Buying bespoke furniture is the ultimate luxury, however in reality it can be expensive and time-consuming. Companies, both new and established, are trying to quash this stereotype and offer customisation services that allow ready-made designs to be tweaked to make furniture more personalised to you.
Furniture created by bespoke professional manufacturers is entirely unique and one-of-a-kind. They help to create a flowing, cohesive interior to your space, whether it be at home or at work. If bespoke furniture is made well and to a high standard, the furniture can last a lifetime, which means that it's acceptable to make such a large investment in various pieces of furniture in your home, such as wardrobes, table and chairs, and kitchen units.
Although there are many flat-pack choices that can be found on the high-street, such as IKEA, the option of bespoke furniture is becoming much more accessible, for convenience and budget. With homeowners needing to make the most of space more than ever, people are choosing to make a long-term investment by opting for bespoke made-to-measure furniture rather than shop-bought flat-pack items. Stores are homing in on the 'boom', with the UK's leading bathroom superstore, Bathstore, beginning to venture into the bespoke kitchen and bedroom markets this year.
As a result of this, the value of furniture produced by UK manufacturers is on the up. According to a review of UK manufacturing performance in 2016, by British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM), the amount of UK furniture by value rose by 9.3% compared to 2015, despite, last year, imports increasing by 9.6%. The UK market for all types of furniture increased to more than £11.6 million in 2016, up 8.7% on the previous year, and thus, exports grew by 13.9%.
Of the 27 furniture groups covered by the BFM review, 10 sub-sectors were chosen which represent typical manufacturing areas. These included; upholstery, sofa beds, bedroom furniture, dining room, living room, office and shop furniture, kitchen units, mattress supports for bed frames, as well as mattresses with spring interiors and cellular plastics. Sales for these 10 sub-sectors combined, increased by 11.8% in 2016 to reach nearly £4.8 billion.
As a result of the demand for 'bespoke' furnishings, the demand for jobs has increased. According to new data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), manufacturing jobs has risen year on year over the last five years, with 2013 seeing the largest spike in those employed in manufacturing jobs.
OnBuy sought to find out whether the booming 'bespoke' market is putting stores, such as IKEA, in danger. Today, more and more people are opting to use bespoke furniture companies rather than buying ready-made items from furniture shops and warehouses.
Despite the fact IKEA sales has risen over the last year, their growth is not steady, and with bespoke furniture becoming more common, do their customers believe is it inevitable that IKEA will "diminish"?
OnBuy surveyed a number of homeowners, asking a series of questions about what their preference when buying furniture was, and whether they prefer buying 'bespoke' or high-street furniture. According to the research collected, a staggering 53% of respondents would prefer buying 'bespoke', rather than shop-bought furniture.
When asked why the homeowners would buy bespoke furnishings, the main reason was due to the made to measure service companies provide (51.25%). This was followed by build quality (22.50%), furniture is unique (13.75%), the various guarantee and aftercare services (8.75%) and to have a piece of furniture that is different and to create a statement (3.75%).
Considering the main reason cited for buying bespoke furniture is its 'originality and uniqueness' (47.5%), this is arguably why homeowners are deciding to choose 'bespoke' products now more than ever. As a result, 70% of people believe that IKEA will "die" over the next few years as bespoke furniture manufacturers are becoming more affordable and just as convenient as furniture stores, such as IKEA.
Managing director of C&S Interiors, a bespoke furniture company based in London, agrees. Matt Rybak said that many of his customers were disillusioned with flat-pack furniture having struggled to assemble it and then found the quality and finish disappointing. He said:
"There is definitely a move away from mass-produced furniture. People are now looking for something unique that reflects their personal style."
"Our clients are looking for inch-perfect solutions to awkward dimensions. Space is at a premium in many London homes."
Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
6 Reasons to go 'Bespoke'
1. Your taste, your design, your furniture
If you have a piece of furniture in mind, but can't find it anywhere, going bespoke may be a good option. Experts will create a design for you, guaranteeing the piece of furniture you have dreamed of, without having to compromise on store-bought products. Customise your furniture to perfectly match your interior design and your personality.
2. Entirely unique to you
Want a statement piece that nobody has seen before, or that no one will have? Bespoke furnishings are a great investment and a timeless piece of furniture, and can help bring your whole room together with matching or complimentary colours, varnishes and materials. Keep your interior design scheme flawless and sophisticated with perfectly co-ordinated pieces.
Bespoke furniture can fit seamlessly into the smallest and most awkward places where shop-bought items cannot fit. Extra storage in these spaces is incredibly useful, as well as creating a room that is more functional and contemporary.
4. Personalised storage
Storage ideas for bespoke furniture is endless. Opting for handmade furniture enables all customers to choose the exact measurements, design, fabric and finish of their final design. Select how to lay out your shelving, drawers and racks to suit your individual choice, whether it's in the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen or living room.
5. Aftercare and customer service
Bespoke furniture manufacturers are professionals in their field, and all pieces of furniture are made to fit their customers' expectations. From discussing your initial ideas, to installing the furniture into your home, choosing bespoke furniture means you will enjoy a personal service from the beginning to end. The stress of finding what you want, organising delivery and rearranging furniture in your home is out of your hands. Everything is covered.
In addition, the work of a bespoke furniture manufacturer doesn't end once the product is bought. If anything goes wrong, or if the product needs to be restored, repaired, upholstered or replaced, companies will sort it out for you. This is all part of their long-term guarantee. Handmade furniture is an investment for life.
6. It's not as expensive as you think
With modern machinery and an extensive range of modern materials, bespoke pricing is now very competitive. Shop around and find the best option for you.