For many first time renters and seasoned renters alike, designing your apartment or rental home is the way to put your stamp on the place. Whether that’s through meaningful art, choosing a color scheme, or just buying your first set of dishes, furnishing your own space can turn a new apartment into a “home.” However, there are apartments that don’t require any design skills and are move-in ready. That’s right, a furnished apartment.
So what is a furnished apartment, what does it include, and why might you consider renting one?
What does “furnished apartment” mean?
A furnished apartment is exactly what it sounds like – an apartment that includes the furniture you need to live in the place as soon as you move in. However, it’s a little more complex than an apartment that includes furniture. There are three types of furnished apartments – fully furnished or turnkey, furnished, and semi-furnished. Depending on the apartment complex, they may have different definitions for what is considered “furnished,” so it’s important to ask what furniture is included in the apartment before signing the rental or lease agreement.
Fully furnished apartment
A fully furnished apartment, sometimes called “turnkey,” includes everything that you need in a living space and then some. This includes additional amenities like bedsheets, blankets, artwork, kitchen utensils, cleaning supplies, a vacuum, and much more.
A standard furnished apartment typically includes a couch, beds, dining table and chairs, coffee and end tables, and limited kitchen appliances. Depending on the apartment, some may include lamps, basic cutlery, and cookware like pans or toasters.
Semi-furnished apartments have basic furniture that you’d need to move into the space. Furnishings may include a bed, couch, tables, and standard kitchen appliances like a refrigerator, stove, and possibly a microwave.
As the name sounds, an unfurnished apartment doesn’t include furnishings. In many apartment complexes, units are equipped with refrigerators, microwaves, and stovetops. However, in some areas, you may need to purchase these items when you move into the apartment.
What does a furnished apartment include?
Most furnished apartments, regardless of the type, include basics such as a bed, couch, dining room table, refrigerator, and stove. If your apartment has an in-unit washer and dryer, you may also find a laundry basket and cleaning supplies like a vacuum, iron, and broom.
While every furnished rental will be a little different, here’s what you might see in each room, whether it’s fully furnished, furnished, or semi-furnished.
Fully furnished: A fully furnished bedroom will likely have a bed with sheets, blankets, throw pillows, comforter, a nightstand, dresser, extras such as an alarm clock, desk, and chair (if there’s enough space), and artwork on the walls.
Furnished: These bedrooms typically have a bed, dresser, nightstand, and lamps. Sometimes you may find bed sheets, blankets, and a piece of wall art.
Semi-furnished: Bedrooms often include a bed and possibly a dresser. That means you’ll need to purchase bed linens, pillows, and blankets. In some cases, the room may only have a bed frame, meaning you’ll also need to buy a mattress.
Fully furnished: You’ll find a couch, chairs, end tables, lamps, as well as bookshelves, and an entertainment center. Some fully furnished units may include a television, blankets, plants, or a desk.
Furnished: A furnished living room often consists of a couch, chairs, a coffee table, lamps, and maybe some wall art.
Semi-furnished: These living room furnishings typically include a couch, a coffee and/or end table, and possibly chairs.
Fully furnished: A fully stocked kitchen includes standard appliances like a stove and refrigerator. You may find many additional appliances like a microwave, dishwasher, toaster, coffee maker, dishes and utensils, cookware, and towels. In a luxury apartment, you may even have mixing bowls, spices, cutting boards, mugs and glassware, and other kitchenware like can openers or whisks.
Furnished: You’ll find basic kitchen appliances like a stove, refrigerator, and microwave. Some furnished apartments have dishwashers, toasters, and cooking tools like spatulas or can openers.
Semi-furnished: Kitchens typically have basic appliances like a stove, refrigerator, and possibly a microwave.
Fully furnished: In addition to a table and chairs, you may also find a table runner, cloth napkins, a centerpiece, artwork on the walls, and a cabinet for dishware.
Furnished: Furnished dining rooms likely have a table with chairs and artwork. It’s unlikely you’ll find a cabinet or sideboard for dishes.
Semi-furnished: If there’s space for a dining room, it will typically only include a table and chairs.
Fully furnished: Fully furnished bathrooms may include towels, toothbrush holders, a soap dish or dispenser, plunger, toilet brush, and possibly a hair dryer.
Furnished: A furnished bathroom may include a shower curtain, bath mats, and a trash bin.
Semi-furnished: These bathrooms often don’t come with any additional amenities. For example, if there’s a shower tub you’ll need to buy a shower curtain.
Do furnished apartments have other amenities?
Depending on the apartment complex you rent from there may be other amenities included. Some apartments may have in-unit washers and dryers or a laundry room located in the building. Sometimes utilities like WiFi, cable, and general gas, electric, and water may be included in the rent price. There may also be additional apartment amenities in the building like an on-site gym, pool, rooftop space, and lounges.
Reasons for renting a furnished apartment
There are many reasons why renting a furnished apartment may fit your needs. For example, if you’re moving across the country, a furnished place may be the right fit until you get settled into a longer-term lease or buy your first home. If you’re living in a city for a short time, like three months, it may make sense to rent a furnished place. Similarly, if you frequently move for your job, a furnished rental can reduce some of the stress of repeatedly moving your belongings.
Furnished apartments vs unfurnished apartments
If a furnished apartment sounds like a good fit for you, but an unfurnished apartment may equally work, here are a few things to consider.
Pros and cons of furnished apartments
Ease (pro): If you’re new to a city, a first-time renter, or not planning on staying in the area for more than a year, a furnished apartment can make the move that much easier. You probably won’t need to hire a moving company, and you won’t have to worry about purchasing furniture as soon as you move in.
Shorter lease (pro): Often furnished apartments offer shorter lease agreements than the standard 12-month lease. This can be a great option if you’re new to the area, don’t plan on staying long, or aren’t ready to commit to a longer lease option.
More expensive (con): Furnished rentals may be more expensive than unfurnished places. They may also have a higher security deposit because you’re responsible for keeping the furnishings in good condition.
Less freedom (con): A furnished property limits how much personality you can put into your space since it is pre-furnished.
Pros and cons of unfurnished apartments
Less expensive (pro): Typically unfurnished units are less expensive than their furnished counterparts.
Lease options (pro): You’ll likely have the option to choose a longer lease agreement, which may be the right fit if you’re staying in the area for longer.
Design freedom (pro): While there are always limits to what you can change in an apartment, you can easily put your design stamp into an unfurnished place with your furniture, artwork, and belongings.
One-time costs (con): You’ll likely have to spend more money on buying furnishings, décor, and kitchenware that may not fit your rental budget.
Things to consider when renting a furnished apartment
As you would ask questions when renting an apartment, there are also other questions you should ask when considering a fully furnished apartment.
- What is included in the apartment? A unit may be “furnished” but in reality, is a semi-furnished apartment.
- Are all the furniture and accessories included? Some items may be an extra fee.
- How much is the security deposit? Is there a separate deposit for the furnishings?
- Is there a list of all the items included in the unit?
One thing to note when you rent a furnished apartment is that you’ll need to take an inventory list. An inventory list is a way to keep track of all the furnishings and accessories found in the apartment at move-in. When you rent an apartment, you’ll need to take a walk-through, making a note of any damages to the unit like chipped paint, scratches on the cabinets, and broken hardware.
In a furnished apartment you’ll want to do the same, but additionally account for all the items included in your apartment. Make a note of its current condition, whether there are any stains, scratches, or unraveling fabric. This will help you when it comes time to move out, so you can see if anything is damaged or missing. It can also help you ensure your security deposit is returned in full.
How to find fully furnished apartments
1. Go to Redfin.com and click “Rent.” You’ll type into the Search Bar either the city’s name or the zip code (for example, Austin, TX) where you’d like to begin looking for a fully furnished apartment. Press enter.
2. Near the top of the next page, on the right side, you will see “All filters.” Click on that.
3. Scroll to the bottom section that says “Amenities.” Select “Furnished” and press “See all homes.” That’s it. All the fully furnished apartments in your area will appear, and you’ll be able to find the place that fits your needs.
What is a Furnished Apartment and What it Includes is written by Alison Bentley for www.redfin.com