Renters have been streaming into New York City in recent months—some are returning to the city after being away during the pandemic, others are new, drawn to the city’s relatively lower rents. Either way—these renters need to furnish apartments quickly. Many of them are turning to local furniture rental companies as an affordable way to get their places outfitted in a hurry without compromising on style.
Feather, a NYC-based furniture rental startup, has seen a 45 percent increase in customers from the first to the second quarter of this year. Ilyse Kaplan, president and COO at Feather, says lots of returning renters still have concerns about the pandemic, their jobs, and where they want to live in the long term.
“Furniture rental allows them to move back without having to make the financial and physical commitment of ownership,” she says.
Others are choosing to rent furniture as a temporary stop gap because of lengthy manufacturing and shipping delays in the furniture industry. Some New Yorkers are “waiting six months, or even a year, for their permanent furniture to arrive," she says.
[Editor's note: A previous version of this post was published in September 2019. We are presenting it again with updated information for July 2021.]
Renting furniture also appeals to new transplants, professionals here for the short term, stagers, and commitment-phobes, and yes, people who want to mix things up in their decor. (For those who are skeeved out by the idea of sitting on a couch that someone else used for a spell, you should know that inspections and deep cleanings are part of the process. Mattresses are rented new.) Most items are delivered in three to seven days.
Want to see what your fellow New Yorkers are renting? Here are the five most popular items that New Yorkers have rented from Feather in recent weeks: 1) Athene dining chair, 2) Ludlow sofa, 3) Essex counter stool in black, 4) Thompson panel bed in walnut, 5) Ogden Bookcase.
While there are several players in this field, not all serve the New York City area. The three below—Feather, conjure, and CasaOne—do. Read on for more details on what they have to offer.
Aesthetic: Feather wants to help you live out your adulting fantasies (regardless of your age), with stylish and modern pieces from brands such as West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Herman Miller, as well as its in-house brand Feather (which includes furniture that looks a lot like what’s offered by name brand companies).
Merchandise: Options include couches, chairs, dressers, beds and mattress, and even air conditioners. They also have pieces for outdoor living and kids’ rooms. You can shop by piece or select a package for a ready-made room setup. (For example, the “soft modern” living room package includes a two-seater couch, chair, coffee table, and floor lamp for $126 a month with a 12-month plan. Estimated retail for this furniture grouping? $3,066.
Cost: Feather offers three ways to use rent its furniture: A monthly plan, a short-term plan, or as a member—which is aimed at one-year leases.
Members must sign on for a year and pay $19 a month plus the cost of the rental fees, which are discounted 60 percent. The perks of membership include free white-glove delivery and assembly and free end-of-lease pick up (the other plans require fees of either $99 or $199 for each of these services). There’s currently a promotion for $100 off your first month of furniture.
Nice extras: Feather has a fun style quiz that takes into account your life circumstance (like moving or updating), your budget (IKEA or ABC Carpet & Home) and style preferences, and if you need to move, Feather will move its furniture for you for $399. Need to swap out pieces? You can do that for a flat $99 fee. The company also says it stocks furniture that is made from ethically sourced materials and intended for long-term use.
conjure (formerly Mobley)
Aesthetic: conjure says it offers furniture curated for New Yorkers by New Yorkers and collections are themed by NYC neighborhood: West Village, East Village, Soho and Tribeca and each distill a bit of the neighborhood's feel.
Merchandise: You can find bed, chairs, coffee tables, dining tables, dressers, desks, and sofas. There are also accessories such as rugs, lighting, mirrors, bedding, and pillows. Shop by the room, item, or collection. The Tribeca collection takes its cues from the Bauhaus movement and contemporary geometric shapes, like the Neu nesting table for $20 a month (retail price $480).
Cost: Lease terms range from three to 12 months, with a minimum cost of $69 a month. Delivery and assembly are free. A current promotion offers $50 off your first purchase of $100 worth of furnishings.
Nice Extras: Payments can be applied toward ownership, and you can also trade in pieces for credit for new styles. The site also features a bazaar section—a curated marketplace that ships items directly from its vendors and artisans. Items selected from the bazaar become yours at the end of your lease.
Aesthetic: Contemporary, so you won’t find out-there period pieces, high-end designer items, or antiques. Pulling from CasaOne’s catalog, you could do looks ranging from Hollywood Regency to Mid-Century modern to college senior crash pad. Need to set up a home office? There are seven packages with a desk and a chair ranging from $15 to $85 a month.
Merchandise: A lot. CasaOne, which is a resource for students and stagers (the company specifically mentions these groups on its site) far and away has the largest inventory. Scrolling through its offerings is kind of like shopping on a site like Wayfair, with many kinds of furniture, and lots of it. In addition to the usual furnishings, Casaone also stocks art, rugs, decor items, and beanbags.
Cost: You can choose a room package or item(s) and decide whether you want to rent, or rent to own (you can also buy furniture here). You’re charged a fee that depends on the length of your lease, and the longer the term, the lower the fee. For example, an Article Beacon floor lamp in copper is $6 a month for 12 months, or $27 for one month. Renters are also charged a refundable security deposit. Delivery and assembly are free when you buy or rent for six months or more. A current promotion offers $50 off your order.
Nice Extras: You can see what items look like in the room you’re furnishing with CasaOne’s space planning feature (similar to interior design sites like Modsy), and the site also gives you a sense of scale of pieces. You can also schedule an appointment to speak with a CasaOne interior designer.
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