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Different Types Of Apartments

If you’re looking for an apartment, you’ve probably already noticed that there are many different types of apartments available and being marketed to renters. 

Having lots of different types of apartments can be a good thing. After all, it means you have a lot more selection, but it can also be confusing if you don’t know what the different types are. 

We’ve put together a list of some of the most common different types of apartments and what each description needs. That way, you know whether you’re looking at a kind of apartment you’re interested in renting and what to expect when you get a tour. 

Types Of Apartments

  • Efficiency Apartment
  • Studio
  • Alcove Studio
  • Convertible/Flex Apartment
  • Duplex
  • Loft 
  • Garden Apartment
  • Railroad Apartment
  • Floor Through Apartment
  • Walk-Up Apartment

This list isn’t exhaustive, and there will probably be new types of apartments advertised in the future, either as new styles become popular or as different features are recombined to create something new. 

But this list is designed to give you a good baseline understanding of most of the types of apartments currently available in the housing market. That way, you’re prepared to get the right apartment for you. 

Efficiency Apartment

Efficiency apartments are small apartments designed to offer an efficient, but not necessarily spacious, living area. They contain all the main things you need in an apartment, including the bedroom, living room, and kitchen, in one relatively small room with a separate bathroom attached. 

One of the biggest hallmarks of this kind of apartment is that they are small and designed to be as affordable as possible. 

If that description sounded familiar, that would make sense because studio apartments are similar. The main difference is that studio apartments are usually larger. 


Studio apartments are designed to give you everything you need in one space. That means that the living room, bedroom, and kitchen are all in one room with an open floor plan. The bathroom is usually separate, contained in a room attached to the main apartment. 

There is no size limit or restriction on Studio apartments, other than they are usually bigger than efficiency apartments. Some are similar sizes to other types of apartments. 

Alcove Studio

Like a regular studio apartment, alcove studios are designed to have everything you need in a single room with a bathroom attached. However, unlike a regular studio which usually has an open floor plan in a square or rectangle shape, alcove studios are L-shaped. 

As a result, many Alcove studios are a little larger than regular studio apartments, offering more privacy. Many people use the L shape to create a division between their bedroom and the rest of the apartment. 

Convertible/Flex Apartment

Convertible apartments are apartments that are big enough that you could put up some additional drywall to create another bedroom. So, if the apartment is listed as a convertible three-bedroom apartment, that would mean that it has two existing bedrooms and enough room to create a 3rd bedroom if you choose to. 

Most of these apartments are single bedrooms, but that doesn’t mean that all of them are. 

Make sure you read the fine details of your contract before you sign on to these apartments, though. Some apartment complexes will charge fees for putting up drywall, even if they listed the apartment as convertible. 


A duplex is an apartment that has two stories. Triplexes, which are similar, have three levels. In both a duplex and a triplex, one of the floors might be entirely bedrooms, or you might have some living space on all floors. 

These apartments are typically a step up from studio apartments, but they may not be much bigger, and they may be mostly similar to studios just with separate bedrooms. 


Lofts are another kind of apartment that’s very similar to studio apartments. Everything you need is in one room, but in this case, the room has a much higher ceiling. 

Loft apartments can also be a little larger than studios a lot of the time, but that isn’t one of the requirements of the definition. 

Garden Apartment

A garden apartment can be any apartment as long as it has access to a backyard. There doesn’t need to be a garden in that yard, but there can be, and there can be specific rules for the use of the yard or garden space. 

These apartments are usually on the ground floor, but they can also be a partial basement or sub-basement with access to the yard. 

It’s also worth checking to see if the yard is shared with other people or if you have sole access, and whether you can add any garden improvements. 

Railroad Apartment

Railroad apartments are ‘railroad straight,’ leading to a unique floorplan. Most of these apartments have several rooms, all connected by a single hallway. Bedrooms may be placed together or in different places around the apartment, but there typically won’t be any bends or curves. The whole apartment will usually have a long rectangular shape, like a train car. Don’t expect to have an open floor plan in a railroad apartment. 

Floor Through Apartment

A floor-through apartment takes up space throughout the entire length of a building. It may not be an apartment that takes up the whole floor of the building, but there will be windows on at least two sides of the apartment. 

These are usually better for people who like a lot of natural light or airflow. They can be on any story of the building. 

Walk-Up Apartment

Walk-up apartments are apartments that can only be accessed by a staircase. The staircase can be internal or external, and the apartment itself can be almost any style and on any story. So you could have a walk-up studio or loft or a walk-up multi-bedroom or single-family apartment. 

Choosing the right style of apartment for you can go a long way to making that apartment comfortable, affordable, and nice to live in. Knowing these details can also help you narrow down which apartments you want to look at.