Figuring out how to furnish a temporary apartment without emptying your pockets can be a challenge. How do you come up with the furniture and decor you need to be comfortable and feel at home without wasting the average housing stipend for travel nurses you receive on things you’ll inevitably leave behind? 

If you’re planning to take a temporary position in a new city, you’re not alone. More than 25,000 nurses in the US work as travel nurses, taking assignments that generally last from 8 to 26 weeks unless you’ve availed of travel nursing extension1.

When there’s a market need, there’s bound to be someone to fill it, and furnishing temporary housing has an established business model through furniture leasing. But you can also look at a limited-time home as an opportunity to be playful, try out minimalism, or hone your bargain-shopping skills.

Let’s dive into all things apartment furnishing.

How Do You Furnish a Temporary Apartment?

The short answer, hopefully, is cheaply. 

The truth is, apartment furnishing can be incredibly expensive—especially if you’re trying to buy everything new. By considering used items, you can quickly furnish a temporary apartment and never even have to check the bank account.

To help you find tried-and-true bargain sources, consider: 

  • Garage sales – Garage and yard sales are a great way to find deals and uncover new interior design choices you’d never imagined. Plus, while you’re there, you can get to know the neighborhoods around you. 
  • Free furniture (if you can pick it up) – One step beyond the garage sale are the items that people will happily give away in return for you carting them off their property. Check Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Freecycle, OfferUp, and the Barter and Recycle sections of Reddit.2

How Do You Furnish an Apartment Long Distance?

Furniture leasing is a great model for either covering your furniture needs in an unfurnished apartment or starting out with critical pieces. At the same time, you fill the temporary space with bargains as you settle in. You can have  furniture with a short term lease of at least one month or indefinitely.

A great feature of this model is being able to shop online and have your items selected and your delivery day scheduled before you cross the country. 

CORT furniture rental has been around for decades, but there are more options to choose from depending on where you’re headed, such as Feather, Brook Furniture Rental, Oliver Space, and Aaron’s. 

Search for furniture rental by zip code or city to see which providers service the area and choose one that suits your style the best. 

Join our supportive community of travellers. Learn more!

Turning a New Apartment Into a Home

Creating a home is more than just unpacking your boxes and finding the perfect loveseat for Sunday evenings in front of the TV. You need room to give you that cozy, sigh-at-the-end-of-a-long-day feeling where you can fully relax and have a sense of space.

So, what makes it feel like home? Think about: 

  • Scent – Every realtor knows the trick of baking chocolate cookies before an open house to trigger a happy home feeling. What scents evoke feelings of safety and care for you? A high-quality vanilla candle might be something to add to your just-landed shopping list.
  • Color and pattern – You may have some flexibility in furniture lease selections, but you’re likely not going to be adding temporary wallpaper to this apartment, or installing custom drapery. Consider a large, lightweight throw that you can drape over a couch to provide a punch of red-orange, paisley, or whatever your favorite color or pattern is.
  • Texture – If you’re in a semi furnished apartment or unfurnished apartment with painted white walls and neutral flooring, you can introduce welcoming textures that feel velvety, soft, plush, or furry to generate warmth. Particularly if you’re in a new place on your own, you want your home to feel like a warm hug. This can be done through texture.

What Do I Bring With Me to a Temporary Apartment?

Of course, your new apartment will feel like a home if you transport every framed photo and decorative item in your possession. But aside from the hassle and cost, you’d be missing out on the opportunity to move lightly, start fresh, and try out new environments. 

Essential items that you can fit in a suitcase to help decorate the new digs may include: 

  • Custom-printed textiles – Order a throw with a funny family photo or occasional pillow covers with your favorite vacation snapshots from a vendor like Shutterfly or Canvas Champ.
  • Photos – Grab some copies of friends and family photos printed on full-size pages and some removable poster putty to hang them. They’ll cover more wall space and cause no worries if they’re damaged or lost. 
  • Practical items with sentimental value – If you’re headed to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, you’ll be bringing winter duds anyway, so why not pack the scarf your cousin knit for you inside a tote bag from your favorite hometown market? When you only have enough room for the necessities, look for the items that remind you of the people and places you love.

Ready to Plan Your Move?

If you are going to live in temporary quarters and changing jobs every few months, it helps to have a dedicated resource by your side every step of the way. At Host Healthcare, we partner with travelers to ensure their travel nursing experience is flawless.

We’ll work with you to find opportunities that will delight you professionally and support you in the process of becoming an active traveler. 

Reach out today to talk to one of our friendly recruiters. 



  1. Beaker, Full. “Travel Nursing Jobs for Registered Nurses.” Travel Nursing, 25 Aug. 2021,
  2. Smith, Jen. “The Best Places to Find Free Furniture.” Modern Frugality, 3 Feb. 2021,