Maisonette apartment: architecture, advantages & disadvantages, rent or buy

Maisonette flats – Who would like to buy or also rent an apartment, should deal with the common forms before the decision to a certain apartment type, in order to know already before the first viewing appointment exactly. Attic apartments, lofts, apartments in old buildings but also maisonettes are among the popular types of apartments. Especially the maisonette apartment is something special: The name sounds elegant and appealing, but can the apartment meet your personal requirements? So that you can clarify this question, we have summarized a few basic facts, as well as advantages, disadvantages and Co. for you. This will make the selection of a new living environment much easier.

Maisonette apartment: meaning and international differences

As soon as you hear that the name comes from the French and means small house, you can directly imagine much more under the term maisonette. But still, caution is advised here, because what is called a maisonette outside of Germany does not always describe what we understand by it.

In our country, the word maisonette refers to apartments that have two floors connected by a staircase open in the room, giving a little more space to furnish and live. In France, for example, any medium-sized housing unit can be called a maisonette.

The British understanding of maisonette is much closer to what would be called maisonette in Germany, but above all, a maisonette apartment in the United Kingdom is characterized by a separate entrance. For example, if the apartment is located above a shop, the maisonette apartment definitely has an entrance that is located next to the shop.

So if you are looking for an apartment abroad or for a holiday home, be aware that your understanding of maisonette might differ from what the ad means.

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Are you looking for the right apartment? Here you’ll find definitions, meanings and lots of information on penthouses, granny flats, apartments & co.: Apartment types from A-Z

What is a maisonette?

Many people dream of living in a maisonette apartment. What that actually means and what you should be prepared for if you want to move into a maisonette apartment, you will find here. So let’s take a look at what exactly is meant by a maisonette apartment in Germany, so that you can get an idea of whether you might actually enjoy living in this type of apartment. In Germany, a maisonette apartment is an apartment that is arranged contiguously on at least two floors of a building. It can be located on either the lower or upper floors of a building. In most cases, however, a maisonette apartment comprises the attic and the floor below. The second floor of a maisonette apartment can also be designed as an open gallery, as well as a comprehensive floor.

Features of duplex or gallery apartments

Maisonette apartments are also known under the name gallery apartment or, especially in modern architecture more and more often, as duplex apartment. Just the term gallery apartment gives a lot of information about what kind of architecture it is, because you get two floors, but the upper floor does not have to be a full room and often is not.

Room layout of a maisonette apartment: semi-floors and galleries

Now to the core of what sets a duplex apartment apart from other options: the layout of the floors. As already teased, a duplex apartment is characterized by the fact that it does not remain only on one floor, but that two floors are connected by an open staircase, often located in the edge of the room.

The upper floor can form its own full floor. In most cases, however, it is rather a gallery or even a mezzanine, which extends the high space and provides additional living space.

Source: duplex apartment (

Advantages & disadvantages of maisonettes: space, furnishings & co.

Due to the architecture of the apartment form some advantages and disadvantages. What is particularly interesting is that some of the positive aspects can have negative side effects at the same time. For example, many people appreciate maisonettes because they are so open. However, heating an open space can lead to an unexpectedly high utility bill.

For example, if free-standing stairs are something that you personally find aesthetically pleasing, then maisonettes will definitely appeal to you, but stairs also limit the accessibility of an apartment at the same time.

Many people like apartments in the attic particularly well, but living in the attic can also bring disadvantages with it, so it is particularly warm in the summer under the roof and roof slopes restrict you in the arrangement.

Advantages of the maisonette

The fact that you have landed on this page indicates that you are probably looking for a rental apartment or are about to buy your first apartment. In any case, maisonettes offer the feeling of a home. Friends of the apartment form often bring up these aspects when you are in the decision phase:

  • Optimal use of space
  • Open room design
  • Top floor apartment

Disadvantages a gallery apartment

No type of apartment is completely free of disadvantages. Since these should also be a decisive factor in your decision-making process, we have summarized the biggest disadvantages of gallery apartments for you briefly and clearly:

  • Not barrier free
  • Possibly high heating costs
  • No noise reduction
  • Roof slopes

Tip! If you want to furnish your maisonette especially pretty and are looking for inspiration, you should definitely visit our interior style article, here you will find tips on furnishing trends such as Skandi style, Boho Chic or the Industrial Style: Furnishing styles XXL

For whom are maisonettes suitable?

In terms of price, duplex apartments are in the mid-price range. They are not quite as expensive as a loft, for example, but can also be somewhat more expensive depending on the size. For this reason, it is important to compare prices and, above all, to find out about the rent index in the desired city or district.

Couples: Living as a couple

For two, maisonettes are really super just when you are a bit more familiar with each other, as it can be difficult to get out of each other’s way from time to time. The reason for this is that the open design occasionally offers a little privacy between the individual rooms. However, that’s not to say that you can’t create this with simple installations, if you like to get a bit creative when it comes to interior design a maisonette is just the solution for you.

Singles: Enough space for one person

We’re going to go out on a limb and say that maisonettes are the ideal place for singles. You have more living space than you get with many other housing solutions. Apartments with a gallery, even if they have been around for a while, often still look very modern. But be careful: in old buildings, the ancillary costs of an open living solution can quickly skyrocket and that would be a really rude awakening.

Furnishing maisonettes: Practical tips and tricks

From the advantages of the apartments it already follows that this type of living environment gives the freedom to play very nicely with certain things. For example, the open spaces give the possibility to accommodate larger pieces of furniture without them being overwhelming.

Making the most of stairs: Storage space, plants and co.

In addition, the space under the free staircases can be put to very special use, here you can either do it yourself and build your own shelves, a cupboard or other furnishings that do not leave the space unused.

In addition, the banisters of the stairs can be decorated in their own unique way. Here plants can come into play to give the new home a bit of green. Alternatively, things can be hung from the stairs and so, for example, storage space can be created under this, which is not directly discovered by guests and also you yourself is not a thorn in the eye.

Acoustics: noise insulation in large open living spaces

A very big drawback that maisonettes bring is that it creates a large open space for sound. This is not always in the interest of the residents. That’s why we’ve found a few practical ways to help you create a more pleasant room sound in a maisonette apartment, without much effort. It should be said, however, that not every solution works everywhere, so pay attention to your lease or consult with experts.

  • Noise absorber
  • (Elastic) floor coverings
  • High pile carpets
  • Ceiling rugs
  • Seal doors
  • Wood furnishings
  • Soft materials (curtains, cushions, carpets, etc.)

Heating: Keeping open living spaces, such as maisonettes, warm

We have already warned you about the surprise service charges that can await you in duplex apartments. However, we do not want to leave you without tips on how you can avoid this rude awakening and enjoy your new apartment to the fullest. For this reason, we have collected ideas for you that keep your home warm and cozy even in winter by storing heat or keeping it in the room.

  • Furniture
  • Curtains
  • Blinds
  • Carpets
  • Closed doors