Choosing the right floorplan when hunting an apartment may seem daunting, especially when there are so many variations of them, but once you get familiar with the basic options available – it’s not so bad!
Pro tip: Just remember, this information will help you solidify an idea of what you want before you walk into several leasing offices. You really need to see the place for yourself before you say OK and sign a contract!
In my Apartment Hunting Tips series, you’ll be able to read up on the following areas that will help you solidify your needs and wants whilst searching for the right apartment.
1. Understanding which floorplans are suitable in your situation: roommates, pets, and existing furniture
- In this article, you’ll take away this section that will help make your decision-making process smoother.
2. Solidifying your needs vs wants: more space, more sun, more wardrobe room, bathtub
3. Ruling out how much space you need vs budget vs city inflation prices
Let’s first have a look at the 5 most basic floor plan layouts to get a good understanding of what is the usual industry-standard options available for new tenants.
A studio is the smallest space available as an option in the market if you are looking to live in an apartment. It has all the basic necessities you need to live alone. It’s basically one big space that is your bedroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen. The only other “room” is your bathroom that will have a toilet, shower (or bathtub if lucky), and a sink. There is usually a standard closet space available. Washer & Dryer are included and usually situated next to the kitchen so it shares the same plumbing pipes.
A studio can range from 500 to 700 square feet. If you are looking at a studio option that is at the higher end of 600+ square feet, I would recommend to keep on looking to see if there are 1 Bed/1 Bath options in different apartment complexes. The reason being is because you can have a separate bedroom space with complexes from 620 square feet and it might help with feeling like you have your own space.
This is a really great option if your work schedule or activities are mainly in the city and not indoors. If you going to be home for only a couple hours to do chores and to sleep – there is no reason why you need to spend so much money (unless you got the funds), to have a bigger space. This is a huge plus for those who are on a budget, can’t cook (so you wouldn’t even use the kitchen much), and has to work a lot.
Great for: Student on a budget, live alone, not home much, live downtown in an expensive city, artists who need space to create and not to live, no pets
1 Bedroom, 1 Bath
This is the most common floorplan for young adults who are either living alone, or with a pet, or with a significant other. It’s also the floorplan that can seem very different in every apartment complex. The reason for this is because the amount of space can range from 620 to 1110 square feet. Usually, the higher-end options include a study room – which is great if you are living with a significant other or you need a separate study/office room. The ideal amount of space for 1 person on a budget would range between 650-800 square foot. Anything lower, you are sacrificing space which may feel a bit claustrophobic, or not enough room if you have a lot of belongings. Anything above 800, is always great because you will have more space. But really make sure it is truly within your budget, or if you are splitting that space with a partner.
If you have pets, having 2 cats in a 1 Bed/1 Bath is totally doable. If you have 1 dog, that’s totally doable too. But if you have 2 dogs on the larger end, I would consider if you have enough square footage for both of them to roam around.
If you are in your 20s, 30s, or close to retirement and single, this option is the most commonly preferred.
Great for: Students, young adults, young professionals, in a relationship, on a budget, have 1-2 pets.
2 Bedroom, (2-2.5 Bath)
Do you have a roommate who isn’t your significant other? Do you have a significant other but both of you guys are on the computer all the time? Do you have one or two kids as a young family? If you say yes to any of these, you probably want to look for a 2 Bed / 2 Bath apartment. Having your own space is really important. And most of all, having a common area (living room, kitchen, dining room) helps to separate your space from your roommate’s space.
When you checkout floorplans for a 2 Bed/2 Bath, the most common layout is to have the bedrooms on opposite sides of the apartment – and you have the kitchen, dining, and living room act as a wall between the two bedrooms. 2 Bed/2 Bath usually ranges between 900 to 1200 square feet. And depending on where you live (outskirts of a downtown vs living in downtown), you might even score an attached private garage.
For us, we are currently in a 2 Bed/2 Bath and currently moving to a 2 Bed/2.5 Bath. Both bedrooms are on opposite sides of the apartment because we use the 2nd bedroom as an office/gaming room. My boyfriend has a mechanical keyboard that sounds like this – and I can’t sleep while he is constantly typing away. This was actually the very first reason, for me, why we decided to get a 2 Bed/2 Bath. I needed my own space at night to be able to fall asleep. The extra “.5” bathroom is the half bathroom at the entrance of the apartment for guests who just need the toilet. This means they don’t have to walk through the bedrooms and use the full bathroom suite. To be honest – we are going to just turn that extra small bathroom into a bathroom for our cats. Yep. Everything is for the cats. 🙂
Alternatively, the other floor plan is that both bedrooms share the same side of the apartment. So in other words – you might hear ‘things’ from your bedroom wall 🙂 The positive side of having this option is if you are using the 2nd bedroom as an office room, or you are a young family.
Pro tip: If you are living with a roommate who needs their own space, check out that both bedroom sizes are relatively the same or else you guys will have to chat about who gets the “master” bedroom, which has the most space, and that person may have to pay more for rent. In a master bedroom, there might be more closet space and a bathtub rather than a shower in the bathroom.
Great for: Roommates total of 2-3 tenants (a bedroom can be occupied by 2 people in a relationship), couple that needs office space, a young family, has 1-2 pets
3 Bedroom, (2-3 Bath)
A 3 Bedroom apartment is usually occupied if you have multiple roommates, a young family with 2-3 kids, or for a family who is temporarily needing to stay in an apartment until their house gets completely remodeled or built. This floor plan will be the biggest floor plan option available unless you are looking for a 4 bedroom apartment. The biggest element to factor and discuss with your roommates is how many bathrooms do you need? Everyone will probably need their own bathroom unless there is one bedroom occupied by a couple living in the same room, or siblings of a young family. The bathroom options for a 3 Bed is usually 2 Bathrooms (1 in master, 2nd in the hallway that is shared) or 3 Bathrooms. If there are only 2 Bathrooms available in the apartment floor plan you are looking at, discuss with your roommates if they are OK with sharing that bathroom, and discuss when they will be using the bathroom the most to prevent any arguments. If both roommates need to be at work by 9 AM, do both of them need to shower in the morning or does one shower at night? Or are they able to shower at different times in the morning… all things to discuss before signing the contract!
If you are a family who is not in a permanent location (job may relocate you), building funds for a house, or need to temporarily stay somewhere while their house is being built or remodeled – this is a great temporary solution.
Great for: Multiple roommates and a young family with 2-3 kids
Life is a journey and you’ll be changing different apartments for different reasons! Even though it is temporary, it’s so important to understand the basics before signing a lease. Hope this article has helped you decided which floorplan to choose, depending on your situation, and has narrowed down on the million things you need to consider! Have a look at the rest of my Apartment Hunting Tips collection of articles that will help you narrow down your search even more!