What Is A Railroad-Style Apartment?

There are many different types of apartments out there and you should know exactly what you are getting into before renting one or even before you rent a room. A special type of apartment is the railroad-style apartment. They have great advantages but also a few cons to keep in mind!

What Is a Railroad Apartment?

Let’s start with the basics, what is a railroad apartment? This term refers to an apartment that has no hallway but rooms that lead right into each other. Sounds messy right? Basically, one room leads to another room. The bathroom is usually connected to one of the rooms and there might be more than one entrance to the apartment. An interesting point is that railroad apartments can have multiple bedrooms or just one.

Advantages of a Railroad Apartment


You Get a better Price


Usually, railway apartments tend to have lower prices when you compare them to apartments of the same size but with a different design. Plus, if you are renting just a room, prices might vary between them. Logically, the room with the bathroom tends to be the most expensive.

Perfect Bachelor/Bachelorette Pad


If you are going to live alone, then this can be a great option for you! You can make whatever you want of the space and you don’t need a hallway when it’s just you! Plus, if you want to make any changes you can hire remodeling contractors without having to consult any roommates about it!

Nice Starting Digs


Couples appreciate railway apartments because it allows them to share their first place for an affordable price. If you have a second bedroom, you can just talk to the commercial property manager and change it into an office, a mancave, or a dining room!

Disadvantages of a Railroad Apartment


What Is Privacy?


Privacy concerns are something to keep in mind when you are sharing the apartment with roommates. This is even more important if you are not even friends to begin with. You don’t want to be going into each other’s rooms all the time and it can be quite difficult to maneuver this situation.

Plus, you will have virtually no alone time as you might have to go through your roommate’s bedroom or vice versa at any point of the day or night.

However, if each bedroom has a door leading outside, then you will be in a better position. Keep this in mind before renting!

Limited Space


Railway apartments aren’t usually the most spacious ones and it might feel like the place is tiny when you are sharing so much of your space with someone else. This is another con of living in this type of apartment.

How To Make It Work


These aforementioned cons don’t mean that railway apartments are something you should run away from! There are always ways to make things work. Something you can do is install French doors, which will give the space a sense of amplitude.

Also, you can establish flexible schedules that will allow you to live in harmony. Plus, you can designate a portion of each room as a common area, which might help you deal with the lack of privacy a bit better.

Where Can You Find Them?


You will want to look for areas that used to be working-class spots. These tend to be multifamily buildings that are not that tall or wide. For example, in Brooklyn, NY, you can find them in Williamsburg and Bushwick.

Another way to look for them is by searching buildings that were built towards the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th century.

Design Tips


Design can be the difference between enjoying your time at the railway apartment or wanting to move as soon as possible. Some important tips are:

  • Say No to Clutter

Having too many things is one of the main enemies of a happy life at a railway apartment. It makes the space feel smaller and overstuffed, which can be exhausting to the eye and the mind.

When you minimize and reduce the items you have, you create more space, amplitude, and allow more light to go inside the apartment and reach its different surfaces.

If you simply have too many things you don’t want to part with, make the most of the space by including nice-looking storage boxes that you can place underneath a table or counter. Another option is getting more utilitarian containers that you can put under your bed.

If you are willing to invest a bit more, consider installing floating cabinets in the kitchen. These are also great space savers.

  • Minimum Furnishing

Decluttering goes hand in hand with keeping furniture to a minimum. First, you don’t want a bunch of chairs and loveseats to take up all the space. Second, you won’t want a large sofa that gives you little space to go from one place to the other.

You should get pieces that can fulfill different functions. For example, an ottoman can be both a seat and a place to rest your feet.  You can even use it as a small table! If you get a storage ottoman then you will have a great place to put some things without taking too much space.

Make sure every piece of furniture can have more than one goal. For example, the bed can be one that has built-in drawers.

  • Cohesion is Key

Because one room goes directly into another, you will want to keep the entire apartment as cohesive as possible. There’s no true separation between spaces, which is why having completely different designs can be quite jarring.

  • Color: Neutral

Neutral colors are a great way to make the space feel peaceful and inviting. It’s easy to turn this place into a chaotic source of stress if you add too many colors to a cramped space. You will want light shades that allow the light to shine and that inspire a sense of calmness. Plus, you can add little accents here and there that will quickly stand out and will allow you to show some of your personality.


Author’s Bio


Claire Zimmerman is a content marketing specialist at Allstate Service Group. Having almost 9 years of experience in home improvement, Claire is keen on sharing her knowledge on home design and renovation with others, especially hvac, air filtration and water damage issues. Claire’s articles are informative and entertaining, written both for homeowners and experienced contractors.

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