If you’re someone who’s constantly shopping for new furniture, you’re probably familiar with the term flat pack furniture.
However, if not, you’re missing out and I’m here to tell you why!
But before I get ahead of myself and explain exactly why this type of furniture has won me over, let me tell you what flat pack furniture is.
Flat pack furniture (also known as ready to assemble furniture) is one that comes with all its parts disassembled in a box, rather than being completely built. The parts are usually relatively quick and easy to assemble by yourself as long as you follow the instructions!
Because flat pack furniture can be easily assembled and disassembled, you can say goodbye to the stress of having to get bulky heavy furniture pieces out of one room to another when moving or rearranging.
As a quick example, if you’ve bought something from Ikea before, chances are, it was flat-pack furniture that you had to assemble yourself!
But what makes flat pack furniture better than regular furniture, where can you buy flat pack, and what’s it even made of?
All of those questions (plus a few more) will be answered in this article, so keep on reading to find out!
Flat- Pack Furniture – An overview
Flat-pack furniture is a very easy to assemble category of furniture that comes with all of its parts disassembled and detailed instructions on how to put it together.
The number of parts available can vary, depending on the company or the piece of furniture.
On one hand, there could be large couches with only 8 parts that need to be put together like a jigsaw puzzle, whereas with something more detailed like an intricate shelf, you might have to attach about 30 to 50 separate parts.
Most flat pack furniture can usually be put together without the need of any additional tools.
If it does contain parts that need to be put together using nuts and bolts, those will be provided and can be put together by using a basic screwdriver and wrench.
One of the most well-known examples of flat pack retailers is Ikea- which is also the company that started it all.
Flat-pack furniture can be bought from stores (in person), or online.
While companies like Ikea or Articles have a wide selection, with most flat pack retailers, there tends to be a few, very specifically designed products available.
With a flat pack, most companies seem to focus more on the sustainability, durability, and functionality of the product than providing a wide variety of designs.
However, this does not mean a compromise on the style because flat-pack furniture tends to look very sleek, modern, and clean in its design which is usually a perfect fit in most homes nowadays!
Most people moving out or people who are constantly on the move now prefer flat-pack furniture because of how convenient it is.
Benefits of flat-pack furniture
Here are several advantages of flat pack furniture that gives it a slight edge over regular furniture pieces!
Easy to transport
One of the most notable advantages of flat pack furniture is how easy it is to bring it home from a shop or get it delivered to your house without having to pay shipping fees to big haul trucks that are going to break your bank.
You can easily put the box in your trunk or get it delivered to your doorstep (obviously shipping costs will apply here!).
Even after you’ve assembled a piece and set it up, it’s very convenient to disassemble it when renovating or moving.
Easy to replace broken/ missing parts
It can be really annoying when you realize a piece you need is missing or a part is damaged mid assembly.
However, with a flat pack, instead of having to ship an entire couch or table back, you can simply request for the missing/ damaged piece.
Most companies will send you the missing part as long as you show them whatever you received when the package first arrived while following proper protocol.
Flat-pack furniture is not only convenient for buyers, but also for manufacturers who don’t have to spend millions in labor costs.
Separate furniture parts can be 3D printed or built by machines in bulk and packaged appropriately, making it very affordable.
Similarly, even for consumers, some flat packs might be an investment.
However, it’s usually durable enough to last them a long time if bought from a reliable source (companies listed below!).
Although the variety of flat pack furniture available in the market falls short in comparison to regular furniture, a lot of companies are now offering customizable furniture which makes it very easy to pick exactly the design, color, and style you want.
Flat-pack furniture also tends to be very environmentally friendly because of how long it can last in your home before needing to be replaced.
As mentioned above, most flat-pack companies are now focusing on making sustainable pieces that are not only extremely durable because of their design and materials (details given below) but can also be altered over time by purchasing a few additional pieces.
If a part gets damaged, you can repurchase that furniture part without throwing out the entire piece.
Disadvantages of flat-pack furniture
Flat pack furniture comes with certain disadvantages that need to be improved before it’s categorized as one of the best furniture types.
The initial set up might time consuming and difficult
The setup process for flat pack furniture takes quite a while and you have to be very precise with it.
If it is a complicated piece with lots of assembly parts, it might even take you a few hours.
Since you’re doing it on your own most of the time, you need to make sure that you’re following all the instructions clearly.
Especially with companies like Ikea, there are a lot of small pieces that can be misplaced.
Often, people will put together an entire piece of furniture in a few hours only to realize that they have to take it apart and do it all over again because they messed up a piece somewhere in the middle.
If any part is missing, it can hinder the assembly process even more, as you wait for the remaining parts to arrive on time before you can put everything together.
A lot of assembling and disassembling might affect the quality
Although it is easy to assemble and disassemble as long as you’re following all the instructions, if you do it a lot, it can affect the quality of the furniture in the long run.
Lack of Variety
There is a considerable lack of variety when it comes to flat-pack furniture.
It’s hard to find unique pieces in this market because a lot of companies focus more on manufacturing a few practical and sustainable furniture pieces that might vary slightly rather than a large collection with extremely unique pieces.
Where to buy flat pack furniture from?
Here’s a list of the six best companies to buy flat-pack furniture from:
Ikea was the birthplace of flat-pack furniture so it’s no surprise that now it’s a leading retailer in the business of flat-pack.
From bookshelves to couches, tables, beds, chairs, etc., this Swedish company has got it all, and more.
Ikea has fully built sets of flat-pack furniture and a large variety available, making it very easy to shop for your entire house in one place.
However, it’s important to note that although Ikea is affordable; its furniture quality is not as long-lasting as some of its competitors like Floyd, Tylko, or Article.
Tylko is a Polish flat-pack furniture company that sells custom-built wooden shelves of all kinds.
Their website allows you to pick precisely the kind of shelf that you want, down to the height, width, and depth.
All of the parts are delivered in a box and come with color-coded connectors and wall attachments if needed.
This is an online flat pack furniture store that takes furniture directly from the manufacturer and supplies to customers.
Compared to most online flat pack stores, Articles actually has quite a lot of variety of both wood and steel frame furniture, whether that’s in chairs, tables, etc.
Article furniture has enough variety to furnish your entire house from living room to bedroom, however, it is expensive.
Floyd is a Detroit based company that produces a limited variety of high quality and sustainable flat-pack furniture.
They started with a clamping leg that could convert any flat surface into a table and have grown the company to provide a couch, bed, and bookshelf.
Although the variety in the furniture is low, the quality and durability of their furniture make up for it as they use long-lasting durable materials (including steel and different kinds of plywood).
Even though their designs are simple and limited, they can be customized to grow or change in the future by adding a few more parts when needed.
Campaign is a flat pack furniture company that was launched back in 2015 and focuses on providing seating furniture.
This company currently offers a sofa, sofa sectional, loveseat sectional, loveseat, chair, ottoman, and accessories.
The company uses a steel frame for durability and offers a variety of options for the color of the sofa cushions
The furniture is spill friendly which makes it particularly good for houses with kids or pets and can be assembled without the need for any extra tools.
The cushion covers are removable, so if somewhere down the line you change your mind about how you feel about one color, you can easily purchase a new cover color without having to repurchase the couch.
This company falls into the luxurious category however, their stylistic furniture is perfect for those who are looking for a long term investment with their furniture.
Their products include tables, chairs, sofas, and household accessories in various, innovative, and clean designs making them perfect for people who love minimalist furniture.
For the added price, Normann Copenhagen delivers on quality and durability.
This is because they use different types of hardwoods and softwoods (solid wood) in different pieces of furniture according to their uses and color, coating it with a water-based lacquer for protection.
What is flat pack furniture made from?
While most companies use additional materials including metals such as steel, most flat pack furniture is made from medium-density fiberboard, chipboard, or wood (or a combination of those materials).
The chipboard is made from wood shaving, clipping, and sawdust mixed in the resin.
It’s suitable for flat-pack furniture because not only is it light and easy to work with (can be made stronger and more long-lasting by coating with veneer or paint) but it is also more resistant to water damage in comparison to normal wood.
Medium-density fiberboard is much stronger than normal wood or chipboard in terms of density which does make it more reliable in strength and durability.
However, this material is much more easily affected by water damage despite being coated in paint.
Lastly, solid wood can be used in flat-pack furniture bases because it is reliable and quite easily available in the market.
However, solid wood is more expensive than both chipboard and medium-density fiberboard.
Flat-pack furniture seems to be the thing of the future and once you start using it, it’s hard to wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
Although it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I would recommend looking into it if you are someone who’s constantly on the move and looking for furniture pieces that will not only be sustainable for the environment but also last you a long time.