Studios vs. one bedroom apartments: Learn the differences and how to choose

As you look for a new home—or perhaps your first apartment!—in a big city, you’re likely considering both studios and one bedroom apartments. Both options have the essentials for a solo dweller or a couple: a full kitchen, living area, a sleeping area, and separate bathroom. But the two have an important difference that can impact your decision. Let’s take a deeper look at what each type of housing offers and how to decide which is right for you.

Clean, white sheets on a bed in a studio apartment
Clean, white sheets on a bed in a studio apartment

Table of contents

The crucial difference between studios and one bedroom apartmentsWhat is a studio apartment?What is a one bedroom apartment?Which type of apartment is right for you?

The crucial difference between studios and one bedroom apartments

The key difference between studio apartments and one bedrooms is the existence of a separate bedroom, which is separated from the rest of the apartment by a wall. One bedroom apartments have this luxury, while studios do not. 

What is a studio apartment?

A studio apartment, by definition, is a single-room dwelling that combines the bedroom, kitchen, and living area into one large room. The open floor plan does not have walls separating the sleeping and living areas, and the kitchen area may or may not be separated by a wall. There is one exception, however, which is the bathroom. By law, the bathroom must be its own, individual room with a door. While the size of the typical studio apartment varies from city to city, renters can usually expect to find a place that’s between 400 and 600 square feet.

What is a one bedroom apartment?

A one bedroom apartment explains itself in its name. It’s an apartment with one bedroom that’s completely separate from the other spaces. It has walls and a door keeping this bedroom apart from the full kitchen, living room, and bathroom. The separate rooms account for the higher price and greater square footage than those of a studio.

A sofa and side table in a studio apartment

Which type of apartment is right for you?

Now that we’ve established the main characteristics of studios and one bedrooms, it’s time to examine what these definitions mean for your apartment search. When weighing the pros and cons of both, these are the factors you should consider.


In big cities like New York or San Francisco, studio apartments are often smaller than one bedrooms. This means studios have less storage space, and fewer options when it comes to moving around. This detail is more important to some people than others. Minimalists, frequent travelers, and those with active social lives might not mind living in a small space with limited storage. Homebodies and freelancers who work from home might prefer or require the extra room that comes with a one bedroom. 

One exception to this general rule of thumb is loft apartments. These are often large studios (that is: single-room living spaces) in buildings that used to be warehouses or factories. Loft apartments can be much bigger than studios and even one bedroom apartments, and thus even more expensive. 


If they’re bigger (which they usually are), one bedroom apartments are generally more expensive to live in than studio apartments. Rent prices are higher for one bedrooms, and utilities also cost more because there is more space to heat, cool, and illuminate. There is also more space to fill with furniture, so it’ll be pricier to furnish and decorate a one bedroom apartment.


Whether you’re moving in with a significant other or on your own may affect your decision to rent a studio versus a one bedroom. Studios don’t allow for much personal space, which isn’t a problem if you’re the only person living there. Couples who also like alone time may need to opt for a one bedroom, where two people can hang out in separate rooms.

Lifestyle amenities

Those who like to frequently entertain and invite friends over need the space to do so. In most cases, studio apartments do not provide ample room for guests and might force visitors to sit on the bed or invade other personal spots. One bedroom apartments, on the other hand, usually have more living space for hosting.

If you’re looking for a housing option that is less expensive than a one bedroom, consider coliving—that is, living with roommates. Bungalow offers private rooms in shared homes in desirable neighborhoods for less than solo living options like studios and one bedroom apartments. Find a Bungalow near you.

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