Fernish Furniture Rental Review: How I Made My Unfurnished Apartment An Instant Home

In partnership with Fernish.

If there’s anything more time-consuming and overwhelming than moving into an unfurnished apartment without any sophisticated furniture of your own, it’s doing so alone and with a tiny budget that doesn’t align with your aspirational taste. After graduating college and moving from one short-term furnished sublease to another, I finally took a substantial step towards adulthood and moved into a place I could really make my own.

While this was an exciting moment, it also brought on a level of responsibility and investment I hadn’t yet faced. With nothing larger than the confines of a dorm to sparsely decorate, my four years of undergrad didn’t leave me with much furniture of my own. I’m also not quite ready to own a bunch of “stuff” -- like many people my age, I avoid purchasing investment pieces unless I’m sure I’ll keep them forever, and like to have a fairly flexible set of possessions, should I want to move or travel. Still, I consider myself a person of elegant taste. I curate my decor meticulously and have collected inspiration from countless issues of Apartment Therapy and Architectural Digest, waiting for the day I might be able to actually establish some permanence and personality in my own place.

Investment Pieces Without The Investment Price

My new apartment, while posing the challenge of an unfurnished room and backyard, was already partially (and beautifully) furnished in the living and kitchen spaces. So, when I began thinking about how I might furnish my room and the outdoor deck, I was daunted by aligning the quality of my space with the rest of the home. For the first month, my room consisted of my mattress and a dresser I bought from IKEA -- not exactly the height of interior design.

A sad “before” picture, with all of my possessions haphazardly stacked on an IKEA dresser with no personality

I felt like I was a visitor in a cold (and non-functional) home. So when I learned about Fernish -- the new furniture rental service that offers a selection of gorgeous, high-quality furniture and decor at monthly rental prices in LA, Orange County, Seattle, and now San Diego -- I was intrigued.

Not Your Parents’ Rental Service

When I think about furniture rentals, my mind automatically jumps to the bland, unstylish offerings of more traditional rental schemes. But one glance at Fernish’s website quickly subverted my expectations. With mid-century modern dressers and credenzas, stylish lounge chairs and couches, and refined decorative touches like rugs and throw pillows, I was in interior inspo heaven.

As I learned more about Fernish, I found myself adding more and more items to my cart. Fernish offers short (2 - 6 months), medium (7 - 9 months), and long-term (10 -12 months) rental rates, so the possibilities felt totally flexible. Because I moved into my new place on a month-to-month lease, I was interested in leasing furniture on a shorter term basis.

While I was at first unsure about the advantage of renting furniture versus simply investing in a one time purchase, this hesitation quickly faded when I realized the premium quality of the furniture (and amazing value I was getting at a rental price point). For example, one of the pieces I ended up selecting -- this fir and iron bookshelf -- retails at $920, but rents monthly at only $78 (and is even cheaper if rented on a long-term basis, at only $39).

Even better, the team at Fernish was so helpful in answering any of my initial questions as a first-time renter. I learned that I could decide to purchase my furniture at the end of the rental term (and I’d be able to buy it out at retail price, minus the amount I had already paid during the rental period). This “try before you buy” concept seems too good to be true, and is one that’s even more appealing as a millennial craving flexibility, particularly in an uncertain world we’re all living in. If I wanted to leave my apartment, or even move to another city, I wouldn’t be left with the nightmarish task of reselling furniture I no longer needed, or worse, eating the cost of high-end investment pieces.

A New Lease On Life: Transforming My Space With Fernish

Okay, enough technical talk -- let’s get down to the decor business. Fernish’s CX team goes above and beyond in helping their customers pick out the pieces they need to complete their home. When I was selecting the items I wanted for my space, the Fernish team offered their design expertise. I sent through a few photos and videos, and Liz from Fernish emailed me back a complete vision of how I might maximize the functionality and elegance of my room (and backyard).

My Fernish bookshelf, lamp, and throw pillow -- now essential pieces I couldn’t imagine my room without

With the addition of the Liam bookshelf, I streamlined my storage and was able to display many beloved books and trinkets. I also picked out a JWDA table lamp, which brings some much-needed light to my room and emits a soft, warm glow on the bookshelf.

A close-up of the beautiful texture on my large ivory area rug from Fernish

My entire apartment has beautiful wood floors and high, vaulted wood ceilings -- my room was definitely in need of some cozy, grounding touches. I selected a large rug, which I knew would make a huge difference for the space. I was able to rent this 8’ x 10’ ivory rug, which retails for $840, for only $75 per month.

Sit Back And Let Fernish Do The Work

The final category of furniture I *really* needed for my room (and my backyard, which I’m so grateful for during this indefinitely safer-at-home time) was some seating. I’m not someone who needs a serious WFH setup, but I was looking for a reading or lounge chair I could use as my home base for Zoom meetings and writing sessions. I immediately fell in love with the Tyler Arm Chair. It was stylistically similar to the “perfect vintage chair” I was searching for when furnishing my place -- but with the quality and durability of a new chair at a much better rental price point (it retails at $790 and rents at $67 -- yes, you’re reading that correctly).

Two separate shots of my Tyler Arm Chair and Campaign Ottoman -- rainbows not guaranteed with rental

I paired the chair with a Campaign ottoman (retails at $345, rents at only $30) in a similar dark grey colorway, and The Fernish team thoughtfully suggested I add a throw pillow and woven blanket as decorative touches that would complement the neutral and textured tones in my room. Needless to say, I am writing this from the luxurious comfort of my new favorite lounge and work corner.

Finishing touches that have transformed my space -- a table lamp and beautiful textured throw pillow

Fernish also offers an entire collection of outdoor furniture, in addition to pieces for your office, dining room, bedroom, living room, and more. I picked out a simple and classic Del Ray Patio Chair, along with a matching Side Table, to be able to work from home in the sunshine. (And yes, I have my eye on renting a second chair, or even the Loveseat, to transform the backyard from an outdoor office into a social space.)

The Del Ray Patio Chair & Side Table enjoying the sunshine

For large pieces like these especially -- high-quality rugs, bookshelves, chairs, and even sectionals that retail for over $3,000 -- Fernish is life-saving. I was able to instantly elevate my space with premium pieces that I use and look at every day, while still staying within my budget (and avoiding the decision paralysis I experience when shopping for high-ticket items).

I was able to instantly elevate my space with premium pieces that I use and look at every day, while still staying within my budget (and avoiding the decision paralysis I experience when shopping for high-ticket items).

Delivering Domestic Bliss

The entire Fernish process -- from purchase to set-up -- is unbelievably easy. Having just experienced the headache that is an IKEA self-assembly a month prior, I was astonished by how seamless my Fernish delivery day was. They give you the flexibility to select a preferred delivery date, and I was able to arrange delivery a mere four days after I placed my order.

All pieces (with the exception of my bookshelf) were pre-assembled and wrapped to protect damage during delivery, and the Fernish team unwrapped and placed each piece exactly where I wanted it!

Leading up to the delivery day, Fernish sent me thorough COVID-19 safety protocols and even a safety survey to keep both myself and Fernish’s employees as safe as possible. I opted for normal delivery, although Fernish provides a contact-free option -- customers are welcome to choose whichever they’re most comfortable with. Most Fernish items are pre-assembled, with the exception of large pieces that won’t fit through doorways. My bookshelf was the only item that fell into the latter category, but I was so grateful for the assistance of two Fernish team members who quickly delivered my items exactly where I wanted them -- and assembled my bookshelf in place -- all in under 45 minutes.

It’s no exaggeration to say that Fernish made my new apartment actually feel like my home -- and in record time. I’m able to enjoy my serene abode, knowing I didn’t break my budget in the process.

5 More Reasons To Love Fernish

  • Fernish’s CX team is dedicated to making sure you pick the perfect pieces for your new home: message them directly on the Fernish site with any questions, and they’ll use their design expertise to guide you through the process.
  • Fernish will deliver, assemble, and pick up your furniture when your rental period is up -- all at no additional cost.
  • In the unlikely event you don’t like something, you can swap it out for free within 3 days -- and you can return or swap pieces at any time for $149
  • All rental payments go towards ownership, so if you love something you rent, you can purchase it at a fairly discounted price.
  • With Fernish, you’ll be able to rent from top-tier brands you’re already swooning over, like CB2, Floyd, and Crate&Barrel.

Upgrade your new place and try Fernish today.

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