What’s the difference between the two apartment styles and how can renters choose the right one?
For property seekers like single working professionals, expats, students and young couples on the hunt for their first-ever apartment, finding the perfect option that fits both their lifestyle and budget isn’t going to be easy – including whether to choose a studio or a one-bedroom apartment.
Besides, there are several considerations to keep in mind when searching for an apartment. Be it living alone, living with a roommate or a significant other – location, amenities, size, layout, and price can all be determining factors in apartment selection.
Both layouts have their advantages, but how do they differ? What is the best way for someone looking for a home to find an option that meets all their needs and fits into their lifestyle?
Before we move on to the details, let’s clarify what a studio unit and a one-bedroom apartment are!
What is a Studio Apartment?
A studio apartment features a more compact design with the dining area, living room and bedroom typically combined into one large, open space. As not all studio layouts are the same, some will feature a separate kitchen, some are “L-shaped” which helps to create an alcove that can be used as a sleeping area, and in newer buildings, some may have additional rooms that can act as a laundry room or additional workspace.
For someone who lives alone, a studio apartment is a smart choice. Additionally, it is great for property seekers who are looking to save money on rent and who value an open, airy living space. As studio apartments are smaller, they require less furniture to feel “complete”, so they are great for minimalists who prefer compact and efficient living.
However, one of the primary disadvantages of a studio apartment layout is the limited space for storage and shelving. Hence, prospective buyers with many belongings should keep an eye out for studios with closets or get creative with storage solutions such as sleeping with an ottoman bed, utilising wall space with hooks, taking advantage of under-bed organisers or getting a room divider with built-in storage.
On the other hand, studio apartments are not always the right choice for couples, since there is little privacy between them due to the open concept layout. Dwellers who love entertaining or hosting parties may also prefer additional space to make room for guests’ items, something this apartment cannot accommodate. In addition, they may also prefer a more spacious kitchen since guests tend to gather there.
What is a One-Bedroom Apartment?
A one-bedroom apartment offers a dedicated bathroom and a separate bedroom closed off from the living room and kitchen area. Some have a defined dining room or a functional eat-in area combined with the kitchen but separate from the living room, while others feature an open floor plan with the kitchen open to the living room.
One-bedroom apartments often feature a pleasantly spacious layout and are popular for couples simply because it offers much-needed privacy for sleep with a door that keeps the bedroom apart from the full kitchen and living area. For dwellers who love to entertain or frequently welcome overnight guests, a one-bedroom apartment has plenty of space to host visitors comfortably. One perk of having a closed-off bedroom door is that dwellers can quickly contain all the mess and tidy up to leave more space for guests to feel at home.
A one-bedroom apartment is also ideal for those who frequently work from home, since there is more room available which can be converted into a small desk workstation.
However, since one-bedroom apartments are generally more expensive to live in than studio apartments, they might not be the most practical choice for someone in the early stages of their career.
Key Differences Between a Studio and One-Bedroom Apartment
The primary difference between a studio and a one-bedroom apartment is that a one-bedroom features a separate bedroom area with additional walls and definite separation of spaces between the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen area. A studio apartment is generally a self-contained open floor space without dividing walls within the rooms. It houses everything together including the living room, bedroom and kitchen or eating area in a single space, along with a separate bathroom.
Having said that, there are other notable differences between a studio apartment and a one-bedroom apartment. Below are some key differences:
In terms of size, the size of a studio unit would usually be smaller than a one-bedroom apartment. However, smaller one-bedroom apartments may also have the same size as studio apartments. It varies according to different apartments and locations.
The average studio unit in Malaysia is about 500 sq ft. As the sizes may vary based on their location, some studio units can even max out at more than 500 sq ft or can get as small as 300 sq ft. Although studio units are small compared to other forms of apartment layouts, they can be highly affordable.
As mentioned earlier, a one-bedroom apartment is often larger in terms of square feet than a studio unit. The average one-bedroom apartment has around 750 sq ft, which is roughly 250 sq ft more than the average studio.
Studios are usually better suited for people who live alone rather than those with roommates or a family because of their limited space. For renters planning to share the apartment with a roommate or significant other, a one-bedroom provides more space, privacy, storage and comfort as opposed to a studio.
Since a studio does not offer a defined bedroom area, it can be more difficult to obtain a healthy work-life balance as some people may find it challenging to work, eat, sleep, and relax in the same space on a daily basis. However, if a dweller is a single occupant that doesn’t usually entertain guests, the compact space of a studio would suit them just fine. If you like to host gatherings with friends or family often, a one-bedroom apartment is usually a better choice.
The interior space of a studio unit is modest in the sense that it combines the living room, bedroom, kitchen and dining area into one single room. This creates one multidimensional room where renters can have a view of their whole unit irrespective of where they are.
In contrast, the bedroom area of a one-bedroom apartment is separated by walls and a door which offers a clear delineation between spaces. The clear separation between the living room, bedroom and kitchen also creates more space and privacy. This establishes the psychological separation between a workspace, dining space and living area and helps to maintain the bedroom as a relaxing space.
Almost always, renting a studio apartment is less expensive than renting a one-bedroom apartment. Less space in a studio unit means renters don’t have to spend as much on utility bills and furniture as there is not enough room to place electric-sucking gadgets around the apartment.
A one-bedroom apartment contains separate rooms which indicate larger square footage, hence, more electricity is needed to cool the place which results in higher monthly utilities. For renters who are willing to stretch their budget for the comfort of additional space and a separate bedroom, a one-bedroom apartment is the way to go.
How Can Apartment Seekers Determine The Right Layout?
Choosing between a studio and a one-bedroom apartment is an important decision to make during the apartment search process. Ultimately, the choice comes down to a person’s personal preference, budget and the right space to fit their needs.
For apartment seekers looking into a studio or a one-bedroom apartment or exploring both options, the following are some pros and cons for each unit to help you decide which is right for you.
Pros of A Studio Apartment
Affordable Monthly Rent
Studio apartments typically cost less than one-bedroom apartments because they have fewer square feet. However, this depends on the apartment’s location as well. For example, a one-bedroom apartment in Klang may cost less than a studio in KL city centre.
Studio apartments are generally available in central locations, which have good connectivity. Mostly situated in the prime areas of the city, studios are closely located to commercial hubs and transport options, which makes it convenient for dwellers as everything is within walking distance.
Perfect For Single Occupants
Studios are ideal for single renters who don’t have many belongings that they need to display or simply have readily available in their apartments. For single working adults always on the go, a studio apartment is bound to be their top choice.
Cons of A Studio Apartment
With less available space, storage space is also limited in a studio apartment. This means a smaller wardrobe, a smaller fridge and a 2-in-1 washer or dryer system. Residents don’t have many options when it comes to customising their apartments, as having larger furnishings tends to make the place feel congested.
Finding The Right Furniture To Fit The Space
Part of having less space means that dwellers have to get creative and flexible with their furniture options. Whether that means using a Murphy bed for sleeping, a fold-down dining table for eating, a sofa sleeper for guests and a storage ottoman coffee table for relaxing depends on a dweller’s preferences. It will always be challenging to find furniture that serves multiple purposes.
Pros Of A One-Bedroom Apartment
Perfect For Couples
One-bedroom apartments give couples enough space to fit a queen or king-size bed into the room and still have enough space for side tables and wardrobes. Featuring a more compact yet comfortable space for two, it provides occupants and their partners with a cosier environment, yet enough space to stretch out and move around.
For renters who frequently entertain or host guests, the additional space and privacy of a one-bedroom apartment can be appealing. It also offers much-needed privacy and breathing room for renters and their partners to engage in their own routines, such as watching TV or such as watching TV, making a phone call, or simply sleeping in.
Additional Space For In-Unit Amenities
One-bedroom apartments give residents enough space to accommodate more things and amenities such as in-unit laundry hookups, full-sized refrigerators, more than one sizable closet, large appliances and more storage in general. Though in-built amenities are bonus items in a home, there’s no denying that they make a dweller’s life easier and more enjoyable.
Cons Of A One-Bedroom Apartment
One-bedroom apartments typically cost more than studios due to the increase in square feet. The cost increase depends on location, which is especially higher in sought-after postcodes such as Kuala Lumpur City Centre. Not to mention, the utility bills of a one-bedroom apartment will be slightly higher than a studio, while residents may also have to bear the costs of purchasing more furniture.
Another reason one-bedroom apartments can be less desirable than studios is that having more space means more cleaning and maintenance. It can be faster to clean a studio apartment that has only one large open space. Besides, larger square feet also means more storage space and that can lead to more clutter if dwellers are not conscious of cleaning up regularly.
Choosing between a studio apartment or a one-bedroom apartment depends on a person’s spatial demands, their personal lifestyle needs and the budget one has. It is vital for one to familiarise himself or herself with the two layouts to choose the right apartment in accordance with their lifestyle preferences.
While apartment hunting can be a time-consuming process, understanding the different apartment types equips apartment seekers with the knowledge to find the one that best meets their needs. Depending on each person’s priorities, it is critical for apartment seekers to take the time to compare the two apartment types in hand. By doing so, they can determine which one is right for them.
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