How to Assemble IKEA Furniture

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.

How to Assemble IKEA Furniture

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?

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Jean Mansueto

    The diagrams can be deceptively simple. Take a minute to really examine them. It can save you from having to take apart the step you just took, turn the item over to the correct side and start again. Everything I have assembled fit together easily when I was doing it correctly; no excessive force necessary.

    1. Darla

      Agree 1,000 percent. It often pays to double and tripple check whether you are looking at the front or back, top or bottom of a panel. Can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen furniture assembled inside-out or backwards.

  2. Ellen Bacon

    I have had to fix the drawers on my kids dresser numerous times as the screws wiggle loose. I need to get out the glue and then figure out how to do #4. Thanks for the tips

    1. Darla

      Kids can be hard on dressers…period. My daughter has blown out the bottom of her drawers by keeping rocks in them!!! I fixed them with Gorilla Glue. I don’t think I ever did a post, as the pictures weren’t beautiful. It does take some time, a bit of room and – for best results-some clamps. LMK if you’d like the info.

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