Ready-to-assemble (RTA) furniture is cheap and (usually) sturdy. And it’s not just that the price that’s right — research shows that people appreciate their flat-pack furniture more because they had a hand in building it.
But, if you were hoping for something a little more unique, you might be out of luck — or are you?
With a little creativity, you can turn your run-of-the-mill flat-pack dresser or bookcase into a customized conversation piece. Here’s how.
Add Your Own Feet
Whether it’s a dresser, a coffee table, a sideboard or a couch, replacing the manufacturer’s feet or legs with your own is an easy way to add a touch of individualized flair to the piece.
For many pieces of inexpensive furniture, adding new legs or feet is just a matter of unscrewing the old ones and screwing new ones in — or just installing your own custom feet to begin with.
Retailers like Prettypegs sell feet and legs that fit flat-pack furniture pieces from a range of popular manufacturers.
Don’t be afraid to hit up your local hardware store or flea market to look for something that really speaks to you.
While you’re at it, consider choosing new doorknobs or drawer pulls, hinges and other interesting hardware to match your new furniture feet.
Having someone help you put your new furniture together?
Ask your Atlanta-area furniture assembly service to install your custom hardware and feet instead of those that came with the piece.
Change the Look of an Upholstered Piece
If you’re looking to customize a sofa, armchair or other upholstered piece, you’re in luck — there are a range of slipcovers, cushion covers and chair covers available on today’s market that can help you personalize your upholstered piece.
Choose a slip cover that comes with cushion covers and uses stretchy fabric to conform to the shape of your sofa or armchair.
Or, if you’re handy with a sewing machine, buy some upholstery fabric and go to town making a slipcover of your own.
Update Your Cupboards and Drawers
Whether you’re looking to customize an entire IKEA kitchen or just add some personal touches to that dorm-room desk from Wal-Mart, you have a few choices.
Use a company like Semihandmade for affordable, custom drawer and door fronts for your flat-pack kitchen.
Apply vinyl, wood-grain furniture stickers to give your plain white or black flat-pack items a more natural look, or get creative with artist-designed graphic stickers from companies like Mykea.
Of course, when it comes to updating the look of your flat-pack pieces, you’re only limited by your imagination.
Use paint and painter’s tape, stencils or colorful contact paper to create a design of your very own.
Browse IKEA hacks for design inspiration, and put in the elbow grease to create something that’s yours alone.
Glam It up
Custom door fronts, handles and hardware are great for adding glamour to your customized flat-pack piece, as are glittery, metallic gold or silver paints.
Add gold-painted trim to your piece for a Hollywood look with decorative fretwork panels from companies like O’verlays.
These lightweight, wooden fretwork panels can be painted any color you want and glued to drawer or door fronts or side panels for an art-deco makeover that transforms your space.
They’re an excellent way to spice up the clean modern lines of most flat-pack furniture, for pieces that will have your guests oohing and aahing.
Just because you can’t afford custom-built furniture doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy custom-made décor — you just have to do the customizing yourself!
With a little creativity and the right tools, you can give your RTA furniture a personal touch that will bring some individuality to your living space and give you a piece that you’ll be proud to use for years to come.
Trying to furnish your place on a tight budget, but don’t want to sacrifice style?
These do-it-yourself customization tips are ideal for secondhand pieces because they help hide wear, tear and imperfections while giving you the security of knowing that you at least didn’t pay full price if you muck it up.
Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get out your paintbrushes — just think of how satisfying it will be to tell your friends about your new secret identity as a genius IKEA hacker.