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Building & Renovating

5 Things You Should Know Before Having Your Furniture Customized

These tips will help you get value for your money

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Photography: @upcyclemanila on Instagram

It’s easy to just take a trip to a home store and pick a piece you can bring home with you. But sometimes, due to space constraints—or specific preferences, for that matter—you’ll need to have a furniture piece customized. That way, you know you’re getting something that really fits your space and meets your taste.

Having customized furniture may sound daunting, what with all the coordination involved. Then, of course, you need to find a reliable supplier who can help you out with your needs. Interior designer Vera Villarosa Orila and Upcycle Manila’s marketing manager JL Sunga share tips on what you should know when having bespoke furniture pieces made.

Do your research first.

 

JL recommends researching on the supplier you want to work with. “Read client reviews, check their work at the shop or showroom to make sure that the quality that they can do is at par with your expectations,” she says. Referrals from existing clients are also helpful so you’ll have an idea how your chosen supplier conducts their business.

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Equally important is knowing the expertise of that supplier. Don’t go to a store that customizes modern pieces if you want a rustic table made.

Communicate well.

From the get go, lay out all the requirements you need on the table: the materials you want, your budget, your deadline, and all the other specifics. “Customers should be specific when it comes to material finishes—wood, metal, fabric (texture and color), and even dimensions. If you don’t relay your expectations, you won’t get the expected outcome” says Vera.

 

Schedule a face-to-face meeting so you can further flesh out the details of what you need. Your supplier should also be “willing to listen to your furniture preferences and then later suggest politely what they think will suit your needs,” the interior designer adds. If they insist on things they know you’re not comfortable with, it’s time to start looking for another supplier.

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Don't be afraid to ask.

 

Both JL and Vera suggest asking your supplier for detailed drawings. According to JL, “Most furniture makers may be able to provide shop drawings to show the outcome of order before production. This will save time and money for both clients and the supplier. Ask for actual swatches of finishes and fabrics to set expectations correctly.” Detail drawings are important especially if you have no interior designer, says Vera. Since not all suppliers provide such, have a peg ready and ask them to replicate it. JL also recommends asking your supplier to visit your place, if possible, to ensure that the pieces you are having made will fit.

If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.

 

If you know the materials you want are quite pricey, but the supplier gives you a very affordable quotation, then take that as a red flag. “Building furniture will require manpower and materials which are pricey nowadays, so if the pricing does not sum up to your requirements, you might end up with an unfinished project,” warns JL.

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Manage your own expectations.

 

Overpromising delivery dates that sound too fast to be possible is also a bad sign. JL gives these rough estimates of production turnover to give you a better idea: small items like a coffee table, an accent chair, and bar stools take about one to three weeks to make; big pieces like cabinets and dining sets may take up to six weeks. Keep in mind, though, that production timelines still depend on how simple or complicated your specifications are, the availability of materials, and the volume of your supplier’s work (they have other clients, too).

 

Again, remember to always communicate and have everything in black and white. That way, both you and your supplier can have something to go back to in case something comes up along the way.

You may reach interior designer Vera Villarosa Orila at veravillarosa[at]gmail.com. Check out Upcycle Manila's items on Instagram—@upcyclemanila. Visit their showroom at Stall CB 90 2/L Bldg. C Tiendesitas, Pasig City.

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