NYC Moving Guide

9 Tips on Sharing a Studio Apartment in NYC

NYC Studio Apartment
Photo by Cream & Black Interior Design

Because space comes at a premium in New York City, it's not uncommon for several people to live in close quarters. Believe it or not, two people sharing a studio apartment in NYC happens more often than you'd realize. Moving in with a friend or becoming a couple living in a studio apartment isn't for everyone, but for many newcomers, it's the only way they can afford to live in NYC at all. That said, some tips and tricks can make all the difference in studio life. If you're considering a one-room apartment with a plus-one, the key to success is in the list below.

Be Compatible

Yes, first and foremost, you must get along with each other. Otherwise, don't attempt to live with someone in a studio. How do you know if you're compatible when you haven't lived with one another before? You probably don't. So, moving in together is sort of an experiment. Whatever you do, don't share a studio apartment in NYC with a stranger. Share an apartment with someone you trust, and hopefully like very much.

Aim for Opposite Schedules

One person at work in the morning and one person at work in the evening almost guarantees that you won't fight over what to watch on Netflix. On the flip side, if you're living with a spouse or partner, you'll rarely see each other, and that isn't always ideal for a romantic relationship. No matter your schedules, having some alone time each week is crucial to living together long term.

Set Boundaries

Regardless of your relationship and schedules, establish boundaries in the beginning. Since you'll be living in one room, having sleepovers with friends is probably out of the question, if not for any other reason but a lack of space. Decide who will take care of what (paying the landlord, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, and other household chores), so the responsibilities are evenly distributed.

NYC Studio Apartment with Sliding Walls
Photo by RAYDOOR (Get more room divider ideas for studio apartments)


Purging unwanted items practically guarantees more space. The rule of thumb is if you haven't worn or used it in a year (I prefer two years) then throw it out or donate it. When downsizing to a smaller space, take only those belongings that you know you'll wear or need, as well as the most sentimental items. And unfortunately, even some of your favorite things might need to go into a storage unit.

Create Storage

I say "create" because you can only have so much storage in a studio apartment. Sure, you might be one of the fortunate few who has basement storage, or you can stick stuff in your cousin's house in New Jersey (lucky you). Even so, you'll probably have more personal stuff than what will fit in a single closet, so reach for your inner interior designer and come up with creative studio apartment storage ideas. I suggest under the bed (so, a platform bed won't work), shelving, a wall unit (which can also act as a great way to separate rooms in a studio), storage ottomans, and the list goes on. If you have an uncluttered apartment, naturally, the space will feel larger.

NYC studio apartment closet
Photo by Architecture Architecture
(Discover contemporary closet design ideas)

Be Obsessed with Organization

You have that storage going for you, now get busy. Studio apartment organization involves taking stock of every item you own (and encouraging your roommate to do the same). Life will be easier, and you'll like that studio apartment a little bit more when every item is in its place.

Invest in Good Headphones

There will be times when your roommate is playing music you hate or watching something loud and explosive on TV (my husband does the latter). Without a second room where you can escape, you'll need to block out the unwanted noise, and headphones will do the job.

Live in a Vibrant Neighborhood

If you live in an area of town that offers great restaurants, bars, shops and parks, you'll probably spend less time in your apartment. New York is a city to be lived in, so get out there and live in it. Use your apartment as a haven to escape the hustle and bustle, relax, and sleep.

Get Out of Town

Not only is travel good for your soul, but you won't feel stifled or confined to living in only one room. If you explore the world beyond your apartment and city, you'll soon realize that your studio apartment is merely an address. The single room that you share with another New Yorker does not dictate who you are or your life experience. It's probably a means to an end, so that you're able to afford to live in the greatest city in the world and travel when wanderlust strikes. And to quote a friend of mine, “The secret to successful relationships does not involve square footage.”

About the author

Tracy Kaler

Tracy Kaler is a ballet dancer turned interior designer turned lifestyle and travel writer who blogs at tracysnewyorklife.com. A former Atlantan, you can now find her byline in The Telegraph, IN New York Magazine, TravelMag, National Geographic, Mabuhay Magazine, am New York and others. When she's not glued to her laptop, you'll find her wandering the streets of New York City or off discovering another part of the planet.

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