Flat vs Apartment: Difference and Comparison

There is no better place in the world than one’s home. Hotels, lodges, tourists homes, etc., have their perks while people are traveling.

However, no abode can be as peaceful as our homes. Today, people are opting for many residential options such as mansions, apartments, flats, condominiums, etc. Flats and apartments are very similar words but have certain differences.

Key Takeaways

  1. Flats are single-level living spaces in multi-unit residential buildings, while apartments can be single or multi-level units within a larger residential complex.
  2. Flats are more common in British English, whereas apartments are more prevalent in American English.
  3. Flats and apartments offer similar living arrangements, such as shared common spaces and amenities, but the term used may vary based on regional preferences.

Flat vs Apartment

The difference between a flat and an apartment is that a flat is a name given to a self-contained housing unit attached to a building in British English. Apartment, on the other hand, is the American equivalent of a flat and can be used interchangeably. Sometimes, it is more luxurious than a flat.

Flat vs Apartment

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A flat can be defined as a residential abode that has more than one room and other facilities such as a kitchen, washroom(s), hall, etc.

A flat is a part of a multi-story building and has other residential flats around it. Mostly, a flat has basic amenities and is categorized in terms of bedrooms, hall, and kitchen (BHK).

An apartment is the name given to residential abodes in America and is very similar to a flat. However, most of the time, apartments are better furnished and have more facilities than a flat.

It can have more than one floor and can be customized according to the resident’s choice.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFlatApartment
OriginFlats originated in medieval Europe.Apartments originated in ancient Rome.
Usage of TermsThe term flat is used in British English.The term apartment is used in American English.
FloorsIt mostly has a single floor.It mostly has more than one floor.
Standard of LivingIt allows a normal standard of living as its features are most basic in nature.It allows a high standard of living as apart from the basic layout of a house, it also has options of customization and adding luxuries.
Preferred ByFlats are very economical and are mostly preferred by people of low-income and middle-class families.Apartments have scope for luxuries and are mostly preferred by people of high salaries and upper-middle-class families.

What is Flat?

Flats are the most basic type of residences that are not only affordable but also have all the basic facilities required for a comfortable life.

These are a part of larger complexes that have many similar flats. Mostly these flats are preferred by individuals and low-income families.

As the name suggests, flats do not have stairs, and they do not tend to have more than one floor. The most prominent features of flats are one or more bedrooms, washrooms, hall, kitchen, etc., and can be categorized in terms of 1BHK, 2BHK, 3BHK, etc.

These types of residences originated from Europe of the medieval period, where rapid industrialization attracted a lot of workers from different regions.

During that time, flats became very famous and a go-to choice for most of the low earning workers.

Today, a lot of people are opting for flats in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, India, etc., where population density is relatively higher than the rest of the world, and opting for bigger houses would be very expensive.

Flats do not come with the option of extensive customization. Apart from residences, flats are also used for setting up offices, shops, small-scale businesses, etc.


What is Apartment?

The term “apartment” is mostly used in the American continent. Apartments can be defined as a set or cluster of rooms that form a single residence.

Apartments are a part of bigger buildings where there is more than one apartment. Every person has certain priorities when it comes to choosing a residence.

The essence of living in an apartment is the luxuries and facilities it comes with, which makes it different from a flat. Apartments allow their residents to customize their house, and it does not have to be in a similar structure to BHKs.

Apart from multiple bedrooms, kitchen, washrooms, and hall, apartments have other features such as balconies, social security, drawing rooms, parking spaces in the building, etc.

Most of the apartments have more than one floor and are facilitated with stairs.

All these additional features make the apartments a bit more expensive than other forms of residences and are preferred by high-salaried and upper-middle-class families.

These types of houses were originally found in ancient Rome. Apartments come with the options of both renting and owning the house.

Other features include good security systems, friendly locality, parks, shops, connectivity with airport and railway station, etc.


Main Differences Between Flat and Apartment

  1. The flat is a term used in British English for denoting a residence with multiple rooms, washrooms, kitchen, hall, etc. The apartment is a term used for similar residential abodes in American English.
  2. The concept of flats originated in medieval Europe, where rapid industrialization and high population density forced people to live in flats with basic amenities. The concept of apartments originated in ancient Rome, from which the idea of a spacious and luxurious residence came into existence.
  3. Flats have a single floor, and all the residential features are accommodated in a single story. Apartments have more than one floor.
  4. Flats are very affordable and are preferred by low-income middle-class families and individual earners. The comforts and luxuries of apartments make it slightly expensive and are preferred by high-salaried upper-middle-class families.
  5. Flats do not have scope for much customization and have a similar template of bedrooms, halls, and kitchens. Apartments allow people to customize it according to their needs as they are more spacious.
Flat vs Apartment – What are the differences
  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00049999.1971.9709387
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494415300025

Last Updated : 25 November, 2023

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