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Question History!
From : abbybarba
To : saintly
User Comment : Thanks so much!
Rating :
Message Status : Public

[08-31-2000] abbybarba : What is the difference between an efficiency apartment and a studio apartment?
[08-31-2000] saintly :
If you're curious about it, then rest assured it's for good reason. Most people (including me, even after researching it) don't know the difference, and the terms are used interchangably a lot.

'Studio', 'Efficiency', and (usually) 'Loft' are all terms referring to an apartment that does not have a separate bedroom, but does have a kitchen and sanitary facilities. They are all usually classified as '0-bedroom dwellings'.

The differences between the terms usually varies depending on region and the person using them. 'Loft' almost always refers to industrial space converted into apartments. It tends to be high-ceilinged, well lit and may include multiple levels (particularly where one level is not totally separate, but overlooks another).

Municipal codes tend to use 'Efficiency' for all single-room apartments, and reserve the term 'Studio' for an actual artist's studio (usually an 'Efficiency' apartment, but may not be):

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ARTIST LOFT/STUDIO - A room or structure in which original works of art are created on site and, if living quarters for the artist are included, the living quarters do not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the square footage of the total studio space.

DWELLING UNIT, EFFICIENCY - a dwelling unit consisting of not more than one habitable room together with a kitchen or kitchenette and sanitary facilities.

In other places, the two terms mean the same thing. 'Efficiency' is just a synonym for 'Studio'. ( This might be like people calling Efficiency apartments 'Studio's because they tend to be rented by artists, or Studio apartments 'Efficiency' because they are intended for being an artist's studio, but are not always rented to an artist.

Some people use 'Efficiency' to mean a small version of a studio apartment. (

In classified ads, the terms are used almost interchangably or mixed. 'Studio/Eff w/ full kitchen', 'Studio/Loft' and even 'Studio/Eff/Loft' in one case!

If you see someone using either term, it is probably bad to make any assumptions about it other than that it is a 1-room dwelling with probably a kitchenette and a separate bathroom. You might ask them what they think the difference is. To me, the term 'Efficiency' sounds like a nice way of saying 'Small'. I also believe the term 'Efficiency' may be a newer term used since most people renting 'Studio' apartments are not artists.

Hope that helps!
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