probably expect to have a washing machine in your house, but in a studio apartment, there is no guarantee of this. It’s also likely you won’t have a full kitchen – are you confident you can cook your signature dishes on just two burners? As an aside, you’ll also have to deal with the inevitable complications that arise when your kitchen is also your bedroom. You might be rethinking your passion for spicy foods when all your clothes smell like yesterday’s burritos.
- What facilities does the building feature? To counterbalance the lack of space for essential amenities in your studio apartment, you may find that your building comes with more features than you’d expect. Many studio apartment buildings feature things like concierge desks (helpful for accepting packages when you’re out), gyms, resident’s lounges and communal spaces, and even cinemas and games rooms. As an added bonus, getting chatting with your neighbors in your apartment building’s lounge is a good way to make some new, small space friends.
- What space do you really need? It’s all very well committing to the studio lifestyle if you’ve already carefully cut your possessions down to the bare essentials. However, if you’re looking for the perks of city center living but aren’t willing to give up your extensive collection of shoes, your home gym, or your beloved 5.1 cinema sound system, you may want to reconsider. That being said, a cleverly designed studio apartment can be surprisingly roomy, with good designers making the most of every space and secreting storage under beds, above cupboards, and in other unlikely spots. So just because you can’t see an obvious space for your drum kit when viewing, don’t write the whole idea off too quickly!
How should you decorate and furnish a studio apartment?
Interior designers recommend light paints for small spaces, ideally bright whites or soft pastels to give an airy feel. Stripped wood floors can add an element of visual interest. Use bookcases or shelves to divide the space, creating the sense of separate rooms, incorporate plants to add visual features and give the space a less clinical feel, and include reflective surfaces and mirrors to generate an extra illusion of space.
You can furnish a studio apartment to suit any taste, but these small spaces really come alive when ingenuity and creative thinking is applied to maximize the utility of every square foot. A simple solution to the problem of where to put your bed is to consider a Murphy bed – a pull-down bed that can be folded up into the wall during the day, freeing up space beneath for other uses. More advanced ideas include building your bed onto a platform (kind of like a grown-up bunk bed) and using the space beneath as a living or dining area; swapping a traditional staircase for one that folds away, doubles as storage, or is replaced by a ladder; swapping traditional doors for sliding doors; or fitting multi-purpose furniture, such as a desk that also doubles as a dining table.
- What is a good size for a studio apartment? As mentioned above, studio apartments can vary wildly in size, from tiny sub-200 square feet micro-apartments to roomier 500 or 600 square feet spaces. Size isn’t as important as smart design, but anything above 400 square feet would be considered a decent sized apartment in the US or UK.
- What is considered a large studio apartment? There’s really no upper limit on the size of studio apartments, as they are defined not by their floorspace but by the fact of not having a separate bedroom. It’s not inconceivable to have a 1000 square foot studio apartment, though at around this size it is likely such apartments would be referred to as loft apartments, a name that usually signals a large, open-layout space.