Are you starting to plan how to decorate your new apartment and possible furniture arrangement?

Rather than buying all new pieces, you may want to consider renting your furniture.

Is renting furniture right for you?

There are some excellent reasons to consider renting furniture for your apartment – and a few scenarios in which it might not make sense.

For instance, if your employer sends you on a temporary assignment to a new location and you know you’ll only be living there for a short time, renting furniture may be a good solution for you. It’s a convenient way to set up your new home quickly. Also, when you have to leave, you don’t have the trouble and costs associated with moving your furniture across the country or around the globe.

On the other hand, if you’re contemplating renting furniture simply because you don’t have the money to buy it, you may be headed in the wrong direction. That’s because those who opt for rent-to-buy solutions can end up paying a lot more than people who buy them outright.

How to rent furniture

So you’ve mulled over the decision and concluded that renting is the way to go. How do you go about it? Here are a few easy steps.

1. Choose your furniture

Today, renting furniture is easier than ever. The first step is to go online, search for furniture rental sites and pick what you want. Alternatively, you can go to a retail rental center. Or, for the best of both worlds, do some initial searching on the web and then check out the furniture in the store.

You can often choose your furniture in the following ways:

  • Select each piece. If you have a unique sense of style, you may want to hand pick each piece of furniture. While this sounds like a daunting task, some furniture rental companies make it easy by enabling you to sort items by color, style, pattern and more. You can pick almost anything you might want in a home, from large items such as sofas and dining room tables to accent pillows, pictures, desk lamps, silk plants and more.
  • Rent by the room. If choosing every single item you need to furnish a short-term rental sounds too much like hard work, furniture rental sites provide images of complete rooms from which to select. You can just choose a style for each room, such as modern for the living room and traditional for the bedroom.
  • Pick a package. Some furniture rental businesses allow you to pick a package to furnish your entire apartment. For example, one package might include all the furniture you need for a master bedroom, dining room and living room. Packages come with all the standard items you need and you may have the option to add additional items or substitute for other pieces. To make your life even easier, packages can extend beyond furniture to housewares — everything from glasses and mugs to mops, brooms and doormats.

2. Select your rental period

Typically, you can rent for as little as one month. A short rental like that may cost more on a monthly basis than one for six or 12 months. When you select the lease period, make sure you’re realistic about how long you might need your furniture. Inquire about fees for shorter leases and longer leases, as well as what happens if you change your mind.

3. Fill out the credit application

Most likely, you’ll have to fill out a credit application before you can rent your furniture. Once your rental company has reviewed (and assuming you’re approved), they’ll likely contact you to finalize your order. Every company works a little differently so be sure to inquire in advance about their policy and procedures.

4. Arrange for delivery

When do you want your furniture? The advantage of renting it is that if you plan, you can have it all ready for you the day you move in.

Pro Tip: Contact your apartment building in advance to see if you need to make arrangements for furniture delivery such as reserving the freight elevator or loading dock.

5. Lease expiration

Once your furniture lease expires, the furniture lease will probably renew on a monthly basis. If you are ready to give up the rented furniture at the end of your lease, your rental company will come to your apartment to pick it up.

Make sure that you are aware of how much notice they require for pickups – it may be a couple of weeks. You should also inquire about any associated fees.

How much will it cost?

Just like buying furniture, the cost of renting varies by quality as well as location. A living room set, for example, may run $200 to $350 a month. A bedroom set could be from $100 to $250.

Also, furniture rental companies may charge a delivery fee, insurance and, if you’re on a rent-to-buy program, interest. Many furniture rental companies also require a one-month security deposit.

Each company is different. Check to make sure they suit your needs and you understand the process as well as all associated costs. Read the lease and contracts in their entirety and be sure you understand the terms.

Carolyn Frith, a content consultant who owns Carolyn Frith Marketing, aims to rid the world of snore-and-bore writing on the web. Topics she covers range from Philadelphia events and real estate options to a variety of other content.

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