You’ve signed a lease on a new apartment, you’ve got a new roommate to live with, now all you need to worry about is decorating. What’s the color scheme going to be? Are you going to make a big Ikea run or splurge on a piece or two from Pottery Barn? How many decorative pillows on the couch is too many? We love decorating as much as the next person, but hold your horses so we can give you a few rules we live by when it comes to roommates and splitting furniture.
As if sharing an apartment isn’t already hard enough, splitting the costs of couches, TVs, coffee tables, lamps, dishes, and everything else it take to get your apartment ready to live in can be a nightmare. Divvying up all the pieces again when you move out can make enemies of even the best of friends. Not to mention, leaving furniture behind is never a good idea. Landlords will often take the cost of removing leftover pieces out of your security deposit.
So how can you cover the costs of new furniture without breaking the bank or your friendship? Read on for some of our strategies on dividing up your furniture and household items peacefully.
PC: My First Apartment
The best way to split the cost of furniture is for each roommate to be responsible for a few individual pieces, instead of splitting the cost of everything down the middle.
Before you start spending, you and your roommate need a game plan. First step, we recommend taking inventory of what everyone already has. This way, you won’t waste money buying multiple items that just end up in the back of a closet.
From there, make a list of everything that needs to be purchased, research the price of each item, and assign all the items to you and your roommates equally. This way, everyone is spending roughly the same amount, and knows exactly what is theirs and their responsibility.
So when walking through Ikea, you pay for the couch while your roommate can get the rug and coffee maker, or visa versa. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did it this way when you move out.
Now, when it comes to move-out day your job is going to be ten times easier. Everyone knows exactly which pieces of furniture they own, and they can freely take them to their next place. Everyone walks away with an equal value of furniture, so the whole squad wins.
If someone is particularly fond of the couch you bought and would like to keep it, there’s also ways to put a price on it. You could find out how much it’s worth now with Splitwise Fairness Furniture Calculator. Similar to what Kelley Blue Book does for cars, this app will tell you how much your furniture is worth. It takes into account how much you originally paid for it, when you bought it, and the condition of it then and now.
Finally, on move-out day make sure you correctly dispose of everything you don’t want. No one wants to haul that cheetah-print rug with the red wine stain from place to place.
The NYC Department of Sanitation has strict rules about removing furniture. For big objects like refrigerators, you have to schedule a pick-up. Smaller items such as couches and mattresses can sometimes be put out on the sidewalk, but make sure to check your building’s rules first.
Some buildings allow you to get a plastic furniture disposal bag, and put it out on trash day, while others have stricter policies. If the building gets a fine for you disposing your furniture incorrectly they’ll probably pass that onto you, so do your research before you move out.
PC: local ecology
Now that we’ve got all of that settled, you’re free to work on the more exciting parts of decorating for your new place. Go wild, pick out your color scheme, and start decorating!