Should a College Student Rent Furniture?

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Should a College Student Rent Furniture?

Staff Writer · Aug 19, 2010

Whether they’re freshmen or returning students, those moving into a college housing environment have to figure out how to outfit their dorm rooms or apartments in the best ways possible-one of the big questions is whether to rent furniture, bring it from home, or buy it new. A lot of factors determine what’s best for a particular student, including how long they plan to stay at their new residence.

Overall Cost Factors

Most consumers understand that in the long run, renting will cost them much more than buying any consumer item, including a piece of furniture. Renting desks, cabinets, mattresses and other gear will not be cost effective for anyone staying in one place more than a few months. However, there are other factors that might make furniture rental attractive to a transient college student.

Transport and Labor

Those who are moving somewhere need to factor in the costs of transporting furniture from home, as well as the labor that is involved. In some cases, local furniture sourcing might make sense, and creative strategies can be an improvement on the classic scenario of dragging desks, chairs and beds from home, especially when a student goes to school out of state.

Looking at University Programs and Collective Living

Students can find out if their campus will rent furniture for a dorm room or even include it in overall housing costs. Another strategy is to share an apartment with other students, where different apartment dwellers might bring along different pieces of furniture. Some off-campus apartments may also come furnished, which is another option for students who don’t want to bring their furniture from home.

Local Community Furniture Sales

Another option for students is to be proactive about looking for cheap furniture in their area. Thrift stores are one place to get very cheap furniture deals. Having local connections is another great strategy for getting furniture cheap. When students know people in the community, they may be able to simply borrow some of the furniture they need without going through the hassle of renting or buying from stores. This kind of hand-me-down approach is something that benefits those who are engaged in their communities, and not just dropping in for a few semesters.

Creative Furnishings

For many people, college is a time to do without some of the bells and whistles of modern life. A single college student may not feel the pressure to present a Stepfordish living space, and some who don’t have a lot of income can make their college years an experiment in asceticism. This can include all sorts of cardboard-box dressers, cable-spool coffee tables, futon beds, and card table desks. It’s all about finding what works for a specific student’s budget and situation.

All of these strategies can work out well for students who need to outfit their living spaces on the fly while trying to finance their education in a fast-paced college environment.

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