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Getting furniture for your apartment 

Options for rent-to-own or rent-and-return

For some people, getting their apartment set up with new furniture is the best part of moving in. For others, it can be a little stressful. You might not have money on hand or you and your roommates are trying to figure out who should pay for — and ultimately, keep — what. Fortunately, you have quite a few options. You can straight up rent furniture, you can “rent-to-own” or you can go hunting for some good used furniture. 

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How renting furniture works

There are two options when it comes to renting furniture — rent-to-own or rent-and-return. When you rent-to-own, part of your monthly payment goes toward eventual ownership of that beautiful blue couch. When you rent and return, you give it back. Which approach works better for you depends a lot on your living situation. For example:

  • Is your living situation in flux? Do you tend to move around a lot?
  • Are your roommates longer-term, or do they frequently change?
  • Are you hoping to move across the country at some point?
  • Is your next move likely to be into a smaller or a bigger place?
  • Do you need a single blue couch for the living room, or do you need stuff for the entire condo?

And then, of course, there’s this whole money thing. Many people rent-to-own or rent-to-return when they need furniture now but can’t afford to pay the full cost upfront. With rent-to-own, you basically agree to pay monthly installments to the store for a predetermined amount of time.

But unlike normal rent, part of your payment actually goes toward the ownership of your furniture (the other part goes to paying interest; it’s like a car loan.) At the end of your term (usually one to two years), you completely own whatever you rented.

Rent-and-return is just that — a rental. You make rent payments on the furniture or pay a subscription for a specified period of time. And then you give all the furniture back. This approach often works well for people who know their living situation is more temporary — or who like to change out their furniture.   

Where to go to rent furniture

A few established national and local furniture stores offer furniture rental services, and several newer online companies have also entered the market. The good news is that you’ll have quite a few options. Shop around, match their offering to what you really think you need, and stick to your budget!

Aaron’s Furniture• Longtime rent-to-own company
• No credit needed
• Large Selection
• Free delivery/setup
• Flexible payment options
• Free service
• Furniture starting as low as $20/mo
AFR Furniture Rental• Options for the home, the office, and even rentals available for staging purposes
• Free delivery/pick-up (if applicable)
• Service included
• Short and long-term options
• Design assistance
• Fully furnished student packages starting at $99/mo
Brook Furniture Rental• Short-term rental options
• Renting by the item or by the room
• Concierge to assist with choosing furniture
• Free delivery and set up
• Free pick-up
• Completely furnish your home for as low as $276/mo
CORT• Largest furniture rental service provider
• Better pricing for longer leases
• Design assistance to find the best options for you
• Free delivery and setup
• Free pick-up
• Options starting at under $15/mo
IKEA  • Rents in over 30 countries
• Office furniture first 
• New student package starting at $30/mo
Feather• A newer startup that caters to millennials on the move
• Furniture subscription-based rental starting at $19/mo and rent-to-own options 
• Easy item swap/refresh
• Free delivery and setup
• Free pick-up
• Available in limited cities but expanding
Fernish• Newer startup that that provides premium furniture and decor
• Furniture subscription service from 3-12 months
• Easy item swap/refresh
• Ability to buy any items at the end of the contract
• Free delivery and setup
• Free pick-up
• Available in limited cities but expanding
Rent-A-Center• One of the larger names in rent-to-own
• Huge selection
• Rent-to-own with flexible payment options
• Free delivery and setup
• Free pick-up
Rent Pronto• Offers furniture leases by the set or item
• Short and long term rental
• Free delivery and setup
• $100 pick-up
• New York only 

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What to consider when it comes to furniture rental

As with any financial decision, make sure to take a hard look at what you can actually spend. Getting new furniture and making your apartment all cozy will feel really good, but can you actually afford an additional monthly bill?

Or have you already figured out your monthly budget, and you need to figure out where to rent that coffee table? Renting furniture generally helps you get your apartment set up fast, with fewer upfront costs. It also tends to cost more in the long run. 

• Use furniture for a short period without paying full price
• Affordable, flexible payment options. Low deposit amount, if any
• With rent-to-own, the furniture will eventually become yours
• Most companies offer free delivery and setup
• Warranty/service often included
• Total cost is higher than buying upfront or getting used items
• Effective interest rate is very high
• You may need to have a steady income in order to be approved if you don’t pay it off in full, it can be repossessed
• Late payments will affect your credit history

When is renting furniture a good option?

If you don’t think you’ll stay in one spot for very long, or you don’t want to try and purchase furniture with your roommates, rent-and-return could be a good option.

If you’ve used up your savings to cover the security deposit and first month’s rent but still need a bed to sleep on, rent-to-own might be a good fit. Most rent-to-own companies require little to no deposit, offer flexible payment options, and don’t require a credit check to be approved.

Another benefit is repairs: If the motor on your recliner stops working, most furniture rental companies will fix it at no cost to you.

When renting furniture isn’t a good option

The challenge with renting furniture is the ongoing cost. In addition to your rent, utilities, groceries, insurance, car note, and any debt repayment, you’ll need to factor in a monthly payment for your furniture.

If you choose rent-to-own, you’ll also end up paying quite a bit more for your furniture than you will if you buy it up front, like 25%-100% more. And to get approved, you may be required to prove that you have a steady income. If a lot of your income comes from unpredictable side work or freelance, you might run into a few issues getting approved.

How does rent-to-own furniture work? 

If you have read our Buying a washer and dryer article, this process will seem very familiar. Many companies that offer rent-to-own appliances also offer furniture rental, and the process tends to look the same. 

  1. Decide what type of furniture you are looking to rent (couch, beds, dining room sets) and what style you want. Come up with a monthly amount that you can consistently pay. 
  1. Review the various different companies. Are you okay shopping entirely online or do you want to sit in the chair before you rent it?
  1. Apply online or at the store. Because you’re essentially getting a loan and making payments, they may report your payment history to credit bureaus. This means it’s not unusual for them to gather information like your social security number, banking information, and references.
  1. Get approved and finalize your furniture selections. Some companies offer same day approval, others may take a couple of business days. 
  1. Schedule delivery. They’ll deliver or ship your furniture to wherever you live and usually help you get it set up. Install them to ensure they’re set up and ready to roll. 

How does rent-and-return work? 

Online rent-and-return companies like Furnish, Feather, and even IKEA offer a slightly different approach. Their offerings vary between companies and may only be available in some states. But in general, here’s the flow:

  1. Select a plan. These models are more like a membership model, where you usually become a member and pay a monthly fee to rent furniture at a discounted rate. 
  1. Pick your furniture and wait for delivery. The company will deliver, assemble, and fully set up all your items, usually pretty quickly (like in less than a week).
  1. Return, swap, or buy out. You can swap out your furniture, or if you love something and want to keep it, any payments you’ve made go towards ownership. And they usually promise you’ll never pay more than you would be buying it from a furniture retailer.

How to find and buy used furniture

Hands down, buying used furniture will be your least expensive option to furnish your apartment. Especially if you need everything from a kitchen table to a bed. Diligent furniture shoppers can find some great stuff for free or super cheap online or at yard sales.

Many times people trying to sell furniture just want it taken off their hands, so don’t be afraid to haggle on the price to see if you can save a few dollars too.

Make sure you get accurate measurements before you buy anything second-have because the return policy for 98% of used furniture sales is that, there is no return policy. Don’t be afraid to give it a hard look before handing over your money for things like smoke smell, cat or dog hair (if you are allergic especially), make sure it doesn’t fall apart at the first touch, sit in it, lay on it (if it’s a mattress), and double check for serious damage that someone may have tried to cover up.

Here are a few good places to explore:

Letgo (now owned by OfferUp)



Facebook Marketplace

Habitat for Humanity

● Craigslist

● OfferUp

● Carousell

Get moving with furniture rental

First, decide what you need for your new home and how long you need it. Determine what items you want to keep and which ones you’re likely to swap out in a year — because you’re planning to move, might have more money, or will no longer be sharing furniture with a roommate.

Next, set a budget, research your options, and figure out the monthly and long-term costs. Finally, pick your place and start shopping! A new (or new to you) set of furniture will be calling your apartment home in no time.

Puffy Lux
Puffy Lux
Roost is a community for renters, not a direct lender! But because we share some info about loans, we need to include this fine print: Annual Percentage Rates (APR), loan term and monthly payments are estimated based on analysis of information provided by you, data provided by lenders, and publicly available information. All loan information is presented without warranty, and the estimated APR and other terms are not binding in any way. Lenders provide loans with a range of APRs depending on borrowers’ credit and other factors. Your actual APR will depend on factors like credit score, requested loan amount, loan term, and credit history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Done!
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Last Updated: March 25th, 2022