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The realities of bespoke fitted furniture

It’s part of living the dream when you have bespoke fitted furniture made for your home. Unfortunately, it’s not always affordable but I do think it is totally worth it.

With uncertainty in the house buying market and new houses/mortgages being out of reach, we are making do with what we have by maximising storage and possibilities, and the best way this can be achieved is with bespoke fitted furniture. The possibilities for what can be achieved are endless with the right tradesman.

So, let’s have a look at the process…

A bedroom with space for a wardrobe, with width of 2.5m and a height of 2.8m. If you went to well-known furniture retailers, you will find maximum wardrobe heights of 2.2m which leaves you with a large space to collect dust and store suitcases. In these instances, maximising storage above the wardrobe would be beneficial.

It is so important to find the right person for the job. You want someone who is going to give you exactly what you want, and that will come with a certain price-tag.

I am a big believer that if you pay “peanuts” you get “monkeys”. A good tradesman with references, a gallery of work to offer and a reputable company will be worth the extra pennies. The materials that they use will have bearing on costs and the complexity of the storage will also increase the price too.

Who can do the job?

If you contact a site carpenter, they will have the skills and tools, but you will find that the wardrobe will be built on site with likely visible fixings and will require painting etc on site. It will take a couple of days and will take over a lot of space while construction is taking place as well as painting, as well as being very dusty and messy during this period.

What you really need is a joinery company…

“The London Craftsman” is an excellent example of this. Have a look at the processes that we go through in creating a wardrobe before we enter your home. (see link) Our bespoke service ensures we provide very little disruption to the customer with an excellent high-end finish without the Hammonds/Sharps price tag.

TIPS…Shop around, get quotes from a few reputable companies, shop local and/or shop further afield. We are based in Hertfordshire but have provided furniture for clients as far as Lincolnshire. Our biggest client base is in North London where we started 11 years ago.

Contact the company. Check the reviews left for them and send them an email, give them a call but be armed with what you want. Many tradesman answer calls whilst on the job so be prepared for them to call back at the end of the working day or the next day. Don’t be afraid to leave a message or send an email. Communication is key. You want a tradesman who will keep you updated and be transparent to what’s going on.

Have rough measurements of the space (height, width and depth) to hand and be prepared to send all the info over in an email to receive a quote. What kind of doors do you want? Hinged or Sliding. What kinds of material are you open to? Painted MDF, Veneered MDF, Melamine Laminated MDF, Laminated Chipboard to name a few. What items do you want to store? Long hanging for dresses, short hanging for trousers, shirts, adjustable shelving, drawers etc. The options are endless but by describing what you want you will get a more accurate quotation.

Some companies may provide you with drawings for free, some may provide you with drawings after you provide a deposit, but it is essential that you know exactly what you are getting.

Have a budget in mind but be realistic. You are not going to get bespoke fitted furniture for Ikea prices. Don’t compromise on what your getting because of your budget. Think creatively. Could you get some boxes from Ikea that could use on the shelves that create drawers if you can’t afford to have drawers. If there is a tradesman that you want to use but they are slightly outside your budget. Ask if there’s anything they can do on the price, £50 saved from a reduction is £50 kept in your pocket. Or simply put the project on hold, save up some more money until you can afford it. Like I said earlier Pay peanuts, Get Monkeys. But equally a high price will not mean they are any good so check reviews!

So, you have a quote, a tradesman, you know what you are getting. Most companies will ask for a deposit for a bespoke piece of furniture. The materials will be cut to what you are getting and are unlikely to be able to be reused so a deposit will cover this in the event of cancelling. Deposits can range from 10% to 50% but I would steer clear of anyone wanting more.

You’ve paid your deposit… get a date in the diary. Be realistic that the date may change. If you have a specific date it needs to be fitted after or by make that very clear to the tradesman.

Fitting day arrives…Clear the room! They will need space to work in. Be prepared for fitting days to overrun by a day. Some tradesman will work 8-4pm some 9-5pm some may work till its all fitted in one day. Offer them a cup of tea and a biscuit…it’s polite.

Once the fitting is complete go over the work. Check it’s what you were told you were getting and if anything needs snagging get in contact as soon as possible. Be prepared to pay any remaining balances on completion day and leave them a review.

Time to enjoy your new bespoke fitted furniture!

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