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Buying your first home is exciting, and your dream-book is full of magazine cutouts and interior design sketches. But many entry-level or starter homes do not come with the built-in shelving of your designer-inspired visions. What do you do on a budget? Use your imagination, a little ingenuity and flat-pack furnishings.
What Are Flat Packs?
Furniture from in-store and online retailers sell shelving and cabinet units that arrive in flat boxes. They have all the parts, and often the tools, so you can put together the pieces. The main advantage of ready-to-assemble, flat-pack furniture is its affordability. If you’re even a little bit handy, they are simple to set up and offer a lot of sizes to fit most spaces.
The challenge is that it can look sterile and universal. Your stark-white, four-cube by three-cube shelf looks just like everyone else’s.
Hacking to the Rescue
No, not computer hacking — furniture hacking!
Personalize your furniture with some creativity, elbow-grease and experimentation. The Internet abounds with ways to hack your flat-pack furniture. Some websites devote their entire content to ways of updating low-cost furnishings to fit your style. Options range from changing hardware to painting laminate and all ideas in between. Here are some top contenders for getting a built-in look with your flat packs.
A Word About Paint
Unfinished wood, MDF and primed PVC materials readily accept paint. Laminate and foil veneer over fiberboard (also called thermofoil) are different. Before you start, make certain you know the composition of the furniture. Trust your paint dealer to direct you to the perfect product. But remember, you cannot sand foil veneers easily. Doing so will tear the finish and damage the furniture. Instead, consider using chalk paint.
For more ideas about making flat-packs appear built-in, talk to your local DIY store professionals. When preparing your home to sell, some built-ins may increase the value, so run it by your real estate professional.