I put together my first piece of IKEA furniture this week. It was a simple nightstand, but it took over an hour. Buying furniture at IKEA can be a great option for those who are on a tight budget, but the true cost of the furniture comes out hours later when you have to assemble it all yourself.
Everything from IKEA comes in boxes—which is nice if you have to transport it up three flights of stairs to your apartment like me. But once you open the boxes, the chaos begins. Follow these tips to make sure that bookcase doesn’t end up looking like a dresser.
Phone a friend
Probably the handiest tool you will have when putting together IKEA furniture is a friend. In fact, it’s so important that most of the assembly directions suggest a friend. Having a friend will decrease the time you spend building the furniture. It also helps to have a second set of eyes on the situation, to make sure everything goes in the right place. There’s nothing worse than diligently screwing in eight screws only to realize they are in the wrong spot (this happened during the construction of my nightstand). On the other hand, nothing beats the fulfilling feeling of accomplishment when everything fits into place.
Before you dig into the nuts and bolts of the situation, get everything organized. Spread out the pieces so that everything is visible and give yourself enough space. Try to keep all of the small pieces together so they don’t get lost. By organizing everything you reduce the risk of grabbing the wrong piece. Sometimes the illustrations on the IKEA directions can be very vague, so look carefully.
Don’t get ahead of yourself
You may think you’re great at multi tasking, but you are setting yourself up for disaster if you try to build a bed at the same time as a desk. You will only get confused. Be patient. Many of the steps are repetitive, but it’s important to follow the directions so that you don’t have to take it all apart again. Take it step-by-step and check it twice. It’s also not a bad idea to read through the IKEA directions a few time so you can get a big picture idea of where your project is going.
Use your own tools
Many IKEA projects come with their own mini tools. While they may be cute, they are not as efficient as regular sized tools, like the ones you already own. If you don’t have basic tools like a screwdriver or hammer, ask your friend that is coming over to help you put the furniture together.
Create a good work atmosphere
Putting together IKEA furniture can take a long time and it can get stressful. Put on some music or TV to keep everything enjoyable. My recommendation? The Oldies station on Pandora. Just be sure not to get too distracted. Also make certain that you have enough lighting. If the space is dim and hard to see, it will cause unneeded frustration and headaches.
If you are patient and work hard you will eventually build a great and inexpensive piece of IKEA furniture.