This upcoming semester will be the first time I’m living in my own apartment, and for those of you who have read my previous posts about my living situations know that I am absolutely stoked for this. I’ve gotten practice living on my own this summer as I’m subleasing one of my friend’s apartment, and that’s been really great. However, there is one thing that I haven’t had to deal with yet and that is furniture. This is a hurdle that I know that every college student who moves into their own apartment has to deal with.

I’m a little late coming into the game as a senior dealing with this for the first time (curse you three year residency requirement), but I feel like I’ve explored several decent options for getting furniture to my apartment. Each option definitely has their merits, and it all just depends on your preferences and circumstances and what works best for you. The three options I perused were retail furniture stores, yard sale or hand-me-down furniture, and furniture rental stores.

Retail Furniture Stores

Now, the first con that I know everyone is thinking about is that this is really expensive, and yes it definitely can be. However, if you hit these places during their big blowout sales, you can get the furniture you want for less. Additionally, the furniture that you buy here is going to be good quality and brand new. Even if the furniture is expensive now, it is going to last you a very long time. The kitchen table that my family at home uses is the same table that my mother bought back for her first apartment in college. I mean, if you treat this stuff right, it can last you forever.

Additionally, retail furniture stores will usually deliver to your apartment so you don’t have to worry about moving your stuff into your new place, which can save a lot of worry and effort on your part. Moving all your stuff out, however, is a different story, and you’ll certainly have to cross that bridge when you get to it.

So to recap, retail furniture stores can be expensive, but the stuff that you buy will last you a long time and is usually pretty good looking (I’m still in love with a gorgeous dark wood kitchen table at one of the stores).

Hand-Me-Down Furniture

I feel that this is the route that most college students take, and there is definitely a reason for it. Hand-me-down furniture is way, way less expensive than retail furniture, and sometimes it can be in just as good condition. The key word is “sometimes.” Finding good quality and condition furniture at yard/estate sales or from other friends can be extremely difficult and very time-consuming.

My boyfriend has really incredible furniture in his apartment that was nearly all gathered from various yard sales. They’re all quality pieces that are often made by brand name designers. However, gathering all of this furniture took the combined efforts of him and his family an entire summer. If you don’t put in the effort to find the best furniture at these places, you’ll probably end up with wobbly tables, gross couches with ugly flowers, and just generally unsatisfactory furniture.

However, if you are a total bargain hunter or just have the patience for going around and looking for the diamond pieces in a sea of crap, this is going to be the perfect project for you. If you’re like me and have zero patience or experience with wading through yard sales, perhaps another route is your best bet.

Rental Furniture

Now I’ll start out saying that this is the option that ended up being the best for me. I was not thrilled with the idea of not having my own furniture (especially when it didn’t include that gorgeous dark wood dining table), and was very put off when my mother kept planting this seed in my head. However, because of my circumstances, this ended up being what I ended up choosing.

There are several rental places that we could choose from, but we ended up going with Cort Furniture rental because I liked the furniture selection better. The rental rate package that we chose is $129 a month, which we figured out is actually just about as much as it would be if we purchased retail furniture. This might not seem like a good idea since even though we’re paying the same amount for the furniture, I’m going to have to return this furniture at the end of two semesters.

However, I am planning on going to grad school after I graduate from Trinity, and I have no idea where that might be. It might be in Texas, but it also might be in Chicago or New York. I have no clue yet. If I decide to go to school out of state, I do not want to have to worry about dragging my new furniture with me across the country. It is going to be expensive to take with me, and it will also be expensive to keep in storage. Therefore, we decided to rent furniture just for my one year in my apartment for college so that the question of moving the furniture with me wouldn’t be an issue.

Additionally, I have no way to move my furniture to or from my apartment, unless I paid for movers. My little Jeep isn’t going to be big enough to carry a couch, let alone a bed frame, kitchen table, chairs, etc, etc. With a rental company, my family and I are saved the angst of moving all of that furniture both in and out of my apartment. 

This was the right choice for me because I have no idea where I’m going to be in a year and I have no way to move the furniture in or out. If this seems to be the problem for you, maybe rental furniture is the option for you.

How did you get furniture for your apartment? What tips would you give for new furniture hunters? Let us know in the comments!