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One-Room Apartments: 9 Terms to Know

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Not all apartments are created equal, and that’s a good thing. By definition, one-room apartments feature a combined living and sleeping area, but there are differences in size, shape and configuration.

Efficiencies tend to be quite compact, but most include a kitchenette along one wall of the main room and a small bathroom.

Studios range from small to spacious, but most feature a separate kitchen and a standard bathroom.

Traditional lofts are converted industrial spaces consisting of one large, open room with high ceilings, large windows and architectural elements that reflect their industrial origins.

Within these broad classifications, there are numerous subcategories, so let’s take a look at some typical variations.

Alcove studios feature a sleeping alcove adjacent to the main living space. Most alcoves have no closet and consist of three walls not four, so they offer an open but slightly secluded sleeping area that has sufficient floor space for a bed but nothing else.

Convertible apartments are often fairly large one-room living spaces. Many offer a separate kitchen and bath along with sufficient footage in the main room to use screens or dividers to separate the space into distinct living and sleeping areas.

Floor-through apartments come in all sizes and configurations. Small or large, they typically extend from the front of the building to the back. Because there are windows at both ends, they offer more natural light and better cross ventilation.

Garden apartments are usually sub-level living spaces located partially below ground. Some feature doors that lead directly outside, but many do not. Windows are often small and set high in the wall (at pavement level), which means light, ventilation and line of sight may be limited. Occasionally garden apartments are actually situated at ground level and adjacent to a garden, but this is comparatively rare.

Loft-like apartments are spacious one-room living spaces. While traditional lofts are found in converted industrial buildings, loft-like apartments may be renovated or new construction designed to mimic traditional elements. Such spaces often offer a generous undivided living area coupled with large windows and exposed ductwork, brick, columns or posts.

Junior 1-bedroom apartments tend to be large studios that include a separate kitchen and small, indeterminate space that could be used as a bedroom. Typically the extra room lacks a closet and it may only be defined by partial or half walls.

You may encounter any or all of these configurations when you’re browsing ads for one-room apartments. Since floor space, amenities and special features can and do range from sparse to sumptuous, take time to visit the space to determine if it suits your living needs, personal style and budget.

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