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  • Writer's pictureHeather Petrone

How to Shop for Ready-To-Assemble Furniture

Before you buy a piece of furniture for your house, make sure you do one very important thing: measure! Figure out the dimensions of your space. If it’s an item that has drawers, be sure to take into account the extra room you’ll need to open the drawer or door cabinet. Leaving 12” to 16” of breathing room is usually a good idea. Some pros even go as far as taping off the dimensions of the furniture on the floor or wall with painters’ tape to get a really good visual of how it will work in the space. You can even then go a step further and take a picture of the space taped off and Photoshop a transparent image of the furniture if you’re good with Adobe products or other computer design software.

Ready to Assemble Furniture
How to Shop for Ready to Assemble Furniture

Next, consider the material of your ready-to-assemble product. What’s the piece of furniture made of? Particle board? Wood veneer? Hardwood? If you’re looking for something cheap, most likely you’ll be assembling an item made from particle board. Don’t expect this furniture to last long. If the furniture has a wood veneer laminate over the particle board and it’s positioned directly near a window, you can expect the veneer to start lifting as the glue will heat up in direct sunlight. We’ve seen this happen often with cheaper ready-to-assemble furniture. Hardwood is your best bet as it’s the strongest, however, it is the most expensive.

It’s a good idea to inspect the floor models before buying any flat pack furniture. Floor models get a lot of wear and tear as consumers test out the product daily. Look for red flags such as missing knobs, chipped veneers, gaps, or sections that seem to be coming apart. Also, consider the return policy before buying ready-to-assemble furniture. Will you need a receipt? Can it be returned within a number of days? Is the furniture under warranty for a specific amount of time? Ask a sales associate these types of questions. Depending on who you get, you may find the sales associate to be less than helpful. Don’t stop there, ask someone else. Heck, maybe even call the store’s customer service line if you feel like you’re not getting all the answers you need.

Remember, buying furniture is an investment and if you buy the right kind, you’ll have it for years to come. Do your research before buying items on a whim or else you could be stuck with furniture you don’t like, is cheap, or doesn’t work in your space.

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