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A Complete Guide to Micro Studios

A Complete Guide to Micro Studios

Cedric T.
Aug 29, 2023

Table of contents

  • What is the Difference Between a Studio and 1 Bedroom?
  • Who is a Micro Studio Good For?
  • 6 Benefits of Living in a Micro Studio
  • How Much are Micro Apartments in NYC?
  • Finding a Micro Studio in Seattle

Living big doesn’t necessarily require a big space! In fact, many young people and city dwellers fully understand that to live within an expensive area, giving up a bit of square footage is a must. When the median rent for a one bedroom in NYC is $3,150 and $2,034 in Seattle, it’s no wonder that so many people are willing to sacrifice their walk-in closet for a more affordable apartment.

Micro studios, which are also called micro-apartments are experiencing a huge rise in popularity as rent prices soar in locations like San Francisco, NYC, Boston, and Seattle. Between 150 and 350 square feet, a micro-apartment typically has room for a convertible bedroom/living area, small bathroom with shower, and a kitchenette...and not much else. However, there’s a lot that can be done with a small size apartment if you stay flexible and are prepared to think outside the box when it comes to space solutions.

Considering a micro-apartment? Here’s all you need to know about living in a teeny tiny space.

Navy blue apartment complex in Seattle

What is the Difference Between a Studio and 1 Bedroom?

First, it’s important to fully understand what makes a studio different from a one bedroom. Until the micro-apartments came along, a studio was the most compact apartment you could rent. A one bedroom usually features a bedroom with a bathroom that is closed off from the living room and kitchen.

A studio, on the other hand, has everything in one room with just the bathroom as a separate room. While studios are traditionally compact, a micro-apartment is even more condensed.

Beautiful Micro studio

Who is a Micro Studio Good For?

A micro studio is designed for one person and is typically occupied by students or young professionals working in their first job in a big city. Micro-apartments are particularly good for college and grad students because they can be used as a temporary home while the student is in school and doesn’t have a lot of possessions.

Eventually, the student will move out and find a larger apartment when they start working, but in the meantime they have a safe space to live that is close to campus and affordable.

Bright living area with Navy blue couch

Alternatively, commuters who just need a place to stay a few times a week might like the ease of having a place in the city without having to pay to stay at a hotel every time. Students come to Seattle as summer interns can favor micro studios as their housing options. Anyone looking to live in a space temporarily should consider the benefits of life in a micro-apartment. 

6 Benefits of Living in a Micro Studio

There are many benefits to living in a micro studio, which is why this type of tiny apartment is becoming so popular. Here are just a few reasons to choose a micro-apartment.

  • Less Expensive

The biggest draw to micro studios is of course, the cost of living in one is lower than a traditional studio or one bedroom. According to a report done by the Urban Land Institute, most micro studio renters spend 20 - 30% less on monthly rent than on a regular sized apartment. If you’re on a budget, then renting a micro studio is a great way to live in the city of your dreams without breaking the bank.

  • Prime Location

Most micro studios are located right in the heart of big cities in desirable areas. They are a way of getting to live in a very desirable area that is close to either your work or school without having to pay huge amounts every month on rent.

  • Private Space

No matter how small, having a space to call your own is an accomplishment. You don’t have to worry about roommates barging in during your Zoom calls or bothering you while you’re trying to study. As it’s your own private space, you can also decorate it exactly as you like.

  • Minimalist Living

When you’re living in small quarters, take Marie Kondo’s motto to heart: If it doesn’t spark joy, then you don’t need it! It’s essential to live by this principle to keep from cluttering up your small space. Living in a micro studio will teach you how to live minimally, which is a huge lesson that most of us can benefit from.

  • Easy to Clean

When you don’t have a lot of space, it means there is less to clean! Students and recent grads are going to be very busy attending classes and work and won’t want to waste a lot of time cleaning their apartments. With only a kitchenette, you won’t be able to cook a large menu of food, but that also means you don’t have a lot of cleaning up to do.

  • Shared Communal Facilities

While you may not have a lot of space in your own tiny apartment, some micro studios are located in an apartment property with communal facilities like a gym, pool, business center, or lounge. This is part of what makes micro studios so great -- you get to have your own room, kitchen and living space as well as the facilities and community of a regular apartment property.

Wall Decor that reads Stay Awake

Growing popularity of micro-apartments

According to University of Michigan’s Center for Sustained Systems, it is estimated that 83% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas. This is up from 64% in 1950. By 2050, 89% of the U.S. population is projected to live in urban areas. 

In highly populated urban neighborhoods studio apartment living was long considered a good option for single adults and college students in particular because of the affordable rent for these units. But in recent years even studio apartment living has become a challenge with rising rent costs and increasing lack of availability. 

This stands true for neighborhoods surrounding the University of Washington. Ultimately, the growth of micro-apartments makes sense due to lack of housing options and affordability factors. 

Another reason for the growing popularity of micro-apartments in cities such as Seattle, is shrinking household sizes as the number of single-person households continue to increase. This drives the demand for smaller, more efficient living. 

So who is renting micro-apartments? Millennials top the list. Also, older people have found micro living appealing in a desire to downsize or have been priced in a major urban area. Location has become a big factor as those looking to lease a new home in the city center are drawn to properties that offer plenty of amenities and conveniences. 

Pros of micro-apartment living

Believe it or not, the pros of living in a micro-apartment space easily outweigh the cons. For starters micro-apartments are often cheaper to rent than a studio or one-bedroom. This can be a huge factor for college students and those working with a limited budget. Cost of living in Seattle is important to include in your budgeting goals. Let’s look at other great reasons why micro-studios would work for you. 

How Much are Micro Apartments in NYC?

A lot of young renters in NYC are used to living in small spaces, but a micro studio takes tiny life to the next level. NYC is the most expensive city to live in within the United States, so even the micro studios are going to be expensive, particularly those located in Manhattan.

While you can find micro studios for as low as $500 per month for the smallest versions and as high as $3000 per month for studios larger than 300 square feet, most will fall somewhere in between this price range. 

Finding a Micro Studio in Seattle

Many students and young professionals in the Seattle area are looking for more affordable housing options outside of the traditional apartment homes and finding roommates. Seattle is the largest city in Washington State and home to many young renters that would prefer to reside alone. 

Living in a micro apartment in most cases would be ideal since they are typically lower in price than the traditional 1 bedroom units and offer all the essentials in a smaller size. Many of the areas across Seattle cater to young and budget-friendly renters by offering the tiny units. 

The Micro apartments are more commonly found close to the college campuses such as the University of Washington in the University District. This ensures that it is easily accessible and convenient for those young individuals looking to live outside of the campus dorms. 

Some of the real estate companies in the area such as Tripalink specialize in properties for young adults, students and digital nomads. 

Woman in robe looking out apartment window

Cost of Renting a Micro Studio Apartment in Seattle

Prices for renting a micro studio ranges from $895.00 to a little over $1000.00. Most are located near the University of Washington and the city’s downtown area. The majority of these apartments come with the amenities that have already been laid out in this article which makes them a good find rent wise. 

According to SeattlePI, Seattle was ranked the 14th most expensive city to rent an apartment in the United States. This is another reason why considering living in a micro studio or studio apartment in Seattle might be a smart move economically. 

The Pros of a Micro Studio in Seattle

Usually more affordable than a studio apartment. Because of the size and efficiency, these apartments can give you a solid bang for your buck in comparison to your average studio which in some places can price as much as a one-bedroom. 

  • Lower utility costs. Think about it. Because the space is small you’re using less electricity, gas and water, than you would if you lived in a larger space. Utility bills are typically low when living in a micro-apartment and in some cases a utility like gas might even be covered by the apartment management in the lease. 

  • Smaller environmental footprint. For those concerned about the environment and our impact on it, the great news is that a micro-apartment offers a much smaller environmental impact due to its size. Rent guilt-free in a micro studio knowing you’re doing your share to minimize negative carbon impact on the world around you. 

  • Micro-apartments tend to be in desirable locations. For many students and young working professionals, a micro-apartment in Seattle is a godsend since almost all micro-apartments in the city are very close to work and school locations. In many cases, walking distance. This beats commuting across town any day and serves as an ultimate convenience for choosing to live in a micro-apartment. 

  • Easier to maintain and keep clean. Cleaning is a breeze. For starters there’s no multiple rooms to go over. Just one good sweep through your space and you’re done. 

  • Communal amenities. Typically, micro-apartment residences offer laundry rooms and site security. In some cases they offer a pool, game rooms, and even a gym. 

Is it a micro-apartment for you?

  • If an individual has minimal possessions or a demanding schedule due to academic or professional pursuits, a micro studio may be a suitable option. It is crucial to differentiate between a standard studio and a micro-apartment. 

  • Opting for a larger living space would entail greater capacity for furniture, adequate room to move around, and a more substantial area. However, the utility expenses and cleaning requirements will also increase. 

  • Conversely, residing in a micro-apartment would eliminate the aforementioned concerns since the space would primarily accommodate only essential items.

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