What's a Studio Apartment -- and Is It the Same as a Micro Apartment?


Studio, micro -- they both mean small, so what's the difference? The idea of living small is gaining in popularity, especially as people look for new ways to cut costs while still being able to enjoy an urban living environment. And, let's face it -- if you live alone, sometimes a small space is better … less to clean, less to clutter with unnecessary stuff, the ability to say, "I'd love to host [insert event here], but my place is too small." So, what size apartment do you really need?

If you don't like the idea of not having a separate bedroom, then don't consider anything less than a one-bedroom apartment. If you don't mind the bed being in your living room, then a studio apartment may be perfect for you -- a studio apartment won't have a separate bedroom. In fact, in most cases, the only separate "room" will be the bathroom. Typically, a studio will have an open kitchen area, a living space, and the bathroom. Sometimes there will be a closet in the living area -- but that's basically it. Some apartment communities will make up for the lack of floor space with high ceilings or a loft space.

Studio apartments are typically 500-600 square feet. How big is that, really? Here's a good comparison: think back to your high school English classroom. Or, the last time you went on vacation and booked a no-frills hotel room (those are slightly smaller, around 400 square feet, but it's still a fair comparison).

If you've ever watched those "tiny house" shows on television, you're fairly familiar with the basics of a micro apartment (the only difference being yours won't have wheels). What separates a micro apartment from a studio apartment is space -- a micro apartment is typically between 100-400 square feet.

If you're living in a 300-square-foot micro apartment, consider the fact that roughly 60 square feet will be your kitchen area, and about 30 square feet will be your bathroom. That leaves only 210 square feet of living space (minus the closet, if there is one). So, you'll have to get creative -- a futon that does double-duty as couch and bed (or perhaps a Murphy bed that folds up into the wall when not in use), an ottoman that doubles as storage and serves as your coffee table, etc. Shelves will be your best friends in this tiny space.

Before having a garage sale and moving to a studio or micro apartment, consider the benefits and the drawbacks. The major drawbacks are: limited space, no separate bedroom (no real place to hide clutter when your aunt "drops by" for an unscheduled visit), small kitchens, and very little storage space. If you are the type of person that enjoys entertaining, your dinner parties will get crowded fast. And if you have pets, consider the fact that you'll be sharing a tiny space with all of their stuff, as well.

The major benefits include: less expensive (price is per square foot, so the smaller the space, the cheaper the rent -- ideal if you want to live, say, in the heart of Manhattan and don't want a roommate). Less space can also be a benefit -- it's cheaper to heat/cool, you can't clutter it up so you purchase less (which saves even more money), it's easier to clean (20 minutes, top to bottom), and out-of-town visitors will probably choose to stay at a hotel rather than stay in your apartment-built-for-one. 

Looking for an Apartment? Start Here! is the leading online apartment listing website, offering access to information on nearly 1,000,000 available rental units and helping connect property managers and landlords to millions of qualified renters every day.

Search Rentals