Is home furniture rental the next big thing?


The meaning of home changes. The 2020 home has become part compact office, makeshift classroom, reluctant gym, and spontaneous family restaurant. And in this time of fortune living, rented furniture might just be the only thing we can commit to these days.

Furniture rental was on the rise before the pandemic, but since COVID-19 shrunk the world to the size of our homes, furniture rental has become a viable and more sustainable solution in a changing world. Say hello to furniture without obligation– that’s the motto of Fernish, the high-end furniture rental company that lets you watch TV on that velvet sofa you’ve always wanted, until you decide to keep it, return it or to trade it in for that sectional sofa you’ve always dreamed of.

“Everything is so seamless now, and that level of flexibility speaks very well for our service,” says Michael Barlow, the company’s co-founder and CEO. With the rise of remote work and temporary mom and dad setups, Fernish saw a rather predictable 315% increase in orders for the home office, but also a surprising increase in decor and toiletries: orders for pillows and throws increased by 80% and orders for mirrors and wall art jumped by 105%. “You’re trying to refresh your space now that your house isn’t just your house,” says Michael.

Furniture rental is not really new. Since 1986, Rent-a-Center’s rent-to-own model has generated billions of dollars in revenue in the United States. But unlike Rent-a-Center, which targets cash-strapped consumers, next-gen furniture rental services like Feather, Furnishr, and Casa One were designed for a younger clientele with a penchant for good design. . The typical Fernish customer is in their early 20s or 30s, and 90% of Fernish customers have never considered renting furniture before.

Fernish lets you try anything from side chairs to bar carts to plants. But its most popular feature is the Curated Room, which lets you choose from a selection of pre-designed rooms that range in style from mid-century modern to industrial modern to California chic. The luxury of no-commitment comes at a price: the more you rent a room, the less you pay, but if you fall in love with this dresser and decide you’re ready to commit after all, you can apply your previous monthly payments. at the purchase price and own it.

And when that desk is rendered useless because your desk is back, life is back, and the pandemic is just a stain in your rearview mirror, Fernish will relieve you of it for free. Except that unlike the 10 million tons of furniture that goes to landfill each year, your office will be refinished, repainted and disinfected through an 11-step sanitation process, and any damaged parts will be repaired. Your old desk, now like new, will then be shipped off to adorn someone else’s home office. “Everything we put into circulation has to be durable, modular and renovable,” says Michael. “We have thousands of products in their third cycle and [people] can’t tell the difference.

The appeal of furniture rental in such a nebulous time as this is not surprising. It’s convenient, it’s flexible and it fits perfectly into a lifestyle where everything, even goats, can be delivered to your doorstep. And while there’s still work to be done with the carbon footprint of a supply chain dependent on round-trip deliveries and pickups, renting your next set of bedside tables is still a greener alternative to packages. disposable dishes that you have to get rid of. when the world reopens. “The circular economy is the future of consumption globally,” says Michael. “What we focused on was bringing that to the furniture.”


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