A Complete Guide to the Different Types of Apartments in Chicago

July 1, 2021 | By Lauren Bozarth
Reading Time: 5 Minutes

The Windy City boasts a wide array of apartment options – from penthouses to convertibles. Narrowing down your dream home may feel overwhelming, but we want to help you find the spot that best suits you.

The Luxury Living Chicago Realty team is here to help. If you’re looking to move to an apartment in Chicago, these are the different types of apartments to consider:

High Rises

Their extreme height and incredible views characterize high-rise apartments. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a high rise is typically defined as an apartment building with seven or more stories. 

While you can find high-rise apartments throughout the different Chicago neighborhoods, they are generally heavily concentrated the more downtown you are. Many of the apartments in “the Loop” and surrounding areas, like River North and South Loop, feature plenty of high-rise options.

Since high rises are often situated in a central location, they offer residents the ultimate convenience. Many are steps away from anything one may need— including restaurants, retail and attractions. This is undoubtedly the case with many downtown Chicago high rises.

People looking for amazing views are often drawn to high rises. Many of the Chicago high-rise apartments boast stellar sites of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and the Windy City Skyline.

While there are plenty of perks with high-rise living, living high up may come with disadvantages. The main con is that it takes longer and may be more challenging to get up to your unit. Moving into an apartment on a high floor also isn’t the easiest task in the world.


Penthouse units offer ultimate luxury living. They are typically known as the best unit in an apartment or condominium building. 

They provide premier views and ample space. Typically these apartments feature vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. People also appreciate penthouses for the extra privacy and elevated status.

While odds are, nobody would mind penthouse living, this kind of top-notch living comes at a steep price. According to Realtor, penthouse apartments are usually 5-15% more expensive than other units in the same building.

If the penthouse is located in a building with rooftop amenities, such as a pool or gym, residents may notice more noise from above. This is something house hunters want to figure out before signing a lease.

Another challenge with penthouses is the supply shortage. Since there are only a few penthouses per building, they are more of a rarity. Though with the right agent, you can find the best options in the Chicago area.


Loft-style apartments are prevalent in urban buildings. These buildings were often industrial warehouses or old spaces that have now been converted into modern residential living.

Loft apartments are known for their tall ceilings and exposed pipes, beams and brick walls. These units are often pretty spacious, especially with their open-concept layouts.

Many people find themselves interested in lofts for their unique charm and character. Over the years, they have become a very trendy living option.

The West Loop is home to some of the best loft living in Chicago. This neighborhood’s transformation from a meatpacking district to a hip spot to live in explains how the loft trend came to be. Many of the old warehouses and manufacturing buildings have been transformed to luxury lofts.

While lofts make a cool living option, they do have their own setbacks to take into consideration.

Because of their specific layout, many lack traditional storage space, including closets and rows of kitchen cabinets. While this is often the case, some people see this as an opportunity to customize their storage solutions.

One Bedroom Plus Den Apartments

This type of apartment unit has become increasingly popular. They are particularly ideal for those who don’t need two full-size bedrooms but still may need a little extra space.

A one-bedroom plus den apartment guarantees more room than a traditional apartment. While a den isn’t large enough to constitute a full bedroom, this extra space can be a multipurpose space to accommodate your lifestyle. It may serve as a storage room, an office, a workout room, a nursery or all of the above.

So why wouldn’t someone just purchase a two-bedroom if they want an extra room? Well, these apartments give residents more space at a cheaper cost than a two-bedroom unit. 


A convertible apartment is an intermediate floorplan between a studio and a one-bedroom apartment. When a studio has an additional nook for bedroom space or even an obviously allocated spot for a bed, it can then be labeled a convertible. 

This type of space is generally larger than a studio and has a separation between the main living area and the sleeping area. This separation can simply be an alcove for the bed, a partial wall, a separate room with a sliding door, or it can be extra space like a hallway that creates a buffer between the sleeping alcove and kitchen/living area.

Convertibles and junior one-bedrooms are often very similar layouts, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Usually, junior one-bedrooms are smaller versions of a property’s one-bedroom floor plan without a bedroom door. The price-point for a junior one-bedroom tends to be close to a convertible, with studios slightly below that range.

This is an excellent apartment option for someone who doesn’t need a ton of space but still needs more than a studio.


If you are looking to own your own property and find more space than an apartment has to offer, consider these condos for sale:

1439 S Michigan Avenue #612– Check out this penthouse duplex located in the historic Trevi Square building. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home offers soaring 18-foot ceilings that flood natural light and provide expansive south/west views.

30 E Huron Street #5505– You don’t want to miss this beautifully renovated, one-of-a-kind home perched on the 55th floor of Huron Plaza in River North. The location offers ultimate convenience, and the one-bedroom, one-bath unit features incredible upgraded finishes.

1349 N Leavitt St #1B– If you’re looking for ample space and upscale construction, look no further than this gorgeous condo along a quiet, tree-lined Wicker Park block. The unit is a standout in both design and luxury modern living.

Let one of our experienced team members help you weigh your options and compare the different types of apartments that Chicago has to offer. We are eager to find you your dream home in the Windy City!

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