Monday 20 November 2017

How to avoid damaging your flatpack furniture

I recently bought a new house and am trying to save money by buying some self assembly furniture.

However when I previously helped some friends with this I realised it's not as simple as it looks and sometimes the furniture can get damaged in the process. Would you have any tips?

While it's always nice to browse around a store to get inspiration, if your time is limited check out the store's catalogue and website from the comfort of your home and make a list.

Ikea's website allows you to check the level of stock at your local store and it lists the location numbers of each item.


Make sure you measure your room carefully, to check everything will fit. Ikea have some really good room planning software on their site that you download onto your PC, then plan out exactly what you can fit where.

After entering the dimensions of your room, you can drag and drop wireframe items from the virtual catalogue, position them correctly in the room and then view it in 3D from every angle.

If you're buying large pieces of furniture, you should check that you have enough height in the room to assemble it.


When buying large items, think about how you're going to get them home. It can save a lot of time and frustration if they won't fit into a car to plan in advance and get help from a mate with a van.

Assembly space

Before assembling at home, clear a large flat area close to where you want the furniture.


Read the instructions from cover to cover before you start. Then count out all the parts and screws before you start to check that you've got all the items listed.


Also check the instructions to see if you'll need tools. A lot of flat packs come with alum keys for tightening screws but some need a Phillips screwdriver. The most important tool is the cordless drill. A rubber mallet will also gently knock parts together without marking wood.

Get some help

Most flat packs are much quicker to put together if there are two of you, as one can hold the parts in place while the other tightens the screws.

Read carefully

Compare the parts to their images in the instructions carefully before screwing anything together, looking at the positions of all the holes to check you've got everything the right way round.

Tighten it up

Make sure everything is tightlty screwed together. If the flat pack has wooden dowels, fix these in place with wood glue as it makes less likely to fall apart. Small bedside drawers appear to be especially prone to falling apart over the years, probably due to stuffing too much into them!

Check angles

Use a spirit level to check everything is square and level. My new wardrobes were leaning slightly forward once they'd been pushed up to the wall, so I used small squares of wood under the feet to chock them up slightly at the front. Adjust any door hinges to make sure the doors hang correctly.

Irish Independent

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