Efficiency Vs. Studio Apartment

When you're in the market for a small apartment, the different terms used in rental ads can be enough to make your head spin. Typically, both a studio apartment and an efficiency apartment are spaces that do not have a separate bedroom or private sleeping area. But there are some differences between the two.


A studio is a small apartment, and an efficiency is usually smaller than a studio. Both are under 500 square feet, according to Apartmentratings.com. Apartment market research firm Pierce-Eislen goes a step further and defines a studio apartment as being between 350 and 425 square feet. The firm doesn't provide a specific size for an efficiency, but states that it is smaller than a studio. Typically, both spaces combine the sleeping, living and kitchen areas, but have a private bathroom.

Kitchen Space

You'll find the major difference between a studio and an efficiency apartment in the kitchen. Efficiencies typically have a "kitchenette" rather than a full kitchen. In some cases, an efficiency apartment might only offer a hot pad, not a full stove and oven. The refrigerator might be counter height, not full size. While studio spaces don't usually offer grand eat-in kitchens, the kitchen is usually fully equipped with a stove and full-size refrigerator. A slightly larger studio apartment, known as a bachelor apartment, might have a bigger kitchen that's separated from the rest of the space.

Number of Occupants

An efficiency or studio isn't the type of place you want to move to with a roommate or even with a partner. Since the space is small, it can become cramped easily if more than one person tries to live there. Either is ideal if you plan to live on your own. The limited features and size of an efficiency might be best if you aren't much of a homemaker and don't plan on hanging around your place a lot. A larger studio, or bachelor apartment, might be large enough for a couple to live in together, according to Apartmentratings.com, and is usually preferable for people who enjoy preparing their own meals.

Outside Considerations

Size and kitchen style are just a few of the things to consider when you are deciding between a studio and an efficiency. One studio apartment might be located in a more run down part of town, while an efficiency might be in a more upscale section, impacting the price of the apartments and the quality of life around them. Additionally, a studio apartment might have the cost of all utilities included in the price while an efficiency might require you to pay for the cost electricity or hot water, increasing the cost. When looking at either a studio or efficiency, remember that it's not only size that matters.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.