If 2018 was the year of direct-to-consumer, 2019 might very well be the year of the rentable lifestyle. You can already rent chairs, desks, and tables. Even Ikea is getting in on the action, toying with the idea of leasing furniture.
Now, West Elm is offering rentable textiles through a partnership with fashion startup Rent the Runway. The two companies recently announced a partnership to make bundles of West Elm textiles available for lease.
West Elm stylists curate the textiles, which include pillows, throws, shams, quilts, and duvets, and group the goods into 26 different bundles. There’s a bedroom bundle that includes throws, quilts, coverlets, and pillows, and a living room bundle that will get you decorative pillows and throws.
Getting one of the bundles is like renting anything else through Rent the Runway’s online service. The bundles count as an item in the services’ “update” and “unlimited” plans ($89 and $160 respectively), which means you can swap out colors and styles on a regular basis.
The logic, as West Elm sees it, is that people want to treat their house like they treat their closet. They want choice, flexibility, and the ability to try a new style without fully investing. Plus, they claim, renting is ultimately more sustainable than owning and tossing once you get tired of a blanket.
For some people, the thought of sharing blankets and pillow cases may be a step too far. But for people who’ve just moved and haven’t quite pinned down their style, it could prove valuable. Trying out different combinations without throwing down hundreds of dollars at once is enticing. And West Elm gets the best of it—once people find what they’re looking for, they might just go ahead and buy it anyway.