In Praise of Furnished Apartments

We’ve just moved into our fourth furnished apartment. The other three were in Europe and Africa (where it’s par for the course, as far as I can figure)–this is our first in Canada. I can’t sing the praises of furnished apartments enough–they make so much sense:

  • They reduce waste, because people (especially young people) aren’t buying crappy furniture that gets used for a few years and then replaced. It’s in the landlord’s best interests to buy furniture that lasts.
  • In a small way, they reduce fuel consumption. There’s much less business for moving companies and their trucks.
  • It’s bloody convenient.

Normally any move is fraught with painful, expensive trips to Ikea. Our place in Victoria is ‘furnished’ right down to cutlery and cleaning products. We could literally walk in with a bag of groceries and be ‘moved in’. We’re also fortunate to have a garage in which we can store our sundry boxes and the few sticks of furniture we’ve got kicking around.

When singing the praises of furnished apartments, people often become concerned about aesthetics. It’s not their stuff, so they could never get comfortable. I wondered about this, too, but it turns out that I couldn’t care less. Yes, we’ve lived in nice places in Malta, Morocco and Victoria, but our first apartment in Ireland was kind of shabby. And appeared to have been decorated by a colour-blind octogenarian with bad cataracts.

You get used to things pretty quickly. So the walls are a kind of rotten robin’s egg blue, so what? Either you learn to live with it, or get permission to change it. In either case, these aesthetic compromises seem like a small price to pay for the convenience of your place being fully furnished.

Do you prefer furnished apartments or blank slates on which to lay your lifestyle?


  1. I can see this being really convenient, but I can also see where people who are attached to their “stuff” could suffer some separation anxiety, which I’m sure they would get over. Glad to hear the move went well!

  2. I would actually worry about bedbugs. I had a furnished place in Victoria 2 years ago and had the most disgusting infestation of bedbugs you’ve ever seen. God only knows where they came from – but I’d never had a problem until I moved into that particular place. So, I’m a bit paranoid now about furnished places.

  3. Now that I think about it, when I was in my early 20s, furnished apartments probably would have been best. I really didn’t know what I liked back then, furniture-wise. I spent a lot of money at Ikea on junk that I ended up throwing or giving away.

    Now that I’m in my 30s though and can afford half-decent furniture, I want my own stuff. Especially the bed (in agreement with Wandering Coyote).

  4. Hey Darren,

    I’ve never moved into a furnished apartment but have always wondered what it would be like. I can see all the benefits which you speak of and it makes a lot of sense. What difference in price have you found there to be?

    Speaking of Victoria, I must have missed the post that said what you’re up to here. What are you up to here? How long are you around for etc?

    Welcome to the Windy Island!

  5. I too missed out on the news of you moving here, but heck the last time I read your blog you were on your way to Malta so I guess I’m a little behind.

    We just got here at the end of January. It is definitely taking a while to get used to the pace and to stop expecting good transit service.

    Good luck with the housebuilding. My dad just finished his house in Shawnigan Lake. If you have issues with onsite wastewater treatment, give me a buzz – Dad’s a specialist. I know, not very glamourous, but everyone needs a good wastewater system.

  6. I think that when I move out, I’d prefer to get my own furniture. I have a desk that I’m particularly attached to, and I’d rather not part with it.

    Also, I think I’d have a harder time getting comfortable in a new place if I didn’t have a hand in choosing the furniture ( even if it was just some cheap fiberboard Ikea stuff ).

  7. Coyote: I suppose that is a concern, but so far we’ve gone four-for-four on being bedbug-free.

    Davin: Thanks for the welcome. I didn’t make a really detailed comparison of prices, because we were exclusively looking for furnished places. My guess would be that the difference was $200 on a two bedroom apartment in Victoria. Briefly, we’re living here for a couple of years while we build a house on Pender Island. It’s way easier to get to Pender from the Victoria side. Plus, our architect is over here.

    Sue: Top tip on the wastewater treatment. I’ve filed that for future construction needs.

  8. I don’t know Darren. You may have a point. After many years in one house, we moved it all to Hamilton, then packed up and moved again 10 years later to Victoria. We’ve got a whack of stuff but a lot less than when we started. But over the years, we have gotten attached to some things and it’s hard to imagine not having our stuff around…

  9. Hey Darren, Thanks for the insights. We bought a new place on the east side and will be moving in September. We’ve been contemplating keeping our flat in Yaletown and trying to rent it out furnished. We weren’t sure if that was the best solution, but after reading your post I think that we’ll go that route. I would think there would be interest in renting a furnished place in Yaletown. We’ll have to wait and see.

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