How to Make Furniture That Can Be Disassembled

If you move frequently or plan on storing your furniture, building, or buying pieces that can be assembled and subsequently dismantled for portability is an excellent idea. However, the complexity of the assembly and cost for supplies to make the furniture are two of many factors that must be considered in approaching making knock-down furniture. 

To make furniture that can be disassembled, you will need to create or research a design plan, determine your budget, buy supplies, obtain tools, and complete the work. The challenge of creating knock-down pieces is challenging but immensely worthwhile.

Consequently, this article will not only answer questions regarding how to create take-apart furniture, but it will also discuss the option of buying reviewed, unassembled, and pre-made furniture. Examples of portable furniture and tips for dismantling are also discussed, so keep on reading.

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Build Your Own Furniture

Design a Project Plan

Decide what type of furniture piece to build by researching design plans and looking for project instructions that indicate the item can be taken apart easily. Using a living room chair, for example, its functional attributes that identify the piece as being suitable to be disassembled are:

  • Legs screw in instead of nailed and glued so that they can be easily removed.
  • The seatback has steel latches enabling it to fold down.
  • Modular design, for instance, a separate footstool instead of an attached footrest or recliner, for easy carrying.
  • Detachable cushions.

For inspiration, watch this two-minute video of a knock-down nightstand disassembly. It’s a beautiful piece that is wisely constructed just for this purpose. 

The creativity and innovative ideas are endless for making portable furniture, but here are a few suggestions to utilize. When creating a piece, keep in mind that it should be sturdy, useful, and easily transportable as smaller pieces.

National Hardware N180-075 4020BC Slotted Angle in Galvanized,1-1/2" x 36"
  • Authorized Replacement for Stanley Hardware Stock #N180-075
  • Slotted for easy attachment
  • Corrosion-resistant galvanized finish

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  • Wooden platform bed frame with legs that can be removed.
  • Floating shelves are pieces of plywood anchored to the wall.

An example of floating shelves that can be attached and unattached from the wall can be seen in this 7-minute YouTube video:

Budget

After deciding what to build, create a budget within your parameters, and track all expenses. Start by listing the cost of materials in detail on a simple spreadsheet or search for a budgeting template online. Another option is to carry a budget planner book, for example, the Clever Fox Budget Planner – Expense Tracker Notebook, and itemize all of the materials needed with the cost and price paid.

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  • ✅ STAY ON TRACK & FOCUSED, SET MONTHLY GOALS & BUDGET / REVIEW: It all starts with a plan! Each month write down your monthly financial goals. Put reminders of bills and payments due on the calendar. Make a monthly spending plan before you spend. Use predefined expense categories to plan your monthly budget. During the month, track all your day-to-day spending. At the end of the month, review what happened, spot bad spending habits, think about how you can improve next month.
  • ✅ ELEGANT, SMART & PRACTICAL PERSONAL FINANCE: Clever Fox Budget Journal starts with 2 pages for setting your financial goals and their breakdown on the mind map. There are 2 pages for writing your strategy and tactics, 2 pages for tracking savings, 2 pages for debt tracking, followed by 12 months (8 pages per month). At the end of the Clever Fox monthly expense planner, there are 2 pages for Christmas budgeting, and 2 pages for an annual summary to track your progress throughout the year.

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Check if you already have the tools necessary or if you need to plan to purchase or rent them. Furthermore, determine if there is a monetary value of your time spent on making the furniture. Can your time be better spent elsewhere, or do you love the process of furniture building? Therefore, this is the best use of your time.

Supplies and Tools

For tools, determine which are necessary to get the job done. If you don’t own them, establish if you can borrow, rent, or will need to buy them. For supplies, find cost-effective options too. Possibilities are listed here: 

  • Furnishings can be made from recyclables like old signs, doors, and window panes used for a tabletop.
  • Ask suppliers for discounts.
  • Trade supplies with friends and family.
  • Buy in bulk and share expenses.
  • Compare prices on the internet and price match. 

Follow the Design Blueprint

Project plans can be purchased or found on the internet on many reputable websites. For example, create a modern, collapsible stool. Only a jigsaw and plywood are used for construction according to the step by step instructions.

For a visual of the process, watch this 11-minute video on YouTube:

Adaptability

Other popular websites with instructions are in abundance on the internet. Building a Houseful of Furniture is a book that includes 43 project plans for various furnishings, some of which can be adapted for portability.

Sale
Building a Houseful of Furniture: 43 Plans with Comments on Design and Construction
  • Watts, Simon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 211 Pages - 12/01/1983 (Publication Date) - Taunton Press (Publisher)

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Nevertheless, every design should be reviewed in full before proceeding to ensure that the plan contains all of the elements that will allow the piece to be broken down easily for your purposes.

Buy Unassembled Furniture 

An easier option is to buy furniture that has been mass-produced for home assembly. But before jumping in, it’s important to determine if the cost is higher, if the quality and durability are comparable, and how important it is to build the item yourself. 

One popular brand, Ikea, distributes bulky furniture via flat pack boxes and delivers them to the home to be assembled by you or by TaskRabbit, an independent company Ikea has partnered with to assist with the construction of furnishings.

Although buying pre-made furniture is much more convenient than building from a design plan yourself, if you don’t pick it up, there may be a shipping charge. Also, the assembly could be time-consuming. If TaskRabbit is hired, there is an additional hourly cost on top of shipping it to your house. 

Advantages of buying unassembled furniture are:

  • Transportation is less complicated and less costly to ship.
  • You disassemble it for moving or storage.
  • There is a large selection of colors and styles.

Disadvantages of buying unassembled furniture are:

  • Time-consuming
  • Ship cost
  • Assembly cost (time or money to pay a third party to put it together)
  • Potential subpar craftsmanship
  • Cost for tools (but you can borrow from friends or family)
  • Price of the materials

Despite buying the pre-fabricated product, you still have the buying power to choose an environmentally sustainable product. In fact, you are considering the environment by dismantling the piece and moving it instead of throwing it away. 

Another company, Burrow, claims to have reinvented the modular approach by creating innovative and thoughtful furnishings, with an eye toward environmental sustainability and smart design. The furniture is shipped for free to the customer and easily assembled and later disassembled if desired. It’s a bit more expensive overall than Ikea but worth mentioning as an option as well. 

Disassembling Furniture

To ensure the reassembly goes quickly and efficiently, use common sense when disassembling the furniture from the beginning. Here a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Press screws in styrofoam or plastic bags.
  • Label each piece using indelible ink with location and instructions.
  • Draw a picture or take a video of the steps.
  • Charge screw gun and an extra battery pack.

A wardrobe is a huge piece of furniture that frequently needs to be dismantled to get it in the front door, particularly to move it upstairs. Watch this short, 3-minute video on how to collapse a wardrobe:

If home furnishings are thoughtfully purchased, there may be minimal disassembly necessary. Fortunately, tools are not needed to dismantle this Zinus Jocelyn Contemporary Sofa Couch from Amazon, making this an easy piece to move.

Zinus Jocelyn Contemporary Sofa Couch / Armless Design / Easy, Tool-Free Assembly
  • CONTEMPORARY CHARM - With its armless design, modern vertical tufting and tapered wood legs, Jocelyn helps you create that page-out-of-a-magazine look without too much time or money required
  • DURABLE DESIGN - A naturally-strong wood frame is wrapped in supportive foam cushioning and a durable, polyester fabric; seats a maximum weight capacity of 500 lbs; cushions are secured to the frame and are not detachable
  • TOOL-FREE ASSEMBLY - All parts and instructions are smartly packed into one compact box for simple assembly that takes less than 20 minutes

Last update on 2022-11-29 at 12:48 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Conclusion

To build and knock down home furnishings, a thoughtful plan for construction is necessary. Although there are different strategies, it’s clear that you need a solid design plan, budget, tools, and supplies for the work to be completed. Shortcuts can be taken by purchasing pre-fabricated furniture ready for assembly.

As daunting as it may seem, if thoughtfully prepared, making furniture that can be disassembled is a huge step toward creating a minimalist lifestyle with simplistic pieces that are thankfully easier to move or store. 

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