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Studio vs. 1 Bedroom Apartments: Which to Choose?

Renters are often faced with choosing between a studio and a 1-bedroom apartment, especially in big cities like New York City or San Francisco. Whether you’re looking to save money or need more space, both come with their set of pros and cons. Here’s what to know before you sign your next lease.

What is a Studio Apartment?

A studio apartment is a single room space that combines your living room, bedroom, and eating area together in one open floor format. There are no walls or separation that divide the different sections. Much to renters’ relief everywhere, in accordance with mandated U.S. housing laws, the bathroom in a studio apartment is separate!

What is a 1-Bedroom Apartment?

As the name implies, a 1-bedroom apartment features a bedroom separate from the main living space. Unlike a studio apartment, the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen are all in separate areas.

Depending on the size of the space, a living or dining room may combine with the kitchen for an open floor concept. Larger apartments might also offer their own separate eating area. As a general rule, 1-bedroom apartments are typically more spacious than a studio, and entertaining others prove easier with the increased space.

Differences Between Studios and 1-Bedroom Apartments

Before you start apartment hunting, brush up on the differences between studios and 1-bedroom apartments to find the right place for you.


The small size of a studio apartment can be a pro or con, depending on who you ask. If you prefer a more minimalistic, simple lifestyle, a studio apartment is ideal. It’s easy to clean up quickly and everything you need is within reach.

Of course, a cozy apartment isn’t a good fit for everyone. You may crave more space and dimension or risk feeling stir-crazy. Plus, if you’re living with a significant other and desire privacy, you’re better off in a 1-bedroom apartment. It’s roomy enough for a couple and offers the opportunity to split the rent and save money.

Furniture and Decor

If you love interior decorating, a studio apartment offers limited options. Your focus will likely revolve around creating more divisions, like screen dividers or plants. You also won’t have many opportunities to hang artwork or add interesting pieces of furniture.

But if you’re on a budget and don’t want to bother with too much stuff, a studio apartment is a great option. Unlike a 1-bedroom, you won’t need much furniture or decor to make your place feel like home.

Home Office Set-Up

It’s true you can work from home in both a studio apartment or a 1-bedroom apartment. However, it’s not always practical or comfortable to eat, sleep, work, and relax in the same room day in and day out. Sometimes studio apartments just don’t offer the flexibility you need for your work-life balance.

A 1-bedroom is roomier for a remote career, and it’s also easier to set up a work-from-home office in your apartment. An alcove, small den, or spacious corner is about all you need.

Rent Prices

Due to its smaller size, rent for a studio apartment is usually less expensive than other apartments on the market. You can save more money living in a studio apartment, or even move into your dream neighborhood.

Even if you’re not looking to save money, a studio apartment offers a more efficient and environmentally-friendly lifestyle. You’ll use less energy, cleaning products, water, and overall day-to-day resources living in a studio apartment.

Keep in mind that not all studio apartments are cheaper than a 1-bedroom. Living in a trendy neighborhood in an upscale neighborhood commands a high price tag, no matter the apartment size you choose.

Utility Bills

It’s only normal that your utilities are less expensive in a studio apartment. It takes less heat and air conditioning to keep your place feeling comfortable.

Meanwhile, a 1-bedroom apartment requires more energy to keep it feeling temperate and comfortable. If you have high ceilings or a lofted area, you’ll spend even more on electricity.


Multitasking is a way of life, and it’s easy to do in a studio apartment. You can watch Netflix, clean, and cook dinner in the same room. Your place is also faster to tidy up before heading out for a night on the town.

Studio apartments are often located in busy neighborhoods in the city center. You can get everywhere you need quickly.

Hosting and Entertaining

When you live in a studio apartment, your bed may also serve as part of the seating area. That means guests are constantly surrounded by your personal effects and don’t have much room to spread out. It’s not impossible, but difficult to entertain a crowd when you live in a studio apartment.

Hosting out-of-town guests is also difficult. You’ll likely have a blow-up mattress adjacent to your own bed to fit your guest.

You may not have a dedicated guest room in a 1-bedroom apartment, but there’s still room to host people while enjoying some privacy. You can set up the couch or an air mattress in the living room or a small den. Beyond overnights, a kitchen and living room are usually all you need to host a dinner party or gathering over drinks and snacks.

Closet Space

If you love collecting shoes or jackets, a studio apartment probably won’t work for you. They usually come with limited closet space that hangs a handful of coats. You’ll probably need a wardrobe, dresser, or innovative clothing storage solution to make it work.


Although you can find 1-bedroom apartments just about anywhere, they’re also more competitive to secure in cities like New York City and Boston. Studios are generally less desirable, and you’ll face a sea of renters vying for the same 1-bedroom apartment that you are.

What’s the Price Difference Between Studio vs. 1-Bedroom Apartments?

Studio apartments tend to be cheaper than 1-bedroom apartments by 5%. It’s up to you to determine if the price difference is worth it.

Below, we’ve listed the studio apartment prices in a few popular cities in the US: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.

CityAverage Studio Apartment RentAverage 1-Bedroom Rent
Austin, TX$1,669$1,718
Boston, MA$2,637$3,193
Chicago, IL$1,737$2,155
Los Angeles, CA$2,203$2,974
New York, NY$3,638$4,761
Philadelphia, PA$1,604$1,922
San Francisco, CA$2,486$3,387
Seattle, WA$1,839$2,418

However, you’ll find some studio apartments aren’t that much cheaper than 1-bedroom apartments. You may even find studios are more expensive in trendy neighborhoods or apartment complexes with tons of amenities and luxury touches.

Should I Rent a Studio or a 1-Bedroom Apartment?

When it comes to choosing a studio vs. a 1-bedroom apartment, there are several differences to consider. Lifestyles that include redecorating, entertaining, and collecting the latest gadgets aren’t conducive to a studio apartment. However, the separate rooms in a 1-bedroom apartment allow for more storage and space to add more furnishings and apartment decor.

But if saving money is your number one priority, a studio will likely be your best and most affordable option. If you prefer more space, a separate bedroom, and can stretch your budget, a 1-bedroom apartment is the way to go.

Final Thoughts

Wherever your priorities may lie, it's never too early to begin apartment searching. Ready to find that perfectly-located studio or that roomy 1-bedroom apartment? Start our quiz!

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Ashley is a freelance writer at Apartment List. In addition to her contributions to Apartment List, Ashley works with other real estate businesses and is currently earning her BA in English Writing and Journalism. Read More
Kimi is a Content Associate and contributing author at Apartment List, helping renters find a new place to call home. Kimi earned her BA in Organizational Studies, Economics from Scripps College. Read More
Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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