How to Split Furniture Costs with Your Roommate – The Simple Steps

Originally posted on November 17, 2021 3:00 pm
Updated on November 15, 2021 4:10 pm

After months of searching for the perfect space, perfect roommate, and settling all lease papers… You are finally ready to move into your new apartment! How exciting, right? It feels like you have had to fight the hardest of battles to get here, so when you go to pick up your keys the biggest sigh of relief washes over your system. I’ve been there. Apartment hunting is an exhausting process, but once you cross over the wobbly bridge, everything that follows is nothing but exhilarating. You’re excited to decorate your new space, fill the walls with your favorite art pieces, allow Facebook Marketplace to swallow you whole and distract you from your 9-5, and most importantly have an inhabitable space at your leisure. 

Even though everything may seem like it’s easy breezy sailing from here on out, you do have to consider some things like splitting furniture costs with your roommates. I remember during my junior year of college I got an apartment with four other girls. It was great, we had the time of our lives, but each chipped in for almost all of the furniture items. Fast forward a year when it was time to move out, we ended up having a week-long dispute on who was going to take what because technically it was all of ours. To avoid this drama-filled spectacle we have put together a list of loose rules to follow when deciding which roommate is going to buy what and how to proceed with move-out. 

SPLIT THE BIGGER ITEMS, BUY THE REST INDIVIDUALLY 

Having to figure out who owes who what is always a very difficult process. You will find yourself adding up IKEA and Target receipts for hours on end while also trying to figure out the best way to split it evenly. To save yourself the inconvenience, discuss with your roommate/s which items you will each buy. I’ve had friends make spreadsheets that divvy up the rooms and then state what items belong in their respective spaces, then who will buy it. If you are this organized and good with Excel, then go for it! But, if you’re like me — bad at Excel and don’t care enough to do all of that, then some simple communication with your roomie will go a long way. You may find yourself in a scenario where you feel as if you’re buying more things for the apartment and your roommate is hardly purchasing anything. It happens. All you need to do is reach out and politely ask if they could buy a few more items. Maybe try naming the items you had in mind to avoid any confusion. 

 Before you go crazy buying a bunch of stuff for your apartment that you may never use, you should assess what you already have and go from there. On that note, it is very important to set boundaries with your roommate. Decide what items you each have that you’re comfortable sharing and vice versa. Then you can proceed with your haul. I have found that sharing most kitchen and living room items works best. Just as long as your roommate and their guests are respectful with your belongings, you shouldn’t have an issue. However, if they are to wreck anything it is most certainly their responsibility to replace it. No matter what. Speaking of which, make sure that you purchase renter’s insurance just in case any mishaps happen with your apartment or belongings!

I would recommend splitting the bigger items. I’m talking about couches, tables, rugs, TVs, really anything that is major that the both of you will get use out of. I know that we talked about potential issues with move out, but that can be easily avoided as long as you only have a few items to figure out. In the past, me and my roommates found it was best if we talked it out and paid back the remaining balance to whoever is not going to take the items. Essentially it is like you are selling/buying your half of the furniture. 

MOVE-OUT (THE DRAMA FREE WAY) 

As long as you don’t split costs for everything with your roommate then things should go relatively smooth. Whether you are taking your furniture with you to your next place or selling it online, you don’t owe your roommate an explanation about anything that isn’t theirs. That is unless they want to buy it from you… then that’s another story. But what you do with your items is none of their business! No problems there. However, let’s say you split the TV, the couch, the bookshelf in the living room, and the kitchen table. There are a few things you can do in this situation. Maybe you want to take the TV and the couch and they take the bookshelf and the kitchen table. This results in an even split! You can apply that thinking to really any of your shared items (just take half and half). Or, you can go with my earlier suggested method of selling/buying the items to each other.

If both of you agree on selling your items to other people, you should split however much you make from the sale right down the middle. This makes everything fair and square. Or if you decide to toss the items, I highly recommend bringing them to your local thrift store if that is an option. Otherwise you can put them on a popular street corner, take photos, post them on Facebook Marketplace and list your furniture for free with the location in the description. Just throwing away furniture (unless it is completely destroyed) is an absolute waste and even if you’re not interested in money, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! 

Remember that it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. I know splitting things can get tricky, but if you assess everything in the beginning then there won’t be issues at the end. You will get a long way by just communicating. Even if you feel like you are annoying your roommate, it is better to over-communicate than to not communicate at all. It could prevent a lot of feasible issues with not just furniture, but a lot of other things too! 

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