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How Much Would It Cost to Upgrade from a Studio to a One-Bedroom Apartment?

Lilly Milman

By Lilly Milman

Jul 07, 2023


Finding an apartment as a solo renter can feel daunting; it’s all on you to find the right unit, set up the utilities, and front the cash for a security deposit and the first and last month’s rent. However, living without roommates can also be exciting. With the added responsibilities comes added freedom, and you get to create a space to call entirely your own.

As a solo renter, you have a few options when it comes to living spaces. On the cheaper end is a studio apartment or efficiency apartment, which is essentially a single room (plus a bathroom) that functions as all of your living spaces, with a small kitchen or kitchenette against one of the walls and one closet. Studios provide a small space and will likely be between 400 and 600 square feet. There are different floor plans for studio apartments — with one having more of an L shape or alcove that provides some level of separation between the sleeping area and the living area. They tend to be more common in big cities. Another option is the coveted one-bedroom apartment, which will have a closed bedroom space in addition to a living room and kitchen area. While they are on the pricier side, they also offer a bit more comfort, privacy, as well as space for hosting guests. On average, an apartment with a separate bedroom will be between 600 and 800 square feet.  

If you’re in the process of figuring out which kind of space is right for you, you may be wondering, “What’s the price difference?” We’ve created this guide to help you figure it out.

If you are currently living in a studio apartment and want to upgrade to a one-bedroom unit during your next apartment search, we outline how much more you can expect to spend in your city.

Should I upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment?

The decision of whether or not to upgrade from a studio apartment to a larger apartment will primarily come down to your finances and to the cost of rent in your city. However, there are other factors you may want to consider before you call the movers. For one, studio apartments are smaller spaces — meaning they usually call for less furniture. If you move, you may need to also invest in some new pieces to fill out your space, which can be costly. So, when upgrading to a larger space, set aside some money in your budget for new furniture and décor. Since they have more space, one-bedroom apartments will also take more time and effort to clean and keep tidy — so make sure your new apartment will match your lifestyle as well.

How much more space will I get if I upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment?

The space difference between a studio and a one-bedroom apartment will depend on your city, but you’ll gain — on average — about 218 square feet. According to our rental data, there are a few cities where you can expect to gain even more square footage:

  • In Las Vegas, NV, you can double the size of your unit — with renters gaining as much as 366 square feet when they upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment, based on the median areas of each kind of unit.
  • In Kansas City, MO, you can gain 272 square feet by upgrading.
  • In Baltimore, MD, you can gain 268 square feet by upgrading.

In Las Vegas, NV, you can double the size of your unit — with renters gaining as much as 366 square feet when they upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment, based on the median areas of each kind of unit.In Las Vegas, NV, you can double the size of your unit — with renters gaining as much as 366 square feet when they upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment, based on the median areas of each kind of unit.

On the other end of the spectrum are cities where, according to our rental data, there isn’t a huge size difference between the median studio apartment and the median one-bedroom apartment:

  • In Honolulu, HI, you’ll only gain 141 square feet if you upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment, based on the median areas of each kind of unit.
  • In Sacramento, CA, you’ll only gain 150 square feet by upgrading.
  • In New York City, NY, you’ll only gain 157 square feet by upgrading.

Do I get more value in a studio or in a one-bedroom apartment?

According to our data, the answer is yes — across the board. While a one-bedroom apartment will cost you more in rent each month, it’ll actually give you a better bang for your buck when it comes to how much you’re paying per square foot. In every city we looked at, renters paid more per square foot for a studio apartment than they did for a one-bedroom apartment.

When you upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment, you get the best deals in:

  • Las Vegas, where you’re paying $1.46 more per square foot for a studio than for a one-bedroom apartment based on the median cost.
  • Boston, MA, where you’re paying $0.93 more per square foot for a studio.
  • San Diego, CA, where you’re paying $0.78 more per square foot for a studio.

You’ll find the least significant deals in:

  • Milwaukee, WI, where you’re only paying $0.09 more per square foot for a studio than for a one-bedroom apartment based on the median cost.
  • Wichita, KS, where you’re only paying $0.16 more for a studio.
  • NYC, where you’re only paying $0.20 more per square foot for a studio.

How much would it cost to upgrade from a studio to a one-bedroom apartment?

On average, it’ll cost you $280 more per month — or $3,360 per year — more to rent a one-bedroom than it will a studio apartment, when looking at the data that we compiled. Of course, the price will vary depending on your city.

You’ll see the biggest differences in these three California cities:

  • San Francisco, CA, where you’ll be paying $730 more per month for a one-bedroom apartment than you would for a studio — adding up to $8,760 more spent on rent per year on a one-bedroom — based on median rent prices for each kind of unit.
  • Los Angeles, CA, where you’ll be paying $532 more per month for a one-bedroom — adding up to $6,384 per year.
  • San Diego, where you’ll be paying $486 more per month for a one-bedroom — adding up to $5,832 per year.

In San Francisco, CA, you’ll be paying $730 more per month for a one-bedroom apartment than you would for a studio — adding up to $8,760 more spent on rent per year on a one-bedroom.In San Francisco, CA, you’ll be paying $730 more per month for a one-bedroom apartment than you would for a studio — adding up to $8,760 more spent on rent per year on a one-bedroom.

On the flip side, you wouldn’t be paying much more if you upgraded from a studio apartment to a one-bedroom in:

  • Riverside, CA, where you’ll only be paying $35 more per month for a one-bedroom apartment than you would for a studio — adding up to $420 more spent on rent per year on a one-bedroom — based on median rent prices for each kind of unit.
  • Omaha, NE, where you’ll only be paying $80 more per month for a one-bedroom — adding up to $960 per year.
  • Sacramento, where you’ll only be paying $146 more per month for a one-bedroom — adding up to $1,752 per year.

City-by-City Rent Breakdown

Didn’t see your city above? In the below report, we highlight how much more you’d need to spend on apartment rents for a one-bedroom versus a studio in the 31 largest cities by population in the U.S., where studio apartments make up 5% or more of the rental market.

Our calculations below are based on median rents. Keep in mind, there are opportunities to find apartments in the lower or higher price ranges. You can also reduce the expected costs of monthly rent by moving in a roommate or partner. In that case, calculate the combined income of all co-applicants to determine what you can collectively afford. Want even more specific guidance? Use our rent calculator.

If you want more guidelines on rent prices as you go apartment hunting, start your search here. At ApartmentAdvisor, we give every listing a deal rating to let you know if an apartment is fairly priced for the market.

Rent Differences Between Studio and 1-Bedroom Apartments in 31 U.S. Cities

CityMedian Monthly Rent - StudioMedian Monthly Rent - 1-BedMonthly Rent Difference After UpgradeAnnual Rent Difference After Upgrade
Albuquerque, NM$791$999$208$2,496
Austin, TX$1,235$1,496$261$3,132
Baltimore, MD$1,141$1,300$159$1,908
Boston, MA$2,200$2,609$409$4,908
Chicago, IL$1,375$1,780$405$4,860
Colorado Springs, CO$1,057$1,295$238$2,856
Columbus, OH$950$1,215$265$3,180
Denver, CO$1,596$1,863$267$3,204
Detroit, MI$981$1,235$254$3,048
Honolulu, HI$1,450$1,695$245$2,940
Jacksonville, FL$1,005$1,292$287$3,444
Kansas City, MO$857$1,175$318$3,816
Las Vegas, NV$1,046$1,217$171$2,052
Los Angeles, CA$1,710$2,242$532$6,384
Miami, FL$2,308$2,562$254$3,048
Milwaukee, WI$795$949$154$1,848
Minneapolis, MN$999$1,167$168$2,016
New York City, NY$3,598$4,069$471$5,652
Omaha, NE$895$975$80$960
Philadelphia, PA$1,200$1,400$200$2,400
Phoenix, AZ$1,199$1,414$215$2,580
Portland, OR$1,238$1,495$257$3,084
Riverside, CA$1,715$1,750$35$420
Sacramento, CA$1,357$1,503$146$1,752
San Diego, CA$1,889$2,375$486$5,832
San Francisco, CA$2,141$2,871$730$8,760
Seattle, WA$1,471$1,947$476$5,712
Tampa, FL$1,508$1,750$242$2,904
Tucson, AZ$766$928$162$1,944
Washington DC$1,934$2,353$419$5,028
Wichita, KS$523$673$150$1,800

We rate and sort every listing based on fair market rent.

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