The Pros and Cons of Renting a Furnished Apartment

By Alicia Geigel on August 11, 2020

When moving into a new house or apartment, there are what seems like a million new things that fill your mind (and overwhelm you). Finding the right furniture pieces and figuring out the perfect way to decorate is perhaps the first thing on many people’s minds when making a big move. Moving into a furnished apartment has both its benefits and disadvantages, but if you are new to the concept you might now know where to start to find meaningful information.

Are you apartment hunting? Considering renting a furnished apartment? This comprehensive guide will help you make the right decision and find the right place for you!

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Having furniture in your apartment is a necessity, but sometimes during the process of the move, buying and moving furniture can be a stressor. Furnished apartments can alleviate this added worry, but what exactly constitutes a furnished apartment? While there is not a clear definition or standard, Michael Buzec of Rent Cafe writes, “Most rentals in this category are equipped with a bed, dresser, kitchen appliances, living room furniture, and bathroom necessities. Some pre-furnished apartments might even have curtains, carpets, or utensils.” When considering where to move and what place to settle on, it is important to take into consideration the perks and disadvantages of renting an apartment that is already furnished.

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The Pros 

The Place is Already Set Up: So much of the stress of moving into a new apartment is figuring out where to buy furniture, which pieces to buy, and where to set it all up. There is fun in doing so, but also a fair amount of stress as you’re multitasking and handling other responsibilities. When you move into a new place, you have to measure the amount of space in each room, doorway, hallway, etc. to figure out just the right pieces of furniture to buy so everything fits properly.

With a furnished apartment, there is no worry about buying new furniture or measuring the length of the couch you want to buy to make sure it fits in your door. Everything is already set up so the only thing you have to worry about is your personal items!

No Need to Move Bulky/Heavy Furniture: Another stressor, if not the biggest stressor, when moving into an apartment is physically moving furniture. For some items, like lamps or small pieces of furniture, this is not a big deal. For others, like sofas, mattresses, large appliances like refrigerators, etc. this can difficult if you don’t have the help, the right sized car to move the items or the time to do it all.

Additionally, if you don’t have adequate help, you might result in hiring movers to assist you which can end up costing money in the long run. As a furnished apartment already has the larger furniture and bulky appliances set up, you don’t have to worry about moving anything!

Greater Flexibility/Mobility: If you are a student or someone who perhaps relocated for work/personal reasons, looking for short-term rentals can feel overwhelming as so many apartment complexes have long-term leases. Another great perk of a furnished apartment is that most of the time, places like these are advertised as short-term rentals.

Buzec of Rent Cafe notes, “They are perfect for people who have to relocate for business, for students who spend less than a year in their college cities, or for those who are not ready to commit to one place. Life gets crazy, and it will be much easier to move if you are not tied to a long-term contract and you don’t have to carry furniture around.”

Lower Upfront Cost: As stated earlier, a definite benefit to renting a furnished apartment is not having to worry about moving large and bulky items, as well as avoiding the need to hire movers. When renting a furnished apartment, you have a lower upfront cost meaning there is no cost for buying new or used furniture or hiring movers.

While the pricing for different furniture items can vary by both store and the item, hiring movers can cost between $569 to $1,566 with an average rate of $25 to $50 per hour according to Home Advisor. Thus, the more furniture you have, the more it would cost you in the long run. Moving into a furnished apartment gives you the financial freedom, in the beginning, to put that saved money toward something meaningful for you, like rent money or hosting a housewarming party for family and friends!

The Cons

Furnished Apartments Can Be Pricier Per Month: While the upfront cost of renting a furnished apartment is lower, you may end up paying more in the long run. Due to the ‘luxury’ of a furnished apartment, the average monthly cost of rent can be pricier than an unfurnished one, with long-term rentals costing around 15 to 20 percent more, and short-term costing approximately 40 to 50 percent more.

In some cases, landlords or property managers can double those numbers depending on the location of the property, according to Laura Agadoni of Landlordology. While the convenience of already having furniture in your apartment is appealing, you have to evaluate if you have the ability to spend more on this added luxury.

You Can Have More Liabilities (i.e. Damaging Furniture): When renting in any type of apartment or home, there are certain things that you as the tenant are liable for. With a furnished apartment, because there are more items that are owned by your landlord, there are more liabilities that you are held to. It is your responsibility as the tenant to maintain the cleanliness of the furniture items as well as ensure they are not damaged during your lease term.

Jamie Birdwell-Branson of Apartment Therapy writes, “Although it largely depends on your lease agreement, your landlord will likely have a clause in the lease (a furniture addendum) that details what the furniture’s condition was in before you moved in.” If any of the furnishings included in the apartment are damaged, you may not receive your security deposit back or have to pay for the damages, depending on the lease.

The Space May Not Feel Like Your Own: Moving into a new place is fun and exciting for several reasons, one being that you have the freedom to decorate the place with your own furnishings and artwork. If you opt for a furnished apartment, the furniture included in the apartment may clash with your personal style, leaving the space to feel less like your home and more like someone else’s. Of course, you can include personal touches here and there to help avoid this feeling, like hanging pictures with paint-safe tape or decorate with fun-colored pillows and blankets!

Quality of Furniture: Depending on the lease, the location, and your landlord, the furnishings in your apartment may be either fancy and great quality or dingy and low quality. Of course, having furniture already in your apartment is a perk in itself, but there is always the chance that the furniture could be less than what you expected.

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Essential Furniture Items When Moving In

Sofa: Right behind a bed, a sofa is another essential furniture item you want to have in your new apartment. Sofas provide extra seating as well as a potential place for someone to crash after a lively party or during a weekend visit. Whether your apartment is spacious or more compact, having a sofa can help to tie together your space and give it a homey feeling. During a move, some are inclined to splurge on a durable sofa that will last years down the line, while others get a more affordable one. Just do whatever makes sense for your budget and timeline!

Eating area: Not every space is suitable to have a distinct dining room area. Given the amount of space that you have, creating a space to eat can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be the traditional kind that you are normally used to. Sharon Greenthal of the Spruce suggests, “If you are someone who likes to eat and watch TV, get a sturdy coffee table. Avoid glass-top tables, as they are hard to keep clean. If you have a counter where you can eat, grab a few barstools.” When you have a specific area to eat, your apartment will feel more cohesive and put together; something that is bound to impress guests!

Artwork: If you are more of a minimalist, keeping your walls more on the plain side might be your preference, but that doesn’t mean you can’t decorate to your taste! Having artwork on your walls and throughout your apartment give your space personality and makes it feel more like a home and less like a hotel room. We all had fun posters as kids into our teenage and college years. There is definitely nothing wrong with those posters, but we most likely either taped them or pinned them to the wall, making them look a tad adolescent. To give your apartment that grown-up feeling, frame any of your favorite posters! For brownie points, get some fancy canvas paintings or framed artwork to give your walls extra pizzazz.

Lighting: Having adequate lighting in your apartment is an absolute must. You don’t want to be rummaging through storage boxes and plastic containers relying on the daylight or with candlelight when nighttime falls. Lighting in a home is important, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money on expensive fixtures to properly light your space. Having a light in your common area, bedroom, and the kitchen is essential, and you can go a number of different ways of deciding the lighting that best suits your taste/apartment style. In an article by Carolyn Steber of Bustle, she comments on the importance of good lighting stating, “Do yourself a favor and do away with tiny plastic lamps, and those paper things you had in high school. Get something that makes a statement, and fills your space with light.”

Bed: One of the items you absolutely need for your new space is a bed. Because it is the most obvious furniture piece, it can be easily overlooked, but you don’t want to end up sleeping in a sleeping bag your first week of moving in! You can bring your bed from your old home or apartment or even take the extra step to invest in a new bed if you have the money. You don’t have to get anything super expensive, and regardless of what you do, just be sure you have something comfortable to lay your head-on when the day ends!

Shelves/Organization: Whether you have a large apartment or a small studio, organization is essential to making your space flow effortlessly and function properly. Shelves or storage containers for organization is essential because let’s be real, who has a spot for everything that they own? Part of the chaos of moving into an apartment is never having a place for those weird items that seem like they don’t have a place. You know, your mail, an umbrella, etc. Organization is something that can instantly make your place feel grown-up and cleaner. Catherine Andrews of Refinery29 writes, “Get containers for everything, and put everything in containers. Put your mail in a little basket. Try wicker baskets in your entryway to hold your umbrellas, scarves, shoes, and other miscellany.”

Dresser: Unless you wear the same two pieces of clothing every day, you need some kind of dresser or clothing storage in your apartment. Some dressers can be large and bulky, so just look around to find one that fits the best in your place and makes sense. While some people opt for a traditional style dresser, others prefer clothing racks that can roll and be transferred from room to room easily. Clothing racks are a trendy and efficient way to store clothes while giving guests an idea of what your fashion taste is!

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When considering renting a furnished apartment, there are several factors to evaluate. While it may seem overwhelming to weigh these options, remember to take the time to adequately consider the benefits and disadvantages of doing so to make a decision that is most appropriate for you and your circumstances.

By Alicia Geigel

Uloop Writer
Temple alum | columnist at Uloop News | writer at Top5Must & KnowPhilly | photographer | food blogger

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