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Apartment Variations

  • Emily Rice

Emily Rice

8 min read
Apartment Variations

You may be familiar with the term apartment, but did you know that there are different kinds of apartments?

Not only were you deciding on where you wanted to live, the cost of rent you’re willing to spend, what kind of amenities you want included, and the living situation (roommate, significant other, by yourself, etc.) but now you have to decide on the style of apartment.

Maybe you’re familiar with loft and studio, but what about an alcove studio, a convertible, or a garden apartment?

What’s the difference between a high rise and a low rise?

What do all these terms mean?


An apartment is a residential unit that resides in a building with other residential units, all owned by one company. Comparatively to other types, apartments have a bedroom(s), walls, and doors!

While apartment buildings are recognized for making efficient use of small space, you are guaranteed privacy. You might not get the luxury of vaulted ceilings and open floor plans, but you could have a separate kitchen, dining room, living room, den space, etc.

Within apartment communities is lifestyle, where you’ll likely have amenities. Amenities such as: fitness center, maintenance service, and community events.


The only wall that you’ll generally find in a loft apartment is the one enclosing the bathroom, otherwise the space is open.

Open concept apartments consist of high ceilings, open spaces, inner-city vibes, and great views. Loft apartments are great if you like to arrange furniture to create different areas within a space. The loft part of the apartment is typically the sleeping area. This area is elevated above the rest and can only be accessed by stair or ladder.

Recently, lofts have begun to exist in commercial buildings that have been transformed into residential units.


A studio is also recognized as a bachelor or efficiency apartment. Depending on the location, some names are more common than others. Either way, this style of apartment has a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom – all within one room! The bathroom is likely the only enclosed room, but other than that, it’s an open floor plan.

For some, open floor plans are fun because you can arrange furniture how you want. For instance, one might use a divider to create their own living room apart from their sleeping area. It’s ‘efficient’ as in everything you need is in the same room as you. Technically, sleeping in the kitchen and eating in your bedroom are the same thing.

These apartments are generally square in shape. Other variations that are L shape or U shape might categorize as convertible or alcove studios.


Alcove Studio

Similar to a regular studio, only this has a L shape floor plan. With this design, it creates the perception of more space and makes it easier to section off areas of the room.

The alcove or the corner of the floor plan is typically a good place for the sleeping area to be – whereas that’s where you’ll have the most privacy and can hide your bed from the main living area.


In definition the word convertible means adaptable, able to be changed. Which is exactly what a convertible studio or convertible apartment does (sometimes known as a flex).

For instance, a convertible one-bedroom apartment means that there is enough room that it could convert to a two bedroom. That the floor plan can accommodate another bedroom by segmenting a portion of the space off.

It’s up to you whether you want to convert or not. Sometimes convertible apartments are nice just for the added space.

Junior One Bedroom

Alike a studio, a junior one bedroom is designed with an open floor plan. Only this time, there’s ¾ of a room.

It’s not considered a one bedroom either, because there’s no door. There’s also not usually a closet or a window that make up a traditional bedroom.

Junior one bedrooms have the privacy of a “bedroom,” just without a door – sort of like an alcove!


To have access to the “garden,” these apartments are on, or below ground level. Which means, you’ll have your own way of entry, in and out of your apartment. This is ideal if you have pets that need to be let outside or don’t want to take the stairs.

Speaking of the stairs, with your own entrance to your apartment, it’ll be like you’re in your own little world. You won’t have to go inside the apartment building and interact with your neighbors to get to your place.

Although, with being on the ground level comes security concerns. If you choose this style of apartment, it’d be to your best interest that you don’t leave anything outside that you wouldn’t want to risk being stolen or broken. Also, there’s bound to be more noise with proximity to the street.

Depending upon the plan, garden apartments might appear in low-rise buildings with lawns, landscaping, and sidewalks. Or, have direct access to a backyard or garden. Look for these apartments on both the front and backside of a building.

High Rise

To sum up, a high-rise apartment refers to the number of stories. Depending on location, the number of stories differs. For instance, in India a high rise starts at four stories. While, the U.S. classifies a high rise with a height of at lease seven stories.

Typically, high rise buildings are in the city where they can get the best views. With that many stories, they’re bound to have elevators.

Low Rise

In contrast, low rise apartments are relatively smaller structures – with a height of up to four stories. In some parts of the world, low rise and garden apartments are interchangeable.

Low rise apartments can be found in residential areas with more amenities offered. With easier access to the street, there’s bound to be more places to park.


Depending on the market in your location, a luxury apartment can mean slightly different things. In general, they refer to apartments with higher quality of finishes, amenities, and services – of course at a higher price.

Some luxury finishes might include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, shaker style cabinets, luxury vinyl plank floors, etc.

For instance, the apartments at Norhart have begun to enroll smart technology into their apartments. This technology allows residents to control their apartment, remotely. Whereas you can control your thermostat, turn the lights on/off, and unlock/lock doors, and more.

Amenities might be a pool, fitness center, game room, movie room, internet café, rooftop patio, etc.

There are even apartment buildings that offer concierge services!


This style of apartments was first introduced in New York during the mid-1800s. These were a popular idea because they maximize space.

Similar to passenger cars on a train, these rooms are next to each other, therefore there’s no need for a hallway. They aren’t actually rooms forsay, but areas of the floor plan sectioned off by a wall without a door. This makes lighting difficult, especially for the rooms within the unit, arranging furniture can be difficult, and privacy is limited.

This style of apartments can be found in older buildings for less.


While there are those that come furnished, most apartments come unfurnished, whereas you have to move in your own furniture.

A corporate apartment has the luxury of being one of those that come fully furnished. Corporate, which is sometimes known as a serviced apartment is typically rented on a short-term basis. You can guess based on the name, corporate apartments are primarily aimed at business travelers.

This style apartment is an alternative to a hotel and can be especially cheaper during long term business trips.


There’s a prestige emotion attached to a penthouse apartment.

Depending on the building, a penthouse can actually be built on the rooftop or on one of the uppermost floors. Either way, penthouse apartments are known for their incredible views.

With views, comes privilege. As portrayed in movies, there’s a certain elegance to the penthouse – even more luxurious than a luxury apartment.

Other Rental Variations

As if the variety of apartments wasn’t enough, there are more rental options to choose from.


Unlike apartments, condos are units within a building that are possessed by separate owners, compared to a property management company. With this comes its own challenges and advantages.

An advantage might mean that you have a more personal relationship with the owner. A challenge could be that they won’t have things like maintenance staff or online billing.

Condos tend to offer more perks (concierge services, amenities, etc.) all of which come with a price.


Similar to a condo, you’ll probably pay rent to an individual. Except, where condos are units within a building, duplexes reside in neighborhoods. Away from the shared amenities that are often associated with apartments can mean lower rents and more privacy.

Another thing that duplexes can offer that apartments can’t is multiple levels. There are typically two or three stories to a duplex. Some choose to separate the duplex by floor, others divvy up the building in half – each with their own interior staircase.


Alike a duplex, townhouses share a least one wall with their neighbor and have multiple levels.

What’s different is a townhouse is part of a bigger building with more than two units.

Although, you can still expect to have a small backyard, deck, or patio.


Renting a house offers you the most space and privacy of them all.

Compared to owning a house, you’ll pay less up front and have the luxury of relocating easier. Although, the cost of rent can increase in the future.

With renting you might not be able to personalize the space, but if you need repairs done, they’ll generally cost less – depending on what needs to be done, the landlord might be responsible.
There are pros and cons to each situation, but what’s best for you depends on your circumstance.

After deciphering the variations, recognizing these terms can save you time. The names of these can make a difference in the amount of rent, the space you’ll have, and other key living aspects.

If you’re interested in renting an apartment, a duplex, a townhouse, or a house contact us; we’d love to help! If it’s a studio apartment that you want, our Encore Apartments will offer that variation of apartment, summer 2020!