Flat pack furniture. It’s a phrase chilling enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. If you’ve lived it, then you know how horrific it can be.
Firstly, the instructions don’t make sense. That’s if the instructions even have words in them – some of them don’t. Instead you find yourself confronted by images, little stick figures with smiling condescending faces, all assembling something that looks so complicated you want to cry.
You’ll then, as you begin to build, find that there are problems. The holes aren’t pre-drilled, or if they are, they’re not in quite the right place. You also have to keep track of a thousand and one screws and different pieces, all of which seem determined to scatter in every direction imaginable.
If you finally battle through this and get to the finished piece, the punishment might not be over yet. The furniture might be unstable, too noisy, a bad fit for your household, just not quite like what you pictured when you bought it.
So what’s going wrong? And what can you do about it?
Sometimes, The Furniture Just Isn’t Great
Not all flat pack is born equal. Some might be everything they look to be on the website or in the catalogue – others might fall well short. The annoying thing is that there’s no way of knowing. You might be able to go and see an assembled piece in a store, but that doesn’t mean it’s been assembled in the same way you will be able to at home.
It’s also not the case that by paying more, you’ll get a better result. You can get great cheap flat pack and terrible expensive flat pack – it’s always a risk. So if something doesn’t live up to expectations, make a note of it and try to make it work.
Improving Bad Flat Pack
There are always things you can do to improve the furniture now you have it assembled. If a return is too much hassle, then you can make adjustments to bring it up to scratch.
For example, you can revitalise a piece by giving it fresh drawer slides or new handles. This is especially good for the cheaper options, as they tend to have flimsy plastic handles or slides that will break within a month of using. By keeping the same structure but upgrading a few essentials, you can make an instant improvement.
If you have stability problems, then the best option might be good old fashioned glue in place of screws. If screw holes are too loose, it’s very hard to rescue them – so instead, opt for a wood glue and let it sit for 24 hours to dry before use.
Knowledge For The Future
If you are dissatisfied with flat pack from a particular store, then it makes sense to avoid that store in the future. But also scour the packaging; it might not have been produced by that store, but actually from a manufacturer who sells to multiple retailers. You don’t want to switch retailer and find yourself confronted with the same bad manufacturer, so always read the fine print so you know who to avoid.