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Differences Between Studio and Efficiency Apartments

By: Justin Chaplin
July 30, 2019

Efficiency Apartments - Are They Right For Me?

Looking to move into a bustling downtown area on a budget? You might be looking at some small living spaces, like a studio apartment or efficiency apartment. These types of spaces provide renters with a more affordable solution to living in a desirable part of town. If you are looking to move to cities like New York, Los Angeles or Washington D.C., studio and efficiency apartments might be the only option.

While the two often get lumped together, there are some key differences between studio apartments and efficiency apartments that you need to consider. But before we get into the differences, first understand what each apartment type is.

What is a Studio Apartment?

Although the layout of studio apartments vary, most feature a similar floorplan. Studio apartments are essentially one combined room. Your kitchen, bedroom and living room will all be the same space. While a one-bedroom apartment features a living room and bedroom, studio apartments combine the two. This type of floorplan will have a separate bathroom. While you likely won't have the real estate to entertain guests in a studio, it's a solid choice for a renter living alone.

What is an Efficiency Apartment?

If you are scared by the small space in a studio apartment, efficiency apartments will terrify you. These apartments tend to be smaller than studios and don't come with features you often find in studios. In a studio apartment, you'll often see a separate loft-style pace for your bed. You won't find this amenity in an efficiency apartment. However, it's common for efficiency apartments to have a separate kitchen area. These apartments also have a separate bathroom like a studio.

Differences Between Studio and Efficiency Apartments

While the two have many similarities, there are four key differences between studio and efficiency apartments.

1. Size

Studio apartments are typically around 400-500 square feet. However, they can be smaller depending on where you live. In other areas, you may see larger, open-concept studio floor plans with more square footage. Efficiency apartments are always going to be smaller than studios.

2. Kitchen

Efficiency apartments are usually smaller than a studio because they have a smaller kitchen space. Many studios will feature a full-size, fully functional kitchen. Studio kitchens will typically come equipped with your typical appliances and adequate counter space. 

In an efficiency apartment, you'll likely find some variation of a kitchenette. A kitchenette is a smaller version of a kitchen that has smaller, and sometimes less, appliances. You’ll probably have things like a mini-fridge and a stovetop with only one or two burners. If cooking isn’t your thing, this setup might be fine for you. If you love cooking, you might be in for a difficult time. However, there are ways to optimize organization and ways to make your small kitchen look bigger.

3. Price

Efficiency apartments tend to have slightly lower rents than studios, but the difference isn't big. Your decision will likely be all about the location and the apartment community. Unless you are on a strict budget, the price difference between the two won't be much of a factor.

4. Occupancy

In an efficiency apartment, you pretty much need to live alone. Living with a roommate is going to be extremely cramped. Unless you live a very minimalist lifestyle, it’s best to avoid that situation. In a larger studio, you could make it work. It's certainly not ideal, but it's easier to set up a living space with the extra square footage of a studio. If you are planning to rent a studio with a partner, make sure you are comfortable sharing a lot of personal space.

Benefits of Living in an Efficiency Apartment

There are a few added benefits to living in the small space offered by an efficiency apartment. Don't be scared away before considering the benefits!

1. Location, Location, Location

Alright, this is the big one. If you are considering an efficiency apartment, you are likely looking at a space in a bustling part of town. You may be able to afford a one-bedroom twenty minutes out of downtown.

But if opting for a small apartment allows you to live in the heart of the city, the added benefits are huge. Walk to your favorite downtown spots instead of driving. Walk to the downtown office instead of commuting and sitting in traffic. If living in a lively part of town is your dream, living in a small apartment might get you there.

2. Saving Money

Living in a small apartment could save you tons of money. I mean, money is probably why you are considering one of these apartments in the first place. Rent is always the least expensive for these types of floorplans. Passing up a one-bedroom for an efficiency apartment can save you hundreds in rent.

And the savings come from more than just the rent. In a smaller space, you need less furniture, less decor, and spend less on utilities. Before scoffing at the thought of living in one main room, consider the savings!

3. Decluttering

Unfortunately, living in a small studio or efficiency apartment means you have less storage space. The lack of counter space and walk-in closet may be a dealbreaker for some. Others might see it as an opportunity to say goodbye to some of your useless belongings. You'll think twice about spending money on unnecessary things.

4. Less to Clean

Do you hate cleaning? Are vacuuming and dusting just unbearable to you? Rent an apartment with a lot less space and you'll have a lot less to clean. Not only do you have less space to look after, but if you cut back on clothes that means less laundry as well!

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