Apartment types

Types and Sizes of Apartments: A Handy Guide

Rob Whiting
Boom Team

A Guide to Finding the Right Apartment for You

Hunting for an apartment can be difficult especially if you want to live in big cities such as New York or Boston. There are so many different types out there and it’s critical that you know the differences in sizes and layouts, otherwise you could end up wasting time, money, and energy looking for one that suits your needs.

Here is a guide to the different types and sizes of apartments at a glance. You can use this guide to choose the best apartment for you.

Type vs. Size: Is There a Difference?

You might have noticed that the terms “type” and “size” are being used interchangeably when it comes to describing apartments. For example, you might see a listing that refers to a studio apartment as the size, while another refers to it as the type.

Here’s a simple guide that may help you differentiate between the two terms.

Type generally refers to the layout of the apartment, particularly how the rooms are oriented, what the rooms are used for, and the location of the apartment.

Size, on the other hand, refers to the number of rooms.

You might also see a description that refers to the measurements of the apartment in square feet or meters in either type or size, but this is more of a general guideline rather than a strict rule.

Types of Apartments

The type of apartment is determined by several factors such as the location, floor plan layout, and even the added amenities.

Garden apartment

Garden apartments are typically found on the ground floor or in the basement. True to their name, their defining feature is that they have access to an outdoor space. There is no set layout for a garden apartment, and these apartments can have single or multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. The size of the apartment can often depend on the type of complex it is located in; while most garden apartments have shared amenities such as a swimming pool and green space, more luxurious complexes can have a gym or even a gazebo for the residents.

Garden apartments are great for people who love to be close to nature or those who have pets. However, there are two downsides to this type of apartment. First, they can be prone to having pest problems because of the proximity to plants. Second, they often only have outdoor parking, so your vehicle will be exposed to the elements.

Convertible / Flexible apartment

While there is no set layout for a convertible apartment, it’s often a studio or 1-bedroom apartment that’s large enough to accommodate a second bedroom or living space. The additional bedroom must have space for windows and be roomy enough to allow the additional occupants to be comfortable. This is great if you want to live with roommates in an apartment where you want separate sleeping areas.

If you find a studio apartment that has enough space to be converted into a flexible apartment, you’ll often need to ask permission from the landlord or owner to put up new walls. Some apartment owners will not allow studio-type apartments to be converted into flexible apartments because it entails a fair amount of renovation and construction. Check your lease to see if there are any restrictions on construction projects because they may affect your deposit.

Loft apartment

A loft apartment is similar in layout to a studio apartment, with the distinction of having high ceilings. This type of apartment usually has an open and roomy vibe, and it’s perfect if you love having an apartment that you can move around in.

Loft apartments are typically found in older commercial buildings that have been renovated for residential use, so you would often find features such as exposed brick walls and support beams across the ceiling. Since they are usually found on higher floors as well, you’ll get a lot of sunlight in your apartment.

Penthouse apartment

A penthouse apartment is a unit that is located on the top floor of a building. They are considered to be luxury apartments and they offer high-end amenities that you won’t often find in other types of apartments.

In large cities, penthouse apartments are often situated on top of luxury hotels or residential buildings. This allows the resident to have easy access to the amenities and establishments of the building. Many penthouses also have a private elevator to access the area. This gives the residents extra privacy and exclusivity for their living space.

Railroad apartment

Railroad apartments are named because of their straight floor plan. They typically consist of three to four rooms that are connected, forming a large rectangle. This type of apartment does not have a hallway between the rooms. Railroad apartments are generally designed for single occupancy, couples, or families because some rooms are not accessible without passing through another room.

You will typically find railroad apartments in older buildings. The floor plan was designed to save space.

Walk-up apartment

A walk-up apartment is a type of apartment in buildings that do not have elevators. They are only accessible by stairs, and these buildings only have around two to five floors. Since they don’t have elevators, walk-up apartments are usually more affordable compared to apartments of a similar size.

In large cities such as New York, walk-up apartments are common in older parts of the city. These buildings are usually converted from commercial buildings.

Duplex apartment

True to its name, the duplex apartment consists of two units, usually side-by-side. This type of apartment is great for families who want to live near each other. Each unit is self-contained, with its own living spaces, bathrooms, and living rooms. However, some duplexes have common areas. Each unit in a duplex has its own entrance.

Classic six

The classic six apartment is one of the oldest types of apartments in New York City. The floor plan was created before 1940, and it is designed for families. “Classic” refers to the prewar period when these units were built, and “six” refers to the number of rooms in the apartment.

The six rooms in a classic six must include two full bedrooms, a formal dining area, a living room, kitchen, and a smaller bedroom that’s usually designed for the house help. Bathrooms are not included in the count of the rooms, and there is usually a separate bathroom from the family and for the help.

Classic six apartments are typically more expensive because of the size of the apartment as well as the decor. Many of these apartments still feature the same decor that they had when they were first built, such as high ceilings, spacious rooms, hardwood floors, and vintage moldings. Some even have luxurious amenities such as private terraces and wood-burning fireplaces.

Sizes of Apartments

Apartments can also be classified according to the size of the apartment. In NYC and Boston, apartment sizes are generally measured in square feet, although there are listings that use square meters. Make sure to clarify the size of the apartment with the owner before renting!

Micro apartments

A micro-apartment has a similar layout to a studio apartment. It is often a single room that contains the bedroom, kitchen, dining room, and living room in one area. However, the main difference between micro-apartments and studio apartments is the size. Micro apartments are usually 160-370 square feet in size, which is much smaller compared to your average studio apartment.


The studio apartment is the most common type of apartment in big cities because it is compact while still allowing for all the necessary areas. It is one room with an open floor plan, which means that your bedroom, kitchen, and living space are all together in one area. You will typically find a separate door that leads to the bathroom.

Studio apartments can range in size from 300-600 square feet. For larger cities, smaller apartments are the norm because space is such a premium. You’ll need to get creative when it comes to decorating your apartment as the size becomes smaller. What’s more, you might need to create clear space definitions for each area of your apartment.

Junior 1

A junior 1 bedroom is a studio-type apartment that features an additional small room. It is different from an alcove apartment since the separate room cannot legally be classified as a separate sleeping space due to its small size and the lack of windows. In most cases, the separate room is used as a storage room or even a walk-in closet.

Alcove studio

Alcove studio apartments have an almost similar floor plan layout and size as traditional studio apartments. The main difference is that alcove studios have a separate alcove (or nook) that is typically used as a sleeping area.

This apartment is suitable for people who want to have a bit more privacy in their bedroom. This setup is also great for those who work remotely as it can create a clear distinction between sleeping and working areas.

Junior 4

A junior 4 apartment is an apartment with a single sleeping space and a large alcove that can be divided into three separate areas. The alcove usually has an open floor plan, so it will be up to you to design the layout. Typically, these spaces are divided into a dining area, kitchen, and living room. If you work remotely, you can also designate one of these spaces as a home office.

A junior 4 apartment is similar to a 1-bedroom apartment in that the sleeping area is walled off from other areas of the apartment.


As the name suggests, the 1-bedroom apartment has one bedroom that is separate from the rest of the apartment. The difference between a one-bedroom apartment from other types of apartments with sleeping areas such as convertible apartments or junior-1 bedrooms is that the bedroom is designed as a sleeping area from the beginning.


The two-bedroom apartment is as the name suggests: there are two separate and distinct sleeping areas plus a living room inside the apartment. Just like in a junior 4 apartment, the other areas of the apartment are usually found with an open floor plan. It will be up to you where and how to orient your living room, kitchen, and dining area.

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