Photo of dining room table rental

Photo courtesy of Feather.

Moving is one of the most stressful aspects of living in New York City because it happens often, is costly and feels like it becomes more stressful each time. And the worst part? Dealing with furnitureFeather, a New York City-based furniture company, is the first to offer a furniture rental NYC subscription service where its members can rent furniture for 3- or 12-month time frames. Feather members have the option to swap out or return the furniture for different pieces when they move, redecorate, or need a change in style. Members also have the option to buy the pieces, and all furniture payments are applied to the purchase price.

Their mission is two-fold: To keep furniture in homes and out of landfills while also providing more flexibility when decorating and less stress during the moving process. In doing so, they help city dwellers create beautiful, quality homes that adapt to a changing lifestyle.

I had the opportunity to connect with the founder of Feather and pioneer of the subscription furniture industry, Jay Reno, who explained what motivated him to launch his furniture subscription empire.

“I’ve moved six times in the past eight years in New York City,” Jay explained. “Every time I moved, I needed different furniture because apartment layouts are so varied, and would end up throwing a lot of furniture away. I came up with Feather to help combat that process.”

10 Million Tons of Furniture Ends Up in Landfills Annually

Many New Yorkers, specifically renters, won’t invest time and money into decorating their apartments because they are typically on one or two-year leases. With companies such as Feather and others that are offering sustainable furniture solutions, such as Brooklyn-based Mobley, Brook Furniture Rental, and CasaOne, city dwellers now have the option to decorate their homes with contemporary pieces at a fraction of the cost, swap out items when needed, and reduce landfill waste.

Jay also explained that, according to the Environmental Protection Act, 10 million tons of furniture fills U.S. landfills annually. That equates to every individual in America throwing away one couch per year. Couple that with the fact that most Americans will move 12 times before they settle down and buy a home, and you’re talking about a lot of wasted furniture. Walk around the city for a few blocks and this will become immediately apparent: Sidewalks are always littered with couches, mattresses, coffee tables, and various other pieces of furniture (that often appear to be in good condition).

Feather members pay $19 per month (plus the cost of subscribing to the furniture), which includes free delivery and assembly. If you decide to purchase the items at any point during your membership, all payments that have previously been made are applied to the purchase price.

And we’re not talking about cheap furniture here. Feather offers high-quality, contemporary pieces such as Casper mattresses, West Elm couches, and Joybird dressers.

“I decided to name the company Feather because I believe your home’s furnishings should be as light and flexible as your moving patterns,” Jay explained. “If you decide that you want a new couch, you shouldn’t have to deal with the hassle of spending three weekends in a row shopping at furniture stores. You can simply select the item you want through Feather, and we’ll deliver and assemble the item for you, for free.”

Although Feather was only launched two years ago, it is growing rapidly. The company recently raised $12M in funding, totaling $16M in venture capital. It is expanding from New York City to cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Orange County, CA.

More Furniture Rental Companies Are Popping Up

In addition to Feather, I also had the opportunity to connect with Daniel Ramírez-Yunqué, who is the founder of Brooklyn-based furniture rental company, Mobley, which was launched from the Harvard Innovation Labs and is led by Harvard Business School Alumni.

For those who are on the fence about purchasing a $1,200+ couch and are unsure where they’ll be living in the next year or two, Daniel helped put things into perspective by offering a comparison between renting versus buying.

He explained that leasing the Zephyr Sofa from Mobley, which is similar to this Sven sofa from Article, comes with free white-glove delivery and assembly and costs $885 for the year ($58 per month + $189 pick-up fee at the end of the rental). Buying the Sven sofa, on the other hand, will cost $1,414 ($1,299 + $115 in sales tax).

This furniture rental option is also particularly great for those living with roommates, since there is always the question as to who should buy which pieces of furniture during move-in and who gets to keep what at the end of the rental period.

The next time you find yourself feeling the itch to buy a new piece of furniture, consider some of these scenarios: What happens if you need to move or relocate in the next year or two? Or, what if you decide that you want a different couch or sectional in the next few months? Is it really worth it to pay movers or deal with the hassle of selling it on Craigslist, only to recoup 20 to 35% of the value?

After personally going through the stress-fueled experience of moving in New York City five times in the last five years, I can emphatically say that the options companies such as Feather, Mobley, and others provide make moving and redecorating much less of a headache and far more convenient, sustainable, and affordable.