Your Guide to Coliving

The term coliving has been gaining popularity lately, and has been described as “the end of urban loneliness”... but what exactly is it? And why is it becoming more common? Here’s your complete guide to coliving!

Your Guide to Coliving
Photo by cottonbro studio

Picture this: In the midst of the hustle and bustle of a major metropolitan city, one person sits in the living space of the house he shares with four flatmates. Two others are in the kitchen, preparing breakfast and chatting, while the fourth prepares for an event they’re hosting later that night on the rooftop of their gorgeous home. They’re expecting their neighbors, who also share a similar living situation, to come over and attend as well. They host get-togethers every week for the block, and are considering adding even more amenities to their collective.

Humans have been living together since the dawn of time. Our gravitation towards living in communities may have begun as a survival tactic in the olden days, but it has since evolved into much more than just security. Today, community helps us cultivate a sense of belonging, it helps us relate to others and push ourselves and other members of our group towards growth.

That’s where coliving comes in. It is a relatively new form of residential community living model. Coliving is not just about sharing living spaces, it’s also about bringing together people of similar values and interests, creating community within residential dwellings.

What does coliving look like?

Coliving is a lifestyle, where a tenant or resident gets a private bedroom in a housing complex with shared common areas. In a coliving model, shared spaces are fully-furnished and designed to encourage interaction and bonding, and can include leisure spaces, co-working areas, swimming pools, gyms, spas and more.

This model of living first gained popularity in metropolitan areas as a way for residents to save money and enjoy more flexible rental terms. Competitive real estate markets and high rents have made living alone unattainable for many, which is why young professionals (and even students!) turned to sharing accommodation to reduce living costs.

Eventually, sharing living dwellings became about more than just rent prices and chores: the human element came in. Those living together began seeking community, wanting to move in with like-minded people, and establish synergies.

What is the history of coliving?

Coliving is a residential living model that prioritizes community. Our gravitation towards living in community isn’t recent – it began as a survival tactic, where the olden human lived in large, mobile camps composed of hunters and gatherers. They flocked together for protection, assistance with childcare, and food. Early humans lived in groups, with males taking on the hunter role while females either gathered food in the form of fruits and vegetables, or stayed at home to care for babies.

We have since evolved into societies where community is less about physical security and more about belonging. The agricultural revolution of 10,000BC made it possible for humans to stay in one place and have an ongoing supply of food, and the previously nomadic human race settled down and began building civilizations. Stability in terms of nutrition and physical safety led to tribal living, which in turn evolved into full-fledged civilization.

Since then, there have been multiple versions of coliving communities across history, including communal kitchens in 20th century Denmark, boarding houses in America, communes in the 1960s, and the cohousing movement of the 70s. All of these unique communities came together for a shared purpose, and eventually led to the creation of modern coliving spaces.

What are the advantages of coliving?

1. Community

The number one benefit of coliving is the community element. This model of housing means you’ll be living with people who share your same values, who will push you to expand your mind, and offer a sense of belonging.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur who’s working around the clock to get their business off the ground, or a young professional leading a sustainable lifestyle, or fresh off graduation and looking to just meet new people, there’s a place for everyone in coliving.

2. Affordability

In a coliving model, tenants pay one fee that encompasses everything: a fully-furnished bedroom, access to well-designed common areas, household essentials, and utilities.

Depending on the community you’re joining, your rental fee can also grant you access to community events and gatherings, and leisure facilities such as gyms, spas, swimming pools, and more!

3. Convenience

Coliving means you get to skip the hassle of dealing with a broker, furnishing, calculating bills, and handling maintenance. With coliving, all you need to do is find a community where you’re comfortable, and just move in!

4. Knowledge sharing and networking

Residents of a community typically get together to discuss relevant topics and network with professionals within and outside their field of work. This is a great platform for those who want to build connections and find new business opportunities.

5. Global environment

It’s common for coliving spaces to host individuals of different nationalities, ethnicities and backgrounds. Coliving can be an experience of cultural exchange, exposing residents to new values and beliefs they might not otherwise have encountered.

What are the disadvantages of coliving?

1. Lack of privacy

In a coliving complex, almost everywhere you go has been designed for the purpose of interaction and networking. This can be quite frustrating if you’re looking for some privacy - because of the emphasis on socialization, you may find yourself forced to stay in your room in pursuit of some alone, quiet time. If you’re someone who highly values their privacy and prefers to be alone most of the time, coliving may not be the best lifestyle for you.

2. Lack of control over roommate selection

In some coliving spaces, you may not have any control or say over the selection of your future roommates. This is particularly true in the case of coliving spaces created by business providers, as opposed to a community that was created organically by a group of like-minded individuals who want to live together and share experiences. This can result in a mismatch of roommates, meaning you might end up living with someone you’re not compatible or even comfortable with. It’s always a good idea to check the policies in place for resident selection in any coliving complex you’re considering moving into, and get a feel of the existing community’s approach to new tenants.

3. May be difficult to find in smaller cities

Although coliving is becoming more and more popular, the majority of coliving spaces are currently located in major cities or metropolitan areas. If you’re searching for a community to move into in a rather secluded location, you might struggle to find different options. However, as coliving spreads across the globe, it is likely that individuals and businesses alike will start setting up coliving venues even in small cities or towns.


For anyone moving to a new city, or even existing residents who are seeking to expand their community, coliving offers a chance to meet new people, learn about new cultures, share knowledge, and create lasting friendships. In a world where ridesharing and coworking are on the rise, coliving is the ideal approach to habitation.

Considering coliving? Hemavi has a match-making algorithm that will help you find your right roommate. Check out our listings in Sweden.