We don’t need thousands of square feet: we’ve seen apartments with plenty of physical square footage that are so poorly laid out that they feel like much smaller places. And this problem especially applies to the 2-bedroom apartments we’ve seen, even in Westchester where they’re generally larger and cheaper than Brooklyn or Manhattan. (We’ve seen 1200-sq.ft. houses that were thoughtfully laid out and didn’t seem cramped.)
Our current 1-bedroom apartment is about 600 square feet, but it makes excellent use of its space — possibly the most efficient use of this amount of square footage I’ve ever seen in real life. It’s a very intelligent floor plan that doesn’t waste space on hallways or large entryways, yet it still manages to have an unusually nice kitchen (a rarity in our finds), a reasonable bathroom, and decent closet space.
We haven’t seen any 2-bedroom apartments for which we can say the same. The rental market gives huge financial incentives for owners to create more bedrooms, even if they’re tiny, because a lot of people are willing to have roommates and can split a higher-than-normal rent if there are enough rooms to put people in.
And when you’re designing a floor plan for roommates, all of the priorities and incentives change. For example, since roommates tend to minimize common-space usage and shove everything into their bedrooms, there’s less demand for spacious living rooms and kitchens. (There’s also less demand for dining rooms and offices, but those have already been hacked into additional “bedrooms”.)
It’s completely different when you’re an individual or a 1-bedroom-requiring couple looking for a nice, open layout that isn’t too cramped and has a nice kitchen and maybe an office-type area so our desks don’t need to be in the living room. We started out assuming that a 2-bedroom was the way to solve that, but it looks like a good solution might also be one of those larger-than-usual 1-bedroom units for which the agent tries to bullshit you into thinking that it might be a 2-bedroom, but really the second “bedroom” is an alcove or a dining room or the short half of an L-shaped living room.