10 Tips for Buying Self-Assembly Furniture

10 Tips for Buying Self-Assembly Furniture

The hottest trend in furniture is spending less, and still getting a quality product in return. With the popularity of stores like IKEA, self-assembly furniture is affordable and more main stream than years past. Self-assembly furniture means furniture can be bought worldwide and shipped directly to your home. Although putting together furniture is perfect for some, others may have challenges in following instructions, losing pieces or understanding how the finished item will go together. Here are 10 tips you should consider when buying self-assembly furniture.

1.) Ask a friend before you buy: Even though a furniture item says ‘self-assembly’ doesn’t mean you can always put it together by yourself. Large furniture such as bookshelves, dressers and desks may require another set of hands.

2.) Stick to brands you know: Self-assembly furniture comes in a wide array of qualities and from manufacturer’s around the world. Choose brands that you’ve heard of to assure quality and comfortably with returning items. If your items has missing pieces or you need customer service, a known manufacturer is a plus.

3.) Research difficulty level before your buy: Similar to a do it yourself project that you wouldn’t start if you didn’t know the difficulty first, the same is true for furniture. Check with the manufacturer’s guidelines and/or product description before buying.

4.) Shipping and handling rates: If you are buying your self-assembly furniture online, check out much it will cost to ship it to you. Most furniture is considered bulk rate and will have a certain fee based on its dimensions and weight. A price that is too good to be true, may be so if you don’t research the shipping costs first!

5.) Know the return policy: When buying self-assembly furniture check to see where to return the product if you need to. Some furniture manufacturers will not accept you taking it back to the store, and you may have to ship it to a warehouse or distribution facility. This information should be available in the instructions or by asking a customer service representative when ordering.

6.) Be patient: While some people may be able to put furniture together quickly, others may struggle and patience is key. If you are not a patient person or are working with a friend who isn’t consider buying already built furniture. Self-assembly items shouldn’t be rushed through, but once you finish, the accomplishment will be priceless.

7.) Count out your pieces before you begin: Most quality self-assembly items will come with a graphic diagram of each of the pieces, and the count for each type of piece. Count out the items thoroughly before beginning.

8.) Ensure you have the right tools: Simple self-assembly furniture may come with a simple tool to tighten screws and nuts and bolts. While more challenging furniture may require power tools. Ensure you have these, or can rent or borrow them to complete your project.

9.) Research recalls: It is natural for furniture manufacturers to have recalls, but too many from one company may be a red light to stay clear of buying future items from them. Safety recalls concerning baby furniture, and choking hazards should be researched before you invest in a self-assembly item.

10.) Get help taking it home: The packaged furniture in a box can be extremely heavy and dense. If buying from a store ask for assistance to get it in your car, and make plans for how you will get it in your home. Often times opening the box in your car, and carrying pieces one by one can satisfy this issue.

Self-assembly furniture is a great idea for people who want to save money and still have quality furniture. When choosing, go through these 10 tips before you invest time, energy and money. The reality of the work to assemble the furniture may be daunting or it can be rewarding. Whichever is your scenario, self-assembly furniture just keeps getting better.

Freshome readers what advice would you add on to our 10? Leave your comments below.


  • Thomas F Andersen November 21, 2010 at 12:58 PMLogin to Reply →

    Great article.

    Point 4 and 6 are particularly good advice here.

    Point 7 sucks. I never count all the bits and pieces of my IKEA furniture. Never. What sucks more, though, is when you do indeed miss a key piece or two. However it will suck regardless of whether you counted or not because you usually always want to get on with things right there and then.

    Like I have always said, good packing (from manufacturers) are as important a parameter of customer service as any. Customers hate to be missing items compared to what they should have received.

    By the way, I really like the setting in the first photo here with all the frames on the wall. Looks cozy…

  • Diane Torrisi November 21, 2010 at 13:48 PMLogin to Reply →

    I recently moved into my new home and bought several pieces of furniture from IKEA to mix with more higher end furniture. Unfortunately the nearest IKEA is 1 hour 20 minutes from where I live. Three of the pieces were missing their entire package of hardware !!! When I drove back to IKEA and told them this, they looked at me as if I were nuts !! Next time I will certainly open the box before I leave their parking lot to make sure I’ve got the whole package!!

  • Joe D. November 22, 2010 at 01:35 AMLogin to Reply →

    Since I actually make studio furniture that is RTA , I have a different perspective. I select RTA hardware that is of the highest quality so that it will be easy to assemble and make connections that are extremely strong. Look for all metal hardware, and stay away from plastic fittings. Connecting bolts which are screwed into metal inserts have much higher resistance to being pulled apart under use.

    With anything you buy you usually get what you pay for. Look for furniture that is made from real wood and plywood if you actually want it to last.

  • John November 22, 2010 at 02:03 AMLogin to Reply →

    Patience is key! No matter what you skills are, or what your experience is, self assembly projects can be very difficult. They are often made in other countries and they apparently don’t usually hire a translator.

  • Katja Nina November 22, 2010 at 07:18 AMLogin to Reply →

    I love Ikea stuff and I also love to put it together.. might just be one of the few who actually like doing it.
    Wall with frames on first picture looks so interesting and I want something similar in my house.

  • Vanessa Thompson November 22, 2010 at 14:43 PMLogin to Reply →

    Really good article. See also:
    I bet you would like to have one of these pieces

  • jacob November 23, 2010 at 02:13 AMLogin to Reply →

    It’s a challenge to buy and to put together all furniture for our home. Your advices really help those who’s find a difficulty on decorate their furniture. Well, now I’m trying to find some tips about home office. I want to give my home office a new look, and I got a good tips from here. Thanks for sharing….