Co-Living: 6 Things You Must Know About This Trend [2021]

Co-living lounge - Royalty free image from Canva of a large, modern lounge area

Co-living is a trend that is here to stay! Co-living offers residents the opportunity to share costs, duties, and most importantly a sense of community.

Most of us have lived communally at some point in our lives. And most of us know just how bad communal living can be when it goes wrong!

So, how do you do co-living right? How do you find a great fit for your needs? How do you avoid death by ‘roommate roulette’ and the headaches of splitting bills and arguing over who’s hair has blocked the shower drain?

In this guide, we’re looking at what co-living is, the pros and cons of co-living, the types of co-living quarters and co-living spaces available, and how to choose the best co-living space for your unique needs.

We also look at five of the best co-living quarters from around the world to give you a sense of what is out there and a selection of premium options to choose from.

Let’s jump right in!

What is Co-living?

Co-living, or cohousing, involves a group of people living together in a communal setting. Co-living quarters usually come furnished and kitted with everything you need.

In general, you will get a private bedroom and/or work area, as well as access to a communal workspace, kitchen, living, and dining area. Many options also offer amenities like gyms, pools, outdoor recreational areas.

Most co-living spaces offer fast wifi and flexible, short-term, lease options. People who choose co-living are often young professionals who want to live with other, like-minded people, save costs and be a part of a community that shares their lifestyle and values.

Check out this video by jenyc for details of her 14 months of co-living in New York City:

YouTube video

Aside from the convenience of flexible leases and arriving to a fully kitted living space, co-living allows you to be part of a community and have people to share the experience with.

This is especially great for travelers, digital nomads, and professionals who have moved to a new city. It is also great for anyone who loves to meet new people and thrives on the energy and creativity that co-living spaces offer.

Some quarters also offer activities like yoga classes, surfing lessons, or guided tours and connections to local sights and activities.

It all depends on where you are in the world and what kind of co-living experience you’re looking for.

Let’s look at some of the most common co-living types in more detail:

Co-living Types – How to Choose the Best Co-living Quarters for You

When it comes to co-living quarters, there are many, many different options to choose from. These range from shared adult dormitories to large private bedrooms and/or workspaces.

They also differ in how they handle the practicalities of life – some offer cleaning and laundry services, while others require you to do your own. Others require residents to take turns to share these duties to cook and clean for the whole house.

The setup you choose should fit your personal preferences and how much time you will have to invest in the community and the house.

When you’re considering which type of co-living space is best for you, look at the following:

  • How many residents are there? These may be a handful of people living in a house or tens of people living in a much bigger building complex.
  • How long are the lease options? Places with short-term leases turn over residents quickly. If you’re wanting to be more settled and have fewer new faces around, choose places with longer lease periods.
  • What facilities do they offer? It is important to find a space that will cater to your needs so that you can live and work comfortably. If you need privacy for work, a coworking space may not work for you so look for an option with a place you can work alone. The same goes for personal needs and what you need to live well.
  • How good is the wifi? Wifi is essential for most people. It is worth checking this out properly beforehand.
  • How involved do you want to be in the community? This is an important question to consider. Choose a co-living type that will suit the level of involvement that is comfortable for you. If you’re not sure, choose a shorter lease to begin with and see how it goes before you commit to a longer stay.

Co-living Types: 7 Common Types of Co-living Quarters

Above we looked at some of the common options available for co-living and what to keep in mind when you’re comparing co-living quarters. With these in mind, let’s look at some of the most common types of co-living quarters you will find:

  1. Traditional, Informal, Co-living and House-shares

This is the type of co-living setup that most people are familiar with. It involves people sharing a private residence as roommates. In general, this involves one occupant holding the lease and subletting (formally or informally) to other residents in the house. This setup is usually aimed at reducing costs and sharing responsibilities.

The benefit to this type of co-living is that it usually involves a small number of people who stay together for a longer (months or years) period. Roommate selection is up to the main leaseholder but if you’re new you know that the others in the house are likely to be there for quite some time.

  1. Adult Dormitories

Much like a college residence building, this co-living type involves many small private rooms and central shared facilities for cooking, dining and recreation, and laundry. Some have shared ablutions and some have private ablutions.

Adult dorms are usually a cheaper option, similar to hostels, and cater to a large number of people. They are popular with young adults, students, and entry-level professionals who benefit from the low cost and do not mind having a lot of people around.

  1. Co-living Urban Apartments

This co-living type is generally professionally run by companies that operate numerous properties in different locations. They’re suited to young professionals who want to live in an urban setting, save money and be part of a community.

Royalty free image from Canva of a modern apartment interior with white furniture and big windows

Urban apartments are often in an apartment building with more than 50 residents. However, unlike adult dormitories, they offer single bedrooms that are often bigger and often have ensuite bathrooms.

This type of co-living may also be numerous smaller units, such as houses or large apartments, with a small number of residents, operated by a single company. The aim here is for a primary residence with a combination of privacy and shared facilities. Leases are usually longer (6+ months).

  1. Multi-generational Co-Housing

The term co-housing became popular in Denmark in the 1960s and referred to multi-generational communities made up of different family units.

Each family has a home distributed around a common house where facilities, and responsibilities, are shared. They also have shared gardens or green spaces around the buildings.

  1. Co-living Co-ops

Co-ops (cooperative housing) involve a democratically run system where residents vote on who manages things and how responsibilities are delegated. They’re all part of the decision-making process and take turns doing chores, cooking, or doing maintenance.

This co-living type usually involves a large number of people in a bigger house or apartment block/complex, with between 50 and 100 residents.

  1. Co-living Communes

Communes are generally small, intentional, communities. These are shared interest groups that practice self-sufficiency or are aligned in terms of lifestyle, politics, or religion/spirituality. Communes are usually found in rural areas rather than cities.

  1. Co-living Quarters for Digital Nomads

Co-living quarters for digital nomads are focused on providing people who choose to travel and work with the best of both worlds. They’re geared for working professionals and offer everything needed to work remotely, like great internet, coworking, and private working spaces.

Royalty free image from Canva of a modern coworking space

They’re also geared for travelers and are usually located at popular travel destinations. Many offer additional activities and access to local tourist attractions, sights, and activities.

Co-living quarters for digital nomads range in style and price, some are aimed at those traveling on a budget, and others are aimed at those looking for a more luxurious experience.

They generally offer leases between one and three months but some offer shorter stays and/or give discounts for longer stays.

Co-living: Pros

Co-living has its pros and cons but ultimately it depends on what you’re looking for and how much you enjoy being around different people.

The benefits of co-living include:

  • The flexibility of short and long-term lease options
  • A place to live that is a home rather than a hotel but comes fully furnished
  • Strong WiFi is a priority for most co-living quarters
  • Co-living offers a way into a community and instant access to a group of like-minded individuals and people to experience the area with
  • Plug-and-play living: everything is set up and ready to go when you arrive
  • Offers a home base from which to travel around and experience the area, while your valuables and work equipment is safely stored at home
  • Great way to network, bounce ideas, and get inspired by others doing what you do
  • Having a private bedroom gives you an escape when you need some quiet time to regroup or a place to work alone
  • Communal living makes being in a new place less lonely and takes the away strain of getting everything set up in a new location
  • Rent usually includes all utilities and wifi so there is no need to take care of those tasks as the landlord or provider will do it all for you

As you can see, the benefits of co-living go beyond the convenience one would get from a hotel or Airbnb.

The focus on being able to work from there and the sense of community you get from living with others on a similar path makes living and working remotely much more appealing!

Royalty free image from Canva of a group of young adults raising their coffee mugs in a toast

That said, there are some downsides to co-living. Let’s look at those below:

Co-living: Cons

The downsides of co-living mainly relate to living with other people and sharing common spaces, which can be a challenge for some people. This is especially true when you have no control over who the other people are.

Unlike living with a roommate or moving in with people you know, in most co-living spaces the owners or managers of the co-living quarters take bookings or leases based on their requirements, not yours. There are some other cons to co-living too.

The cons of co-living include:

  • Living with others can make it a challenge to get enough time alone, especially if you’re someone who tends to get ‘peopled out’ quickly
  • Common areas are shared so you will have to be flexible when it comes to things like watching tv or listening to music
  • Shared kitchens mean that you need to keep on top of your mess and you need to consider others when you use them – this might mean waiting until the kitchen is free or having to wash your pots before you eat so someone else can use them
  • Having many users on the wifi can slow down the connection when you need a fast connection (check this before you book and look for quarters that have fewer residents and better wifi options)
  • Co-living is generally more expensive than hostels and backpacking options
  • Most co-living quarters are found in major cities and tourist destinations, so if you’re not one for city life or tourist attractions this might be a drawback
  • No control over roommate selection or how long they will be staying there. This can be partially combatted by looking for spaces that offer leases you prefer – if you prefer to meet a lot of people, places with shorter lease options will work well for you. You can also look for places that have a general ethos aligned with yours – many co-living quarters try to match people who will get along well and have shared interests.

5 Great Co-living Quarters Around the World 

1. Carmel Place – New York City, United States

Carmel Place was established in 2016 and is owned and operated by Starcity, which operates numerous co-living spaces in the US and Barcelona.

Carmel Place consists of 55 micro studio apartments (260 to 360 square feet). Each apartment is furnished with a bed, desk, and storage space and members have access to communal spaces for the rest. Communal spaces include a fitness center, rooftop terrace, and a community room.

Carmel Place Co-living quarters in New York - Screenshot of their homepage

Price: $2100/month USD

Minimum Lease length: 12 Months

Location: Kips Bay, Manhattan, New York City

Features and Facilities: semi-furnished, housekeeping services, in-building laundry, fast wifi, cable TV, fitness center, game room, and a community room with rooftop terrace. Members also have access to regular community events and workshops.

2. Together Co-living – Melbourne, Australia

Together Co-living offers fully furnished, move-in-ready rooms. Their rooms come with everything from power sockets to bed linen, and their fees are all-inclusive of high-speed wifi, all utilities, and weekly housekeeping.

Their facilities include private and secure rooms, common kitchen and dining areas, and self-service laundry rooms. Residents also have exclusive access to indoor and outdoor recreational areas, a co-working space, a fitness center, and a heated swimming pool.

Regular events, workshops, and many social gatherings and activities are also available to residents.

Screenshot of the homepage for Together Co-Living in Melbourne

Price: From $308/week AUD

Minimum Lease length: Flexible – Days to Months

Location: Preston, Melbourne

Features and Facilities: fully-furnished, housekeeping services, in-building laundry, fast WiFi, fitness center, co-working space, heated swimming pool, common area kitchen, dining, and both indoor and outdoor recreational areas.

3. SunDesk – Taghazout, Morocco

SunDesk is an ideal location for digital nomads looking for some sun and surf. They’re based in the seaside town of Taghazout, which is known for its surfing culture and proximity to popular Moroccan destinations like Marrakesh and Essaouira.

SunDesk offers a variety of packages but they all include a private room, secure lockers, a healthy breakfast, housekeeping, and access to a fully kitted co-working space. They also have private ‘skype rooms’ for when you need to work privately.

Screenshot of SunDesk Co-living in Morocco's Homepage

Price: From €23/day EURO

Minimum Lease length: Flexible – Days to Months

Location: Taghazout, Morocco  

Features and Facilities: fully-furnished, housekeeping services, washing machines, fast wifi, indoor and outdoor co-working spaces with a private ‘skype room’ and unlimited tea/coffee/juice, common area kitchen, dining, and both indoor and outdoor recreational areas.

4. Canary Wharf by The Collective – London, United Kingdom

Located in East London, a few minutes from Canary Wharf, this co-living space by The Collective is ideal for students and freelancers who are looking for a fully kitted solution.

They offer a variety of packages but all include, at a minimum, a Simba Hybrid Mattress, ensuite rain showers, fast wifi, 32” Smart TVs, regular cleaning, and linen changes.

All residents have access to a wide range of shared facilities, which include a gym, sauna, steam and treatment rooms, a restaurant and bar, workspaces,  laundry facilities, a cinema room, a library, and a cultural events programme.

Screenshot of the homepage for The Collective Canary Wharf Co-Living Quarters

Price: From £1395/p.c.m GBP

Minimum Lease length: Flexible – Days to Months

Location: East London, London, United Kingdom   

Features and Facilities: semi or fully-furnished, housekeeping services, laundry, fast wifi, workspaces, gym, sauna and treatment rooms, restaurant and bar, cinema room, library, and access to various activities and events via the cultural events program.

5. Colive Parkstråket – Stockholm, Sweden

Colive Parkstråket offers flats/apartments that house up to 6 people per unit. Residents get a private room that is furnished with a bed and storage, as well as access to fully furnished communal areas. Fast wifi, cleaning services, and laundry facilities are included.

The kitchen is fully fitted with appliances, and the cozy living room is fully furnished, with TVs and speakers as well as comfortable furniture.

The apartment block has a whole floor dedicated to communal areas and activities, including workspaces, relaxation paces for yoga and meditation, communal gaming areas and spaces for watching movies, as well as casual hangout areas.

Screenshot of the homepage for Colive Parkstraket Co-living quarters in Sweden

Price: From 5990/month SEK

Minimum Lease length: Monthly

Location: East London, London, United Kingdom   

Features and Facilities: semi-furnished bedrooms, fully-furnished communal rooms, cleaning twice a week, laundry facilities, high speed wifi, co-working spaces, relaxation rooms for yoga and meditation, gaming spaces, movie watching spaces, and causal hangout areas, BBQ, and outdoor areas.

Final Thoughts on Co-living

Co-living is becoming more and more popular with young adults, remote working professionals, digital nomads, and people who need to live and work in cities where living costs are prohibitive.

There are loads of different co-living types and a huge variety of co-living spaces to choose from! In this guide, we have gone over all the essentials to know about co-living and how to choose the best co-living quarters for you!

We have also featured some of the best co-living quarters from around the world to give an idea of what is out there and a selection of great options to choose from!

References and Useful Resources

BBC: Is the Great Digital-Nomad Workforce Actually Coming?

Coliving: Directly of Coliving Companies by Country

Green Is The New Black: Is Co-living The Answer to Sustainable Living?

HubSpot-Outsite: The Ultimate Guide to Coliving

LinkedIn: Why Is Coliving an Ideal Housing Solution, Especially After the Pandemic?

Frequently Asked Questions

What does co-living mean?

Co-living refers to a modern version of communal living. Residents live together, sharing communal areas like kitchens, bathrooms and dining/recreational areas but each resident has their own private bedroom. Many co-living spaces also offer co-working spaces and additional communal amenities like gyms, recreational areas and swimming pools. Check out the full guide for more on how co-living works and what co-living spaces provide.

What are co-living companies?

Co-living companies are businesses that own and operate co-living spaces. They run the co-living space professionally and attend to all the practicalities like admitting new residents, paperwork, utilities, subscriptions and organizing cleaning services etc. Co-living through a co-living company is one of the best ways to ensure that your co-living experience runs smoothly. Read the full guide for examples of great co-living spaces run by co-living companies.

What are the benefits of co-living?

There are many great benefits to co-living! Co-living allows you to live as part of a community, at a lower cost than living alone and gives you access to facilities and amenities that you would not be able to access otherwise. It is ideal for young professionals, digital nomads, professionals looking to share costs and housing in expensive locations. Read the full guide for more info on the benefits of co-living.

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