Many renters are wondering if downsizing to a smaller apartment will save them money. But how small is too small? If you’re considering a 2 bedroom apartment, you may be confused about what the typical size really is. With conflicting information across internet listings, it’s hard to know what to expect.
In this post, we will uncover the truth about standard 2 bedroom apartment sizes in 2023. You may be surprised to learn how spacious the average 2 bedroom unit is compared to other configurations. We’ll break down the numbers by region and building age so you can set accurate expectations. Whether you need extra room for an office, guests, or just some breathing room, understand the real square footage before touring apartments this year.
What is Considered a 2 Bedroom Apartment?
By definition, a 2 bedroom apartment is a rental unit containing 2 separate bedrooms as well as other living spaces like a kitchen, dining area, living room, and bathroom(s). While the number of bedrooms principally categorizes the apartment type, 2 bedroom units may also include non-bedroom spaces like a den, office, flex room, or enclosed balcony.
Generally, a minimum of 700-800 sq ft is needed to classify a rental as a 2 bedroom. Units under this size, even with two separate sleeping areas, tend to feel cramped and functionally one bedroom. An average 2 bedroom apartment ranges from 900-1200 sq ft based on recent data.
Surprising Facts About the Average 2 Bedroom Size
According to the most recent data available, the average size of a 2 bedroom apartment in the US is 1,000 sq ft and up. This figure is based on thousands of newly constructed rental units across the country. For comparison, the average size of a 1 bedroom unit is quite smaller at just 757 sq ft. Studio apartments are the most compact at an average of 514 sq ft.
When looking specifically at newer apartment buildings, 2 bedrooms truly vary in size. On the more spacious end, some units measure 1,200-1,400 sq ft. More modest 2 bedrooms can be as small as 700-900 sq ft. The range demonstrates how the definition extends from snug to ultra-roomy spaces.
Average Sizes by Region
While 1,000 sq ft is the overall national average, 2 bedroom apartment sizes differ across geographic regions.
The Northeast has the largest average at 1,163 sq ft, which can be attributed to a greater supply of pre-war buildings with generously sized units. The Midwest comes in the smallest at 1,075 sq ft, potentially due to lower development costs enabling more modestly sized new builds.
Regional size differences ultimately come down to factors like land availability, construction costs, population density, and housing regulations. Just looking at the numbers, those in the Northeast can expect the most spacious 2 bedrooms while the Midwest tends to have more compact layouts.
How Building Age Impacts Apartment Size
In addition to location, the age of an apartment building also correlates to unit sizes. Older properties constructed more than 20 years ago frequently have smaller 2 bedroom configurations. Outdated city planning codes at the time resulted in cramped layouts by today’s standards. It was more common to have token second bedrooms that barely fit a twin bed.
Meanwhile, newer buildings constructed within the last decade offer more generous proportions. Advancements in materials, design, and updated zoning codes enable 2 bedrooms averaging 1,100+ sq ft. Open concept layouts provide a greater perception of space as well.
If you prioritize living in a more current building, expect the average 2 bedroom size to be 100-200 sq ft greater than an older property. Just take into account that newer builds also come with higher rents, so more space isn’t free.
Extra Spaces That Add Square Footage
Beyond just bedrooms and baths, additional spaces off the main living area can also expand a 2 bedroom unit’s overall square footage. For example:
- Den: 70-150 extra sq ft
- Office: 80-120 extra sq ft
- Flex room: 90-120 extra sq ft
- Enclosed balcony: 25-55 extra sq ft
Having one of these specialized spaces alongside the 2 bedrooms provides greater functionality. An office or enclosed balcony can even serve as a third pseudo-bedroom if needed. The extra footprint ranges from marginal to nearly doubling a small bedroom’s size.
Even without designated rooms, open concept 2 bedrooms feel more expansive. Doing away with walls separating the living and dining areas gives a greater impression of square footage.
Premium Views and Locations Equal More Space
Prime locations also warrant larger 2 bedroom units. If a building sits on the upper floors or offers coveted waterfront or skyline views, the apartment sizes expand. Since these premium units command higher rents, developers make them more spacious. Corner units on high floors also gain extra footprint.
Certain metropolitan areas like New York and San Francisco are notorious for having tiny apartments. However, even in these cities, 2 bedrooms in newer luxury buildings or exclusive neighborhoods average 1,100+ sq ft. The most spacious markets where 2 bedrooms commonly exceed 1,200 sq ft are Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and Austin.
Basically, if you want ample square footage, target newer construction in a thriving area. Be prepared to pay for the privilege though. Rents for these plush units are rarely a bargain.
Who Really Needs All This Space?
At first glance, 1,000+ sq ft for a 2 bedroom apartment may seem excessive, especially if you’re used to living in snug urban spaces. But remember, apartments are trending bigger to meet renters’ expectations. Here are some scenarios where having a spacious 2 bedroom pays off:
- Growing families appreciate room for kids to play and store their ever-expanding stuff.
- Those working from home value defining clear office zones plus private personal spaces.
- Frequent hosts (or bad roommates) need separation between public living areas and private bedrooms.
- Downsizing retirees still want room for hobbies, guests, healthcare aids, and more.
Of course, there are cases where something more petite could work just fine. Singles and couples with minimal possessions or furniture can survive in a cozy 2 bedroom. But for most, the extra square footage brings invaluable flexibility.
Now that you know what average 2 bedroom apartments truly measure in today’s market, you can set realistic expectations when shopping for your new rental. To recap:
- The national average 2 bedroom size is 1,000 sq ft.
- Areas like the Northeast and new luxury buildings skew larger.
- Smaller 2 bedrooms still exist but are less common in new construction.
- Added spaces beyond just bedrooms provide more usable footprint.
- Those needing room flexibility get the most value from 1,000+ sq ft.
Armed with accurate data around typical proportions, you can confidently judge if a 2 bedroom will meet your lifestyle needs and avoid renter’s remorse. While bigger isn’t always better, the average 2 bedroom apartment today delivers spacious possibilities without compromising convenience or budget.