What is the Difference between a Studio and One-Bedroom Apartment in Philadelphia?

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When it comes to renting an apartment here in the Philadelphia area, one of the most often asked questions is: Should I rent a studio or a one-bedroom apartment?

Let’s dig in and look at the differences.

Studio Apartment
A studio apartment is generally defined as an area that contains everything in one space. The only thing that’s separate is the single bathroom. So you sleep, cook, eat, and relax in one space – without any walls separating the rooms. The only wall is usually where the bathroom is.

Studios are typically meant for single dwellers who don’t need a lot of space. Because they are smaller though (average around 500 square feet but we’ve seen them as small as 314 square feet), your rent is usually less than a one bedroom.

If you’re starting out and don’t want to invest in much furniture and don’t need much space, a studio may suit your needs.

With the simple floor plan, you won’t have to spend much time thinking about furniture or decorating either. You may, however, want to look for a space-saving bed that you can stow away or one that serves more than one purpose.

As an aside, a studio apartment is not a loft. Lofts tend to be large open spaces (usually bi-level with high ceilings) and often refer to units in historic buildings that have been refurbished. The rent is usually higher in a loft than your average studio due to larger space and higher ceilings.

One-Bedroom Apartment
If you think you’d like to have a one-bedroom apartment, then take comfort in the fact that Philly (especially Center City) has had a surge of new apartments.

So, if you want additional space—one-bedroom apartments typically average around 600 to 800 square feet—and more of the feel of a home, then a one-bedroom might better suit your needs. At the very least, you’ll have a separate bedroom and bathroom, and most likely a closet for your clothes.

The kitchen also is often a separate room and typically includes a standard-size refrigerator, oven and stovetop.
If you work at home, then having more space and a separate bedroom may be necessary. If you enjoy entertaining, you also may like having a designated living room and kitchen.

What You Can Expect to Pay in Philly
What do you pay for a one bedroom versus a studio in Philadelphia? As a rule of thumb, you can expect to pay less for the smaller space, open floor plan and limited cooking facilities.*

Based on rental prices in Philly, the median rent for a studio is $815 per month versus a one-bedroom, which averages $968 (source: SmartAsset). That means a studio could save you $153 a month or $1,836 a year in Philadelphia.

Keep in mind this is across all neighborhoods in Philadelphia. If you want to live in the core of Center City, expect to pay significantly more – $1,700+ for a studio and $2,000+ for a one-bedroom.

Remember, there is no right or wrong choice—only what’s right for you. And that decision is personal, based on what best fits your needs, lifestyle and budget.

*Keep in mind: with a studio apartment, you are often paying more on a per square foot basis but overall dollar amounts are less.


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