It can feel intimidating to lay out thirty separate pieces of wood and metal, as well as the bags and bags of screws, wooden dowels and bolts needed to assemble flat-pack furniture, but don’t be daunted.
Retailers are constantly seeking ways to keep their costs down. As flat-packing allows the maximum amount of furniture to be crammed into the smallest possible area, flat-packed items are cheaper to transport and store. This saves both the retailer and the customer a lot of money. However, you will need to assemble the furniture yourself.
It can be a good idea to find out how much assembly is required before you purchase an item. Some pieces will require more than one person to assemble and it’s best to follow the instructions.
Putting furniture together mostly involves screwing bolts into planks so you can slot the planks into one another. It isn’t electrical engineering, and you won’t require any training to do it.
Before you begin, make sure you have all of the necessary tools. It’s common for flat-pack furniture to come with Allen keys. You may need your own screwdriver, too. Be sure to keep all of the screws, bolts and dowels in their little bags until they’re ready to use and store them in a safe place. Next, read the instructions from start to finish. Better yet, read them three times. This is one situation where you want to know all the spoilers before you get started!
When you’ve finished bolting and it comes to the actual assembly, it’s important to do everything in the correct order. There’s a reason the instructions are set out the way that they are and ignoring the sequence can lead to you having to unscrew and redo half a bookcase. Give yourself plenty of time to do the job right the first time. Don’t hesitate to spread it over several sessions if you need to. Avoid underestimating how much space you will need to assemble an item of furniture. An in-progress bed, bookcase, or tv cabinet can easily dominate your entire loungeroom.
FYI, try not to leave any screwed-in bolts pointing up for you to accidentally step on. It will absolutely ruin your day.
If you’re truly stuck you can hire professional assistance with assembly from a number of services. Some retailers may even offer to assemble your item, prior to delivery. Note that this completely ruins the whole point of buying flat-packed furniture because the whole ‘do-it-yourself angle’ is what saves you money.
By Grant J Everett, Panorama magazine
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