The Best Furniture to Buy When You’re a Renter

published Sep 24, 2015
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Why do you need to think about furniture characteristics when you’re a renter? Well, if you’re the kind of renter who moves around a lot or could potentially move around a lot in the future, you might want to consider your furniture’s characteristics so they last through moves as well as are flexible enough to fit into a lot of different types, sizes and styles of future homes.

So what kind of furniture characteristics should you look out for?

A good frame

Some of the more affordable (read: cheap) new furniture you can buy might look great on the surface, but on the inside it could potentially be a lightweight, shoddily constructed mess. Furniture not put together very well or made of cheap supports and frame materials might only last you a few moves (moving can be quite stressful on furniture). If you’re buying new, make sure you ask about or research what’s on the inside of that chair, sofa, bed and more. But another way to buy quality pieces without spending a lot of money is to invest in high-quality second-hand pieces you find at vintage stores. Just be sure you inspect the frame, supports and insides (when you can) of a used piece of furniture to make sure that the high-quality construction is still intact.

Furniture that’s easy to take apart and put back together

Or, if you’re a fan of furniture that can be taken apart for easy moving, opt for furniture that doesn’t have too many moving parts or steps. Though you can get organized to save manuals and instructions, those types of things can get lost in the shuffle, and you could end up not using a perfectly good furniture piece in the future thanks to not being able to put it back together as well again. Same with the above tip, consider inspecting the connections to see if they’re made of quality bolts, screws and more.

Tough (and paint-able) hard material

If you’re a renter and know moves are in your future, you might consider purchasing furniture that is made of a tough material that stands up to moves and use (or perhaps looks better the more it gets used). And though pretty much anything can be painted if you use the right materials, if you know you’re the kind of person who loves to change the look of your interiors with the seasons, you might look for materials like wood that are fairly easy to change the surface of with sanding, paint and stain. This can be an especially important characteristic in the future if you ever end up in an apartment where you can’t paint the walls but you really need a big burst of color.

Easy-to-clean or reupholster soft materials

This is actually just practical advice for anyone hoping to invest in furniture they can use for a long time — buy furniture with soft upholstery that you can clean easily according to your lifestyle. Or, on the other hand, when looking to add an upholstered piece to your space, look to see how easy or hard reupholstering it would be in the future thanks to its construction — even if you love the look of it now, you might need to replace the soft materials because of stains or design changes.

Pieces with extra storage

You don’t have to look for this in every furniture piece you add to a rental, but it’s something to think about, because who couldn’t use a little extra storage? Opting for furniture that has extra shelves or cubbies (bonus points if those areas are hidden) can help you out in the future when you find yourself in real need of a little extra space (and will help you out if you ever can’t hang shelves on any future walls).