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Buy cheap flat pack furniture or spend a bit more?

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Cheap self assembly flat pack furniture and when I say cheap, I mean poor quality materials and design, not how much the pack actually cost you to buy in the shop!  They don't cost a fortune (unlike REAL furniture), but I wouldn't exactly say they are value for money either.  These things are actually quite loathsome in my opinion.  They are not only made from cheap materials such as chipboard and MDF, but they actually look cheap once they have finally been constructed.

That's another issue I have flat pack furniture, constructing the thing occasionally be complete pain.  Self assembly packs are supposedly designed so that they can be put together easily and with minimal tools, yet the instructions are frequently incomprehensible and often consist of poorly translated English.

It is true to some extent I suppose that you get what you pay for. Furniture wasn't always like this.  In the good old days it was made from solid wood and built by a craftsman; it was also built to last which isn't something you can really say about today's flat packs.  The difference is actually quite striking.

Cheap flat pack furniture - self assembly hell! For example, we've moved recently and had to acquire some furniture very quickly for our new home.  Certain items such as computer desks and a wardrobe were flat packs, whilst we received (gratefully) a large oak dining table and chairs, and a large mahogany display cabinet from the Freecycle network.

One thing I am certain of is that is the dining table and cabinet will still be around long after the desk and wardrobe have disintegrated and been resigned to the dump.  Alas, we can't afford to buy all "proper" furniture, so I guess flat pack furniture has its uses and will do for now.  But is it a false economy?


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Nick

Nick

I would personally buy cheap flat packs because the expensive assembled furniture I can't even get then through me doors.
Nick
2nd Dec 13 12:34

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Mark

Mark

I ordered an Espirit corner sofa from Cargo in Cirencester a number of months ago, when delivered there were a number of faults including damage to the base where a castor had been snapped off which in turn had ripped the under lining of the sofa, we were also missing feet and the feet that were delivered with the sofa were badly damaged, in addition the sofa looked and felt like a sofa that had been used for a 20 year period, well worn with no support.... taking the words 'slouch couch' to an extremely. I complained numerous times to Cargo both directly to the Ciencester store and to there head office, I was in-turn referred to the manufacturer and then to an independant appointed agent..... my understanding is that should you have an issue you go to the point of sale i.e. Cargo.... I believed that the sofa was not fit for the purpose for which it was made, it took almost 3 months to convince Cargo of this fact, finally today 5th July 2011 I received a call to say that they would indeed give me a refund. At no time has an apology been given and no compensation for the time and effort it has taken to get this situation resolved. All in all it has been an awful experience one which I would not like any other individual to go through. I would not recommend and will not ever shop in Cargo again. Service is key for any business and something that Cargo should take a long hard look at.
Mark
1st Aug 11 18:08

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DIY stress

DIY stress

The instructions supplied by B&Q to fit draws is a nonsense. The illustrations are poor. My husband has spent 3 hours trying to assemble one draw! He has already damaged 2! Which means a loss of £50! I want him to stop but he is doggedly determined to ruin every draw we purchased. Why doesn't he just leave it and hire a carpenter? His male pride is just too much to bear. It's driving me mad!!!! Please make these instructions and illustrations clearer for men, like my husband, who know nothing about putting anything together. I offered to do it but he told me to make the tea. Instructions should be made simpler.
DIY stress
26th Mar 09 15:01

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Trevor

Trevor

I assemble and fit flat pack furniture/kitchens ( idlikeaflatpack.com ) and the range of quality is huge. Care in handling is important especially with the lower end of the market. But even then, I've collected, delivered and assembled items from Dwell which haven't been that fantastic and not any better than upmarket stuff from Ikea. I have had two kitchens from Ikea and they have been fantastic. Other, more expensive, items from Ikea have been through two house moves without problems but the cheaper stuff it's better to take it to the tip - it just doesn't move too well. The overall advantage of flatpack is it's cheap, great for a first home, student or holiday lets or buy to lets. If it gets damaged by tenants, it's cheap to replace.
Trevor
17th Dec 08 22:43

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Liv

Liv

Wow, you learn something new every day. I didn't realise that a flat pack furniture assembler was actually a job. Nice one. I suppose you're right about the cheap flat pack furniture, you get what you pay for and as for mishandling. I've seen the way some of these delivery men treat the stuff they deliver. They just haul it out and plonk it on your doorstep any old way.
Liv
30th Aug 08 15:59

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will

will

As a flat pack furniture assembler, I believe that flat pack is actually OK as long as its not of the lowest quality such as the stuff usually sold by the likes of Argos.

IKEA is anything from reasonable to excellent depending on the range but I find the majority of problems arise due to incorrect handling of the heavy boxes (stubbed corners, etc), incorrect unpacking (upright as opposed to laying flat, causing pieces to drop out everywhere) and incorrect assembly. Sometimes the assembly is completed as per instructions but screws are over or under tightened etc.

You do need some experience and good tools in order to build this stuff properly, and take your time. Then the end result is much better
will
29th Aug 08 22:21

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Rob

Rob

Stat away from this cheap flat pack furniture and other varieties of self assembly stuff that looks cheap as well. You're better off paying a few extra quid for something decent. Last month, bought a tallboy for £80 and it's falling apart already, plus the "chipboard" had loads of dings in it and I had to get the first pack replaced. Complete waste of money!
Rob
25th Jun 08 14:14

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Plane Harry

Plane Harry

You can't buy what you are looking for nowadays. Furniture is no longer sold as a domestic utility, but as a fashion accessory.

This makes furniture sold for about 10 times what it actaully cost to make and import. The junk is now sold in boutiques, instead of warehouses.

So as poor people we are forced to drive to our nearest IKEA. What do we get there? Yet more Swedish junk. Again in IKEA you don't get useful furniture but some pinewood flatpacked Swedish conconction. Oh Norwegian Wood! Isn't is good? Well actually no it isn't.

The fun part comes from trying to put it together. Then it does fit because the furniture was designed in metric, and not feet and inches like your home.

Or phone up the warehouse and ask "do they sell furniture in metric?" Yes sir we do. What's the height of your cupboards/wardrobes? 1872 mm sir!

Try buying a small light folding table which you can stash away and easily bring out to use a laptop on. Such useful furniture just does not exist.

Make your own. Jesus did.

All that colonial or Indian junk is fit for is the bonfire.
Plane Harry
6th Jan 08 05:00

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cheap flat pack rubbish

cheap flat pack rubbish

Cheap flat pack furniture is a false economy. You're better of spending your money on decent stuff or picking it up cheaper second hand. I wouldn't bother with eBay as it's mostly rubbish you will find there, get round the old second hand shops and some of the big charity shops that do furniture.
cheap flat pack rubbish
29th Oct 07 15:02

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Freddie

Freddie

I bought a side unit and television cabinet from a leading store recently. Together they cost £800.00. Imagine my surprise when they arrived in flat pack. The store did not indicate they were flat pack. In fact, the salesman slated cheap flat pack as part of his sales pitch saying it is better to buy 'well built' quality.
When I built them there was a fault with one of the components. I reported it to the store. They asked what the part number was of the assembly. Almost two weeks later a single part arrived by post, damaged. I've taken it all back now and have insisted on a full refund. They say they cannot do that unless the entire goods are faulty and that they have taken all measures they can to rectify the situation.
My solicitor is onto it now and she assures me that a positive result is a certainty.
Unfortunately, because of the legal action, I cannot name them, or hint at their name. Suffice to say that I shall not be going there again.
Freddie
22nd Oct 07 13:17

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Duddo

Duddo

I agree with everything in this gripe, including the positive side of flat pack furniture - sometimes you really do need something quick and cheap to put up. For example, you're staying in accommodation for a short time, you knock something together that will do the job for that time, and you're not worried about what happens to it afterwards (well, hopefully the materials get recycled but that's a different gripe). The next person to live there does the same thing so the people who put together the kit remain employed.

But for somewhere long term, where the occupants are mature enough to look after the furniture, then yes, a quality craftsman is the place to go.
Duddo
9th Oct 07 20:16

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Beefmonkey

Beefmonkey

Suppliers/maufacturers of electrical goods are obliged to conform to The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006.

The aim of the WEEE Regulations is to make producers responsible for financing the collection, treatment, and recovery of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), and to oblige distributors to allow consumers to return their waste equipment free of charge.

I understand that furniture will typically have a longer life-cycle than say, a computer but if manufacturers of cheap furniture were governed by a similar regulation then maybe we'd see better quality furniture being produced.
Beefmonkey
9th Oct 07 16:43

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