Even if you’ve never heard the term “flat pack,” you know what it means: furniture that you buy unassembled and comes delivered to you in a flat, tightly packed box. Popularized by IKEA and taking the internet by storm, flat pack furniture is everywhere — but is it stylish, and should you bother buying any to decorate your home?
The best answer is: It depends. Flat pack furniture runs the gamut from cheap, flimsy starter furniture to high-end and luxurious furniture, so it can easily fit into almost any home. However, flat pack offers a few significant advantages over traditional furniture in the following ways:
It’s More Affordable
No furniture is cheap. To furnish a bedroom — which includes buying a bed, nightstands, a dresser and maybe a bookcase — you can expect costs into the thousands. This is because traditional furniture is big and complicated; it takes time and skill to assemble furniture properly, especially when there are decorative details like upholstery, fretwork and turned legs. However, furniture is also expensive because traditional furniture retailers know that it is a modern necessity, so they can inflate their prices and still make sales.
Flat pack furniture tends to be much simpler, and more importantly, it comes disassembled, which means the work that skilled artisans would be doing is transferred onto you. Thus, you can reap greater savings by opting to furnish with flat pack over traditional, pre-built furniture styles.
It’s More Accessible
Flat pack furniture is everywhere these days. Most big box stores, like Target and Walmart, stock a bevy of flat pack options, and popular online furniture retailers, like Wayfair and West Elm, also deal mostly in unassembled goods. In fact, it might be easier to find flat pack furniture than it is to find the pre-built stuff.
What’s more, flat pack furniture is easier to fit into non-standard living spaces, like smaller apartments or rooms on higher floors. Instead of trying to maneuver a king bed up a narrow staircase, you can carry a thin box up the stairs and assemble your bed in place. Even better, you can hire a Riverside furniture assembly service to put the pieces together for you, so you don’t have to waste hours on end worrying about all the little pieces.
It’s More Customizable
When you pay $3,000 for a dining room set, you don’t want any harm to befall your brand-new tables and chairs — you might even avoid using your furniture for fear you might cause some type of irreversible damage. As a result, as your styles change, you’ll be stuck with the same furniture set you already invested in.
Meanwhile, because flat pack furniture is relatively cheap and also relatively plain, you can take more liberties in adjusting it to suit your unique style. In fact, there are many retailers and services that help you customize your flat pack purchases. For example, PrettyPegs is an online store that offers distinctive legs, knobs and cabinet fronts to upgrade your flat pack furniture into a special piece just for you. You can have your furniture assembly service apply these decorative touches, too, to ensure they go on correctly and look their best.
It’s More Sustainable
Most people are trying to be a bit greener in their day-to-day life, and how you by furniture could have a major impact on your carbon footprint. Furniture is made of all sorts of materials, many of which are less than sustainable, like hardwoods, or contain carcinogens, like formaldehyde and flame retardants. The Sustainable Furniture Council launched in 2006 to help consumers identify furniture companies that commit to eco-friendly practices and produce greener goods. You can use the search function on their website to guide your furniture shopping — or you can opt for flat pack first.
A large amount of flat pack furniture is made of MDF, a composite wood material created from what would otherwise become waste. While the production of MDF pieces and the transportation of flat pack furniture to your home does create carbon emissions, most flat pack furniture producers are taking steps to neutralize those impacts and generally improve their sustainability in the long-term, especially by making flat pack furniture more durable.
Flat pack furniture is easier to manufacture than traditional furniture, making it less expensive and more widespread than all types of furniture that came before. If you are looking for quick and easy furnishings, flat pack should be your first choice — but even if you want a chic, sophisticated look, you shouldn’t rule flat pack out.