The ultimate guide to Furnished Apartments in Houston
WHY RENT A FURNISHED APARTMENT IN HOUSTON ?
In some cases, a furnished apartment makes more sense than an unfurnished apartment. For example, if you only plan to be in the apartment for a short time, you might not want to pack up and move heavy furniture that you’ll just end up having to move again. A furnished apartment might be ideal for college students, those moving temporarily on business or for medical reasons, those who lack furniture (such as first-time renters or those looking for a fresh start), and those who move frequently.
WHAT IS A FURNISHED APARTMENT ?
Most furnished apartments include a couch, coffee and end tables, a dining room table and chairs, beds, and basic kitchen appliances. Some (but not all) may include some extras like floor or table lamps, a toaster, a microwave, and basic cookware.
Fully furnished, also known as turnkey, apartments go a step beyond the basics to provide things like towels, blankets, dishes, pots and pans, and silverware. You’ll likely find artwork on the walls and other décor. A washer and dryer might be included. The term “turnkey” refers to the fact that you can turn the key, walk in, and have everything you need to live comfortably. (Well, except for your clothing, toiletries, and food, of course.)
Furnished apartment is an apartment that comes with the furniture you’ll need to live in the space, like a couch, beds, and basic appliances. There are three different types of furnished apartments: furnished, fully furnished (or turnkey), and semi-furnished. When searching for furnished apartments, keep in mind that these terms are loosely defined and there are no set rules as to what should or shouldn’t be included in a furnished apartment.
A semi-furnished apartment provides less than a fully furnished or furnished apartment. This space provides just the basic furniture and appliances you need like a couch, beds, tables, a refrigerator, and a stove.
If you are thinking about renting a furnished apartment, you might want to know more about what’s usually included, some of the reasons to choose a furnished apartment rather than an unfurnished one, and how to find one that fits your style. Let’s dive in and explore furnished apartments a bit deeper.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN FURNISHED APARTMENTS ?
While there’s no set list of things you’ll get in a furnished apartment, you can expect to find the necessities. If it is advertised as “turnkey” or “fully furnished,” you can expect a little more beyond the basics. For example, a furnished turnkey apartment likely includes a coffee maker, a toaster, bath towels, and bedding.
In both furnished and fully furnished apartments, you may find some supplies in your closets for cleaning and upkeep. These supplies may include a vacuum cleaner, a broom and dustpan, and maybe an iron and ironing board. If you have a laundry room, you may find a hamper or laundry basket included. (A semi-furnished apartment most likely won’t contain these items.)
Living room furnishings
The fully furnished living room: A fully furnished living room may provide a few extras, such as bookcases, an entertainment center, a desk, and other items to make the space feel homey and welcoming. Some fully furnished luxury apartments may also have things like a television, stereo, video game console, throw blankets, and house plants.
The furnished living room: The living room of a furnished apartment will likely have a sofa, a coffee table, end tables, and lighting of some kind. You may see paintings on the walls, as well.
The semi-furnished living room: Semi-furnished apartments will likely have the basics: a couch, a table, and maybe a chair or two.
The furnished kitchen: A furnished kitchen will include a refrigerator and stove, but it might also include a dishwasher, toaster, and microwave. Some furnished apartments include smaller necessities, such as a can opener, measuring cups, spatulas, and other cooking tools. You might have a dishwasher, but not always. The same goes for a garbage disposal.
The fully furnished kitchen: In addition to everything you’ll find in a furnished kitchen, fully furnished apartments might also offer a coffee maker, dishes, dish towels, utensils, and pots and pans. Some fully furnished apartments might include a few niceties like salt and pepper shakers, a veggie peeler, a whisk, glassware, mugs, oven mitts, cutting boards, and mixing bowls.
The semi-furnished kitchen: A semi-furnished apartment will likely only have basic kitchen appliances (stove, refrigerator). This space won’t have kitchen utensils or other supplies.
You probably won’t find specialty items like a stand mixer, bread maker, sandwich press, or blender in any furnished apartment. Most landlords don’t include these specialty items because they are both uncommon and expensive. Why put something in a kitchen that your renters will probably never use? It just consumes valuable shelf space.
If you do find one of these specialty items in the rental, it may have been left behind by a previous tenant. So, if you discover a bread maker in your pantry closet, you can either consider yourself lucky and go bake a loaf of bread or, if you need the space, ask the landlord what to do with it.
Dining room décor
The furnished dining room: In a furnished dining room, you’ll likely find a table, chairs (at least two), and perhaps some decoration like artwork on the walls. Your dining room likely won’t include a curio cabinet, baker’s rack, buffet, or sideboard. Since these items are often used to hold things like formal dishware and décor, they are often left out of the dining areas.
The fully furnished dining room: A fully furnished dining room will take it a step beyond the table and chairs by adding a little more décor. In this space, you might also find table mats, linen napkins, and a centerpiece. If the dining area is large enough, you might find a small hutch or sideboard.
The semi-furnished dining room: The semi-furnished dining room will probably only have a table and chairs.
The furnished bedroom: Your furnished bedroom will probably contain a bed, nightstands, lamps, and a dresser or a chest of drawers. Some decorative items, such as paintings, may also be included in the space. A furnished bedroom may include sheets and comforters, but not always.
The fully furnished bedroom: The fully furnished bedroom may have extra blankets, pillows, and sheet sets. It may also include a desk, chair, and additional décor, such as an alarm clock and artwork.
The semi-furnished bedroom: You should find a bed and dresser in this space. A semi-furnished bedroom won’t provide bed linens, blankets, or pillows. In some cases, it will have the bed frame but no mattress or box spring.
The furnished bathroom: In addition to what you usually find in a bathroom, a furnished bathroom may also offer a shower curtain, floor mats, and a wastebasket.
The fully furnished bathroom: In a fully furnished bathroom, you might find a toothbrush holder, soap dispenser or soap dish, plunger, toilet brush, and at least one full set of towels. You might find additional luxuries, like a hair dryer. While the landlord could choose to include some complimentary toiletries for your first night in the rental (toilet paper, soap, toothpaste), you’ll be expected to purchase these types of items on your own.
The semi-furnished bathroom: A semi-furnished bathroom will probably have the basics (toilet, sink, tub). You may have to provide your own shower curtain, and you’ll have to bring your own extras like a toothbrush holder, wastebasket, etc.
FURNISHED APARTMENTS VS. UNFURNISHED APARTMENTS
How do you know if a furnished apartment is right for you? If you have very specific tastes, or if you are very picky about your furnishings, you might be better off with a blank slate. On the other hand, if renting an apartment that’s already furnished would be a relief because you won’t have to shop for furniture or do a bunch of decorating, then perhaps a furnished apartment would be ideal for you.
How long do you plan to stay? If you think you’ll be in the space for no more than a year, you might consider a furnished apartment. If you are moving across the country (or even to another country), it might be easier to rent a furnished apartment rather than try and move a lot of furniture a long distance.
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN RENTING A FURNISHED APARTMENT
When renting a furnished apartment, there are some things to keep in mind. For example, the rent and security deposit might be higher than an unfurnished apartment. Furnished apartments may rent for shorter lease terms than traditional apartments, as well. And then there’s the inventory list.
With a furnished apartment, you might find it a little more difficult to put your “stamp” on your home and make it feel like your own. You may be a little more concerned about placing a glass on your wooden end table since it could leave a ring, or you might think twice about enjoying a glass of red wine while relaxing on your cream-colored sofa.
What’s an inventory list, you ask? Well, there’s a lot that comes in a furnished apartment, and your landlord needs to keep track it all. Just as you would do a walk-through in an unfurnished apartment, you’ll want to do a walk-through in a furnished one. Here, you’ll have much more to look at. In addition to looking for scratches on the baseboards or dents in the cabinets, you’ll want to look for marks or tears in the sofa and chairs, scratches on tables, wobbly legs on furniture, spots or stains on linens and fabrics, and any broken items. Your landlord may want to count each item and check them off a list (for example, four hand towels, six forks, eight coffee mugs, two sets of sheets, etc.). When you move out, you’ll fill out another inventory list to make sure nothing is missing or damaged.
While you probably won’t be allowed to change the existing furniture, there are ways to make the space your own. For example, you could use slipcovers on the couch and chairs to change the color or pattern. You can add an area rug to change the look of the room or place some throw pillows on the couch. You can also rearrange the furniture if the landlord doesn’t state in the lease that you can’t. Just remember to put things back in their original place when you move out (take a few photos before you move anything to remember what goes where). You’ll want to leave the apartment in the same condition as you found it, so be sure to do a deep clean before moving out.
HOW TO FIND A FURNISHED APARTMENT
Once you determine a furnished apartment is right for you, the next step is to find the right one. If you are searching for apartments on Apartments.com, you can filter your search to show only furnished apartments. First, search your desired location. On the top right of your screen on mobile, you’ll see a filter menu. Click that, and you’ll find “furnished” under “Amenities.” Click the box, then click “Done.”
Narrow down your choices by looking through photos and taking some online tours. Be sure to save the ones you like to your favorites so you can easily compare them. Then email or call the apartment communities of your choice to learn more about their furnished apartment options.
HOW TO RENT A FURNISHED APARTMENT
Once you’ve decided on the right apartment, you might want to take an in-person tour. During this tour, be sure to sit on the couch to make sure it is comfortable, sit at the dining room table and make sure it isn’t wobbly, and walk around to check out the traffic flow and furniture placement (for those spots where stubbed toes are likely). This will be your home, so make sure you are comfortable with it.
Since no two furnished apartments are the same, you’ll want to ask some questions when you call about your favorites. Here are a few:
What are your lease terms? Do you offer a flexible lease? (This question is important if you are planning to stay short-term.)
Is there a separate security deposit for furniture?
Can I choose my own furniture? (Some communities have options you can choose from, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.)
What furniture is included?
Is all the furniture included in the rent? (Some pieces may be considered extras, so ask.)
What accessories are included? (This would include things like dishes, linens, pillows, etc.)
Are any utilities included in the price of the rent?
Do you have a list of the furniture and accessories in the apartment?
The next steps are to apply for the apartment, do the walk-through and fill out your inventory list, sign the lease, and move in. Happy (super light) moving day!