When most of us are considering buying a new piece of furniture we tend to go about the process in the same way. Unfortunately, that way tends to involve countless afternoons and evenings traipsing endlessly round furniture shops in a futile search for something that’s the right shape, the right size, the right colour and the right price.
If you’re not prepared to do this then you probably think you’re left with two options: make the dreaded ‘drive of shame’ to Ikea, or take your chances (and trust the accuracy of your measurements) and order something off the internet.
But, to paraphrase a certain oleaginous former Prime Minister, there is a third way, and that third way is to purchase fitted furniture. Many people disregard bespoke pieces as an option when considering buying new furniture due to the perceived expense, but actually the amount of companies on the market now offering made-to-measure furniture means that increased competition has driven prices down.
Fitted pieces are now an incredibly simple and cost effective way to not only make sure you get exactly the piece of furniture you want, but also to maximise your living space. Most homes, whether they’re new build or traditional, contain several irregular nooks and alcoves that don’t easily accommodate freestanding furniture. Think of your own home, think of all the unused spaces around (and on top of) cupboards, chests of drawers and work surfaces. Look around the top third of the room you’re in now, at all the empty space between where your furniture ends and your ceiling begins. Add all those vacant spaces up and it becomes clear that there’s quite a significant amount of square footage in your home that you’re completely wasting. Because you’re not using your space effectively, you end up having to store things elsewhere and eventually your living space becomes cluttered.
Surely it’s better to store what you want, where you want it? Fitted furniture allows you to do this, while also giving your house a seamless, contemporary and ordered feel. You can create a cabinet that perfectly stores your CDs, records and stereo, or a bookshelf that fits perfectly into that awkward corner. The precise look that fitted furniture can give a room compared to freestanding furniture is genuinely striking (have a look at some before and afters on the internet if you don’t believe me) – it’s not just the smooth lines, it the extra neatness: it’s amazing what the removal of even a small amount of clutter can do for the look of a room.
And there’s no need to worry about botching your measurements either – most companies will send a team round to your house to measure up and discuss exactly what you want, allowing you to be totally involved in the design process, choosing colours, fixtures and the materials used so that your piece is exactly what you envisage.
So next time you’re tempted to hit the high street in search of a piece of furniture that is almost certainly going to involve you compromising in one way or another, think for a moment of what you could have if you didn’t play the high street’s game, if you took control of your own destiny and made your own decisions. And think what it will be like stand in your new, neat, spacious room, look around with a satisfied nod and like a modern-day Frank Sinatra proudly declare: ‘I did it my way’.
Jez Gee is a freelance writer and publishing consultant. Based in London, he writes regularly for print and the internet. He has interest in interior designing and his writings on