What is a Two Bedroom Apartment?
Two bedroom apartments are probably the most desirable of all layouts, both because, most obviously, of the additional square footage, but also for the flexibility it affords all manner of apartment living.
A true two bedroom must have two separate bedrooms, each with at least one window (most states have laws stipulating that all bedrooms have windows of at least a minimum size to allow firefighters access in the event of an emergency), usually at least one closet, and a door that closes, with room enough for, at a minimum, a bed and a dresser.
Two bedroom apartments also have a separate living room, a kitchen, and at least one bathroom. Though the kitchen may be a separate room, in many two-bedroom apartments, the kitchen is within the living room area, often delineated by a counter-top island.
Two bedroom apartments, especially those found in contemporary, luxury rental towers, or within the more elegant pre-war buildings, frequently have more than one bathroom, with at least one being of the "en -suite" variety, which simply means that this bathroom is only accessible through the bedrooms, making it, in effect, a private bath for whomever's lucky enough to get that room. Frequently the en-suite is attached to the master bedroom, but not always.
Two bedroom floor plans are most especially coveted by families living in the city (their counterparts in the suburbs usually are looking for 3-5 bedroom homes). There is generally a larger (or, "master") bedroom and a smaller bedroom in these units, and the individual family dynamic often determines who gets which room. If there are two or more children involved, single parents or divorced parents often give the larger bedroom to the kids and hunker down in the secondary room.
Even couples sometimes decide to allow the children to move into the master bedroom after a certain age, though that decision is sometimes made less out of benevolent sacrifice and more simply to make sure there's enough space somewhere to keep all of the toys and games and books and art projects and the rest of it from taking over the living room.
Two bedroom apartments are also ideal for roommate living situations, which, given the often higher-than-average rents in New York, San Francisco, Boston and other cities, are common among college students, graduate students, and, often, young professionals in their mid- to late-twenties, just starting out in their careers. Of course, many roommates make do with less expensive one-bedroom apartments, either sharing the bedroom or turning the living area into a second "bedroom" each night, with a futon or pull-out sofa doing double duty.
But the two bedroom apartment is the ideal option for roommates, who, if the bedrooms are fairly equal in size and desirability, split the rent and all other expenses—cable, wireless, Con Ed--in half, or, if one bedroom is clearly superior to the other, arrange to pay whatever percentage of the monthly rent seems fair.
Most rental buildings allow roommates to co-sign a lease on a two-bedroom apartment, so that each person is equally responsible for paying the rent each month, as well as the security deposit due upon signing. However, this also means that if your roommate leaves, or for some reason stays and stops paying the rent, then you can be held responsible for the full amount. Although rare, some landlords (particularly in college towns) may allow you to each sign a separate lease.
If you can afford it, a two bedroom apartment is also great for single people, or for couples without children. The second bedroom can have many uses, from a home office (in some cases, this could be a necessity if one or both tenants work from home), to a guest room, to storage, to a small library/reading room and more.
Two bedrooms floor plans are also great if you have a large number of roommates living together to save money (just be aware that some areas have laws restricting the number of unrelated people that may live together). 4 people could easily share a two bed by doubling up in each bedroom. Or, three people could share if one person takes the living room as their bedroom.
As we discussed with one bedroom units, in some cities walls are sometimes put up, that divides the living room into a small bedroom and a small living area. Laws and regulations vary from place to place on how this can be done, and they go by different names. You can see our page on flexible or convertible apartments for more information.
Despite their popularity, two bedroom apartments are not always easy to find, especially in large, space conscious cities. In NYC, two bedroom units generally make up only 15% of the entire city's inventory of rental apartments.
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