With Vancouver the most expensive city for renters in Canada, it should come as no surprise that many are looking to downsize to meet the rising costs of living. At the end of 2023, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the country was $1,906 while in Vancouver, it was $2,872.
For people living alone, these costs are becoming unmanageable and they are desperately trying to find more affordable rents. Hence the rise in popularity of studio living for existing residents and people moving to Vancouver.
Studio vs one-bedroom apartment
Unlike a traditional apartment with separate bedrooms, a studio packs everything into one room. It’s basically a self-contained unit, with one space for living, sleeping, and eating, plus a separate bathroom. Studio apartments generally max out around 600 square feet but can be as tiny as 300 square feet.
The less space available, the more inventive tenants need to be when it comes to storage and organizing their essentials. This is why many studios have creatively placed furnishings to create different “zones” or screens/curtains to separate the sleeping area. With good spatial planning and a minimalist lifestyle, a studio can provide a comfortable living space with everything necessary.
The key difference between a studio and a one-bedroom apartment is the bedroom, which is separated from the rest of the space in an apartment. Walls usually divide the sleeping, living, and cooking areas, giving the illusion of more room. That being said, many one-bedroom apartments have the same footprint as a studio, only this square footage is segmented. One-bedroom apartments offer flexibility that studios lack – the freedom to cook, sleep, work, and lounge in different spaces.
Pros and cons of a studio apartment
Choosing between a studio and a one-bedroom apartment is not always easy. While both offer a cozy home base, they each have unique pros and cons worth weighing up.
The most obvious differences are size and cost. One-bedroom apartments give tenants more breathing room, though you’ll pay for those extra square feet. Also, expect higher utility bills with more space to heat, cool, and light up.
Studios maximize value for dollar, cramming everything that’s needed into a more affordable package. With their compact footprint, studios make a budget-friendly choice, although they do compromise on space.
The latest data shows that as of January 2024, the median rent for studio apartments in Vancouver has climbed to $2,427 per month. That’s 53% higher than the national average for studios and represents a 5% increase over the past year alone.
In comparison, one-bedroom apartments have increased by 6% over the past year and now average $2,872. If you’re wondering why there isn’t a bigger difference in price between studios and one-bedroom apartments in Vancouver, it might be due to the fact that there are far fewer studios available.
Beyond size and price, there are other factors to consider when deciding between a studio and an apartment. That latter tends to offer more amenities, such as in-unit laundries, walk-in closets, and full-sized appliances. For some renters, these are seen as big “pluses” while for others, they aren’t worth the added expense. It really comes down to the “must-haves” and the lifestyle you want to lead.
For solo dwellers who rarely host guests, a studio could suffice. Retreat into the sleeping space or reading nook whenever you need, without having to worry about others destroying the peace and quiet. For renters who regularly host friends crashing on their sofa and want the privacy of walls, then a one-bedroom apartment may be more appealing.
Finding a studio to rent in Vancouver
While the number of studios available in Vancouver is limited, they can be found at Rentola. Registered users can search for studios in Vancouver based on price and location, and then browse high-quality images shared by owners. One of the great things about searching via Rentola is being able to chat directly with landlords and better understand the amenities on offer, such as private parking for studio apartment residents. Then, send through any documents required to get approved for a tenancy and start planning your move!
For the most affordable studios, search in suburban communities like Victoria-Fraserview, Guildford Town Centre, and South Arm, or set your Rentola filters to studios in Sunset, Port Moody, and Richmond Park. Shaughnessy Centre, Kerrisdale, and West Vancouver are among the most expensive places to live in the city, together with Point Grey and Kitsilano.
Studio living doesn’t mean compromising on lifestyle. It’s about finding the perfect studio to meet your needs and budget.