There is something quaint about the average college apartment, filled with an eclectic mix of hand-me-down dishes, thrifted decor, and second- (or third-) hand pieces of furniture. Once you’ve graduated, however, it’s probably about time to graduate from that aesthetic, too. While you may be living that broke postgrad life for a bit, you can start upgrading your first adult apartment little by little. But what is due for an upgrade first, and how long should those college apartment pieces really last? Here are some of the expected lifespans of common college items and when you should consider upgrading to professional versions.
Of course, it’s important to take all of these suggestions with a grain of salt because your mileage will vary based on various factors. The new-to-you coffee table you found on the sidewalk may have more years on it than you can guesstimate, and that microwave you shared with five roommates probably aged quicker than the average. In other words, use your judgment when it’s time to really start “adulting” and replacing your dorm room furniture.
A good mattress can last between seven to ten years, depending on its original quality, composition, and how well you’ve cared for it. If you grabbed the cheapest innerspring option you could find, you’ll be due for an upgrade sooner than if you invested in a high-quality latex option that you’ve meticulously cared for. If your mattress is sagging, you’re waking up stiff and achy, or you simply know your mattress is a decade old, it’s time to get a new one. Good sleep is worth it!
Mattresses are important for your sleep quality, and as a new grad, you’ll likely have to opt for a budget-friendly option that’ll make its way to a landfill in a few years.
However, with CORT Furniture rental, you can get a comfortable, supportive mattress here and now — which means you don’t have to worry about tossing and turning through your first real job.
Similarly to a mattress, a bed frame can show its age through poor sleep quality. If your bed frame is creaky, causing your mattress to sag, or visibly showing signs of deterioration, it’s time to upgrade. That said, you may also need a larger size bed frame for your new space or want your young adult bedroom furniture to reflect your more mature, “professional” style.
Bedframes need to suit both your space — and your mattress. If you’re in your first apartment post-grad, it’s unlikely you’re in a stage to buy “forever furniture” or even know where your “forever city” will end up being.
Given that your living space (and post-grad life!) will probably be in flux for a few years, you’ll want the freedom to select a bed frame and other furniture pieces that continue to suit your evolving needs, style, and space — which can make renting a better option versus storing (or hauling) a budget-bed frame from city to city.
On average, a nice couch can last you seven to 20 years. As much as you love that dingy couch from Facebook Marketplace that served as seating for every pregame senior year, pass it down to a current college student so it can spend its golden years where it belongs. You’ll be amazed by how responsible and adult you feel with a high-quality, unstained couch as the focal point of your living room, and an excellent couch is essential furniture for your first apartment.
If you aren’t sure where you’ll be living for the next few years or opt for a digital nomad lifestyle for a while, moving a sofa around can be annoying at best and backbreaking at worst – especially if you’re in a new city without friends you can bribe with pizza! Renting a living room set can eliminate the “pivot!” hassle while giving you a personalized look that’ll make your new place feel like home.
Dining Room Table & Chairs
An excellent dining set can last 15 to 20 years, sometimes even longer. A college apartment and an “excellent dining set” rarely belong in the same sentence. If your chairs are wobbly or the tabletop is scratched, you’re due to upgrade furniture. However, for many recent college grads, your first apartment furniture will include your first actual dining set. Your dining set may even end up being your preferred work-from-home flex space!
However, like mattresses and couches, dining tables and chairs have to fit your space! A small bistro table may best suit your post-grad pad for now, but you won’t likely get the full 15- to 20-year lifespan out of a set you buy here and now. In 15-20, you may be ready to upgrade to an expansive 10-person dining table — or have a totally different style.
Pots & Pans
The general advice is to replace high-quality nonstick pots and pans every five years. Cheaper, lower-quality pans may only last one or two years. However, regardless of their initial quality, if they appear warped, scratched, discolored, or generally tired, you need to replace them even earlier than that. Damaged pots and pans can cause cooking issues at best and safety issues at worst.
You’ll likely be losing your dining hall privileges (or upgrading from 2 a.m. PB&Js or lunchtime ramen) — which means you’ll need good pots and pans to whip up your meals. (Nothing says adulting more than meal prepping on Sundays). Quality pots and pans may come with a bit of sticker shock! Instead of purchasing, consider opting for a comprehensive furniture rental package, including kitchen appliances and must-haves.
Of all kitchen appliances, microwaves tend to degrade the quickest. However, you can still typically get a good seven to eight years out of a microwave if you’ve taken decent care of it. If you notice any strange smells or weird noises from your former college dorm room microwave or that it’s taking twice as long to cook your favorite breakfast burrito, it’s time to get a newer model.
Even small appliances can be rented if they aren’t included in your apartment, from your microwave to a coffee maker that’ll ensure you show up to work bright-eyed every morning.
Rugs are an integral piece of home decor. A typical rug can last five to ten years, but this will vary based on quality, foot traffic, etc. If your rugs look faded, worn, stained, or matted, they can be swapped out.
Rugs are an easy way to switch up your style and change the entire feel of your home. However, high-quality rugs can be very expensive, while low-quality rugs can fall apart and shed. If you want the freedom to change up your style without compromising quality, renting rugs along with your living room set can be a great solution.
Bedding & Pillows
Did you know that pillows should be replaced every one to two years? According to the experts, pushing pillows past this point can result in exacerbated allergies, neck soreness, and overall discomfort. Meanwhile, your sheets should be replaced every two to three years, while duvets and comforters can last anywhere from five years to a couple of decades, depending on their care.
If you’ve ever tried to move all of your bedding and pillows, you know how prone they are to getting filthy (hello, mystery moving truck gunk) and damaged. When we say that you can rent everything you need with CORT, we mean everything – down to the linens!
OK, wall art may not break down or show wear like the other pieces mentioned in this post, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t reached the end of their lifespan. While your Greek letters and concert posters looked phenomenal in your college apartment, you’re probably ready for a change now that you’ve officially embarked on adult life. You’ve matured, and your interior design tastes inevitably have, too.
It’s likely that your tastes — and wall space — will evolve over time until you settle in to a unique-to-you decor style. While it’s wise to collect a few pieces you’re excited about over time to create a curated aesthetic. For now you can fill in the space with rentable, high quality wall art and experiment with your style at every rental period.
Furnish Your First Home with CORT
You’ve officially outgrown your college furniture, and you’re ready and eager to be a first-time furniture buyer – but the price tag and commitment of buying furniture are holding you back. Sure, you could fill your new adult space with cheap and easily disposable pieces, but that’s not exactly an upgrade from your college dorm.
Enter CORT, your solution for enjoying high-quality, durable furniture that reflects this new chapter without the long-term commitment or hefty upfront investment. Plus, the CORT team will deliver and pack your furniture for you, so you don’t have to deal with any transport hassles.
Replacing all of your college wares can feel daunting. Those pots and pans have been through many late-night study sessions. That chair has seen countless roommate movie marathons. But as you settle into your career, it may be time to let go of your old stuff and upgrade, whether you’ve put down roots or plan to live as a digital nomad for the foreseeable future. You’re in a transitional phase of your life where everything is new, and you’re still establishing your identity. You may move frequently and live a life that’s not totally permanent or become a digital nomad. That’s okay! That’s what this time of your life is for. By renting instead of purchasing, you can embrace a transitional lifestyle and not feel tied down to your old furniture or even new furniture that you’ve purchased.
CORT Furniture Rental allows you to decorate your home with high-quality, stylish furniture without the commitment of buying. Enjoy Furniture on Your Terms — Choose your lease term and the furniture package that best suits your space and style. We’ll deliver and set up your furniture and take it away when your lease ends. Visit your local CORT showroom or start building your furniture package online today.