How to Rent Furniture When Staging a Home for Sale

Upholstered orchid chairs with nailhead trim pop against this blond dining table.

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When you must stage a home for a real estate showing after you have already vacated the house, most real estate experts agree that you have a better chance of selling it quickly and for a better price if you can fill it with tastefully selected rental furniture and accessories. While the rooms in an empty house can feel larger, many potential buyers have trouble visualizing living there. Empty rooms can feel cold and uninviting, and they may echo as potential buyers walk through. Studies have shown that properties that are staged with well-chosen furniture sell faster and for better prices than those that are vacant.

But filling an empty home with furnishings and accessories can difficult unless you know how to do it effectively.

Choosing the Right Furniture Rental Store

Look for furniture rental stores that provide fast and safe delivery. When your home is on the market, you probably don't have a lot of time. You need to work with a furniture rental company that will deliver the pieces on time and arrange them in the right spot quickly and professionally. Moreover, you need a store that will pick up the staged furniture quickly once your house is sold. Many companies do not include the drop-off and pick-up service in their quoted prices, so make sure to ask about this.

Also, do some research and look for a company that is located nearby in your area. This will help you save a lot of shipping costs, especially if these costs are not included in the quoted price.

Check online reviews of the companies you are considering from sources such as Yelp or HomeAdviser; actual consumer feedback is the best guide to the performance of a furniture rental company or a professional home staging service.

Choose Neutral Furniture

  • Choose neutral furniture and accessories. The goal when staging a house is to show the rooms and their efficient functions, not draw too much attention to the furniture and accent pieces. Select high-quality pieces chosen for their decor value rather than their practical comfort, but don't choose pieces that garishly draw attention to themselves. Make sure the style of the furniture is consistent with the style of the home—for example, modish furniture wouldn't look very good in a home with an overall French colonial style of woodwork and window treatments.
  • Pay particular attention to bedrooms. Bedrooms should be decorated with fewer pieces than you would include if you were living there. A bedroom is a highly personal space, and prospective buyers will have trouble imagining living there if the room is filled with too many items. 
  • Don't forget the patio furniture. While you may think that neutral furnishings are for indoors only, in reality, they look great outdoors as well. Simplifying the colors of your patio furniture can beautifully complement the environment and help it truly stand out. Strive for a universal look that is inviting and interesting, but not too over-the-top. Colors such as blue, yellow and brown are ideal for staging an outdoor space. You can enhance the look with bright colored throw cushions and accent pieces, which are also available from most furniture rental companies.  
Modern bedroom furniture
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Understanding Pricing

Companies that specialize in renting furniture for staging often have fixed pricing that allows you to pick a set number of pieces for a blanket fee. For example, there may be a fixed price for eight pieces of dining room furniture, which you can choose from whatever pieces are available from the store's stock. But make sure you understand their pricing stipulations, such as:

  • Are delivery and pickup included as part of the cost?
  • Are there up-charges for certain top-end choices in furniture and accessories?
  • How long is the rental period? What does it cost to extend the time period?
  • Are there extra charges for moving furniture up and down stairs?

Consider professional staging. There are professionals who offer home staging services, sometimes affiliated with stores specializing in renting furniture and accents for staging. It may be worth looking for a home stager who offers a package that includes a professional review of your home, selection of items, and furniture rental, all in one price. 

dining room table
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Average Costs

Prices for renting furniture for staging vary according to what services are being offered and how many pieces are being rented. Real estate professional Crystal Leigh Hemphill observes that most professional stagers offering full packages charge between $300 and $600 for an initial consultation, then $500 to $600 per room, per month, to furnish the home and keep it maintained for showing. Under such a scenario, a 2,000 square foot home can easily cost $2000 to $3000 per month to stage, with a three-month minimum as a standard contract period. Therefore, you can expect staging with rented furniture to cost between $6,000 to $9,000. This can, however, be easily recouped by a better home sale price. 

If you "go-it-alone" and rent furniture yourself, expect to pay $100 to $300 per month, per room. You can save costs by renting furniture for only some of the most visible rooms in the house. 

Bottom Line

There is no doubt that an elegantly-furnished home can sell faster than an empty house, and often for a higher price. Renting furniture is a great best option in situations when you are no longer residing in the home, and it is somewhat expected in homes that are pricier and more upscale. Adding the right furnishings to a house can both make the place more visually appealing and help potential buyers imagine themselves actually living there.