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Different Apartment Types in NYC

NYC loft apartment types

As you peruse New York City real estate listings, you are sure to notice that there are several different apartment types available for purchase, including condos, co-ops, and even the elusive condop. However, there are even more ways real estate agents classify different apartment types in NYC.

On this page, we will walk you through some common apartment styles and classifications. With this information, you will get a better understanding of the types of units available on the market, as well as what type best suits your needs.

Single Room Apartments

The first class of apartments are made up of a single, undivided room. There are two main types of single room apartments: studio apartments and loft apartments.

Studio Apartments

Studio apartments are single rooms without interior dividing walls. They tend to be on the smaller size, and are best for a single resident or a couple. Studios pose some design challenges, since you will need to fit all of the necessities of daily living into one limited space.

NewDevRev’s tips for designing the interiors of a studio apartment including creating multi-use spaces and multifunctional areas–such as combined dining nooks and kitchen prep space–can make the most of your square footage. Check out some more space-saving design tips here.

Loft Apartments

Loft apartments, just like studios, can often be a single uninterrupted room. However, one of the biggest differences between studio and loft apartments is that lofts are typically much bigger. This is because lofts are often converted buildings that were originally factory space. Because of this industrial past, lofts tend to have tall ceilings and a large, open floor plan. Other rustic touches, such as exposed brick, ductwork, and pipes, add to the unique experience of living in a loft.

Just like studios, loft apartments come with a set of design challenges unique to single room apartments. But unlike studios, lofts have plenty of room with which to work. One of the most effective ways to design a loft is to create furniture groupings that divide the space into distinct zones. These spaces can function like wall-less rooms. Glass walls, half-walls, and curtains can further divide the space and keep it from feeling too cavernous.

Multiroom Apartments

Chances are good that most of the apartment listings you’ll browse will be for multiroom units. However, did you know that there are more ways to classify multiroom apartments than just by bedroom count? Here are a couple of the common multi-room apartment styles found in NYC.

Classic Six Apartments

Classic six apartments are made up of six distinct rooms:

  • Kitchen
  • Dining room
  • Living room
  • 2 bedrooms
  • 1 maid’s room

The existence of a maid’s room hints at the meaning of the word “classic” in classic six; these are usually old apartments. Most classic sixes are pre-World War II constructions, and they have many of the hallmark features associated with the era: oak floors, thick walls, high ceilings, crown moldings, and even wood burning fireplaces. You may also see listings for “classic five” or “classic seven” apartments. Classic fives have no maid’s room, and classic sevens have an additional full bedroom.

Classic fives, sixes, and sevens are highly coveted for their quality construction, generous floorspace, and distinct living areas. Typically, you will find classic six apartments in older buildings in the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. They also tend to be in co-op buildings.

However, the popularity of classic sixes have led some developers to use these layouts in modern constructions. You can find classic six-style apartments in luxury developments like 520 Park Avenue and 220 Central Park South.

Junior Four Apartments

A junior four apartment is typically a type of one-bedroom apartment. It will have four distinct rooms:

  • Kitchen
  • Living Room
  • Bedroom
  • One additional non-bedroom room

This additional room can be used for anything you would like–from a home office to a guest bedroom, a dining room to a home gym. Usually, the additional room is a distinct area, but sometimes it is merely an alcove that can be converted into a full room.

The additional room may not be counted as a bedroom because it fails to meet NYC’s legal requirements for qualifying as a bedroom. Bedrooms in NYC must have at least one window, must not serve as a pass-through to another room, and must meet minimum size requirements.

Junior four apartments are a middle ground between a true two bedroom and a true one bedroom apartment. They tend to be less expensive than two bedrooms while having more space than one bedroom. This makes junior fours wonderful starter apartments that can grow with your family without breaking the bank.

Apartment Types Based on Layouts

Next, let us take a look at apartment classifications determined by layout. These apartment types may vary in number of bedrooms, but they all share unique design characteristics that set them apart.

Railroad Apartments

Railroad apartments are usually one-bedroom apartments in which each room leads directly into the next. Since bedrooms in NYC cannot be pass-through rooms, this means railroad apartments tend to have one true bedroom, located at the back of the apartment.

Railroad apartments have no hallways, and are shaped like long rectangles. Many railroad apartments have the kitchen in the front room, living areas in the subsequent rooms, and then a bedroom at the end. These middle rooms may or may not have windows, but the back bedroom will always have a window.

Railroad apartments, like studios, are best suited to single residents and couples who share a bedroom. Some railroad apartments are quite large, while others are a bit more cramped. The main thing to keep in mind as you shop for railroad apartments is that the square footage may be quite a bit larger than the official bedroom count would suggest.

Floor-through Apartment

A floor-through apartment takes up the entire floor of a building. The size of a floor-through apartment depends entirely on the size of the building, but many are located in thinner and smaller buildings. Many floor through apartments are in 19th century single family homes like brownstones that have been repurposed into multi-family dwellings.

Sometimes, apartment listings will claim something is a “floor-through” apartment as long as it extends from the front to the back of the building, even if it is not the only unit on the floor. These “floor-through” apartments differ from railroad apartments in that they have hallways.

Duplex Apartments

“Duplex” means something a bit different in NYC than in other places around the country. Duplex apartments are two-story units and are usually a single family residence, unlike duplex homes which typically house two families. Duplexes offer a lot of space and flexible design possibilities, since they create a sense of privacy and divided space between floors

Some duplexes are connected via stairs inside of the unit, while others are connected via elevator. All duplexes must have a minimum ceiling height of 8 ft for both floors. This precludes lofts with built in, raised alcoves from being counted as duplexes.

Many older duplexes are inaccessible for those with mobility challenges, since stairs were more common in past eras. However, modern developers who build duplexes are aware of these concerns, and elevators are becoming more common.

Apartment Types Based on Location in the Building

Finally, here are some apartment types that are distinguished by their location in the building: penthouse apartments and garden apartments.

Penthouse Apartments

Penthouse apartments occupy the top floor or floors of a building. They tend to be the largest, most luxurious, and most expensive apartments in the building. Penthouses offer unparalleled views and privacy, and tend to have plenty of room and multiple rooms.

Traditionally, the penthouse refers exclusively to the very top floor of the building. However, sometimes developers use the term “penthouse” to designate luxury apartments with a different layout than the rest of the building. These penthouses may be located on the penultimate floor, and will typically be slightly less expensive than the highest, largest penthouse.

Garden Apartments

Garden apartments are located on the bottom floor of the apartment and offer access to the backyard. These apartments are great for New Yorkers who want the chance to use their green thumb. What garden apartments lack in views, they make up with access to nature.

Some garden apartments give residents exclusive outdoor access not accessible to the rest of the building. Others are simply ground level apartments that share access with other building residents. Be sure to check the listing to determine what kind of garden apartment is being advertised.

Other Types of Apartments in NYC

If you have more questions about the various types of apartments described in New York City listings, then reach out to our real estate experts today. Connect with NewDevRev to learn more about different apartment types available in NYC right now.

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