If you’ve ever designed a piece of furniture yourself (or tried to), you may know how difficult it can be. To make that piece work exactly as intended and so it will last for years, there are dozens of things to consider. Continue reading below to find out the basics of designing furniture.

How will it be used?

One of the first things to consider about a new piece of furniture is how it will be used. Since nearly all furniture pieces serve a function, we need to think about what that function is and how it could affect the design. If we’re designing a bed, for instance, that purpose is already pretty well-defined because the purpose of a bed is nearly universal.

If what we’re designing though is, let’s say a bar, then the function may vary. One person may only want a bar to hold and store drink bottles, while another may want to have a sink and mini fridge within the bar. Now, we need to add in holes for a sink, plumbing, air circulation for the fridge, and a waterproof finish.

Where will it be used and stored?

The location of a piece of furniture plays a big part in the design as well. For example, it’s best to not use miter joints on pieces that will be outdoors, as the fluctuating temperature and humidity often causes them to gap. A tough finish will also be needed for outdoor pieces, to stand up to the sun’s UV rays and the moisture.

Even if a piece is indoors, location is still important. A bookshelf in a child’s room could probably be built with a less expensive species of wood than a dining table because appearance is not quite as important for the child, and it will likely see heavy use. Furniture near (or in) a kitchen or bathroom will need to be more resistant to moisture.

How big does it need to be?

While some design choices can be overlooked, this is one most people remember because it is fundamentally important that your piece fits where it’s needed. The most obvious measurements needed are the length, width, and height. The finished piece needs to comfortably fit in its new space and not feel overly large or small.

Joints, hardware, and accessories are another important consideration when designing your furniture. The overall dimensions may be figured out, but you also need to think about how your piece will be built and joined together. If you use a pre-manufactured metal bracket to assemble your table sides to the legs, the legs and sides need to be wide enough to accept the bracket.

You also need to determine sizing for hardware, such as hinges, rollers, latches, or knobs. Not only should the receiving board be big enough for the hardware, but it should also be comfortable for the end user to operate. Lastly, make sure to account for dimensions of other accessories. If a slot is being put into an end table to hold remote controls, make sure to account for the size of the remotes when designing.

What type of wood should be used?

The earlier sections about how and where a piece will be used can affect this decision as well. For larger and more visible pieces, it may be desirable to use a nicer species of wood, like walnut, oak, or maple. These woods will increase the cost, but they are usually more durable than cheaper woods and they are visually pleasing.

Certain species are also better suited to some pieces of furniture more than others. While oak can be used for a dining table, it will require extra preparation and finishing because oak wood has very large pores. This means that the space between the grain of the wood is much larger than other species. In order to make sure food or other debris doesn’t get trapped in the pores, extra sanding will be needed or a pore filler can be used.

In addition to color, durability, and grain, the way a piece of  wood was cut can also affect the end product. The direction of the grain within the piece of wood affects the stability and strength of a piece and should be carefully considered during the design stage.

What types of fasteners will be used?

When designing a piece, it’s important to think about how it will be built and how each piece will be joined to the others. There are countless options, such as screws, nails, dowels, biscuits, glue, mortise & tenon, dado, miter, etc. Not only should your design be easy to build, the pieces should be sized appropriately to prevent exposed fasteners and structural weaknesses.

When planning your joinery, the use and location should also be a factor. Certain joints do better in certain conditions than others. Choosing the right method will ensure your piece will last for years.

Creating a design

Now that you know the basics of designing furniture, you can start actually designing your piece. Some people like to use a pencil and paper to physically sketch their piece, but I prefer to use a 3D computer design program called Sketchup. Even when accounting for all of the above, you will still likely encounter some small problems and will need to modify the design slightly.

Hopefully you now have a better idea about how to design a piece of furniture that will be beautiful, durable, and functional. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me  or comment below. And if you’re looking for a well-designed, handcrafted piece of furniture, send me a message today and let’s make your vision a reality!

8 Responses

  1. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you could be
    a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will often come back down the
    road. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great job, have a nice day!

  2. I am really impressed with your writing
    skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or
    did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing,
    it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.

  3. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled
    blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking
    more of your great post. Also, I’ve shared your site in my social networks!

  4. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Extremely helpful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such info much.
    I was seeking this certain information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  5. I’m really enjoying the theme/design of your web site.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?

    A handful of my blog visitors have complained about my
    site not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome.

    Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?

  6. I think that everything composed was actually very logical.
    However, think on this, what if you typed a catchier title?
    I am not suggesting your content is not good, however what if you added a title to maybe grab people’s attention? I mean Furniture
    design considerations – The Handsome Home is kinda boring.
    You could glance at Yahoo’s home page and note how they
    create article headlines to get people to open the links.
    You might add a related video or a related pic or two to
    get people excited about everything’ve written. In my opinion, it could
    bring your blog a little livelier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *