Prior to the 1950s, furniture was bought or ordered from a shop or a carpenter, then delivered ready-made, sometimes after a considerable wait. Items were often very heavy, and almost always made from solid wood. Hand-made furniture featured elements such as dovetail joints, which took great skill to execute.
Nowadays, we have become familiar with the notion of flat pack furniture. We go to a retailer, choose what we want from the displays, pick up the package, take it home ourselves and assemble it, or have it assembled.
For most people, the inexpensive nature of flat pack furniture is one of the main reasons that we buy it, but factors such as ease of installation, the huge variety of items on offer, and immediate availability might also be considered during the decision-making process. Flat packs take up so little space that it is rare to find that a retailer doesn’t have the item we want then and there.
Flat pack furniture has evolved to become very sturdy, hardwearing and aesthetically pleasing. Once assembled, good quality flat pack items will cope with being moved from house to house without losing their shape or stability, and continue their useful life for many years.
It is thought that flat pack was invented in 1956 by Mr Gillis Lundgren, a Swedish draughtsman. The story goes that Mr Lundgren bought a table, and had to unscrew its legs to be able to fit it into his car, which gave him the idea of manufacturing furniture in kit form. Incidentally, he was employed by a company called Ikea…
The purchase of furniture has been made much more accessible to most people by the inception of flat pack. Nowadays even students and teenagers can afford to buy themselves items of furniture, when in our parents’ and grandparents’ day this would have been almost unthinkable.
Nowadays we find flat pack furniture in homes, kitchens, offices, gardens; almost everywhere that we go. It is rare now for furniture other than antiques or vintage pieces to be bought and delivered ready assembled.
Flat pack is ideal for modern life. It is easy to bring into any space, even where lifts, narrow doorways or multiple flights of stairs are present. A range of finishes is available to match every conceivable colour scheme or style of décor, and, for the purist, flat pack furniture can even be manufactured from solid wood pieces.
It is difficult to imagine a world without flat pack now. Approximately £24 billion is spent each year on flat pack furniture in the UK alone, which shows how widely it has been embraced, and given its benefits, its popularity is unlikely to decline any time soon.
No room need now be bereft of a friendly bookcase, a comfortable chair, or space-saving storage items. Flat pack furniture is making the world a more comfortable and stylish place for us all.