What is a Furnished Apartment? Are They Right for Me?
If you are searching for apartments, chances are you stumbled across some furnished apartments. Furnished housing is simply an umbrella term that means something very obvious: the rental has furniture. So just what is a furnished apartment?
Usually rented by the week or month, furnished rentals offer many benefits. You don’t have to worry about the hassle of moving a bunch of heavy furniture. You’re not on the hook for a lengthy lease agreement and you are likely saving money by not having to buy stuff to fill up your new pad with. That said, you may be wondering what exactly comes in a furnished rental. Will they have bathroom towels? TV?
What comes in a furnished apartment may vary, but this post will help break it down. Below we have compiled a list of what should be included in your furnished space. As you’re planning your move, keeping these items in mind can help you understand what you need to bring, and what can stay in the attic at mom and dad’s place.
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How is a furnished apartment different from corporate housing or a sublet? We dive into that here. Also, note that most of these types of housing aren't technically "short-term housing". Legally speaking, short-term housing is rented for less than 30 days. The short-term rental market is dominated by big players like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO. Airbnb got its start with "home-sharing" but a lot of their inventory is now fully independent living quarters. There are still companies like Couchsurfing.com focused exclusively on home-sharing if you're looking for a more community-oriented stay experience.
With that out of the way, here's a basic outline of what furnished rentals should include:
- Living room furniture – Couches, dining and coffee tables, end tables, desks, etc. will all be included. Corporate rentals might have more upscale furniture, while college rentals could be more basic with minimal furniture.
- Bedroom furniture – Bed(s), dresser(s), nightstand(s) and closet storage will definitely be included in your rental. You should certainly inquire about the bed size, and whether or not linens are also included (sheets, comforters, pillow cases, other blankets, etc.). Don’t be the person sleeping on a bare mattress with beach towels as blankets. Not a good look.
- Little furniture and accessories – The closet should have hangers and organization type stuff. Lamps, wastebaskets and probably a clock radio will also available for use. Fingers crossed for decorative plants and wall artwork – usually included, but not guaranteed.
- Electronics & entertainment – There will likely be a telephone and a television, and if so, the cable and phone services are probably included in your monthly rent. Some places will provide stereo equipment, and or a DVD/Gaming system. If your rental is from the 90’s, it might also have a fax machine and an answering machine.
- Kitchen – The basics will always be available, including: appliances (microwave, toaster, oven, stove, coffee maker, etc.) cookware, bakeware, dish towels and scrubbing gear, potholders, utensils, dishes for dining, and a mixture of spatulas, peelers, measuring cups and spoons and other cooking gear. Additionally, there should be some minimal spices like salt and pepper shakers. If you are lucky, you might get a can opener, tupperware, and a dishwasher. The collection of dishes and cooking ware in the kitchen might be random as previous tenants tend to leave behind things like that.
- Bathroom – Of course there will be a toilet and shower/bath. You should also find bath rugs, shower curtains and sink accessories like a toothbrush holder or cup. Remember to ask if towels are also included.
- Cleaning supplies – Hint hint, they want you to use it. A mop and/or possibly a vacuum will be there. Your mom is not included in the furnished rental, so keep that in mind when the dishes and dirt starts to pile up.
- Laundry - There should also be laundry essentials like an iron and ironing board and potentially even a washer and dryer. If there is a laundry facility for you to use, then you will have to buy your own detergent.
- Utilities – It is very common for furnished apartments to include utilities and other bills in the rental cost. Make sure to ask about exactly what is provided and what isn’t. You may have to get your own internet service.
- Additional services – Do they have a housekeeping service? Laundry service? Worth asking, although be advised it won’t be free. Sometimes it will be included in the rental fee. A great example is the alarm monitoring and weekly cleaning service included in the rental fee for one of San Francisco's famous Painted Ladies. See listing here.
As you are searching for the perfect furnished place with the perfect furnishings, understand that everything may not be to your specific tastes. The furnishings are usually in a neutral color to avoid turning off the general plane jane renter. Bringing your own artwork or little trinkets around the house can be an easy way to spice up your pad without ruining anything that you’ll be liable for later. Making yourself at home in your furnished space will be easier than you think.