Bespoke v ready made: which is right for you?

Both bespoke furniture and ready-made pieces have their own set of benefits for self-builds – Selfbuilder & Homemaker speaks to two experts in the field to get their views on which way to go

Once the walls are painted, the floors are laid and the wiring and plumbing is all finished, it’s time to start thinking about what furniture will be decorating your new home. One of the first choices to be made when buying furniture is whether to commission a bespoke piece or buy a professionally- designed, readily-available item.

Perhaps you’ve had a plan for your furnishings right from the beginning of the project, or perhaps seeing it come to life has given you reason to rethink your choices. Whatever stage you’re at, finding the perfect pieces of furniture to turn your house into a home can be as challenging as it is exciting.

Bespoke

“Bespoke furniture is a great option if you’re looking for something that’s unique to your home,” comments Adam Brown, director at The Painted Furniture Company. “You may have a certain awkward space you’d like to fill, or a particular colour scheme in mind. Whatever you’re planning, going for a tailored option means your furniture fits your specifications exactly, without having to compromise.”

Having furniture that’s been made to measure means it can be completely customised to your requirements or style, explains Adam. “These designs can include highly efficient storage capabilities, be it concealing office equipment and wiring or including additional storage,” he says. “By looking at your own requirements, you can ensure that the piece of furniture fits precisely into your life and does exactly what you need it to. For example, if you have a huge shoe collection, why not ask about including a shoe rack within your wardrobe, or extra storage space underneath your bedframe?”

Bespoke furniture can also be designed to match the specific space, no

matter how inaccessible or small. “This can be particularly useful in smaller spaces or rooms that are an unusual shape,” Adam continues. “Awkward nooks and crannies, like the spot under the stairs, might usually go unused but by commissioning a piece to its exact measurements, such as one of our low bookcases, you can turn it into a practical and beautiful feature of your new home.”

Manufacturers of bespoke furniture can also offer various options when it comes to colour options etc. “Bespoke manufacturers can offer collections in bespoke sizes, along with a choice of colours and handles to make each design as personal as possible,” Adam concludes. “You can also let them know if you want a certain combination of drawers and shelves, or a certain finish. On top of this, expert teams can even colour match your furniture to ensure that it fits into your scheme seamlessly.”

Ready made

Alternatively, there are many of beautiful ready-designed pieces available on the market. Rachel Edmonds, founder of Newtons Furniture says: “Professionally designed furniture is just that. It’s beautifully crafted and designed by someone with years of experience. Not only is professionally- designed furniture more readily available at the click of a button, but it also looks and feels amazing.”

Ready made furniture is designed and created by people who have a passion for interior design, explains Rachel. “Selecting the right pieces is a wonderful way to imprint your personality on the overall design of your room,” she adds. “For example, if you love the look of French furniture, there is nothing like hand designed and hand carved furniture. In this instance, it’s always best to go with the experts who specialise in a particular look. An expert will always have knowledge on what will and won’t work, and should be happy to advise on what will work best in your scheme. They take the worry out of the design process.”

The other benefit to selecting something ready made is the savings that can be made from both a time and cost perspective. “You don’t have to wait weeks to sign off on a design and can always be sure of finding other furniture pieces to match your scheme,” Rachel explains. Companies often create complete sets of furniture, meaning “you can create the perfect room in your desired look safe in the knowledge that each piece of furniture complements the next,” Rachel says.

“More importantly, you can send it back or exchange it should the colour, size or design not live up to your expectations.”

Both choices clearly have their benefits. While bespoke furniture is often more unique, and best for distinctively shaped rooms, professionally designed pieces are easy to buy and are often a better option if you’re looking for a stylised look.

Whatever path you take, one thing which cannot be argued is the old saying ‘buy cheap and buy twice’. When selecting a piece of furniture which will stand in your home for years to come, often undertaking daily use, quality is the most important feature. There are many bespoke and pre-made furniture companies in the UK which make the most of dedicated experts and craftsmen to ensure that their products are of the very best quality and will stand the test of time, so a bit of research can go a long way in making sure you get the best possible product for your money.

The furniture you choose for your dream home is a very personal decision. What may be the best option for one person may not be the same for another, and so the best policy is to consider all the options available, and select the piece which fits best into your lifestyle and design tastes.