The Rise of Studio
Studio apartments, or studio flats as they’re also known, are popular all over the world. This is
especially the case in cities or places where the population is booming and the demand for housing
is high. For years, it has been common for young professionals (and even young couples) to live in
studio apartments in Hong Kong, New York and London. In these cities, where wages haven’t risen
even remotely as much as property prices have, the average person simply can’t afford to rent a
house or an apartment, let alone buy one. Apartment sharing is also common in big cities, but it can
be hard to live with strangers and it’s always nice to have your own space. Enter: the studio!
Only recently have studio apartments in Malta become a thing. They’ve gained in popularity as more
have become readily available. Here, rent and property prices have seen a sharp rise in the last
couple of years. More and more people are being priced out of the property market. Even renting is
becoming unaffordable for many! A one-bedroom apartment in Sliema rents for €800 or more per
month and to buy one will set you back upwards of €200,000. Of course, Sliema is one of the most
sought-after areas of Malta but you’d need to be on a pretty big salary to even think about living
here. What’s more, property prices are soaring everywhere in Malta, not just in Sliema.
With that in mind, no wonder studio flats in Malta are gaining in popularity. For a long time, flat
sharing has been the only option for those who can’t afford to buy or rent their own house or
apartment. Now, though, room renters who are after some privacy have another option and
investors and developers can make more out of the square footage of their properties. One question
worth asking, however, is: are studio apartments the answer to affordable housing or are these tiny
living spaces an unfortunate side effect of a property boom?
Like any other property type, studio apartments can vary greatly in size. Generally, they can be
anywhere from 10 to 50m 2 . On the whole, in the US, studios tend to be a bit bigger (except in
Manhattan!) than in, let’s say, Hong Kong. There you can find these so-called ‘micro apartments’
which, unfortunately, are becoming more numerous and popular every year. You might be thinking,
can anyone really live in an apartment that’s only 10m 2 ? Well, they do! Although, whether they like
it or not is a completely different issue. In other areas, you can find ‘decent’ sized-studios, even
large, luxury studios anyone would kill to live in! So, if size isn’t the defining factor of a studio
apartment, what is? What makes a studio a studio?
Essentially, a studio flat or apartment is a small apartment in which the living room, bedroom and
kitchen are contained in one main room. The bathroom is usually (but not exclusively!) separated in
its own room. This is in contrast to a one-bedroom apartment, where the kitchen, living room,
bedroom, bathroom and (normally, in Malta) the washroom are separated in different rooms. A
studio is, in effect, one multipurpose room. In some cases, a studio can be L-shaped or designed with
a small alcove, so that the bed ‘feels’ detached from the rest of the room. On the other hand, some
studio apartments are more square-shaped and different corners are reserved for the different uses
of the room. One corner for the bed, one corner for the kitchen and the rest for the living/dining
area. No two studios are the same and the great thing about a studio is that you can move things
round easily and feel like you’ve got a whole new apartment. Unlike in a one-bedroom apartment,
where you can’t necessarily switch the living room and the bedroom around on a whim.
Studios are great for tidy, well-organised individuals or couples. In a small apartment like a studio,
there’s nowhere to hide! If you’re having people over, you can’t just close the door on the mess
(don’t act like you’ve never done that before). In addition, you really need to be efficient with the
space in order to make the most out of it. There are many companies with specialise in studio
furniture and even big companies, like Ikea, are now started to make efficient, studio-friendly
furniture. You can buy all sorts of different pieces to help you maximise the space. For instance, you
can get loft beds, sofa beds, folding beds, beds that double up as storage, tables that double up as
storage, folding tables, nesting tables and more! Now that studio apartments are becoming popular
almost everywhere, furniture companies are designing multifunctional pieces that are perfect for
studios. There’s no such thing as single-use furniture anymore! For ideas on how to maximise the
space and efficiency of your studio, you can look to YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram – where
plenty before you have paved the way.
Although studio apartments are small and may sound like an unappealing compromise, they do have
a lot of benefits. For one, studios are much cheaper to heat and cool than bigger apartments. Here in
Malta, the best thing to install would be an A/C unit, and you wouldn’t need a very big one to cover
the whole studio. Nowadays, A/Cs both cool and heat, so you’ll be sorted all year-round. Studio flats
are also cheaper to furnish, cheaper to light and quicker to clean!
For the renter or the buyer, living in a studio flat can be a welcome alternative to room sharing.
Apartment sharing is fine when you’re young and single but what about when you grow up a little
and want some privacy? Or you don’t want to have to wear rubber gloves to touch anything in the
kitchen or the bathroom? Or you want to walk around naked? Or you’d like to have people over
without having to check with your roommates first? Studios can give you the privacy and freedom
you’ve been missing. Additionally, studio apartments are usually cheaper to buy or rent than one-
bedroom apartments. For the developer and the investor, studio apartments are a great way to
make more out of your property. Instead of building or renovating 4 one-bedroom flats, perhaps you
could make 6 or 8 studio apartments in the same square footage. You could make more profit while,
at the same time, provide affordable housing to more people.
If you’re looking to buy or invest in studio apartments in Malta, do get in touch with our team at
Zanzi Homes. Furthermore, if you have studios to let or you’re looking for a cheap apartment to rent
for yourself, you can contact our colleagues at QuickLets.