semi-furnished vs fully-furnished apartment

Semi-Furnished vs Fully-Furnished Apartment: What’s the Difference?

In the largest cities in the UK and US alike, the number of renters is on the rise. In fact, in cities like London and New York, renters outnumber homeowners. 

It’s not that apartments are cheaper than houses in the long run. Typically, the large number of renters reflects lower immediate costs, more flexibility, and less responsibility. 

That being said, the cost of an apartment can vary widely–as can the amenities it comes with. Today, we’re going to look at the differences between a semi-furnished vs fully-furnished apartment. Which one is better for you?

Read on to learn everything you need to know about semi-furnished vs fully-furnished apartments. We’ll talk about what those terms mean, the pros and cons of both, and beyond.

Semi-Furnished vs Fully-Furnished Apartments: The Basics

Semi-furnished apartments will come equipped with some of the furnishings and amenities you’ll need. This often includes typical kitchen appliances, such as a refrigerator and a stove, although unfurnished apartments will almost always come equipped with these appliances, as well. Unlike unfurnished apartments, a semi-furnished apartment may include other large pieces of furniture.

As the name suggests, a fully-furnished apartment has just about everything you need to live in comfort. Because fully-furnished apartments are ideal for individuals who have to move frequently, they often come with the option of month-to-month leasing. For a variety of reasons, you can typically expect to pay more in rent and deposits to live in fully-furnished apartments.

Breaking Down the Specifics of Semi-Furnished Apartments

Let’s get into the specifics of what you might find in a semi-furnished apartment. Remember, one landlord’s definition of “semi-furnished” may differ from another’s, so you will want to look into each listing to know exactly what to expect. You will always need to supply additional furnishings and amenities when living in a semi-furnished apartment.

What You’ll Find in the Kitchen

Most semi-furnished apartments will have the basic appliances and cabinetry that you need. A semi-furnished kitchen should come equipped with a refrigerator, sink, and some type of oven equipped with a stovetop. However, you will likely need to fill the kitchen with things like cooking equipment, flatware and dishes, and additional appliances such as a microwave and toaster.

What You’ll Find in the Living and Dining Areas

The living and dining areas in a semi-furnished apartment tend to come with sparse furnishings. While some may come with a couch and dining room table, others may come with only the most basic furnishings. This can include curtains or blinds, a few small pieces of furniture like end tables, and overhead light fixtures.

What You’ll Find in the Bedroom

A semi-furnished bedroom may not come equipped with anything besides curtains or blinds, an overhead light fixture, and a closet affixed with a hanging pole or hooks. On the other hand, you may find that your semi-furnished bedroom comes equipped with a few pieces of furniture. This can include things like a dresser, a side table, and even a bed frame. 

What You’ll Find in the Bathroom

Most of the time, you will need to purchase all amenities for a semi-furnished bathroom. You may find that your semi-furnished bathroom does have basic hardware installed, such as a towel rack, curtain rod, and toilet paper holder. However, you will need to purchase things like a shower curtain and bathmat as well as all non-reusable supplies.

Breaking Down the Specifics of Fully-Furnished Apartments

Fully-furnished apartments should always come with everything you need to live comfortably. However, there can be a huge difference between something like an efficiency fully-furnished apartment and a luxury fully-furnished apartment. Once again, you should always look at the specifics of a listing in order to know exactly what to expect from a fully-furnished apartment.

What You’ll Find in the Kitchen

A fully-furnished kitchen comes fully equipped with all major appliances and cabinetry. Oftentimes, you’ll find the cabinets stocked with all of the cooking equipment, cutlery, and dishes you’ll need to drink and dine at home. Your fully-furnished kitchen may also come with additional countertop appliances such as a microwave, toaster, coffee maker, and blender.

What You’ll Find in the Living and Dining Areas

Fully-furnished living and dining areas should come with all the furnishings you need to lounge and dine. This should include at least one couch, a coffee table or end table, a dining room table, and dining room chairs. Luxury fully-furnished apartments may also come with electronics such as a TV and stereo.

What You’ll Find in the Bedroom

A fully-furnished bedroom should come equipped with a bed frame, mattress fitted with a new mattress protector, a dresser, and a closet. Some may also come with additional items like rugs and curtains to create a homier atmosphere. You will want to ask your landlord whether or not linens, such as sheets and blankets, are included or if you need to supply them, yourself.

What You’ll Find in the Bathroom

The bathroom in a fully-furnished apartment should be ready to use the moment you move in. That means that it will have a shower curtain and curtain liner, a bathmat, toothbrush holders, and a wastebasket. Your landlord may also start you off with some of the non-reusable supplies you need, such as cleaning supplies and toilet paper.

The Pros of Semi-Furnished Apartments

What makes a semi-furnished apartment appealing for renters? Let’s take a look at the pros of living in an apartment that is only semi-furnished.

Lower Rent

While the cost of rent will vary based on the size and location of the apartment, semi-furnished units tend to cost less. Landlords aren’t trying to cover the cost of furnishings and other amenities that they’ve supplied. Plus, semi-furnished apartments tend to come with a standard full-year lease, which often costs less per month.

Control Over Furnishings

Maybe you already have furnishings and you don’t want to sell them or put them in storage. Maybe you prefer having your own say over the type, quality, and style of apartment furniture you use. If either of these things is the case, you’ll likely enjoy the freedom to furnish that a semi-furnished apartment offers.

Less Concern Over Damage to Furnishings

If you’ve rented before, you know that as a renter, you have an obligation to keep your apartment in good shape–or pay to cover the damages. In a semi-furnished apartment, you’re responsible for keeping fewer elements in good condition. That means that there’s less room for error and more of a chance that you’ll get your security deposit back in full.

The Cons of Semi-Furnished Apartments

What are some of the signs that a semi-furnished apartment isn’t right for you? Let’s take a look at the cons so that you can see if they outweigh the pros.

The Cost of Furnishing an Apartment

Believe it or not, the lower cost of rent may not save you much money if you don’t have any furnishings at all. While collecting used or cheap furnishings can help, the average cost of furnishing an apartment from scratch is $8,000. This includes everything from furniture to kitchen and bathroom supplies.

The Cost of Moving

Planning on moving in or out with all of that furniture? This can come with a hefty price tag as well. Believe it or not, even junking old furniture can cost several hundred dollars. 

The Effort of Moving

It’s possible to lower the cost of moving by doing it all yourself. However, you can typically expect that the lower the cost, the more effort you’ll need to put in. For example, you can save money by packing your own boxes or by renting a moving van to drive on your own. 

The Pros of Fully-Furnished Apartments

How about a fully-furnished apartment? What are the perks of moving into a place that has all of the bells and whistles ready to go? Let’s take a look.

Short-Term Lease Availability

Do you know that you may need to move on short notice? If so, it’s worth noting that breaking a traditional lease can cost an average of two months’ rent, if not more. The availability of short-term leases that you may find with fully-furnished apartments could be more conducive to your lifestyle.

Low Furnishing Costs

Not looking to spend thousands of dollars figuring out how to furnish an apartment? Not particularly interested in coming up with apartment design ideas or putting together a great look? A fully-furnished apartment takes away the stress and cost of coming up with all your own furniture and amenities.

Easy Moving

This one is a no-brainer. If you don’t have to lug a bunch of furniture around, you’re going to have an easy move. Most of the time, you can fit everything you need in your own car.

The Cons of Fully-Furnished Apartments

Feeling a bit hesitant about fully-furnished apartments? Let’s talk about the cons you can expect from a fully-furnished space.

Higher Rent

As we mentioned earlier, the rent is likely going to be higher. This is to cover the cost of furnishings and amenities. It may also reflect the shorter-term lease, as month-to-month leasing tends to cost more.

More Potential to Lose Security Deposit

If you know that you’ll take good care of everything in your apartment, this one may not concern you. However, it’s important to remember that your security deposit covers more than just the floors and walls, here. It’s easier to lose part or all of your security deposit when almost everything belongs to the landlord.

Minimal Control Over Furnishings

You can still add a personal touch in a fully-furnished apartment. However, you won’t have much wiggle room with the furniture or appliances. If that doesn’t sit well with you, fully-furnished apartments probably aren’t the right call.

Which Type of Apartment Works Best for You?

We hope that our guide to the semi-furnished vs fully-furnished apartment has shed light on which one is best for you. Now, how else can we help you prepare for your new home?

Perhaps you’re hoping to lower your rent. Is this possible? Find out in our guide to negotiating your lease.

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