Studio vs. One-bedroom Apartment: What’s the Difference?

Studio vs. One-bedroom Apartment

Apartment hunting can be a stressful activity for plenty of reasons, from the pressure of the impending end of your current tenancy to the feeling that you’ll never find that perfect place that can offer the holy trinity of affordability, quality, and location. On top of that, you’ll have to learn a whole new language if you want to decode the endless listings promising half-baths and hard lofts, brownstones and bungalows. Of the many different varieties of apartment, two of the easiest to confuse and most often interchanged are studio and one-bedroom. So what’s the difference? Read on to find out!

The studio apartment is a single room with an attached bathroom. This single room serves as the bedroom, kitchen, dining and a living room. Contrary, a 1-bedroom apartment is an apartment with a bedroom, a kitchen, a living room, and a bathroom. In some instances, the 1-bedroom apartment homes have a balcony.

Pros and cons:

There’s a lot to consider when looking for a new apartment, and while the choice between a standard apartment and a single room with a bed in the corner might seem like an obvious one, in actual fact there are plenty of pros and cons to both studio and one-bedroom apartments. Which one is right for you will ultimately come down to your personal preference, but it helps to have a well-informed opinion. With that being the case, lets look at the separate cases for studio and one-bedroom living.

Major differences between studio and one-bedroom apartments:

Studio apartments may seem a little radical, especially to those who have grown up in large houses with rooms for every occasion, but these little spaces can, in fact, come with some big benefits. However, the case for studio living is far from clear-cut. For every reason to ditch your big old house and move into a shoebox in the city center, there’s an equally good reason not to. Some of the major differences between the two apartment types are the size, the layout, the amenities, privacy, and costs; ultimately, determining which of these is the most important to you will help you decide whether to settle for studio or one-bedroom living.

  • The space: the first and most obvious compromise you’ll be making when moving to a studio apartment is on space. There’s no getting around the fact that studio apartments are tiny. The average one-bedroom apartment in the US is 750 square feet, while the average studio apartment is only two-thirds of that, at 500 square feet. In the UK, these apartments are even smaller, with some coming in at a tiny 200 square feet! For comparison, the average two-car garage in the US is over 450 feet. This tiny size means you’ll have considerably less storage than the average living space, so if you’re a compulsive collector, a fashion aficionado or a serial hobbyist, you’ll probably want to go for a one-bedroom apartment that can accommodate your things. On the other hand, this limited storage suits the current trends for minimizing and decluttering. As authors like Marie Kondo and Fumio Sasaki have argued, getting rid of our unwanted and unneeded possessions can increase happiness and decrease stress, leading to a calmer and healthier lifestyle.
  • The layout: as noted above, one-bedroom apartments tend to feature layouts that subdivide the apartment space into distinct rooms. This is perfect if you’re a fan of keeping your spaces separately divided according to their function, but for some the attraction of open-plan living may draw them to the studio. Studio apartments tend to feature more innovative design geared towards maximizing the utility of the available space. From simple fold-out beds to concealed kitchens and suspended platforms, fans of more unusual or avant-garde living may also look to the studio as the more interesting prospect, while property hunters seeking a more traditional living arrangement will instead want to go for the one-bedroom.
  • The amenities: regarding amenities, the simple rule is that a one-bedroom will likely have more amenities inside, while a studio will have more outside. By which I mean that while a one-bedroom will almost certainly feature a full kitchen, as well as white goods like a washing machine, tumble dryer, and dishwasher, the building the apartment is situated in may be a bit more bare-bones. On the other hand, a studio is unlikely to feature many of the amenities you would ordinarily consider common to the average house, but studio apartment buildings tend to be some of the most fun places to live in a city. To make up for the lack of space inside the rooms, studio apartment buildings are known to feature everything from gyms and social spaces to cinemas and games rooms, as well as concierges and security on-site.
  • Your privacy: by the simple fact that they have no internal walls, studio apartments are guaranteed to be less private. Thankfully, the bathroom still remains separate from the rest of the house, but if you’re thinking of moving into a studio apartment with a partner and are already calculating how long you can reasonably spend hiding in the bathroom looking for some peace and quiet, then maybe a one-bedroom is more your speed. With distinct rooms, one-bedroom spaces offer a level of privacy and personal space that a studio simply can’t compete with. Likewise, smaller apartments mean you’ll probably be packed in closer to your neighbours in a studio, and with more amenities located in public parts of the building, you’ll also have to get used to neighbourly small-talk if you want to hit the gym or relax in the communal lounge.
  • The price: studio apartments tend to be considerably cheaper to rent or buy than one- or two-bedroom variants, simply because they have less floorspace and represent a less conventionally attractive rental or purchase prospect. Even with their likely excellent location and modern amenities, studio apartments will be some of the cheapest rentals in your city. As smaller spaces, studios will also cost less to heat, cool, and light, while their central locations (studios are often located right in the city center, built into refurbished office or commercial buildings) means you’ll be relying less on expensive public transport or driving. As an aside, this also makes the studio a more eco-friendly alternative to a larger apartment.

So what is best for you?

Weighing up the overall rental experience of renting a studio vs a one-bedroom apartment is no easy feat. Studio apartments offer excellent locations and building facilities for a reasonable price, but to do so they sacrifice valuable storage and living space, privacy, and many essential amenities. One-bedroom apartments, on the other hand, promise a bigger space with separate rooms for separate occasions, but for this

luxury you’ll be paying more both in rent and ongoing utilities costs. Ultimately, deciding which of the two options is right for you is a choice that only you can make. Hopefully, however, reviewing the points listed above will help make that difficult decision just a little bit easier.

Related questions:

Studio and one-bedroom are two among a near-endless list of terms that make up the average real estate agent’s glossary. To wrap up this article, I’ve provided definitions for a few other common apartment descriptors, to help make your apartment hunting as plain-speaking and pain-free as possible.

  • What is a duplex? Depending on whether you are in the UK or the US, a duplex is either a single apartment that has two floors or levels or a building (typically a house) which has been divided into two separate apartments. The former is the British usage, while the latter is the commonly understood definition of the term in the US.
  • What is a hard loft? A hard loft is an apartment that has been converted from an old industrial or commercial building. These are the loft apartments of magazines and movies, typically featuring authentic original features such as exposed brick, steel beams, high ceilings and oversized windows. A soft loft, by contrast, is a modern apartment that has been built and decorated to resemble a hard loft, but swaps authentic character for more modern comforts, such as better insulation and increased energy efficiency. 
  • What is a walk-up? A walk-up apartment building is a building with several floors but without an elevator. Typically these buildings are in, or have previously been in, lower income areas of cities. 
  • What is a half-bath? When a listing notes that a property has a half-bath, it refers to a small bathroom that features a toilet and washbasin, but no bath or shower. This would typically be the second bathroom, complementing another master, or a full, bathroom containing all four typical bathroom items. 

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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