Studio Apartment VS Efficiency: What’s The Difference?

Studio Apartment VS Efficiency What’s The Difference

If you have been in the market for a new apartment, chances are all the different terms being thrown around everywhere you look have you confused. Among the most confusing of these are ‘studio apartment’ and ‘efficiency apartment’, because they are often used interchangeably. However, although there are several similarities between the two, there are also a few key factors that can help you distinguish between them.

Studio apartment vs Efficiency: what’s the difference? Well, although both a studio apartment and an efficiency are units with spaces without a separate or private sleeping area, there are a few key differences between the two. These differences can be seen when you look at the individual unit sizes, the layout, the kitchen space, and the number of occupants they have been designed for.

What they have in common

Both studio apartments and efficiencies have no separate private bedroom. They also both have a separate small kitchen area included within the space. However, in the case of efficiencies, these kitchenettes are usually more separated from the living area, as opposed to being part of the main living space in studio apartments.

Both studio apartments and efficiencies have private bathrooms. All other spaces, however, such as sleeping, living, and kitchen areas, are combined into a single space and it is up to the occupant to decide how these activities will be performed within that space.

That being said, although they are quite similar, studio apartments generally offer more options and more flexibility than efficiencies. Here are a few factors that make them different:

What makes them different?

1. Design Style

Efficiencies and studios have open plan concepts. This incorporates the sleeping area and the living space into one major space. However, the layout of studio apartments usually varies, but generally the full kitchen is included within the larger apartment space. Although both efficiencies and studio apartments have separate kitchen areas, there are some efficiencies that have no kitchen at all.

2. Size

Efficiencies are smaller than studio apartments.  Although both of them are usually under 500 square feet, efficiencies can be as small as 300 square feet. Additionally, studio apartments may come with an additional loft, which further expands their space. They may also be former industrial spaces or warehouses that have been converted into living spaces, which means they will end up having high floor to ceiling heights. Efficiencies, on the other hand, do not have this option and are usually very small.

3. Kitchen Space

Studio apartments have a full kitchen while efficiencies have kitchenettes. The amenities in the kitchenette of the efficiency are also quite limited, for example, you will rarely get a full stove or oven in an efficiency. You will also only have a very small counter space, probably only enough to heat up a small meal as opposed to preparing a full dinner. The refrigerator may also only be counter height if there is one. The studio apartment, on the other hand, will have a full kitchen with enough appliances to prepare a full meal. The kitchen will obviously be larger than that of an efficiency, and if there is a refrigerator, it will be bigger and fully functional.

4. Number of Occupants

An efficiency is a very small space, a fact that makes it ideal for a single occupant. Living with a roommate in an efficiency will feel cramped because the space was not designed for multiple occupants. This is why efficiencies are perfect for single people who do not need a lot of space, or people who do not have a lot of stuff. Studio apartments are usually a better option for couples or people who prefer living with roommates.

5. Price of the Apartments

Generally, efficiencies are usually cheaper than studio apartments. However, this is not always the case. Pricing will usually vary depending on the location of the apartment, the overall size, and the interior finishes. The value of the apartment will also depend on the kind of neighborhood it is located in, and whether any upgrades have been done to the apartment itself. Which is why there are luxury efficiency apartments in upscale neighborhoods that are much more expensive than the average large studio apartment.

Factors to consider when making your choice

There are several factors you need to consider as you make a choice between a studio apartment and an efficiency. Here are a few of them:

  • Size: If you are a single person who doesn’t own a lot of stuff, or if you are not much of a homemaker, an efficiency would be perfect for you. However, if you intend to have a roommate or you are going to be living as a couple, or if you just generally like having lots of space around you, a studio apartment is better suited for you.
  • Kitchen style: If you enjoy cooking and spending time in the kitchen, a studio apartment with a large kitchen is what you should go for. Efficiencies have very limited kitchen spaces and appliances.
  • Location: The location of the unit will also play a major role in influencing your decision. The efficiency might be located in an upscale location, or the studio apartment in a run-down neighborhood. This will influence the quality of life around the unit.
  • Budget: Your budget plays a big role in the kind of housing you eventually end up with. Generally, studio apartments are more expensive than efficiencies. However, factors like the location of the unit can also influence its overall cost. There are also luxury efficiencies and loft studios that may cost a lot more than the average studio apartment and efficiency while offering more amenities, utilities and space.
  • Utilities: Studio apartments usually have more utilities and amenities included. Furthermore, the cost of all utilities might be included in the price of the studio apartment, while you may have to pay for your utilities plus rent when you choose an efficiency.

Design and decorating ideas for studio apartments and efficiencies

Because space is so limited, regular furniture may not be ideal for studios and efficiencies. This is why design and decoration can be quite a challenge when it comes to such spaces. However, here are a few space saving alternatives:

  • A hanging clothes bar to hang your clothes instead of a closet. This will save space while creating a multi-functional space around the clothes storage area.
  • A coffee table with added built-in storage. Basically, any furniture that adds extra storage space to the apartment as it performs its functions is a good idea.
  • Foldable tables and chairs if you need additional seating space or for the dining area. Foldable furniture are a good space saving strategy especially for furniture that does not get used on a daily basis. 
  • A sofa bed instead of a separate sofa and bed. This way, your seating space is also your sleeping area.
  • Small dining spaces for one, two or three people. Since the space is already designed for few people, get furniture for a small number of people.
  • Therefore, even though it may not be possible to have large, luxurious furniture, it does not mean that you have to give up on your comfort. Carefully selected pieces will help you inject style and character into your space.

Special Studio Apartments and Efficiencies

There are studio apartments and efficiencies that do not exactly conform to the definitions of these terms. These unique units are loft studios and luxury efficiency apartments.

Loft studios

Loft studios are a special kind of studio apartment that are much larger than the average studio apartment. They have high ceilings and are usually repurposed industrial spaces. This means they will include exposed beans and larger than normal windows. They are usually found in upscale neighborhoods and can be very expensive.

Loft studios have a large kitchen, and will usually include the main bedroom or an extra bedroom in a loft space that can be accessed by a set of stairs. The loft space may be the size of a regular studio apartment, and can include a small office space or even a guest room. Loft studios are usually designed with more than two people in mind.

Luxury efficiency apartments

Unlike regular efficiencies, luxury efficiency apartments are very large, far larger than studio apartments at over 1200 square feet on average. This, however, is the only distinction they have from regular efficiencies. Everything else is generally the same. Luxury efficiencies are usually luxuriously finished, furnished, and very expensive.

Related Questions

  • What is the difference between a studio apartment and a bachelor pad? Well, technically, they are just different names describing the same thing. A bachelor pad is a type of studio apartment that is popular with single people. They are typically located in urban areas, and are small one room apartments with a separate bathroom. The single room may or may not be located to a kitchen or kitchenette.
  • What is a quad apartment? A quad apartment is a studio apartment designed for up to four roommates. They usually have a combination of beds and roll-aways and built in closets. Sometimes, it is cheaper to rent a quad apartment if you have a roommate because they have a much larger space.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author, and she enjoys traveling, reading, and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC.

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