Flat pack furniture is designed to be put together quickly and easily with very few tools, yet many people regard its assembly as a sure-fire route to domestic trauma.
Here are Dan’s ten top tips for assembling flat pack furniture without the need for tears, homicide or a trip to A&E:
1. Clear enough space to work in, close to where you want the finished item to go. Bear in mind that tall items may need to be assembled flat on the floor and then tipped into place, so it’s a good idea to remove bedroom furniture before starting to assemble a large wardrobe.
2. If the instructions state that two people are required to assemble the item, make sure two people are present. You won’t be able to enjoy your new kitchen dresser very well from the osteopath’s couch.
3. Unpack the parts and fixings carefully, checking that everything needed is present. Identify the parts against the instructions as you go. Packaging can be used to protect flooring.
4. Screws, tacks and hinges can be placed into bowls or saucers to keep each type separate. Carefully identify and separate different size screws. This helps to avoid the ends of screws poking through surfaces on the finished article.
5. Assemble all the tools necessary to complete the job. The assembly process will be quicker and easier without trips to the shed to rummage for that Phillips screwdriver, even if you can master the advanced yoga poses required to get out of the room without damaging the half-assembled furniture.
6. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. They’re there to help, and no human has yet been born with a universal flat pack assembly manual downloaded directly into his or her brain.
7. If using an electrical screwdriver, stop before the screws are quite tight, and finish them by hand. Power tools are, after all, powerful, and hands are the best tools for identifying when a screw is in tight enough. If you only have power tools, make sure you use a low torque setting!
8. Work methodically, checking that each piece is correctly situated and aligned before screwing it into place. The use of a spirit level from the early stages of assembly will ensure that the item is properly square when complete.
9. Use wood glue carefully – it doesn’t mix well with carpets – and use an appropriate amount rather than feeling that you must empty the sachet. Allow up to 24 hours for glue to harden before using your new furniture.
10. Refrain from tightening hinges fully until you have checked that doors are on straight and open and close nicely. An extra pair of hands is very helpful for this.
Using these tips will ensure that you achieve optimal results in the shortest possible time, leaving plenty of time to reflect smugly on what a fantastic job you’ve done!