Is Furniture Cheaper to Build? (The Truth)


Furniture Cheaper to Build

Picture this: You’ve just moved into a new house, and you have decided you want to add some new pieces of furniture to tie the space together and make everything feel more lived-in. However, the price tags on even the most simply designed side tables are gruesome. Those who may run into this problem may wonder, “Is furniture cheaper to build than buy?”

Generally, whether or not furniture is cheaper to build than buy depends on the furniture type and the piece’s quality. A luxury desk may be cheaper to build, but a low-quality desk may not be. However, building a desk may be more economical than buying a cheap one as it would last longer.

Keep reading to find an in-depth calculation on the cost of making furniture versus buying a piece from a furniture store to conclude whether it’s worth it or not to make furniture. You can also discover some tips that can save you money when furniture shopping.

The Cost of Making Furniture

In some cases, the cost of making furniture may be less than buying it. But, first, you’ll need a long list of tools and materials as well as the patience and skill to build a piece in the first place.

According to the calculations of all the items needed for making furniture which are listed below, the rounded up cost of making furniture is $1500. However, this price could vary greatly depending on the type of wood you use, its thickness, and the complexity of the piece’s design.

The Tools

Many who are new to making furniture may not know the sheer amount of tools they need to start; most people only think a hammer, saw, and staple gun will suffice. Let’s take a look at some basic woodworking and upholstery tools and their average prices below.

Woodworking

Some woodworking tools you may need to make furniture and their prices include:

  • Workbench: $288.89
  • Circular saw: $161.22
  • Hand saw: $11.98
  • Electric sander: $30.43
  • Clamps: $34.99
  • Screwdriver: $9.86
  • Hammer: $6.99
  • Chisel: $54.99
  • Mallet: $31.99
  • Carpenter’s level: $24.99
  • Carpenter’s square: $9.98

Now, let’s look at some tools you may need for upholstery.

Upholstery

Some upholstery tools you may need to make furniture and their prices include:

  • Upholstery needles: $5.95
  • Sewing scissors: $16.97
  • Staple gun: $49.59
  • Webbing stretcher: $32.90

Another thing you should think about when calculating the price of a DIY furniture building project is the materials. Let’s take a look below.

The Materials

Some materials you may need to make furniture and their prices include:

  • Wood: $500+
  • Wood stain: $8.79
  • Wood seal: $17.98
  • Wood glue: $22.99
  • Screws: $10.99
  • Nails: $6.99
  • Staples: $4.65
  • Thread: $4.65
  • Foam: $39.99
  • Fabric: $27.62
  • Upholstery zippers: $14.99

Now, let’s take a look at the cost of time when building furniture.

The Time

While time may not have a physical price tag, it definitely has a metaphorical one. Building furniture can have you cooped up in the garage from dusk till dawn, especially if the project is complex.

The time it may take for you to build a sofa for your living room can instead be spent watching movies with your family on an already-made sofa available for purchase at a furniture store. However, building furniture can make for a great bonding session.

The Skill

If there’s one thing you need to make furniture, it’s the skill to know what you’re doing so everything turns out sturdy and usable.

If you’re on your first DIY furniture building project, you may not want to delve into building a piece that could be too challenging. You wouldn’t want to get burnt out by starting off strong with a months-long project and have it end up a big fail.

So, before emptying out your pockets making an intricately designed dining table that can seat 16 people, you might want to spend a little less money practicing building something simple first, such as a stool or a bookshelf.

The Cost of Buying Furniture

Depending on the quality and piece, the price of buying furniture might be much higher than the cost of making furniture yourself because you need to consider the cost of labor for the manufacturer or creator and their commission fee. After all, those who make or collect furniture to sell it need to make a profit somehow.

Used Furniture

Depending on what kind of furniture you’re selling and its condition, used furniture can sell for as cheap as $20 or as high as $1000.

Custom Furniture

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost for custom furniture ranges from $1070 to $4065.

Luxury Furniture

The luxury vehicle brand Bentley has a furniture line just as sleek in design as the cars they manufacture. Their sofa, the Newent Sofa, goes for as high as $14,710— without the tax.

Is It Worth It to Make Furniture?

If you have the tools, materials, time, and skill to make furniture, then it absolutely is worth it rather than blowing thousands of dollars on quality furniture. Not only will this result in a one-of-a-kind piece, but you will be left with the fun memories of making it.

On the other hand, if you’re thinking about replicating a piece you saw at a furniture store because you liked it but didn’t have the funds to purchase it, and you have no idea how to make the furniture, much less the resources to, It’s probably not worth it.

Ways to Save Money When Furniture Shopping

If you don’t want to go through all of the trouble of making your own furniture, there are still some options for buying furniture when you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Below are some ways to save money when furniture shopping.

Shop At Thrift Stores

Not only is shopping at thrift stores for your furniture better for the planet by reducing waste, but it’s also a great money saver. You can find all sorts of excellent-condition, unique furniture for a discounted price at your local Goodwill. 

You can even make a DIY project out of touching up the existing furniture or adding customizations to it, such as changing the fabric of the upholstery, or sanding the wood and staining it to a different finish!

Search for Sales

In general, most furniture stores tend to have sales on specific pieces. Some include:

  • Black Friday sales
  • Clearance
  • Coupons
  • In-store credit
  • Online-only deals
  • Members-only discounts
  • Influencer codes

If you’re in the market, keep your eyes open for these deals.

Another way to obtain furniture while saving money is to sign up for giveaways. Let’s look into that more below.

Sign Up for Giveaways

Some influencers, such as Youtubers or Instagrammers, often have giveaways as a token of appreciation for the support they receive from their subscribers and followers. If you’re an avid fan who comes across a giveaway for a brand-new furniture set, don’t hesitate to sign up! 

While this doesn’t guarantee you will receive the furniture, there is a slight chance you will win— and that makes for a great gamble!

Conclusion

In the end, building furniture will be cheaper than buying in most cases. However, this entirely depends on whether you have what you need to get started, and some specifics like the type of wood and thickness you’re using for the piece. If you have the know-how and the tools in your garage, go for it! But if you’ve never made any furniture before and you need a new sectional couch, the store might be your best option.

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