Want your living room to look like a photo out of Architectural Digest or Metropolitan Home? You have the design savvy to pull it off but you’re worried about the price? Here’s a little-known designer secret to put you one step closer to your dream home – You can design and commission unique, handmade, custom furniture at a fraction of the prices you’ve seen in upscale galleries and studios.
How? Seek out small furniture makers in your neighborhood or on the web and start a conversation with them. Ask for a catalog or photos of their work and learn what kinds of styles and media they specialize in. When you find a company or craftsman that routinely makes the type of furniture you’re seeking, start looking for ways to customize existing designs to meet your needs and preferences. Ask the furniture maker, for example:
Can we take that 55 inch wide, low, two-door entertainment center and add a third door to make a 70 inch wide media center to fit perfectly in my space? Or,
What would it cost to customize that dining table by making the top cherry and the base, espresso? Or,
Can you make me an XL twin bed that measures 82 inches in length instead of the regular 76? Or,
Would it be possible to customize that chest of drawers by making the width three inches shorter, so it will fit in the small space between the two windows in my bedroom? Or,
I prefer an all natural, custom, hand-rubbed oil finish. Would there be an up-charge for that?
Don’t hesitate to ask about any number of customizations involving, dimensions, shapes, wood and fabric types, joinery characteristics, edging options, leg styles and more.
The key is to leverage the value of the company’s existing designs by requesting modifications, rather than asking the furniture-maker to start from scratch, on a new design. Since most small, neighborhood furniture makers make each piece to order, rather than building mass quantities of the same thing, they are usually happy to customize their designs, often at no additional charge.
If you can’t find local furniture makers, try searching the web for built to order furniture. Many small companies offer online tools that let you customize their handmade furniture to create your own unique custom furniture at little or no extra cost. You’ll be surprised, once you look into it, how affordable luxury custom furniture can be.
So get creative! And get started on that dining room or bedroom makeover you’ve been putting off for fear of high prices and cost overruns. You’ll be delighted with the result and the added bonus of superior quality that is characteristic of built to order furniture. Just be sure your designs are timeless, because your new handmade furniture will be built to last a lifetime.