Furniture subscription services are the latest start-ups to be on the rise amid a growing ‘rental culture’.
It means people who relocate frequently won’t have to lug furniture across town when they move house, and won’t have to commit to items at the risk they don’t match a new place.
Feather and Fernish are examples of subscription services to have popped up in the US, catering to those who are willing to pay for the convenience of furniture rental.
They tend to target high-income millennial city dwellers looking for luxury furniture but only temporarily.
The furniture rental platforms also provide a more environmentally-friendly alternative to furniture ownership, reducing the amount of furniture ending up in landfill when people can’t recycle or resell items.
A recent US study by accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard indicates the rise of furniture rental services is already having an impact. The report showed that for the first 10 months of 2019, new residential furniture purchases were 2 per cent lower than the same period in 2018.
Well-known furniture retailers are also starting to branch out into furniture rental. Homewares brand West Elm has partnered with clothing rental service Rent the Runway to offer furniture packages, and IKEA is testing a rental service in several countries including Switzerland and Belgium.
“We see big potential in inspiring and enabling consumers to play an active role in making the circular economy a reality, and we can facilitate that by developing new business models in relation to how they acquire, care for and pass on products,” said an IKEA spokesperson.