Mon | Nov 29, 2021
DREAM HOUSE: ESSENTIALS

The finishing touch – Tips on designing and building your own furniture

Published:Saturday | November 20, 2021 | 12:05 AMBarry Rattray/Contributor
A metal spiral staircase enclosed in solid wood.
A metal spiral staircase enclosed in solid wood.
The dining table set was sprayed in white to match the space.
The dining table set was sprayed in white to match the space.
Specially designed, this built-in shelf and cabinet unit wraps around the wall.
Specially designed, this built-in shelf and cabinet unit wraps around the wall.
This bed and night table set complement the space and colour of the room.
This bed and night table set complement the space and colour of the room.
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Purchasing furniture for your home can be an expensive and daunting exercise, but there are many ways to obtain the furniture you need for far less than what is offered at the stores, and good quality too. Here are some tips on designing and building your own furniture.

1. Take photographs, look at magazines, etc., and choose your living room, bedroom, dining room and other style pieces. For the creative among us, you have the freedom to draw on paper what you want, so it becomes your personalised signature piece.

2. Seek and find the services of a talented, honest (can’t be emphasised enough), and reliable furniture maker, who can work with your budget (very important), to realise your dream sofa, bed, dining table and chairs, to name a few. Before you choose and settle on your furniture maker, check them out thoroughly first. Is it possible to see the previous work they have built and find out from former clients if they finished at the agreed time; if there were any cost over-runs and why? And if their product was completed to the high standards that they had expected. You don’t need a nightmare experience. Do your due diligence!

3. Is it natural wood or man-made wood you are employing on the project? Real wood, cedar, mahogany, jatoba etc., is more expensive than the artificial variety like superboard. Real wood will last for many years, and the synthetic type is not to be shunned, because your limited budget may afford nothing more. Both of them are beautiful when crafted with style and structural integrity. So many Americans have artificial wood furniture in their homes, and many Jamaicans have them also from furniture outlets.

4. Measure the space (if possible) where you plan to station the unit when built, and build accordingly to that specification.

While this article is about saving serious money by supporting your local furniture manufacturing industry, don’t feel any less than others that you are unable to walk into any establishment and purchase the furniture of your choice. If truth be told, many of the multi-million dollar villas on the island, owned by millionaires and billionaires (local and foreign), have their furniture pieces built by local tradesmen in their respective areas – and they are so proud of it!

Barry Rattray is a dream house designer and builder. Email feedback to barry-rattray@hotmail.com and lifestyle@gleanerjm.com.