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How to design a custom piece of furniture. (Part 1 of 2)

One-of-a-kind furniture, one step at a time

So you’ve been looking for a specific piece of furniture for that special place in your home and you can’t find it anywhere. Magazines, showrooms, online, everywhere… and you’ve seen pieces that would work (kind of), but you don’t want to “settle”, you’re tired of settling. You want what you want!

It sounds like you’re ready to try designing a custom piece of furniture.

How do I begin to design furniture?

Truth is, you’ve already begun. You already know what the piece is, what its basic size will be and where it will be used in your home. This is a great start.

And for this example, let’s say you want to design a steel entryway table. Now, it’s time to get more specific. And this is where it gets really fun!

Being in the entryway, you probably want a piece that makes a great first impression, is one-of-a-kind, classic and timeless. And since it’s made of steel, it will last for generations so you don’t want it to be trendy or obnoxious. You want it to make a statement to everyone who enters your home, including yourself.

Classic Cool. Check.

Next, do you have a wide, spacious entryway that can handle a larger console-type table or is it small and narrow where space is at a premium? Let’s say it’s like every entryway in Chicago, so that means it is small and narrow.

Okay, so now you know the table must be designed to use the limited space efficiently.

Got it.

Look at the big picture when considering the little details.

Do you want the table to be more decorative, or functional, or both?

You want it big enough to hold a plant or a lamp and a place to drop your keys and the mail. You would also like a drawer where you can put that old flashlight, the letter opener, those coupons that will expire long before you remember them and your dog’s favorite chew toy – you want a junk drawer!

No problem.

While we’re on the drawer, you need to decide if you want one pull or two. Or do you want handles? Either way, since the entryway is narrow you probably want a pull or handle that won’t snag on coats, purses or grocery bags as you walk by.

Makes sense, right?

That’s a good start for now. As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when designing custom furniture and it really helps when you work with an expert. So forge ahead, keep dreaming, doodling and stay tuned for Part 2 of “How to design a piece of custom furniture” and you will be well on your way to making that dream piece of furniture a reality.

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Published: Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

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