Confused between making and buying furniture? I got you all covered with effective solutions to the problem.
Furniture is the soul and heart of any house, and it reflects the personality of the whole house. So there’s no surprise that people spend a lot of time searching for the right furniture. Many people get confused over buying furniture or building one themselves.
Many factors can affect that decision, but the main focus of this article will be on the economic side of things (don’t worry, we will cover other things too). I will be covering all the essential factors you need to consider in detail.
Till the end of the article, you will get the answer to the question: Is it cheaper to build or buy furniture?
#1 Cost Of Materials
If you choose to go for a DIY project and build your furniture, the cost of the material is the first thing you need to consider. Before you start buying material for building your furniture, make sure you do proper research on the products in that category.
Whether you are buying a dresser, baby crib, or dining table, getting a grasp of their market price and materials used is essential. Usually, the material cost will not differ too much, but it can be slightly lower for a manufacturer than you simply because they are buying in bulk.
If you are a beginner in DIY projects, you will have to buy many tools as a one-time investment. Still, the chances are that the overall cost of building furniture of your own will be less than buying one, or you get much better material at the same price.
But that’s not the same for all furniture, and maybe as a beginner, you might spend too much money on the tools or material, which is why you need to consider some other factors too.
#2 Time & Value Of Money
For me, time and money always go hand in hand. When we are looking for a cheaper option, it means money and your time.
Making furniture of your own takes a lot of time and patience, and if you are not an expert, you will find it way more difficult to make most of the furniture (we will discuss it later).
There are certain kinds of furniture that consume less time to make than other ones. For example, making a DIY baby crib might not take too many days, but making a king-size bed may take weeks.
Some furniture also requires high-level skills to make, while some can be made even by a rookie. For example, I once made a standing bookshelf for my house in just four days, and it didn’t require any sophisticated tools or high-level skills either.
But it’s not always the same; that’s why the next factor is so important.
Note: Do not buy any expensive tools if you’re not planning to build multiple DIY furniture in the future, as you will not get the full value for money out of those tools if you buy them just to make a single piece of furniture.
If you don’t know the craft to build certain furniture or you’re not interested in learning it either, there’s no point in even discussing building DIY furniture.
You will require different kinds of skills to make various furniture, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea either. Not everyone has the craft to build furniture themselves. Some types of furniture do not require high skills, such as picnic tables, benches, or tables, but one thing that they definitely require is a lot of interest and passion in woodwork and DIY projects in general.
So no matter what furniture you’re making, if you are not interested in woodwork, then it’s better for you to buy your furniture.
#4 Durability & Value Over A Long Time
There’s a general misconception that DIY furniture will not last as long as furniture bought from the market or that it will cost as much as buying one in the long run.
You can actually add many things and customize furniture to increase its durability. But the primary thing that affects the durability of DIY furniture is hardwood. Most types of furniture you buy in the market are made of upholstery and primarily laminated furniture that is no way near as durable as hardwood.
Now you must remember that hardwood is much more expensive, so the material cost of making furniture from hardwood may be equal to buying laminated furniture from the market. But the major difference will be durability, hence giving you more value for money in the long run.
#5 Personal Preference
Your personal preference highly matters in deciding to buy furniture or make it. If you’re too picky and like the things to get done in your way, then DIY furniture is best for you. You can make the furniture exactly the way you want, from the material to design to color.
On the other hand, if you are not too artistic and just want to select from a range of options available, you should buy your furniture.
Now that you know about the various factors let’s look at an example of a cost comparison between DIY furniture and furniture bought from the market.
We will take a wooden desk as an example here simply because it is among the easiest furniture to make.
- Measuring tape – $6
- Pencil and paper – $2
- 2×6 boards (Lumbar) – $19
- Circular, table, or miter saw – $60
- 80-120-grit sandpaper – $20
- Wood glue – $10
- Table clamps – $15
- Paint or stain – $15
- Paintbrush – $5
- 2×4 boards (Lumbar) – $10
- Power drill – $30
- Wood screws – $5
- Total Cost – $197
So the total cost of making a decent DIY desk will be around $197. Now, remember these numbers are just a rough estimate, and prices can change a lot depending upon your location.
Now the question is how much it will cost to buy a new desk from the market. A new desk from the market will cost you around $220 – $250.
Some people may think the price difference is not too much, or they can find something cheaper as well, but you need to keep in mind that most of the things we mentioned in the cost breakdown are reusable and are just one-time investments. It is also why I stressed earlier that you should buy expensive tools only when you are looking to make several pieces of furniture in the future.
Pros & Cons Of Buying Furniture
- You can buy the product right away and hence saving a lot of time.
- There are always a lot of options to choose from.
- You don’t need to learn any skills.
- They can be more expensive.
Pros & Cons Of Building Furniture
- You can customize the furniture exactly the way you want.
- You can make any kind of changes in the furniture in the future.
- They are cheaper.
- If you use
- It can be great if you want to develop woodworking skills.
- It requires time to make DIY furniture.
- Depending upon various furniture, you will require different sets of skills to make them which are hard to learn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is making furniture profitable?
The term ‘profitable’ can mean two things here, one from an economic point of view and one from an artistic view. Economically making furniture is slightly more profitable simply because there is no manufacturing cost involved nor the bunch of other charges.
You can also spend some more money and build your furniture with hardwood, and you will still be profitable in the long run. The other side is artistic, where there is huge profitability simply because you can customize the furniture the way you like and even change or add something whenever you want.
Is building a desk cheaper than buying?
Building a desk is definitely cheaper than buying one, and interestingly, it is one of those furniture items that does not require high-level skills or sophisticated tools either. So if you’re willing to spend some time on a DIY project and also learn some new skills, you should definitely consider making a desk despite buying.
To summarize the whole article I can say that making furniture is cheaper than buying one in almost all cases, but there are some exceptions too. The primary thing is you should be willing to learn new skills and spend some time making the products. So if your time is too valuable to spend on learning new skills, then you are probably ok to buy them off the shelf and pay a little bit extra for the convenience that you get.
You can make most furniture items if you have the desire to learn, while some types of furniture should be bought unless you are a professional or thriving to become one.
I hope you found this article answered all your questions, and if you liked it feel free to share it.