Do Apartments Come Furnished? How to Choose a Furnished vs. Unfurnished Rental
by Thom Brown
There are many factors to consider when hunting for your next apartment. One of the bigger decisions to make is whether to opt for one which is furnished or one which is unfurnished. Each option has its pros and cons so it’s a case of weighing up your own needs and making the right choice.
You may even be wondering, do apartments come furnished? Unfurnished apartments are common across housing websites, but at Anyplace, all of our monthly rentals are furnished. If you’re not ready to commit to a year-long lease or want to live a more nomadic lifestyle, then an unfurnished apartment might be the ideal option for you.
Do Apartments Come Furnished?
There is no industry standard regarding whether an apartment will come stocked with furniture. It depends on a variety of factors but mostly, it depends on the length of the contract. If you’re looking for a short-term rental, the kind you’d get if traveling the world, then it will likely come with everything you need. It’ll go beyond furniture, offering glassware, plates, cutlery, and some even come with toiletries like shampoo.
The longer the contract, the fewer amenities you’ll be provided with. A furnished apartment that you rent on a 12-month contract will generally come with all the basic furnishings: a couch, a bed, etc. However, you may have to buy your own frying pans and shower gel. You may also need to buy other basics like pillowcases and bedsheets.
If you’re looking for a home to live in more permanently, then it may come without any furniture at all. Some of the fixtures — the kitchen sink, the toilet, the showerhead — will likely already be installed. The walls may be painted and carpet laid. Beyond this, the place will be empty. This is usually the case for properties that you’re choosing to buy but it can be true for rental apartments as well.
In this instance, you’d have to go out and buy all your own stuff. Furniture is expensive, easily running into many hundreds of dollars, so it doesn’t make sense to be doing this every month. If, however, you’re in a place for a long time, it’s likely that you’ll want to make it your own. You can either buy new furniture or move your current furniture from your old house to your new one.
So, do apartments come furnished? It depends where you look. On a traditional housing marketplace, unfurnished is the norm. On a short-term housing marketplace like Anyplace, though, all apartments listed are fully equipped and furnished to make your stay comfortable.
Why Choose an Unfurnished Apartment?
There are plenty of reasons why you might prefer an unfurnished apartment. Since this is your home, you’ll want to make it exactly that: yours. Everyone has different tastes and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to find a place that’s fully furnished to your liking. Maybe you prefer a traditional, rustic aesthetic, but every apartment has taken a minimalist, modernist approach (or vice versa). By buying your own furniture, you have complete control over your living environment.
You might have a lot of stuff and therefore want big, spacious cupboards. Or perhaps you travel light and would prefer a minimal amount of furniture. You can have as much or as little clutter in your home as you choose. If you need to work from home, you can set up your ultimate office space, rather than relying on the wobbly desk provided by many landlords.
An unfurnished apartment is also generally cheaper. Being completely empty, they have to be listed at a lower price. If you’re staying long-term, then it’s often more affordable to buy your own bed and other furnishings than it is to rent a furnished apartment. Plus, that bed will be new and comfortable, rather than one that’s been heavily used by a previous resident.
There’s usually a lot more scope for alterations in an unfurnished apartment. You’ll likely be free to redo the floors, paint the walls, and fill the place with your favorite artwork. If there’s a garden, you’ll be able to dig it up and plant seeds to your heart’s content. If you value living in a space that is 100% and authentically yours, then opt for unfurnished.
Furnished Apartments: Best for Digital Nomads?
Furnished apartments, conversely, are much more restrictive. You’ll be pretty much stuck with the furniture that exists and will have to get permission from the owner if you want to decorate your furnished apartment to your liking. However, this might be absolutely fine with you. Many people aren’t that into interior design and feel comfortable if the work has been done for them. This is the main benefit of going furnished: it’s just easier and more convenient.
The moment you arrive at your new home, you’re ready to start living there. You don’t have to think about ordering and building a bed. There’s no need to go and do a big shop to stock your apartment. If you’re moving into a new place as part of your work from anywhere lifestyle, then a furnished apartment allows you to get to work right away. Of course, you’ll have had to spend some time looking for an apartment suitable for remote workers.
A new bed costs a lot of money. It’s fine if you’re buying it to last you many years but if you’re only staying for a month, this makes no financial sense. You could end up paying as much for a bed as your entire month’s rent. If you’re starting a nomadic lifestyle, switching homes every couple of months, then furnished is definitely the best option.
Perhaps you’re looking to settle down in one city. Even so, finding a furnished apartment might be a good place to start. Renting from Anyplace allows you to spend a month or two in one city, just to see if you like it there. If you’re not ready to commit to moving to a place full-time, then why not rent a short-term, furnished apartment?
Furnished or Unfurnished: Which One is Best?
When looking for apartments, make sure you check whether they come furnished. Opting for one without furniture will likely be your best option if you’re planning to stay in the same place for a long time and want to really make it your own. Whether you work from home or not, there are many benefits to building an environment that leaves you feeling calm, comfortable, and in control.
If you’re a digital nomad who likes to hop from place to place, then an unfurnished apartment is almost never the right option. You need to have everything provided for you so that you’re not constantly splashing the cash on tables and chairs. Fortunately, it’s increasingly easy to find beautiful and functional fully-equipped apartments that you’ll feel right at home in.
There’s no simple answer to the question ‘do apartments come furnished?’ other than this one: it depends. The more important question is which one is right for you. An unfurnished apartment is like a blank canvas. It requires work but the final product will be exactly what you’re looking for. A furnished apartment should be seen more like a ready-made (if imperfect) place to crash while you work on building your career as a digital nomad.
Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.
Born in Oxford, UK, Thom has been a digital nomad since graduating from the University of Sheffield in 2016. He’s a freelance writer and founder of Thom Brown Travel. Thom specializes in minimalist, ethical, and meaningful travel writing.