Would You Rent Your Furniture? New Startups Are Betting On It

published Sep 30, 2017
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(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

Two new companies are betting on modern efficiency and our collective premium on the value of our time by breathing new life into an old decorating concept: renting, or renting to buy, our furniture.

CasaOne, which calls itself the “Rent the Runway for furniture”, and Feather, which fashions itself as an mid-century update on CORT (the 40-year-old industry leader in furniture rentals), are just two of the new style-centric startups banking on our ever-more-transient lifestyles and the value proposition of leasing the look we want for our domestic spaces. But without the commitment or headaches of IKEA assembly on the front end and negotiating Craigslist sales on the back — just as we’ve been doing in increasing numbers for our DIY weddings and other special events.

(Image credit: CasaOne)

At CasaOne, which is currently only operating in the Bay Area and seems to be really focused on small space apartments for millennials geared toward renting than owning things in general, there are three tiers of packages (value, standard, and premium) starting from $94 per month in the living room or a la carte: couches from $20 per month; tables from $13; chairs from $12; from $107/month in the bedroom or a la carte: bed frames from $30 per month (though the idea of renting a mattress really skeeves); side tables from $13 and dressers from $30; and from $59/month in the dining room or a la carte tables and bar carts from $15; chairs and barstools from $11.

Within 72 hours of ordering, CasaOne will deliver and set up your furniture for free (with a $99 security deposit) along with free pickup at the end of your contract (a minimum of three months). They even offer helpful cleaning and care instructions and customer support (for spilled coffee incidents) for those who’ve yet to learn the domestic arts.

(Image credit: Feather)

Feather, which is now available in NYC and San Francisco, offers a bit more flexibility in its standard packages — curating the same ensembles (living, dining, and bedrooms) based not only on level of style/quality (standard, from $99 to $289; hip from $109 to $339), but also customizing packages for square footage (studios, 1-beds and 2-beds) and promising that its suppliers are all sustainable, durable, and sought-after brands like west elm, Wayfair, and Eight (items that are also available a la carte).

More like CORT, Feather also offers options for your Home Office or Business. Free in-home consultations with Feather decorating experts are also available to NYC customers prior to furniture rental — and a second trip to swap out any items you’re not crazy about after living with them (in the 7-day grace period) is also free.

Like CasaOne, leases are offered from 3 months with a security deposit of $99 (normal wear and tear expected, including your pets), and your furniture is delivered within three days of ordering, but Feather also charges both a delivery fee of $149 and a removal fee of $199 for its white-glove service. Feather is also working out the details for customers who’d like to buy their furniture after the rental contract is up, according their FAQs.

If the trajectory of the modern wedding industry — and the increasing number of access-based services these furniture startups are modeling after, like Spotify for music and Rent the Runway for fashion — are any indication, we’re soon going to be hearing more from these companies in the home space. And seeing more of competitors enter the fray.

On the flip side, based on their success as one of the longest-running vintage furniture rental companies servicing brides and event planners in the US, Austin-based Loot Vintage just launched their own line of furniture this month based on their most popular and most-often-rented items, called Loot Finer Goods.

No doubt in a business climate that’s increasingly driven by data analytics and post-purchase consumer testing, these new home furniture rental companies will be a feedback-loop boon (both in design trend and durability data) to the popular furniture lines that are supplying them (and from where we are purchasing furniture), as well.