Allen a Day's Work: The Do's and Don'ts of Assembling IKEA Furniture

by Team HomeServe
assembling ikea furniture

IKEA is well-known for its affordable furniture that brings simple, Scandinavian styling to the home. Decorating with pieces from IKEA is one way to upgrade your home without breaking the budget. Whether you're refurbishing your home's interior or making your outdoor space more usable, IKEA has choices for almost every style.

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However, the key reason for those low prices is the fact that you have to assemble the furniture yourself. Many people find themselves perplexed by the description-free assembly instructions. Thankfully, you have plenty of options when it comes to assembling your IKEA pieces. Take a look at some key questions regarding IKEA furniture — plus some tips for DIY IKEA assembly.

Is IKEA Furniture Difficult to Assemble?

IKEA furniture is designed to be assembled quickly — although some pieces are easier than others. To assess how difficult a piece is to put together, check to see how many boxes it comes in. Any piece that comes in more than one or two boxes is likely to be more difficult to assemble.

If you have strong handyman skills, have assembled other furniture or toys easily or have experience building LEGO kits (which also use no words in their instructions), you should find IKEA furniture assembly pretty straightforward. However, people who don't like to follow instructions or who like to skip steps may have problems building IKEA furniture.

Can You Pay Someone to Assemble IKEA Furniture?

Yes. Most IKEA stores contract with local services to provide both delivery and assembly as needed. In the U.S., IKEA has contracted with TaskRabbit to provide assembly services. Often, they can provide next-day services. In addition, you may be able to find local entrepreneurs who provide IKEA furniture assembly services.

How Much Does It Cost to Assemble IKEA Furniture?

Fees for assembling IKEA furniture depend largely on your location and on the complexity of the pieces you need to have assembled. Prices can be in the $25 range for simple items, such as headboards or nightstands, and they can rise to more than $400 for complicated wardrobe units. Your assembly service should be able to give you an accurate quote based on the item name and number.

Can You Buy IKEA Furniture Already Assembled?

All IKEA furniture must be purchased in its unassembled form. However, if you arrange with TaskRabbit to provide delivery and assembly, your furniture can be delivered to you already assembled.

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IKEA Furniture Assembly: Do’s and Don’ts

If you decide to assemble your IKEA furniture yourself, following these simple tips can make the process of putting together IKEA furniture as straightforward as possible:

DON'T: Buy a Damaged Box

The cardboard packaging used for IKEA kits isn't very thick. If the packaging is damaged, there's a good chance the pieces inside are also damaged. It's easy enough to move on to the next box to make sure you have an intact furniture kit.

DO: Prepare your Work Area Before You Start

Clear plenty of space so you can spread out the pieces and still have room to work. Open up the box the furniture pieces came in and lay it out flat on the floor to protect both your flooring and the furniture you're building. Or, do your work on a dropcloth.

DON'T: Build Beyond Your Level

Don’t insist on building a complicated piece of IKEA furniture if it's beyond your skill level. Think how you'd feel if you had to buy a new kit and start over. Call those assembly experts to save yourself time and frustration.

DO: Take Inventory Before You Begin

Take stock of all your pieces and hardware and lay them out in an orderly fashion before you start building. In some IKEA kits, pieces can sometimes appear identical — until you lay them down next to each other and realize they're ever-so-slightly different.

DON'T: Fret Over Missing Pieces

Missing pieces are actually fairly rare with IKEA, but it does happen. If you contact IKEA, they'll replace them. And if you've inventoried all the pieces before you get started, you'll avoid the stress of having to stop while you're in the middle of putting together furniture.

DO: Keep Track of the Hardware

Set the hardware aside in a safe place. Many pieces of IKEA hardware are very small, and it's easy to lose one. Place the hardware in a serving tray or on a large plate to make it easy to access.

DO: Read the Instructions First

Read them all, beginning to end, to get a sense of what the process will be like for each piece. Assuming that you can figure things out as you go along may lead to a frustrating end.

DO: Organize Your Workspace

Reorganize the pieces that you've inventoried, laying them out in the order in which you'll need them as you build. This will speed up your process and make it less likely that you confuse pieces or hardware.

DON'T: Be Intimidated by the Instructions

The instructions will indicate which way each piece should face, so you should maintain the same orientation for your pieces as you work. Look at your laid-out pieces as you read the instructions and visualize each step before you do anything.

DO: Let YouTube Teach You

Watch DIY videos if you find them helpful — but choose your videos carefully. Look for videos made by professional assemblers. Avoid time-lapse videos. They look cool, but they aren't all that helpful when it comes to actually building your furniture.

DO: Hammer in Dowels

The dowel holes in IKEA furniture are often too small for the IKEA pegs to drive in smoothly and completely without using tools. A rubber mallet, rather than a traditional hammer, can do the job without risking damage to the furniture.

DO: Use Extra Tools and Materials

Use waterproof, polyurethane glue between particle board pieces to make IKEA furniture extra sturdy. Be careful not to over apply it because you don't want the glue to squeeze out and become visible along the seams.

Use a level to make sure your furniture is even. If you don't have a level, you can download an extremely accurate level app on your smartphone. You can also use extra tools, including a cordless power drill, if you have experience with them.

DON'T: Use Tools You’re Unfamiliar With

That said, don’t use power tools if you aren't experienced with them. It's all too easy to completely destroy a piece of IKEA furniture with the overenthusiastic use of power tools during assembly. In any case, use the lowest setting with all power tools.

DON'T: Throw Away Your Receipt

If you damage a piece of your furniture, IKEA will replace it. You can head to the spare parts department at the local IKEA store, or the company will ship the part to you. However, don't wait too long; some IKEA furniture items sell out or become discontinued.