What is a Studio Apartment?

A studio apartment for rent in New York City is a one-room apartment, combining living area, bedroom and kitchen(ette) into a single space. The bathroom is a separate room, and though it often comes with a full bath, many studio apartment layouts include only a shower.

NYC studio apartments can be found in all types of apartment buildings, from walk-ups and brownstones to pre-war buildings and luxury high-rises, and tend to be the smallest units within a building, usually between 300 and 600 square feet (though we have seen them smaller).

Because of the obvious spatial constraints, pretty and practical studio apartment decorating ideas and cleverly-designed studio apartment furniture are in high demand. For example, decorating your studio apartment in contrasting colors—whether with paint, art work, wallpaper, rugs and flooring, or slipcovers—can enhance the sense of scale.

Hanging a giant mirror on the main wall is another obvious way to gain "optical space". Delineating your space with studio apartment furniture (a sofabed with its back turned to the kitchen area) or even with folding panels or shoji screens concealing a bed, for example, also helps to enhance the visual flow of the room.

Many people who rent studio apartments furnish the room with a futon, which can become a couch by day, and then a bed by night, or a fold-away sleeper sofa, in order to maximize their space. Depending on your studio apartment layout (and ceiling height!), loft beds are also a quite common solution to the small living space challenge in NYC studio apartments for rent.

We've seen queen-sized loft beds, with shelving and cubby-hole storage space, above studio apartment living areas (complete with couch, coffee table, TV), office space, and even kitchens, though without an high-powered stovetop fan, we're not really convinced by this solution.

And don't be shy about bringing that big wardrobe, extra-long couch, or giant poster into your studio apartment home. Large-scale pieces of studio apartment furniture can work, especially if your ceilings are high. Most interior decorators will tell you that have a few well-chosen big pieces is a better idea for a small room, rather than cluttering up the space with too many smaller items.

Another common piece of studio apartment furniture is a butcher-block kitchen island, which can function as kitchen-counter space for prep cooking, storage space for pots and pans, dishes and glassware below, and even as an intimate dining table, with a table cloth thrown over the top when the meal's ready to be eaten.

Floor cushions that can double as sofa pillows (or that can be stashed away on a loft bed when not in use) are an easy way to add seating for gatherings. And any piece of furniture that can also be used as storage space—a steamer truck that's both a coffee table and a linen "closet", for instance, or a captain's bed with built-in drawers that can double as a dresser—is also a good bet.

Studio rentals in NYC are sometimes called "efficiency apartments" or, less often these days, "bachelor apartments." Studio apartments are occasionally outfitted without a stove top, with a small refrigerator, sink, coffee maker and microwave sufficient for all the home-eating needs of some New Yorkers, you make do with eating out in restaurants or ordering delivery.

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