January and September are busy times for DIY furniture folks. Many students will be bringing home new furniture from places like IKEA, very popular with the DIY market. This ready to assemble furniture (called RTA in the industry) can help you get your stuff off the floor, if you can just figure out how to put it together.
Here are my top 5 tips for assembling IKEA furniture, and other RTA furniture.
1. It’s a puzzle, not brain surgery. Treat it like a puzzle, and have fun with it. You’ll have a greater sense of accomplishment when you are all done. (And like a puzzle, all the pieces should fit snugly, and not require pounding or excessive force.)
2. Work in a large open space. Move everything out of the middle of the floor, so you’ll have enough room to lay out the parts exactly as described.
3. Use the gosh darned glue. Seriously. The glue will help the joints stick together longer, and avoid early or extreme wracking. Omit it at your own risk.
4. If your item has drawers, take the extra step right away of installing tiny L-brackets or a front-to-back wooden brace (both of which you’ll have to buy or fabricate on your own). This will ensure the bottom of the drawer doesn’t automatically pop out after just a few months or years. You can search “how to fix drawers” on youtube and come up with lots of approaches for this.
5. Speaking of YouTube, did you know that many people who have come before you have made time lapsed videos of IKEA furniture assembly? Just search for “How to assemble IKEA (item of your choice)”, and learn exactly how other people put together what you just came home with. No more stick-figure instructions for you!
If you’ve got a lot of experience with RTA furniture from IKEA or elsewhere, what advice can you give in the comments below?