Back when I lived in New York City, I was eager to rent a place of my own, without roommates. But due to the exorbitant price of Manhattan real estate, the only type of apartment within my price range was a studio. And boy did I see my share of sad-looking spaces during my search. There was one apartment that was barely larger than a closet, while another had such a tiny bathroom I could barely fit through the doorway.
Eventually, though, I found a more spacious studio that wound up being quite comfortable to live in, and I'm grateful I passed on those smaller apartments that would've made for a cramped, miserable existence. If you're looking to buy or rent a studio apartment, there are certain features that can make your home more livable. Here are three to look out for.
1. An alcove
The studio I wound up renting had a small alcove that featured a closet and had enough room for a dresser. It clearly wasn't a ton of space, but it was just enough that it made my apartment seem larger. It also gave me the option to store one piece of bulky furniture outside of my main living area, thereby giving me a little more room to host guests.
2. A balcony
Though the studio I rented didn't come with a balcony, a friend who lived nearby had one attached to his otherwise tiny apartment, and it really made a difference. When the weather was nice, he'd sit outside and get a change of scenery from his usual four walls. And though his balcony was small -- he had just enough room for a card table and two chairs -- it offered the option to dine outdoors.
3. A separate kitchen
At one point during my apartment search, I found myself getting desperate. Though I needed to sign a lease, I also really didn't want to settle for a space I wouldn't be happy with. Yet most of the studios I'd looked at consisted of one giant room plus a separate bathroom. That meant I'd be moving someplace where I'd go to bed at night staring right into my kitchen, and that didn't sit well. Thankfully, I eventually managed to find a studio with a separate kitchen, and it was a total game-changer. That way, I didn't have to worry about my couch pressing up against my refrigerator, and when friends came over, I could prepare food while they sat on my couch, relaxing.
Though a studio apartment may not be your first choice to buy or rent, in some housing markets, it may be your only choice from a financial standpoint. And even if you can afford a larger home, you may want to save money by settling for a smaller space, especially if you plan to live alone. But if that's the case, aim to find a studio you can really be comfortable in. The right layout could spell the difference between feeling starved for space and enjoying apartment life to the fullest.