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With the changing tide of condo legislation in Colorado, more of our clients are exploring condos. One of the frequently asked questions we get is ‘what is the difference between condo and apartment design?’ Below is a quick guide that lists the top things we review.

The following design aspects represent the top interior, exterior, and amenities that difference between condos and apartments.

Exterior Style


  • Traditional, timeless architecture
  • Focus on “what makes this place special?”
  • Low-maintenance materials


  • Eye-catching exteriors to attract renters
  • Focus on “what makes this place special today?”
  • Trendy colors and materials



  • Many parking options for owners
  • Tandem spots, private garages, oversized options
  • Adjacency of parking spot is important


  • Variety of parking is not a priority
  • The garage itself is the amenity, not a specific spot.

Interior Design Features


  • Extra storage space in or near the unit
  • Personalization is brought into the hallways, entry, corridors, and front doors
  • Entry to the community is comfortable and resembles a boutique hotel
  • High-end materials, finishes, and appliances


  • Storage may be in an apartment complex, but it isn’t as important
  • Little personalization in common areas like hallways and stairwells
  • Entry design needs a “wow” factor and views to amenities



  • Efficient fitness room
  • No leasing office
  • Conscious amenity program to put less burden on HOA expenses
  • The clubhouse is internal and offers privacy, ease of access


  • Large fitness room
  • Prominent leasing office
  • Lavish amenities spaces to appeal to renters
  • The clubhouse should “wow” and be near the entrance and leasing office

Unit Details


  • Offer optimal finishing packages for customization
  • Optimal kitchen layouts and flex room spaces
  • Unit sizes are often large; unit mixes different
  • Balconies are more important and should accommodate table and chairs
  • True dining space
  • Bedroom size important (for king-sized bed)
  • High-quality soundproofing
  • Quality of thermal insulation


  • Little to no optional finishes
  • Set floor plan
  • Standard unit sizes and mix
  • Balconies are a nice, added feature
  • Standard soundproofing
  • Standard lighting package and energy efficiency within code requirements

We have found that design for condos ultimately focuses on permanency, similar to the design of single family home; as opposed to apartment design which focuses more on temporary living. A temporary mindset in apartments versus a permanent mindset in condos impacts many design aspects.  In addition to this, the location of the community and the target demographic play a critical role in the overall design and features that should be included.

Which design aspects and differences between apartments and condos stand out the most to you? We would love to hear your thoughts!

If your construction team is working on apartment design but stuck on the details, contact KEPHART. We can help you build an apartment community with all the features renters want!


This is the philosophy that drives KEPHART to create thoughtful homes and communities that positively change people’s lives.

KEPHART is a nationally recognized, award-winning architectural design and planning firm with 50 years of housing expertise. Our passion for designing well-designed places to live, work, and play has driven us to create more than 500,000 homes across the country, ranging from single and multifamily homes to workforce housing, senior living, LIHTC communities, and everything in between. We have a deep bench of talented staff to design and deliver innovative and practical solutions to meet the unique requirements of every project.