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Flat-Pack furniture is a beautiful thing. It’s affordable, it’s easy to transport, and it gives you the chance to hone your inner Bob the Builder.
Whether you need furniture that’ll fit up the staircase of your new home, or you simply like the idea of putting something together with your own hands, having the right tools and know-how will help ensure your new piece will stand the test of time.
Here’s our guide to all the tools you’ll need to assemble your flat-pack furniture, along with some creative ideas for adding a personal touch to your new (or old) items.
What is flat-pack furniture?
What are the advantages?
What tools will I need?
Tips for assembly
Ideas for customisation
What is flat-pack furniture?
Flat-pack furniture (also known as ready-to-assemble furniture) is a type of furniture that comes packaged in separate pieces for easy transport, and requires the customer to put some or all of it together.
It’s generally pretty easy to assemble, and only requires the use of basic tools. These are sometimes included in the packaging, along with instructions.
The flat-pack movement is gaining popularity for its affordability and convenience, especially among people who are moving home or prefer to save a little by putting it together themselves. If you’ve ever tried getting a pre-built piece of furniture up a narrow flight of stairs, you’ll know that flat-pack is the way to go when you’re fighting for space. It’s also a breeze to carry your furniture in pieces if you don’t have a second set of muscles to help you move.
What are the advantages of flat-pack furniture?
Flat-pack furniture is loved for many reasons. People from all walks of life choose it because it is:
Tools For Flat-Pack Furniture
While most flat-pack furniture will include the tools required to assemble it, sometimes you need more than an Allen key and flat spanner. Be equipped with these basic tools to ensure you have everything you need to build your new piece.
Some flat-pack furniture requires nails to hold pieces together. A rubber mallet is perfect for flat-pack furniture, as it is less likely to cause damage than a metal hammer.
Many flat-pack pieces rely on screws to keep them together, so you should always be prepared with:
Some flat-pack furniture materials split under the pressure of a drill, so be sure to read the instructions carefully before using any kind of power tool during assembly.
The tools required to build your flat-pack furniture will depend on the individual piece, so always read the instructions and gather the necessary tools before you start assembly.
Allen keys, Allen wrenches, or hex wrenches are generally a must-have when building flat-pack furniture. If your furniture requires but doesn’t include Allen keys, you can find them in a set that comes with several different sizes. While flat-pack furniture will normally require a smaller Allen key, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with a reliable set.
Again, flat spanners are a common necessity when building flat-pack furniture, and if your package is missing a flat spanner, you could be in trouble. Flat spanners also come in sets of different sizes. It’s a good idea to stock up on sturdy flat spanners if you’re a fan of flat-pack furniture, as they can often be easier to use than the somewhat disposable ones that come with your flat-pack furniture.
Tips for Assembling Flat-Pack Furniture
Now, we’ve all heard a few horror stories about assembling flat-pack furniture. But with a bit of preparation (and patience), putting your flat-pack furniture together can actually be enjoyable and rewarding. Follow these tips to make your DIY construction experience a good one.
Give yourself enough space
Choose a spot with plenty of room to move so you can lay out each of your pieces and use the required tools without obstruction. There’s nothing worse than starting to build something only to realise the whole piece won’t fit in the space. Use a measuring tape if you’re not sure.
Lay it out flat
Lay out each piece so it looks how it does in the instructions – before screwing or bolting anything together. Double and triple check the orientation of each piece, and ensure you have all the pieces and fasteners required.
Protect your pieces
The last thing you need is to get halfway through building your new piece of furniture and realise one of the pieces has been cracked or scratched. Use a mat or towel to protect the furniture parts from damage.
Check your parts
Make sure you have all the parts before you start to assemble the piece. There’s nothing as disappointing as being one piece away from completion only to find that piece is nowhere to be seen, so match up the parts in your pack with the parts in the instructions before you roll up your sleeves – especially the screws and fasteners!
You’ll probably need two sets of hands to assemble your furniture, so get a friend or family member on board.
Have some patience
Assembling furniture isn’t always a quick job. Give yourself plenty of time, and take your time to avoid errors or damage to the furniture. Instructions can be confusing, and pieces can be fiddly, so allocate yourself plenty of time.
Hold onto the tools
Keep the tools and instructions that came with your flat-pack furniture, as you’ll need them to disassemble and reassemble the piece if you move home. You’ll also need them to tighten screws and nuts if they loosen over time, so put them somewhere safe.
Makeover Ideas for Flat-Pack Furniture
One of our favourite things about flat-pack furniture is its customisability. These versatile pieces are designed to be simple and – dare we say it – generic to suit as many people’s styles and needs as possible.
This allows them to fit in with a range of existing home architecture and décor styles. It also offers endless possibilities for makeover ideas, so you can transform your flat-pack furniture from stock-standard to one-of-a-kind to suit your personal style!
Here are a few quick ways to give your flat-pack piece a unique look:
Whether you add a dark stain for a subtle change, or go bold with a bright hue, a fresh coat of varnish or paint is an easy way to give your furniture a whole new look.
Get creative with paint stencils or embrace the shabby-chic look with a distressed chalk paint makeover. We recommend scrolling through Pinterest for some funky inspiration.
Upgrade the Hardware
From your local hardware store to quirky antique centres, you’ll find a huge selection of doorknobs and handles to choose from.
Whether you opt for a modern look or an eclectic style, replacing the hardware on your flat-pack furniture can make a world of difference.
If you really want to get adventurous, try altering your piece altogether to suit your needs. For example, remove a door on your buffet to create open shelving as a great place to show off your record collection. Or add a panel of plywood to your hall console as a place to put your shoes upon entering the home.