Apartment types

What is a 2-Bedroom Apartment?

Rob Whiting
Boom Team

What You Need to Know About 2-Bedroom Apartments

Two-bedroom apartments are arguably the most popular type of apartment that you can rent in New York City for two main reasons. First, 2-bedrooms are obviously larger than a studio, junior-1, or even junior-4 apartment, making it ideal for single renters, couples, or even a family. Second, 2-bedroom units are cheaper compared to apartments that are in the same size range, such as a classic six.

The popularity of 2-bedroom units is such that you can find them in many television shows. Who can forget the iconic F.R.I.E.N.D.S. apartment that Monica and Rachel shared, or Ted and Marshall’s spacious 2-bedroom unit in How I Met Your Mother? Have you ever envisioned yourself living in the swanky 2-bedroom Brooklyn unit in Girls? These shows give you an idea of the versatility, space, and wide range of different layouts that you can find in NYC 2-bedroom apartments.

But what exactly is a 2 bedroom, and does it suit your needs and preferences?

Let’s find out!

What is a 2-Bedroom Apartment?

As the name suggests, a 2-bedroom apartment is a unit that has two separate and distinct bedrooms. Each bedroom must have at least one window, a door, and have permanent walls that demarcate each room. The space inside must be enough for at least a bed and a dresser.

The apartment usually has a separate living room and kitchen, and at least one bathroom. For units that are found in modern buildings or upscale pre-war buildings, they can also have one “en-suite” bathroom, which designates the bedroom as the “master bedroom”. This bathroom is only accessible through the bedroom that it is attached to, making for one “luckier” renter.

Defining a “True” 2-Bedroom

Every now and again, you might find a listing that mentions that the apartment is a “true” 2-bedroom. This is because it is common for proper renters to list their units as a 2-bedroom, even though in reality, it is only a 1-bedroom alcove, with the alcove serving as the second bedroom.

For a unit to be legally considered as a 2-bedroom, each room must follow the NYC housing code. Furthermore, you should not have to pass through one bedroom to get to the other one, which is why railroad apartments cannot legally be called 2-bedroom units.

The only way to really determine the status of a unit is by asking for the floor plan. While photos are great to determine the quality and the appearance of the apartment, it is all too easy for property owners to use camera tricks and angles to accurately show the layout and size of the unit.

You can ask for a copy of the floor plan from the property owner or the building manager. If they are hesitant in showing it to you, you should already consider that as a red flag that the unit might not be a true 2-bedroom.

Co-Signing the Lease: Read the Fine Print

One of the most interesting things about renting a 2-bedroom apartment with friends or between couples is co-signing the lease. Co-signing a lease together means that each renter will be equally responsible for the rent, upkeep, and maintenance of the property. It also means that the security deposit will be equally shared between each renter.

While this is great in terms of savings, co-signing a lease may be problematic if one renter moves out or is unable to pay rent. The other renter will be held responsible for the full amount of any liabilities, and you will need to either find a new roommate or sign a new lease with the property owner.

If possible, ask for a separate lease agreement if you are unsure about your roommate’s long-term rental plan.

Benefits of a 2-Bedroom Apartment

Here are some benefits of renting a 2-bedroom apartment:

Great for Families

For families living in NYC or Boston, 2-bedroom apartments are the ideal living space particularly if there is a master bedroom. Since the master bedroom is often larger and has a private bathroom, it is great for parents who want to have a little privacy from their children. If there are two or more kids, the parents can opt for the smaller bedroom instead.


Two-bedroom units are also ideal for people who are looking to save money on rent. It is not uncommon to have 3-4 people living in a 2-bedroom, especially if the beds are bunk beds. This living situation is common among college and graduate students, as well as young professionals who are starting out in their careers.

Flexible Extra Room

Even for singles, a 2-bedroom apartment is a desirable option because the vacant room can serve many purposes. If you work from home or have an online business, you can use the room as an office. You can also use it as a gym, a studio, or even a guest room if you have friends or family who stay over frequently.

What You Need to Consider Before Renting a 2-Bedroom Apartment

Here’s what you need to think about before signing the lease:

May Be Difficult to Find

Two-bedroom apartments can be difficult to find particularly because they are so popular and the target demographic for 2-bedroom apartments are usually people who plan to spend a long time renting the unit. Families often spend years in the same unit so that children have a stable and familiar environment, and most students are happy to complete their education by renting the same apartment if it is affordable and close to their school.

Increased Expenses

While you might be saving up in terms of rent, you’ll still be spending a bit more when it comes to utilities. 2-bedroom apartments cost more to power because of the increased number of appliances and gadgets. It will also be more expensive to heat or cool since you will need to adjust the temperature for different rooms.

Property Owners May Prefer a Certain Type of Renter

There are instances where proper owners would prefer a certain type of renter, so there is no guarantee that you will be able to get a 2-bedroom apartment. Some owners prefer renting out to families because they have a better chance of renting the unit for long periods. On the other hand, some owners want to rent to singles or couples because they prefer short-term leases on their units.

Is a 2-Bedroom Apartment Right For Me?

If you are lucky enough to find a suitable 2-bedroom apartment with affordable rent, then you should jump at the chance to get it! You’ll be able to enjoy a spacious apartment with a private sleeping area, as well as save up on rent.

However, if you can’t find a suitable apartment but still need the extra sleeping space, you should consider renting a duplex instead. If you’re after the spacious interior, try looking for a loft.

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