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Apartment Size Guide: How Many Square Feet Do You Need?

Whether you’re renting your first apartment, looking for a new place to live, or downsizing for retirement, it’s important to know how much space you’ll need—which can depend on a variety of important factors. From things to consider when renting an apartment to common apartment sizes, here’s our guide to choosing the right apartment!

Considerations for Choosing an Apartment Size

Three people in the kitchen of an apartment having a discussion over a tablet. Photo by Instagram user @edwardslisky

Photo via @edwardslisky

Plenty of factors impact the amount of square footage you need to live comfortably. Your ideal apartment size will vary based on your budget, lifestyle, and the size of your household. Here are some important things to consider before renting an apartment!

Current Living Space

A great place to start when deciding how many square feet you’d like in a new place is by measuring the square footage of your current living. Using this method for each room can help you determine the approximate square footage of your entire home. If you feel cramped in your current space or you’re planning to live with more people than you’re with now, you’ll likely want to look into a larger area. If you want a cozier space or you’re transitioning from living with others to living alone, consider scaling your square footage down.

Monthly Budget

It’s essential to choose an apartment option that comfortably fits into your budget. After you pay rent, you’ll still need money for other living expenses like utilities, groceries, and gas, so keep that in mind when you’re budgeting. Plus, the cost of utilities will usually go up as apartment size increases. However, living with roommates often means splitting these expenses, making more room in your budget. While more square footage usually equals higher rent (and vice versa), there are other factors that can affect apartment pricing. The number of rooms in your apartment will also impact rent—sometimes, the price per square foot ends up being more economical for a one-bedroom apartment than a studio, even if the total rent is a bit more expensive. Make sure you check into this when you look at different apartments, and decide what you’re willing to pay per square foot to make the best choice.

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Apartment Layout

While an apartment may boast plenty of square footage on paper, if the space is broken up into many smaller areas, it can still feel cramped or simply not in line with your needs. That’s one reason it’s important to look at layout and apartment features and amenities while touring. Do you like to cook? Look for a large apartment kitchen with lots of storage and counter space. Want to host your friends at home frequently? Find an apartment layout with a roomy living or dining space. Other apartment features you may want to consider include a patio or balcony where kids and pets can play, a den space for a home office, or closet space. Ensuring your intents for the space align with the square footage will be key in finding an apartment that works for you.

Roommates, Family, & Pets

Cohabitating is a huge factor in choosing an apartment—whether you’re renting an apartment with a roommate, moving in with a significant other, or looking for an affordable place to live with your family. Make sure everyone has enough square footage in their personal bedroom and bathroom space to be comfortable. If you live alone but frequently have friends or family visit and stay over, you may want to account for additional square footage for hosting. And while pets may not need their own separate bedroom or bathroom, you’ll still want space for a litter box or pet kennels, as well as plenty of room for your furry friends to roam.

Furniture & Other Belongings

Furniture will take up a considerable amount of space in your apartment, so you need to make sure you have room for it! Start by measuring your furniture and comparing the dimensions to prospective apartment floor plans, making sure to add in a few feet so you’ll be able to comfortably move around the space. If you’ll be buying apartment furniture for the first time, think about what pieces you’ll want to prioritize including, but wait to purchase anything until you’ve settled on an apartment. Once furniture is accounted for, think about whether there’s enough room left for your other belongings. If there isn’t, you may need additional square footage, or you can consider decluttering your belongings to free up some extra space. The latter might be a good choice if you’ll be out of your apartment a lot or want less time spent cleaning, as living a more minimalist lifestyle can cut down on how many things you’ll have to keep up with.

Common Apartment Sizes

While apartment layouts vary from place to place, a good way to judge apartment size is by the number of rooms. As the number of rooms increases, square footage is also likely to increase—along with apartment rent. Taking a virtual or in-person apartment tour can also help you get a better feel for the size of the space. While some complexes offer apartments with special features like dens or multi-level floor plans, below are the most common options for apartment sizes!

Studio Apartment

  • Average Apartment Size: 300-600 square feet
  • Recommended For: Individuals, couples
  • Not Recommended For: Roommates, families

Studio apartments are usually the most affordable option, and consist of one open living space that functions as your bedroom, living room, and kitchen. The average studio apartment size can accommodate a few smaller pieces of living room furniture, like a TV stand, coffee table and couch, or a couple of chairs. Typically, the only closed-off areas in a studio apartment are the bathroom and closet space—but if you want to separate your bedroom from your living space, you can try studio apartment design ideas like using room dividers. Because of the limited space, studio apartment layouts may not be ideal for you if you want to host friends and family often. However, if you’re willing to maximize space in a small apartment, the affordability of this living option makes studios perfect for first-time renters, students, and individuals or couples living in a studio on a budget!

1-Bedroom Apartment

  • Average Apartment Size: 500-1,000 square feet
  • Recommended For: Individuals, couples
  • Not Recommended For: Roommates, families

If you’re looking for more square footage and privacy than a studio offers for just a slightly higher price tag, a one-bedroom is the way to go. One-bedroom apartments are similar to studio apartments, but they offer a separate bedroom space closed off from the living space and kitchen. Usually, there’s one bathroom attached either to the bedroom or living space. One-bedroom apartments are great for first-time renters and individuals who’d like to separate their living space from the bedroom. Plus, the additional square footage and separation between rooms can be especially valuable for those who plan to host guests. Cohabiting couples may still find the average one-bedroom apartment size limiting, but it can often be enough space if you and your significant other have a modest amount of belongings.

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2-Bedroom Apartment

  • Average Apartment Size: 800-1,200 square feet
  • Recommended For: Individuals, couples, roommates, small families
  • Not Recommended For: Larger families

If you or your partner work remotely, you may want to consider a two-bedroom apartment. Having an extra room apart from your bedroom and living space is great for a home office or hobby room. Two-bedroom apartments can also be a convenient option for those living with a roommate or those who host visitors. These apartments offer more flexibility with your space and often have more than one bathroom, giving everyone in your household additional privacy. Small families with one child could also be comfortable in a two-bedroom apartment, depending on the layout and square footage.

3-Bedroom Apartment

  • Average Apartment Size: 1,200+ square feet
  • Recommended For: Couples, roommates, families
  • Not Recommended For: Individuals

The largest apartment space you’ll usually find is a three-bedroom apartment. Many times, these units come listed as a townhome or duplex, and may even have multiple levels. While three-bedroom apartments are less common, they’re a great option for families looking for an affordable living situation, multiple roommates splitting the space, or those who need plenty of room for guests and overnight stays. These apartment layouts usually come with larger living spaces and kitchen areas, as well as several bathrooms—so kids or roommates can have a comfortable amount of space to themselves. Couples willing to pay a higher cost can also be a great fit for three-bedroom apartments, especially if both parties prefer their own bedrooms or need a separate office space to work from home.


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