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Building Office Furniture Tips | Assembling Furniture | Staples | Business Hub |®

Assembling Furniture for Your Office: Tips for Getting It Right

by Margot Carmichael Lester, Staples® Contributing Writer

Mike Millar is a lot like you and me. He’s handy enough with tools that it seemed reasonable he could quickly and easily put together the six new office chairs he’d chosen to upgrade the conference room. The operative term being “seemed.”

“The picture on the instruction sheet was not exactly helpful,” recalls Millar, founder of Millar Technology, a tech consulting and advisory firm with offices in Los Angeles and Berkeley, CA. “I built the first chair completely wrong — the seat ended up facing the wrong direction,” he says. “The picture actually got in the way of things.”

Assembling office furniture is not the same as putting together a piece or two for your home. Likely, you’ll be putting together multiple pieces — and the more there is, the more that can go wrong. Follow these tips to make building office furniture go as smoothly as possible.

  • Tip #1 for Building Furniture: Take a photo. Don’t trust that the instructions will be helpful. “When you're in the store look at an actual example of what you’ll be building and take a picture of it from multiple angles,” Millar suggests. “It will make it a lot easier.”
  • Tip #2 for Building Furniture: Create an assembly line. “When you’ve got several of the same item, it’s fastest and easiest to do them assembly-line style,” Millar says. “Do all the bases, then all the seats, then all the arm rests. You get into a certain flow and do better with each one you build.”

Nothing’s worse than getting all set for assembling furniture only to discover you don’t have the right pieces. How much time have you wasted looking for the special tool that somehow wasn’t included in the box? Or worse, broken that tool on the first use?

  • Tip #3 for Building Furniture: Take inventory. “Make sure all screws, bolts, pegs, etc., are accounted for prior to assembly,” says Aron Susman, cofounder of TheSquareFoot, a New York-based company that helps small businesses find commercial space. Count the pieces to make sure you have the correct number. Return items that come up short, or take a sample to your local hardware store and get more. “Have backup tools easily accessible, as the tools that come with kits are often inadequate or flimsy,” he adds.  A few item to keep in your office tool box: an Allen® wrench/hex key set, power drill with screwdriver bits, hammer and wood glue for when you chip the veneer off those particle board furnishings (you know you inevitably will).
  • Tip #4 for Building Furniture: Lay it out. Teresa Hartnett, owner of Hartnett Inc., was so excited about getting an entire office full of new furniture — a desk, bookcases, a matching file cabinet — that she couldn’t wait to begin assembling furniture. “I was about to be coordinated in the office for the first time ever,” says the Alexandria, VA-based digital publishing and online learning executive. “I had learned to count all the pieces when the boxes were opened from years of constructing home furniture, but I made the mistake of opening all the boxes at once. Then there were the distractions, which led to the mixing up of pieces — this is a thing to never do.”

Even with these helpful tips, you may still find the task of building office furniture too frustrating or time-consuming. “I finally surrendered to being the owner of a company with responsibilities that require my focus,” Hartnett recalls. “I hired a specialist to do the furniture, so I can be a specialist in what I know how to do.”


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