Tackling The Flatpack

It’s been 50 years since the first flatpack furniture hit the shops in the UK, and since then the concept of buying your furniture in bits and putting it together yourself has become the most popular way to get a new dining set, television stand or bed. Putting together flatpack furniture requires a certain level of skills, and there are several important things to remember before breaking open the boxes.

Read the Instructions

It sounds blindingly obvious, but the temptation is to rip the boxes open and start attaching table legs to bases without reading what you are supposed to do. Take the time to sort the different screws, nails and fixings into separate piles, checking that you have enough of each to complete the job before you make a start. Also take the time to work out which piece is which and get a general idea of how the pieces fit together to make the finished object.

Get Online

If you still can’t make head nor tail of the instructions, then it’s time to get the laptop out. Some flatpack instructions, especially the ones with just pictures rather than text are impossible to decipher and seeing someone make up the item helps considerably. Get onto a site like YouTube or Google, but rather than typing in a generic search term such as oak bedroom furniture, type in the specific product number of the item you are putting together. This should bring up any videos which show the assembly of the products. The beauty of watching a clip of someone else assembling the items is that you can pause and rewind as often as you need to get the process clear.

Get Someone Else In

A whole business sector has opened up to help people who are too busy to make up their own flatpack, or who would prefer not to spend hours with the screws and wood glue. Most joiners and carpenters will happily quote for putting your new oak bedroom furniture together for you, but often it won’t be cheap and it may be better to tackle the job yourself and spend the cash you save on some lovely new bedding for your room. If you still can’t face it, call in a favour from a friend or family member and ask them to give you a hand.

Steer Clear Altogether

It’s true that most of the cheaper furniture on the market is of the flatpack variety, but this isn’t true of second hand, vintage or more expensive items. The main issue with buying this sort of furniture is often the transport, as you will need at the very least a large estate car to transport a 1930s solid wardrobe home from the sale room or the auction. The other alternative is a new sort of home assembly furniture being pioneered by Marks and Spencer. They have developed a fold-out wardrobe which they claim can be put together in just 4 minutes, and has sections which click into place and can also be easily taken to pieces again if required.

  • Photograph of Flatpack Tools by Rober S. Donovan Via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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Guest article by Morag Peers writing for National Furniture UK, who’s online store provides great quality full or part assembled furniture such as Oak bedroom furniture and living furniture.