Pros and Cons—Which Story Should You Live on?

Three Floors to Choose From at The Glendale in Greenbelt, MD

Three Floors to Choose From at The Glendale in Greenbelt, MD

In almost any situation, there are going to be pros and cons, and that includes the apartment you live in. Common complaints about apartment living include bad roommates, noisy neighbors, and too many stairs. Depending on what’s most important to you, you may be able to avoid some of your biggest cons about apartment living just by being smart about which floor you choose. Below, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of living on different floors of an apartment complex to help you decide which floor is right for your specific priorities.

First Floor

The first floor’s biggest perk is no stairs. You will be most thankful for this on move-in day, and you’ll be especially thankful for it as a pet owner or someone who does a lot of grocery shopping (as opposed to those of you who use a grocery delivery service or a meal kit service like HelloFresh). Other pros include:

  • No one is below you, so you don’t have to worry about being graceful when you do workouts in your living room or bedroom.
  • Cheaper AC bills during the summer because hot air rises.
  • You can get outside faster, which is particularly useful for someone who is chronically late because you won’t have an elevator that it constantly making you later.

The biggest con associated with living on the first floor is typically the noise from overhead. Remember Mr. Heckles from Friends, and how he was constantly bothered by even the smallest noises that everyone was making upstairs? If you’re someone who will be bothered by noises above, then first-floor living might not be for you. Some of the other cons include:

  • Higher noise levels from the street. Between this and the noise from above, it might be best if you have a white noise machine or are a particularly heavy sleeper.
  • Higher heating costs in the winter because hot air rises.
  • More susceptible to pests. Keep your kitchen clean or you might get ants!
Bent Tree Apartments

Second and Third Floor Balconies at Bent Tree in Centreville, VA

Second Floor

The second (or other middle) floor’s biggest perk is that you kind of get a little bit of the best of both the top and bottom floors. If everything bugs you equally, then the second floor will basically mute all of the negatives. Other pros include:

  • More consistent utility bills, which makes budgeting a lot easier.
  • Less street noise and foot traffic than the first floor.
  • Less stairs than any of the floors above you.

The biggest con is basically the same as the pro…you kind of have to deal with a little bit of the all of the cons of apartment living.

  • No real seasonal breaks in utility costs.
  • Surrounded by neighbors both upstairs and downstairs.
  • You have to deal with stairs (even if it’s not that many).

Third Floor

The biggest perk of living in the top floor is that you don’t have to deal with noisy upstairs neighbors. If you’re a light sleeper or like to have a lot of quiet time, then the third floor is perfect for you! Other pros include:

  • Less street noise, which is especially good for the DC Metro area.
  • Lower heating costs in the winter because hot air rises.
  • A better view of the area, and better sunrises and sunsets.

The biggest con that comes with living on the top floor is the stairs. If you have a pet, then you may want to consider living lower, but if you like to take the stairs to get exercise, then hey, maybe the top floor is right for you. Other cons include:

  • Higher AC costs in the summer because hot air rises.
  • Moving in and getting groceries upstairs is going to be annoying.
  • You’re going to be a lot more self-conscious about any noise you’re making because your downstairs neighbors will hear it.


Adaire in McLean, VA

Get the Perks of a High Rise at Adaire in McLean, VA

Living the High-Rise Life

Living high up has some perks similar to living on the top floor of a smaller complex, but the biggest perk that small apartment complexes just don’t have is the sense of privacy. You don’t even really need privacy curtains because no one can see you way up there (unless you happen to be right next to another high-rise). If you’re a fan of dancing around in your underwear, then a high-rise might be right for you…or maybe some curtains. Other pros include:

  • A great view of the city you live in.
  • An excuse to never take the stairs, because who’s going to walk up 20 flights of stairs?
  • A general feeling of living the good life. Seriously, all of the wealthy people in movies live high up (usually in the penthouse), so being higher up means you’re more successful…or at least you can let yourself think that.

However, the higher up you go, the more annoying it is to get out of your building. Whether you choose to take the stairs or the elevator, it’s going to take you a little while to make it up to your apartment or down to the street. Other cons include:

  • You’re not going to want to get a puppy, even if it’s all you really want right now.
  • Possible swaying—While actually a safety feature in modern structures, you might feel swaying on windier days, and that’s kind of scary.
  • You’re going to pretty much be dependent on the elevator, which will be particularly annoying if the power goes out or there’s a fire drill.

No matter where you live, there are going to be pros and cons. The key to being happy in your apartment is to weight the pros and cons and consider what will be most important for you.

Jordan McElwain

Jordan McElwain

Jordan is a digital marketer who enjoys learning new things and playing with puppies. Connect with Jordan on Twitter @jamcelwain.

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