If you rent a “furnished” room, apartment or home, basic furniture--such as bed, couch, table, and chairs, and sometimes kitchen items--will be considered part of the rental property. The rent will probably be slightly higher, but you will not have to go out and purchase furniture. This can offer a good solution for students who only plan to stay in the U.S. for a short time.
If you plan to stay for longer, you may find it more cost effective and preferable to buy your own furniture. You can find used furniture from many resources in order to avoid having to pay for new items. Thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, ARC, etc.) can be found all over the U.S. and sell used furniture that people have donated when they no longer want or need it. Garage and yard sales, flea markets, online and campus bulletin boards, as well as newspaper classified ads also provide many options for used furniture at reduced prices.
Some online resources include Craigslist.org (for your specific area), ebay.com, Smarter.com, Swap@home.com, Facebook’s Marketplace, etc. You can also rent furniture in the U.S., but it is considered a rather expensive alternative. (For a listing of businesses that rent furniture, look under “Furniture Renting & Leasing” in the yellow pages of the phone book.)
Sometimes, unwanted furniture might be placed on the curb by the owner who no longer needs it, but doesn’t want to go to the trouble of selling it. It is usually quite well used/worn, but for some, it is better than nothing and you can’t beat the price! When you see these items on the curb, usually with a sign reading “Free” or “Take Me”, it is acceptable to stop and load them up without asking permission.
Many ISI staff around the U.S. organize Garage Sale Giveaways at the beginning of each school year. Volunteers bring furniture they no longer use or need to one location on a particular day, and ISI coordinates for international students to come and choose what items they might need, at no cost. Usually ISI has also arranged for transportation of the items selected to be delivered to the student’s home. This gives an example of how ISI works to serve and befriend international students in towns and cities around the country as they settle in to life in the U.S.