What is an efficiency apartment? Everything you need to know about this tiny type of dwelling

With a simple floor plan and stripped-down amenities, efficiency apartments (sometimes referred to as “bachelor apartments”) are a good option for renters on a tight budget who want to live alone in a desirable location. Read on if this sounds like you.

Apartment buildings lined up next to each other

Table of contents

What is an efficiency apartment?What’s the difference between an efficiency and a studio apartment? What are the pros and cons of living in an efficiency apartment?Is an efficiency apartment right for you?

What is an efficiency apartment?

An efficiency apartment is a single room dwelling with open space to sleep, cook, and lounge within it. There are no walls separating these areas. The only separate room is the bathroom, which legally must be walled-off. This might sound a lot like a studio apartment—but there’s a key difference: the kitchen. Rather than a full size kitchen, efficiency apartments only have a kitchenette. This means that there might be a mini fridge, a stovetop with just one or two burners, and fewer appliances overall. 

What’s the difference between an efficiency and a studio apartment? 

In addition to the difference in kitchen set up, there are several other notable differences between these two kinds of apartments:

  • Efficiency apartments tend to be smaller than studios. Studios can be quite large, while efficiency apartments are always quite tiny. While size varies from city to city, renters can expect to find efficiency apartments that are around 300 square feet.

  • Due to the limited space and kitchen functionality, efficiency apartments are usually less expensive than studios. In big cities like New York and San Francisco, efficiency apartments might be the only affordable solo living option in popular neighborhoods.

What are the pros and cons of living in an efficiency apartment?

Like all affordable housing types, there are trade offs to living in an efficiency. 


  • Low cost. Renting an efficiency apartment will likely allow you to live alone in a highly sought-after location for a reasonable price. Rents are lower than other solo housing types because of the limited functionality, and utilities cost should be minimal, as you don’t have much square footage to power. Furnishing costs are also low, because efficiencies typically only have space for bedroom furniture. 

  • Easy to clean. Efficiency apartments are also easy to clean because there is not much space to cover. 


  • No full kitchen. If you love to cook, efficiency apartments will be limiting due to the lack of a full kitchen. Best case scenario, you’ll be cooking in a toaster oven without a lot of counter space. This also means you’ll be spending more money on restaurant food—which can add up quickly.

  • Lack of storage. Due to the small square footage, efficiency apartments don’t provide much storage space. If you like activities that require a lot of gear, you might have to consider paying for external storage. 

  • Space constraints. Due to their small size, efficiencies can feel claustrophobic. There is a lack of privacy if you live with a significant other, as well as not much room to entertain guests.

Is an efficiency apartment right for you?

To determine if you’re compatible with efficiency living, take a look at your lifestyle preferences. If you're a minimalist who loves to eat out, is comfortable in a small space, and your priority is living in an in-demand neighborhood, an efficiency apartment may be the way to go.  

But if you love to cook elaborately or need room to stretch out, an efficiency may be too limiting for you.

If you’re budget constrained but don’t want to sacrifice location, fear not—there are other options besides efficiency apartments. Consider coliving—that is, living with roommates. Bungalow offers private rooms in shared homes in desirable neighborhoods for less than solo living options like efficiency apartments. Find a Bungalow near you.

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