Friday, April 23, 2010

Website Link: Top 5 Cheap Furniture Basics

I've bought a wide range of cheap furniture of, over the long-term, varying quality. The very worst? An over the toilet bathroom organizer from Zellers that was terrible to put together (I got blisters from it! Ouch!). The best? Probably my Billy bookcases from Ikea.

I'm a firm believer that stores like Ikea have, amidst the cheap stuff that'll do the trick for a year or two that you'll toss out when you move, a few top notch inexpensive items that'll actually hold up.

Apartment Therapy released a set of recommendations awhile back on the top 5 pieces of cheap furniture and I couldn't agree more with them (well, except for the part where they left out my beloved Billy bookcases that is). The commenters also left a long list of additional good finds. The article is a great list of cheaper stuff that you can rely on to last (unlike the aforementioned POS bathroom organizer... damn you Zellers!).

I'd like to add my deep love for Ikea's Expedit unit for a reason Apartment Therapy didn't mention: it is VERY VERY light. That fact may not matter to some of you, but I'm a massive weakling, so it's nice to know I have furniture in the house that I can actually move myself. A few years ago I picked a horrid cheaper Expedit-like shelving unit that Ikea made for about 10 seconds and then smartly discontinued, and I was completely unable to lift the box it came in myself. Expedit: it's not just a sheving unit; it's also good for people with no upper body strength!

The Expedit units have a number of great storage box and shelf options available, both from Ikea and from other companies as well. I personally have these Kassett boxes in green for storing my craft supplies and they both look attractive and do their job well.

If you want a cheap table to inflict your creative whims on I'd also recommend Ikea's Lack tables (yet another super-light friend for the strength-challenged). Their finish doesn't hold up the best over time (I have a few water-related mini-warps in the finish on mine), but they're one of the most delightfully hackable tables out there and are cheap enough that you won't be too upset if your hack doesn't go as well as planed. They're a good practice ground for hacking furniture, as this article notes. The Home Cheap Home book I reviewed awhile back also had some beautiful ideas for more artsy (and a bit harder) Lack table alterations.