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Suite or Apartment? You all decide!

Discussion with my husband…

I have found that the word ‘suite’ means different things in different parts of the US.

What we have is 2 bedrooms, private bath, and a small kitchen area with a table and a futon for sitting. It’s a comfortable place to hang out and play games, have a meal. There’s no television.

The space is on a separate level of our home and has (or will soon) a wall and door between their space and ours.

Is it a suite? Or is it an apartment?


no wall ? Open to your home but a separate level? It is a suite.
An apartment is a self contained unit with it’s own entrance.

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I wouldn’t call it an apartment unless it has a separate and lockable entrance. sounds like basement suite might be the best way to describe it.

It will have a lockable door and wall between their space and ours - but they will come through our front door to get to it. Like a lobby. They just walk in the front door, walk down 1 set of stairs, unlock their door, and enter their apartment.

(Construction on wall and door begins in 2 weeks, and we are fully booked until then)

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Now the man says “a basement suite… with single-ply”… he really got a kick out of that joke!

Save a tree! Use single ply!!:smiley:

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A sweet apartment? :smiley:

Hi Nancy – I would definitely call it an apartment and list is as a whole house. You will get more bookings. I am speaking from personal experience. I have a bedroom suite – large bedroom with attached bath. One of my host friends suggested that I close off one door that opened into the main hall of the house and put a lock on the other door and regroup the furniture to include a kitchenette (small fridge, microwave, coffee maker, electric kettle). I now call it a studio suite.
It is entered off our back entry hall. So you come into a common area and then unlock the door to your studio suite. Now I charge $25 more for this “room” turned “whole house” and am getting at least 20% more bookings. More people tend to search for “whole house” than for "private room."
But as @konacoconutz noted: “I wouldn’t call it an apartment unless it has a separate and lockable
entrance.” I was able to do the separate lock, and I am very careful in my listing description to state that the “studio” is within our home, not a separate building.
It sounds like your setup is even better than mine once you get the door and wall built. Since it is on a separate level, it will feel like an apartment. And since you have a kitchen area, it is more of an apartment than mine which only has a kitchenette. I have only had it converted since September, but am very happy with the work (no construction) that it took to regroup this private room with attached bath into a studio suite. I spent about $650 on the fridge, the kitchenette cabinet and appliances, and I had to have a new electrical outlet put in on its own circuit so that the fridge and microwave would be OK (there was no outlet on the wall where they were going). I repainted the room and installed a shelf for dishes and organized some dishes from the Out of the Closet resale store, pulled a table out of storage and bought 2 Ikea chairs. Not as much work as your project, but I’m a widow living alone so no longer have an in-house handyman. The whole transformation was really fun because I like decorating and thinking of how the space will be used by the guests.
You can see it here – https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2138148
Good Luck on your new apartment – Lia

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Depends on what people you want to attract.

Europeans do not understand the word “suite”, to them this would be an apartment.
A lot of privately rented apartments/holliday homes in my country share the front door, with the owners.

I would list it as an apartment/whole house. In the description you can describe that the apartment is on the second floor of the house.

Your place is lovely, creative and inviting. May I just give one teeny weeny decorating suggestion please?
Buy a curtain ( matching is preferable ) and hang it to cover the door that is not in use.
That produces a “faux” look, and prevents guests from just seeing a locked door.
I have layers of curtains over a door that would or could open to our garage, as I wanted the door when we added a bathroom.
I hung a mirror with a wide frame on the middle of the door and then placed curtains around the mirror and door. If someone pulls back the curtain, they see a mirror and not a locked door.

@georgygirlofairbnb Thanks … yes, I think a curtain would look better than a blank door! Maybe I can hang something on top of the curtain so that people won’t even be tempted to pull it back … your mirror idea sounds cleaver.

As long as your family does not need to enter that space during the guest stay, and they have a private entrance I would call it an apartment.


I think she is asking for complaints to do so. Yes it’s mostly a private space and has its own kitchen and living room, but it’s still definitely sharing the home with a host. You have to use their entrance to go in and out. I think the way it’s currently listed will under promise and over deliver.

We just had a host who was accused of false advertising because it wasn’t exactly the whole house that he had listed. If I booked a quote whole house or apartment, I would expect to have my own key for a place not shared by anyone else. Anything else is a quasi apartment. It’s slippery to list it as a whole house. I wouldn’t but that is JMHO.


I am finding this discussion fascinating. I don’t think a space without a real kitchen is an apartment. You could not rent to a long term tenant and call it an apartment. It is a private space, but it isn’t an apartment. The problem is, AirBNB doesn’t have the correct classification, and even when they do, you can’t search using that as a filter.


I actually layered my curtains around the mirror.
The mirror has a thick frame.
I only used one curtain rod.
I used a valance on top in center that drapes over the top of the door, then a sheer on the side, then a curtain on the end.
So it just looks like a dressed up mirror with curtains surrounding it.
I cant take a photo because I have guests in house. I checked my files and I dont have a photo.
The door is totally covered all around- and the guests see the mirror.
They would have no reason to think that a door is behind all that.
Plus it sound proofs a little.

But as I understand it, they don’t have a private entrance. They have to enter through the main front door, and then it is private. Also DC cooks breakfast for the guests in the main part of the house. So the guests share the space, even though their living area is private. Correct me if I am wrong DC.

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Although it has many qualities of an apartment, without its own entrance it isn’t really apart.

If the idea of a suite isn’t universally understood, what if you called it a private set of rooms within our home, and then went into detail.

I should have clarified - I meant to say a private entrance to the outside. So if they don’t need to walk through the main house to get in and out, then I would classify as an apartment.

Regarding breakfast - I think it would be okay to still advertise breakfast and separate apartment as long as the listing states that breakfast is served upstairs in the host’s quarters.

What @Chris said, as a non-native English speaker, I would expect a suite to be a bedroom with en-suite bathroom but no kitchen. You have an apartment with an entrance through a common hallway.

It currently reads like this:

2 Bedroom Suite in our home; Breakfast! UMD or DC

About This Listing:
Our sunny apartment in the lower level of our home is close to metro; great for visiting DC, Convention Ctr, and UMD! You will have privacy and friendly hosts on-site!


The Space
Welcome to our home! This apartment in our home provides all the privacy you want with friendly, helpful hosts just upstairs.

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