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What Is a Studio Apartment?

B. Miller
B. Miller

A studio apartment is typically a rented living space that’s all one room. Most models have a kitchen, though kitchens tend to be small and typically open into a multi-purpose space that serves as both living and sleeping area. The bathroom is often the only room with its own door. This sort of apartment is sometimes also called an “efficiency” or an “economy” in reference to how compact the space is. These sorts of apartment floor plans tend to be most common in big cities where there’s a lot of demand for inexpensive housing, though they can be found almost anywhere. It’s usually much less expensive to rent a studio than a one-bedroom or larger, though there’s less area and it’s often a lot harder to get privacy.

Basic Concept

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Apartment floor plans are usually categorized based on number of bedrooms, and in most cases a bedroom is a room separate from the living, dining, and storage spaces. The thing that sets studios apart is that they contain just one large room that serves as both the living and the sleeping area. The name “studio” is often thought to be in reference to the large open studios artists keep. There can be a lot of variety in size and style, but in general a studio has a smaller area and “footprint” than even a modest one-bedroom.

Privacy and Room Division

Sometimes, a studio apartment will feature partial dividing walls between the sleeping area and the other areas. Though this type of apartment will never feature separate rooms with doors, the partial dividing walls can provide a bit more privacy if guests are visiting, and can also give the illusion of a larger or more spacious unit. If the apartment does not feature these dividing walls, many people choose to add small folding partitions to separate the bed from the rest of the apartment. The partitions can be quite attractive, and often add to the decor of the space.


There are a number of reasons why people choose studios. Cost savings is often high on the list; the rents for these spaces are usually some of the lowest, and leasing a studio can allow a person to live in a desirable neighborhood or area that might otherwise be too expensive. The small space also means that utility bills tend to be lower, and heating and cooling are often much more efficient without multiple rooms to coordinate.


The main drawback to a studio apartment is limited space. The combination of living and dining space means that there isn’t always room to house a couch, a dining table, and a bedroom set; bigger pieces of furniture often take over the space pretty quickly. As such, occupants often need to get pretty creative when it comes to choosing furnishings and arranging their possessions.

In addition, many studio apartments only feature kitchenettes, which are smaller versions of traditional kitchens. The working area is usually severely minimized, and the appliances are often smaller than in a standard apartment. Units may have just a small oven with a one or two-burner range, for instance, and don’t often come with a microwave or dishwasher.

Space-Saving Tips

Studio living tends to force people to get really creative with storage solutions. People often make use of modular storage systems, particularly boxes that can be hidden out of sight beneath beds or other furniture. The main idea is to reduce clutter and keep items out of sight; a sparse studio often looks bigger than one that is packed full of things.

Carefully choosing furniture and decor for these small apartments is also essential. Most people find that minimal designs with smaller footprints — a loveseat or oversized armchair rather than a full sofa, for instance — can go a long way towards making the apartment appear cleaner and larger. For example, one could use a futon as a couch during the day, then extend it to become a bed at night; this essentially provides a sitting and a sleeping space with just one piece of furniture.

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Discussion Comments


Sunshine31 - I think that if you have a studio apartment you should use a lot of furniture that also has storage potential.

Many ottomans and coffee tables allow for storage inside. You can also place small units that allow you to buy storage drawers so that you can put everything away in its place and avoid the clutter that sometimes comes from small spaces.

There are also storage bins that you can slide underneath a futon or a bed that will make the room look more organized.


Sneakers41 - I just wanted to say that my first apartment was a cute studio apartment. It was a cheap studio apartment but it was in a nice safe area.

I know that many people look for a luxury studio apartment in areas where the apartments tend to be more expensive.

For example, my sister in law is currently renting a loft studio apartment in lower Manhattan for $3,000 a month.

Since this area is so expensive many people look for studio apartment listings so that they could find something they could afford.

The same is true for oceanfront beach property. Some people look for a furnished studio apartment so that they could enjoy the beach without paying a much higher price for a one or two bedroom apartment.


I think that a lot of first time renters look for studio apartment listings in order to find their first apartment.

Studio apartments for rent tend to be cheaper than a one bedroom and since it is your first apartment you do not have to worry about buying a lot of furnishings because you will not have the space.

You will need to buy a futon that can act as a couch and foldout to a bed. You can also buy a sofa bed, but futons tend to be more inexpensive.

You might even be able to find a furnished studio apartment but the rent will probably be higher for the added convenience. Many corporate apartments that companies rent for their employees are like this.

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