When buying a house, many of us look at how many rooms the property has and/or the type of rooms it has. You might have encountered condo units that are 2br+1sr (2 bedrooms and 1 study room) instead of the common 3br (3 bedrooms).
Is a room by any other name just a room (aka it’s just marketing?), or is there a difference in terms of floor area and property price?
Let’s find out.
What is a Bedroom?
It’s obvious for bedrooms are designed for, so firstly, you need to be able to properly fit a bed in this room for yourself or your guests.
Next, the room must be habitable for extended periods of time. Typically, bedrooms are designed to have windows for ventilation and light, a high ceiling, and a decent amount of space to fit a bed and other storage furniture. This makes sense — if a person is going to be sleeping in the room, that’s a good five to eight hours (or more) of being in the room.
What is a Study Room?
Now, let’s look at study rooms. Thanks to this era of working from home when telecommuting has become the de facto mode for most of us, study rooms have become more ‘normal’ than ever.
Most of us have had to make space to work, and have been able to convert an area of our homes (usually the guest bedroom, our gaming/entertainment room or a corner of the living room) into a fully-functional home office.
So what makes a study room, well, a study room?
We know that study rooms are usually kitted out with a comfortable office chair, a study table, extra computer monitor, printer and maybe some bookshelves for storage. But strictly speaking, there isn’t really a fixed definition, and there aren’t any regulations or explicit recommendations around how spacious a study room has to be.
So are Study Rooms and Bedrooms the Same?
Considering the above, study rooms and bedrooms are similar in that they’re just extra rooms in the home. The main difference is that rooms classified as study rooms tend to be smaller as they’re designed to fit smaller furniture like a table and chair and maybe a bookshelf. Bedrooms are much bigger as they are meant to house at least a bed and wardrobe.
Should you Convert a Study Room to a Bedroom?
If you previously bought a home with a study room, you may be wondering if it’s possible to convert the study room into a bedroom. There is nothing stopping you from doing so, but do note that as study rooms are generally smaller than bedrooms, it may be uncomfortable for the occupier. For example, after fitting a bed into the room, you may not have space for other furniture.
How big of a bed or how much furniture you can fit in will depend on your specific floorplan, but generally, most condos’ study rooms should be able to fit a single-sized mattress.
Is It Cheaper to Buy an Extra Study Room Condo Unit?
But what if you don’t mind the squeeze? Could you possibly buy a 2br+1sr condo (instead of a 3br one) and save some money?
To find out, we’ve decided to compare condo units within the same development.
Affinity at Serangoon
From 732 sqft
From 1,076 sqft
Based on this, it seems that one would get a bigger unit at Affinity at Serangoon by opting for a 3-bedder instead of a 2+1. This suggests that the study must be pretty tiny — and it is, according to the floorplan (just a small corner against the wall).
In addition, although the absolute price of the 3-bedroom unit is higher by over $400,000, the psf is lower than the unit with the study.
In this instance, the study room is definitely not suitable to be a bedroom and doesn’t seem feasible to be converted to one.
Next up is another new development, this time in the East Coast/Marine Parade area. Enter Amber Park, a freehold condominium project that is slated to TOP in 2023.
From 678 sqft
From 947 sqft
Again, in terms of size and psf, it seems like a better deal to get the 3-bedroom unit at Amber Park. Based on the floor plans, the study also seems to be in an area with relatively high foot traffic (near the main door/kitchen).
Seems like the study room at Amber Park is also not suitable to be used as a bedroom, and can’t be converted to one.
Seletar Park Residence
Completed in 2014, Seletar Park Residence is a 99-year leasehold condo in District 28.
From 872 sqft
From 1,292 sqft
Price last transacted
The trend holds for this older development, in which the 3-bedroom unit is still more value-for-money and larger.
What’s different from the earlier two case studies is that the study is actually a room by itself, though it seems tiny compared to the bedrooms. It’s also in a more conducive area for studying, working and/or reading (though being right smack in the middle of two bathrooms, we’re not quite sure how well the ventilation works).
Study Rooms vs Bedrooms: Which Layout is Better?
Judging from the price and space trends, study rooms aren’t just a marketing gimmick — there are real differences in the different room types.
It seems that having a study room in your layout is useful only if you indeed want a study space. You can use the study exactly as it was designed for, instead of paying more an extra bedroom which may be more spacious than you need.
If you genuinely need three bedrooms, it will be more comfortable and value for money to pick a bedroom layout. Trying to convert a study into a bedroom will result in a cramped space that is potentially in a poor location, like near the kitchen or toilet.
You should also note that not all projects have study-room layouts. Also, some property listings do not differentiate between bedrooms and study rooms – they simply state the number of extra rooms.
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This article was written by Mary Wu, who hopes to share what she's learnt from her home-buying and renovation journey with PropertyGuru readers. When she's not writing, she's usually baking up a storm or checking out a new cafe in town.