How Much Does It Cost to Furnish a House? A Landlord’s Guide

Discover the ins and outs of furnishing a house with insights into the average costs. Explore tips on budgeting and managing expenses for furnishing your home or rental property. How much does it cost to furnish a house? Let’s find out!

By
Vivian Tejada
|
Last Updated
January 23, 2024
How Much Does It Cost to Furnish a House? A Landlord’s Guide

Over the last decade, property owners have noticed that certain renters are looking for move-in-ready homes on short- and mid-term leases. Since these tenants stay less than a year, they don’t usually want to go through the hassle of buying and moving furniture into their temporary space. In response, rental owners have started to host semi-furnished and fully-furnished homes.

Not only has this allowed real estate investors to accommodate a targeted segment of the renter population, but it also allows rental owners to charge higher rates. First-time tenants, recent graduates, and traveling professionals are often willing to pay more for the convenience and flexibility of a furnished rental.

Rental owners can charge 10-20% more per month for a fully furnished unit on a long-term lease. Furnished short-term rentals, such as vacation homes, can generate up to 40-50% more per month. If you’re hosting a house on Vrbo or Airbnb, rental furnishing is a must. But how can rental owners know how much to spend, what furniture to buy, or where to find deals?

In this article, we’ll discuss how much it costs to furnish each room in a house, the factors impacting furnishing costs, and tips on creating a furniture budget. We’ll also suggest how to find deals when furniture shopping and provide Airbnb investors with tips on how to furnish their vacation rentals successfully.

How much does it cost to furnish the average home?

Furnishing the average home costs about $16,000. However, frugal owners can set up their studios and one-bedroom apartments for as little as $3,500 by furnishing them with second-hand items. On the other end of the spectrum, if quality and luxury are priorities, rental owners can easily splurge up to $100,000 on home furnishings for a large house with multiple rooms.

What factors affect furnishing costs?

As you can see from the price ranges mentioned above, furnishing costs vary significantly. Several factors influence the total cost of furnishing a home, including: 

  • Property type: Furnishing cost varies based on whether you own a family home, vacation home, or a mid-term rental. Different property types attract different kinds of tenants. Tenant rental needs can vary depending on what the property is being used for and how long the tenant will be staying. Whether or not you need to furnish the entire house will also impact the total cost.
  • Square footage: The larger the home, the more it costs to furnish. With more square feet to fill, property owners usually need to buy multiple pieces of the same furniture which drives up the price.
  • Diversity of rooms: Larger homes also tend to have more bedrooms, bathrooms, and common areas, such as patios and balconies. Having to source different types of furniture for each of these rooms could increase costs since you can’t necessarily buy this furniture in bulk.
  • Furniture quality: Product quality is a major contributor to price. Flat-pack furniture, such as pull-out sofas and pop-up tables, are cheaper than high-quality pieces, such as luxury loveseat sets or custom-fitted dining tables. 
  • Style preferences and decor: Some rentals require a certain kind of furnishing style or decor. Property owners focused on providing renters with a specific rental experience, such as a Victorian or Mediterranean stay, will have to amplify their furnishing budgets. Unique furnishings are often sourced abroad, making them more expensive than traditional furniture. 
  • Delivery, assembly, and installation fees: While some pieces of furniture can be picked up at the store, assembled, and installed by the owner, other pieces of furniture require white-glove delivery to preserve their authenticity. Expedited delivery also increases the price of furniture if you’re tight on time and need your home furnished right away.
  • Single supplier vs. multiple suppliers: Buying furniture from various suppliers can also drive up furnishing costs. Purchasing all necessary furnishings from a single supplier allows you to negotiate on price of furniture and minimize delivery fees. 

The cost of furnishing each room in a home

Costs also varies depending on which rooms in the home need furnishing. Below, we’ve broken down furnishing costs by room and included a list of must-have furniture for each:

Master bedroom

Furnishing a master bedroom costs, on average, between $2,000 and $15,000. Total costs depend on the size of the room, whether or not it comes with a personal bathroom, and the amount of decor. At the very least, be sure to include:

  • 1-bed frame
  • 1 mattress
  • 2 nightstands
  • 1 dresser
  • 1 set of blinds or curtains for each window
  • 1 set of ceiling lights

Guest bedroom

Furnishing a guest bedroom generally costs between $1,500 and $12,000. The cost of furnishing a guest room depends on room size, the level of comfort you'd like to achieve, and for whom the room is being furnished. Key guest bedroom items to include are:

  • 1 bed frame
  • 1 mattress 
  • 1 nightstand
  • 1 desk
  • 1 desk chair
  • 1 closet (if there isn’t one built-in)
  • 1 set of ceiling lights
  • 1 set of curtains or blinds for each window

Living room

Furnishing a living room costs between $4,000 and $18,000. Total cost of furnishing a living room will vary depending on living room size and the quality of furniture being installed. Make sure to purchase the following:

  • 1 couch
  • 1 armchair
  • 1 coffee table
  • 1 TV
  • 1 TV stand
  • 1 set of ceiling lighting
  • 1 set of curtains or blinds for each window

Dining room 

Furnishing a dining room costs between $3,000 and $20,000. Similar to factors impacting the cost of furnishing a living room, total cost will depend on the size of the dining room and the quality of the furniture. Key dining room items to include are:

  • 1 dining room table
  • 4-12 dining table chairs
  • 1 sideboard or display case
  • 1 set of ceiling lights 
  • 1 set of curtains or blinds for each window

Kitchen

Furnishing a kitchen costs between $3,000 and $30,000, with kitchen cabinets having the largest impact on the final cost: they can add anywhere from $2,500 to $20,000 to your total spend. Large kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators, stoves, ovens, and dishwashers, can also quickly drive up the price. Furnishing essentials for the kitchen include:

  • 1 microwave
  • 1 coffee machine
  • 1 toaster
  • 1 kitchen table or island
  • 2-4 kitchen table chairs or stools
  • 2-4 sets of utensils 
  • 2-4 mugs 
  • 2-4 cups 
  • 2-4 plates
  • 1 large garbage bin
  • 1 set of ceiling lights
  • 1 set of curtains or blinds for each window 

Bathroom

Furnishing a bathroom shouldn’t cost more than $1,000. As long as all sinks, showers, bathtubs, and toilets are in good condition, you won’t need to make any major purchases. Key bathroom items to acquire include:

  • 1 shower curtain
  • 1 shower liner
  • 1 medium or large shower shelve
  • 1 wastebasket
  • 1 plunger 
  • 1 toilet brush 
  • 1 bath mat 
  • 1 soap dispenser 
  • 1 toothbrush holder

Home office

Furnishing a home office can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $15,000. Prices vary based on the quantity and quality of office items purchased. Every home office should have:

  • 1 desk
  • 1 office chair
  • 1 desk light
  • 1 laptop stand
  • 1 desk organizer
  • 1-2 power strip(s)
  • 1 set of ceiling lights
  • 1 set of curtains or blinds for each window

Outdoor space

Furnishing an outdoor space, such as a patio or backyard, costs between $3,000 and $20,000.

The price and type of outdoor furniture you’ll need will depend on the kind of space you’d like to create. A few outdoor items you may want to include are:

  • 2-4 pool lounge chairs
  • 1 patio umbrella or gazebo
  • 1 outdoor dining set
  • 1 outdoor grill
  • 1 fire pit
  • 1 hot tub

Tips on creating a furnishing budget

The best way to avoid overspending on furniture you don’t need is to create a furnishing budget. Furnishing an entire home can be expensive, but there are strategic ways you can cut back on costs. We've assembled some important concepts to keep in mind when creating a furniture checklist for your rental:

Prioritize needs over wants

When furnishing your rental for the first time, you should prioritize what a guest will need over what they'd like to have. Every rental needs basic household items such as a bed, kitchen table, dining chairs, kitchen utensils, and lighting. Purchase these anchor pieces first, and then assess if your budget can accommodate non-essential items like decorations, throw blankets, etc. 

Rental homeowners should note that different types of rentals will require different kinds of essential furniture. For example, a mid-term rental catering to business travelers should have a home office with at least a desk, chair, and charging station. A vacation rental located in the woods, on the other hand, might forgo an office for a cozy lounging room with a fireplace and comfortable throw pillows.

Fill rooms strategically

Prioritize furnishing the rooms that will be used the most: focus on the primary bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom. When furnishing, keep in mind guests need space to move around and unpack their things — make sure to provide adequate room for your tenants to make the place feel like home.

Focus on quality over quantity 

Whenever possible, purchase quality items that will stand the test of time. This is especially important if you're hosting a short-term rental with a high guest turnover. For instance, bed frames and dining chairs will experience a lot of wear over the years, so invest in pieces that can bear the frequent use to keep yourself from having to purchase new furniture every few months.

How to find the best furniture deals

In addition to implementing these budgeting tips, you should also be aware of four ways to find the best deals on furniture. Here’s what property owners need to know:

Shop secondhand

Thrift stores are hidden gems. Although most thrift stores sell secondhand clothing, some sell a wide range of home goods including sofas, love seats, blankets, dinnerware, and decor. Check out some of the local thrift stores in your area before heading to the department store — you’re likely to find unique deals.

Ask family and friends 

Another way to save money on furniture is to purchase it off of loved ones. Chances are they’ll charge you a lot less than a furniture store would; they might even give it to you for free!

Search online marketplaces

Rental owners can also look for furniture deals from the comfort of their homes. Online marketplaces such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and eBay are great places to start. After you’ve made a list of your essential items, run a quick search on these sites to get an idea of price and design options.

Property owners would benefit from running an online search whether they plan on purchasing furniture online or not. Searching for specific items online before heading out to thrift or department stores allows you to compare and contrast your options, making you less likely to purchase overpriced items.

Purchase at strategic times

Purchasing furniture at certain times throughout the year can also help you save money. Large furniture and department stores tend to have sales on holiday weekends such as President’s Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. These stores normally refresh their inventory every season, so shopping for furniture towards the end of the summer or late winter could increase your chances of snagging a deal on items they’d like to get rid of.

January and July are the best months to shop for indoor furniture, while July through September is the best time to shop for patio furniture. Meanwhile, mattresses tend to be cheaper at the beginning of the year, and kitchen appliances are cheaper in the fall. 

How much does it cost to furnish an Airbnb rental?

Furnishing an Airbnb can cost anywhere between $3,000 and $50,000. Property owners hosting a modest studio or 1-bedroom rental can furnish their space with a few basic pieces and minimal decor, while luxury rentals require a larger quantity of high-quality pieces to attract the right customers.

Regardless of the kind of rental you have, all Airbnb hosts should focus on providing a comfortable stay and creating an aesthetically pleasing listing. This helps attract more guests, generate consistent bookings, and obtain better reviews. Here are some additional tips to implement when furnishing an Airbnb:

Keep target guests in mind

Before buying any furniture or decor, think about the type of guest you’ll be hosting. Are they business travelers? Will they be cooking often? What rooms will they use the most? Answering these questions will help you accommodate your guests’ specific needs. 

Furnish according to rental type

Choose furniture and decor that complements the home’s existing design and aligns with its location. If your Airbnb is in a rural area, rustic interiors may work best. If your Airbnb is located in the city, modern or industrial decor makes sense. Consider hiring an interior designer if you're having trouble coming up with design ideas.

Invest in quality furniture

Another tip Airbnb and other short-term rental hosts should be aware of is the need to invest in quality furniture. Any home seeing more than one set of guests every month needs to be furnished with items made from sturdy materials like wood and metal to ensure long-term functionality.

Choose low-maintenance pieces

Lastly, try your best to choose furniture that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Glass tabletops are fragile and demand frequent dusting, and stains on suede furniture can prove challenging to remove.

Low-maintenance furniture, on the other hand, opens up a real estate investor's time, allowing them to focus on income-generating activities instead. Opt for furniture that is stain-resistant whenever possible. 

The bottom line on home furnishing costs

Whether you’re renting out a single-family home in the country or a compact studio apartment in the city, you’ll need to create a smart budget. Your furniture budget should be based on property size, rental type, and guest needs. 

To keep costs low, property owners should be aware of the factors influencing costs, shop at thrift stores and online marketplaces, ask family and friends for spare furniture, and purchase furniture at strategic times. Property owners are also encouraged to focus on quality pieces over quantity and prioritize guests' needs over wants. Not only does this help you save money on furniture in the long run, but it also helps guests maximize their stay at your rental. 

Ultimately, the goal is to strike a balance between affordability and quality, ensuring a comfortable and inviting space that meets guest needs while enhancing the property's appeal and potential for positive reviews.

Vivian Tejada

Vivian is a freelance real estate writer based in Brooklyn, NYC providing SEO blogging services to real estate companies. Her work focuses on educating first-time real estate investors on investment strategy and explaining proptech tools to new customers.

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