Pros and Cons of First Floor Living

Was your New Year’s Resolution to start looking for your own apartment?  Are you trying to learn the ins and outs of various types of apartments?  As a recent first-time apartment hunter, for me a big decision was whether I should pick an apartment on the ground level or on the second floor or higher.  I went through the pros and cons, and decided that living on a higher floor was best for me.  Here’s how I analyzed my options:


Not only is living on the first floor much more convenient when moving in (have you ever tried to move a couch and bed up two flights of stairs? Not fun.) but it’s also significantly more convenient when you have your hands full of things like groceries. It also makes loading and unloading your car much easier; for example, I do a lot of camping and skiing and other outdoor-related pursuits that involve a fair amount of gear, which means I spend a lot of time going back and forth between my car on ground level and my apartment on the second floor with gear in hand.

Privacy (for guests)

If you have guests over fairly frequently, you may prefer a first-floor apartment so the whole building does not know when you have someone over.

Easy Outdoor Access

Every apartment building is structured differently. My building is controlled-access, but the first floor apartments have doors that go directly from the outdoors to the apartment. This adds to the convenience of first-floor living, as well as allows for even greater guest privacy.

Less Worry about Making Noise

If you are heavy-footed, or play electric guitar, or have any other noisy habits, it might be a good idea for you to have a first-floor apartment; otherwise you run the risk of annoying your downstairs neighbors.

Dog Friendly

If your apartment allows pets and you have a dog, you might find that an apartment on the ground level is a little more dog friendly than apartments on higher floors. It’s easier to take your dog outside more frequently. He can look out the window and watch exactly what is going on at ground-level. See also previous Pro re: noise.


Personal Safety Concerns

Living alone in a big city, personal safety is a pretty major concern for me. I live in a pretty safe neighborhood, and my safety isn’t something that I worry about, but it’s definitely something I took into consideration when choosing my Denver apartment. I live on a higher floor of a controlled-access building, which makes breaking into my apartment much more difficult than breaking into apartments on first floor.

Less Privacy (personal)

When the sun is shining, which is most days in Denver, I like to keep my blinds open to let in the natural light. With such a small living space, however, nearly the entire apartment is visible through the apartment’s different windows. Being on a higher floor, it is much harder to see directly into the windows, which makes me feel more comfortable leaving my blinds open all day.

Need to Keep Windows Closed

I love fresh air and don’t like paying for air conditioning. Since I’m on a higher floor, I was able to leave my windows open all summer, even when I was at work or out of town, which meant that I barely needed to use my air conditioning because enough cool air came in at night. I would not feel comfortable leaving first-floor windows open when away from home or at night.

No Storage 

I’m lucky enough to also have a balcony that offers lots of storage space in my apartment. My bike was stolen shortly after I moved to Denver, because I left it locked to a bike stand outside the apartment building while I was out of town for a weekend. When I got a new one, I can store it on my balcony and feel comfortable that it will be safe.

Not Cat Friendly

If your apartment allows pets and you have a cat, you might find that an apartment above ground level is a little more cat-friendly than apartments on the first floor. I have a little cat named Winchester, and he is primarily an indoor cat (we’ve tried going for walks on a leash a few times, but it’s an art form we have yet to master), and is stuck in my little apartment pretty much all the time. However, since I’m on a higher floor, I take him out onto the balcony pretty frequently so he can roam around in the fresh air without the risk of him running away.

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Jessie Hoyng is currently renting her first apartment in Denver after spending most of her life in Iowa, and is loving it! She has a passion for pretty much anything and everything related to the outdoors, particularly hiking/camping, climbing and kayaking. She also adores folk and bluegrass music and plays guitar, mandolin and violin in her spare time.

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar Brandon

    After recently moving in to a first floor apartment, there are a couple of Cons that weren’t mentioned: (1) bugs. Being on the ground floor means you’re closer to the dirt and foliage of the yard(s). This means critters will usually find their way into your home more easily than they would on upper levels. Not the usual stuff like roaches, but centipedes, beetles, spiders and a few bugs I’ve never seen before. Usually living in NY means worrying about roaches, mice and maybe bedbugs. Now, I’ve found a bunch of new pests to worry about. I guess this can be fixed by spraying the perimeter of the building/ apartment for bugs. (2) Everyone walks past your apartment. Depending on the way your building is structured, living on the first floor usually means everyone who enters the building has to walk past your apartment. Sometimes people like to hang out in the lobby or the front of the building, too. This means you’re subjected to all of the noise other occupants make when they’re coming in the building with groceries, bikes, carts, loud children or whatever else. Or you’re subjected to listening to people talking outside of your door or window all the time which can be pretty annoying.

  2. Avatar Fred Summers

    Being on a first floor I would have to agree with everything here especially about the noise levels. I know I can be a little louder knowing there isn’t anyone below me that will be bothered with dancing. However I also notice that the upstairs neighbor kid runs at 6 am everyday. It really just depends on your personal needs.