The Important Differences Between Coliving and Shared Housing

Singapore Nov 30, 2021

Same, but vastly different — not only in terms of benefits but also price. Always wondered how coliving (or flexible living) and shared housing differ? Then you’ll want to read on.

Coliving (or flexible living) refers to a group of people who live together in a space that was specifically designed for that purpose. They would each have their own private rooms (and sometimes toilets) but share common spaces like the balcony, kitchen and living room.

Shared housing (or flatshare), on the other hand, is made up of a group of people sharing a traditional home that probably wasn’t built with that purpose in mind.They may sound similar, but differ by quite a bit.

To cut through the noise, here is a list of how coliving and shared housing differ, complete with a list of flexible living benefits.

Dining area at Hmlet Tiong Poh Road, Singapore

Differences Between Coliving and Share Housing

Space and amenities

Coliving (or flexible living) residents will each have his or her own private room of varying sizes, built around shared communal areas that may include indoor or outdoor living areas (e.g. bathroom, laundry area, balcony, kitchen, living room, etc.).

You can think of coliving as modular homes that give you the option to pay only for what you really want. Prefer a small space? Consider a smaller no-frills room like the Pocket that’s perfect for one who is looking for short-term stays. Need a larger space with your own kitchen? Not a problem, go for the Studio that comes with a kitchen and big enough for two.

In contrast, shared houses are your typical suburban house or apartment that were built to provide accommodation for families.

Similar to coliving, each resident will have their own private rooms while bathrooms and kitchen are shared throughout the house. However, most bedrooms are the size of a study with only one ‘master’ bedroom available; that may or may not include an en suite.


Unbeknownst to some, coliving rental fees actually includes all basic utilities and amenities like Wi-Fi, water, electricity, maintenance, weekly room cleaning, etc. This means, you won’t have to worry about monthly utility bills, setting up of a Wi-Fi mesh or when the water heater breaks down.

For shared housing, monthly utilities (e.g. water, gas, Wi-Fi, etc.), additional fixtures or furniture, replacement of appliances and maintenance are excluded from the rental price, and have to be paid for by residents.


Location, location, location. As one of the most important factors when choosing a home, this could mean an additional 30 minutes of shut eye before a work day or morning commute.

Shared houses tend to be located in suburban parts of a city while most coliving spaces are found in the heart of the city, trendy neighbourhoods or central business district.


Although not always the case, demographics of those who reside at coliving spaces and shared housing differ. At coliving spaces, most residents are working professionals, digital nomads or long-stay travellers. At shared homes, it is common to share the unit with residents of all ages and professional backgrounds.

Living area at Hmlet Zion Apartments, Hong Kong

Benefits of coliving

As a modern form of communal living, coliving takes care of the nitty gritty that comes with owning your own home, while providing opportunities for making personal connections.

A sense of belonging

Community and forming meaningful connections is at the heart of coliving.

Instead of living in an apartment alone and without companionship, coliving affords individuals a beautifully furnished apartment along with great company. This may be especially true for those relocating. The fear of moving to Singapore or Hong Kong from the other side of the world wouldn’t be as daunting when you have coliving housemates to help ease the transition.

Shared experiences

Putting yourself out there and meeting like-minded people in a whole new city can be daunting — we get that. That is why we ensure opportunities to connect are never too far away. Whether it's a barbecue in the backyard or a night out at the movies or just going exploring the neighbourhood with a new-found friend, there are many events you can look forward to.

Flexible living

One of the best perks of coliving is the flexibility it affords, hence its other name 'flexible living'.

Gone are the days of being tied to a rental contract for a minimum of one year, oftentimes with coliving there are no lease agreements at all! So, while individuals will be afforded a stable living arrangement, they’re never trapped or bogged down by rental contracts.

Hmlet community event in Hong Kong


As a way to live, coliving and shared housing couldn't be more different. While traditional renting options like shared housing may seem like the only option, coliving is fast becoming a good contender (and one that offers more benefits at an affordable price).

So, if a fully furnished home or room, flexible lease and forming meaningful connections sounds like your next dream home, then get started and stay with Hmlet today!

Search for hundreds of rooms and entire apartments at Hmlet. We’ll help you find a home of your dreams without pesky agent fees (and they even come fully furnished!), so you can focus on doing more of what you love.


Team Hmlet

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