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Currently sleeping on a mattress with no box spring? Worse yet, a blow-up mattress? Is your night table a repurposed milk crate and are your bookshelves fashioned out of salvaged bricks and found lumber? Although all these features can be surprisingly charming when paired with the right accessories, there comes a time in one’s life when one wants or needs a bit more. But even if you opt to go full-on Ikea, the cost of furnishing a small one-bedroom from the ground up will likely cost well over $3,000 and that is only if you opt for a discount Bråthult over Vallentuna sofa.
For anyone faced with the challenge of furnishing an entire apartment—either for the first time or because you’re only in NYC for a limited amount of time—there is now a solution: “fast interiors.” Rather than buy, you can now rent your furniture for three months or for several years. While the rise of furniture rentals may sound unusual, in fact, it is an obvious extension of the sharing economy that has been growing, especially in highly populated urban areas, for the past decade. An underlying tenant of the sharing economy is that renting often makes more sense the owning. But does it? Ahead, we explore how and where to rent furniture and the relative short- and long-term benefits of renting over buying.