What is an Alcove Studio Apartment?
An alcove studio apartment is simply a studio that has, no surprise, an alcove. This alcove is generally just large enough to put a single or double bed (in newer buildings perhaps even a queen size), along with a nightstand, and sometimes even a dresser or two.
The obvious benefit of the floor plan over a traditional studio is that your sleeping area/bedroom, while still open to the rest of the apartment, is kept somewhat separate. While some residents choose to leave the space completely open, thus creating a more open (and larger) feel to the apartment, others choose to use screens, or hang very tall curtains, or use tall room dividers/shelving units to create a more private space.
Most alcove studios are in a simple "L" shape. The bulk of the apartment is a rectangle, and the alcove "juts" off one end. In older buildings, the alcove could be located in a number of places, including in the center of the apartment. However, in newer buildings, the alcove is generally at one end of the unit or the other, creating the aforementioned "L." Of course, we've seen some that more closely resemble a lopsided "T" but try explaining that to your friends. Stick with the "L."
In the past, developers created studios, one bedrooms, two bedrooms, etc. for their apartment buildings, and any alcove studios were the result of odd floor plans, especially in converted office and industrial buildings. They were sort of "happy accidents."
In more recent times, however, the developers realized that by incorporating the alcove into the layout, they could charge more than in the standard studio apartment, although less than for a full one bedroom. In essence, they created a new price point, and an option for people who wanted something bigger than a studio, but who couldn't afford the jump in price to a full one bedroom unit. This could allow someone to go from a one bedroom in an old walk-up building, to an alcove studio in a new luxury doorman building, and still pay around the same price. Now, many new luxury buildings open their doors with both "regular" studios, and alcove studios, in their design.
Alcove studio apartments have many of the same design challenges for the tenant that regular studios have, albeit with a little more room, and a sleeping area that has more privacy. But sometimes that extra space is just enough to make a huge different in lifestyle. Furniture is not as crowded, the bed isn't as obvious (and isn't taking away from the "living room"). Some alcoves are large enough for a dresser or two, which also takes pressure off finding storage solutions in the main living area.
Some people still choose to use space saving furniture, by using either a Murphy bed in the living area, or a loft bed in the alcove. This allows them to then use the alcove as a home office, for example.
How big is the alcove? Well, it certainly varies. But typically it may add an additional 40-65 sq. ft. An area 6'x8' would be 48 sq. ft., as an example. Certainly smaller than a regular bedroom (well, to be honest, we've seen bedrooms that size in older apartments in NYC), but just large enough to make your life so much easier.
In some markets, landlords may call a junior 1 bedroom apartment an alcove studio apartment, or vice versa. So when looking to rent or buy an apartment, it helps to know the local lingo. Technically they are two different types of homes, and you can check out our junior 1 page for more information. That said, ask questions, and adjust your expectations accordingly when reading through various ads.
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