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7 Mistakes To Avoid When Building Flat Pack Furniture

Flat-pack furniture is one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century. Give thanks to IKEA for the idea, which revolutionized the way we outfit and decorate our spaces. But flat pack has one major flaw: assembly can be a pain. No, not just a pain — a nightmare!

So many screws! Itsy-bitsy wooden pegs! You can feel the headache coming on just looking at the mess that spilled out of the box. So if you choose to take on the project yourself, prepare yourself in advance and you'll have no troubles building flat packed furniture.

Avoid these six mistakes to assure smooth assembly — and a gorgeous new home in no time.

7. Not Delegating

Don't force yourself to build alone unless you have to. Flat-pack projects are best done as a team. One person can handle putting together the frame; the other can assemble the drawers. Together, you'll move faster and more efficiently.

6. Squishing into a Small Space

Try to assemble your furniture in the most sizable space you have. Assembling a bed frame inside a tiny bedroom is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you have enough room to lay out all of the pieces individually, from the large wooden boards to the screws, pegs and wrenches. This goes doubly when assembling a large amount of furniture or putting together an expansive project, like kitchen cabinetry. Allocate enough space, otherwise you might wind up with a headache.

5. Forcing Something That Doesn't Fit

Is a screw loose? Does a peg not quite fit into its assigned hole? Don't keep pushing even when you know something's wrong. Take a step back and reassess — because you're probably using the wrong piece. Often, screws look awfully similar, with only slight differences in size. Some planks will have two holes for pegs, whereas others have three. If a piece isn't fitting, take the time to look at everything again.

Once the peg is in, it's in — there's no turning around. Make sure you're 100% positive you're assembling the furniture correctly, otherwise you may run into trouble..

4. Not Investing in Basic Tools

Flat-pack furniture brands insist you only need what comes in the box for assembly. Occasionally, they'll say you need a screwdriver, too. But true assembly heroes go one step further by investing in a basic tool kit.

Here are the basics you'll need:

Drill: This can save you hours of twisting and turning with a standard screwdriver. Any time a kit recommends utilizing a screwdriver, upgrade to this must-have power tool instead. BUT BE CAREFUL! Using a drill can also be a disaster and cause screws to strip or damage the wood.

Level: If you're building a table or chair, uneven legs will bother you for years. Ensure any horizontal surfaces are perfectly level before declaring your flat-pack artwork done.

Utility blade: These packages can be finicky to open. A utility blade gets you started faster.

Hammer: This essential tool is a must-have for flat-pack assembly. With so many joints joined by wooden pegs, you'll be glad for the additional... well, hammering power that a hammer provides.

3. Continuing, When It's Broken

If the surface of your brand-new flat-pack desk arrived broken in the box, then we recommend immediately contacting the company for a refund or replacement. But if you're responsible for the breakage, you still shouldn't keep moving forward with assembly.

A broken piece of furniture not only looks bad — it's potentially dangerous. If you're assembling an armchair, a wonky leg could send you smashing to the ground.

Pause assembly if you find something broken, and resist the temptation to fix it using duct tape. Your new furniture should be beautiful, functional — and not dangerous.

2. Not Laying out Materials Beforehand

Review the materials list, counting each set of screws and confirming that each wooden peg is present. Any missing pieces should be reported immediately, and any flat-pack company will be glad to send you replacements for free. Also ensure you have any additional materials the instruction booklet demands. Assembly may require a screwdriver or a hammer.

The goal of buying flat-pack is to move from box of parts to fully assembled furniture as quickly as possible. In the process, you'll likely make a mess, which will continue cluttering up your living room if you're missing a crucial piece. Prevent a half-assembled disaster by ensuring you have everything necessary before you start.

1. Ignoring the Instructions

Sure, you're the master of the monkey wrench — but that doesn't mean you should throw that handy instruction pamphlet into the recycling bin. Read the instructions carefully before you begin. It's just like following a recipe. Flat-packed furniture can be a bit finicky, and a single missed instruction may lead to disaster. Paying attention to what pieces go where — and when — ensures you'll have a beautiful piece (without the headache).


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