How to stay sane when assembling flat-pack furniture

Article by Homes to Love

If you’ve ever attempted to assemble a piece of flat pack furniture then you’ll be familiar with that creeping sense of frustration, sweat forming on the brow and a general compulsion to yell at your partner. Here’s how to stay sane while assembling flat pack furniture, from the experts at Mocka.

Jesse Living Table

What’s the first thing I should do when I receive my furniture delivery?
The first step is always to check everything is in your package, and that there was no damage in transit. This ensures that the retailer can send you a replacement if required, before you are halfway through assembling.

How much space will I need?
This would depend on the unit you are assembling. For a big bulky piece of furniture, you’ll want to make some room!

Should I assemble it in the room that it’s meant for?
It is a good idea. Have you ever tried to fit a bed through a door frame? You don’t want to (trust us). Make life easy for yourself and assemble your new piece of furniture as close to its new home as possible.


Should I lay out all the equipment first in groups?
It depends on your OCD level! Each to their own but it can help.

How should I get organised and ready to tackle the assembly?
The most important thing is to ensure all the parts are there. Then, it is a good idea to read over the instructions first and lay out the relevant panels in order of needing them.

How important are the instructions?
VERY! FOLLOW THEM! They are your sage for successful assembly.

How should I approach them?
With a glass of pinot in hand and your best reading glasses on. When it comes to instructions the best approach is looking at them. As tempting as it may be to freelance your assembly, deciding that you know the best way to do it without instructions is the fastest way to damage your new item.

Are all pieces of flat pack furniture possible to do on my own or will I need assistance?
This mainly depends on size and different elements of the assembly process. With drawers it can be good to have an extra set of hands to pass you screws while you hold elements in place. But most things should be easy enough to assemble on your own.

Is it easier to work alone, or with the input of a loved one/friend?
Everyone’s an Art Director when it comes to flat packs! If you do make assembly a bonding activity we would highly recommend putting one person in charge of the instruction book. If you can’t stand “back seat drivers” it’s probably best to go solo.

Mocka Trestle Desk

Can I use my own tools or should I use the allen key provided?
Follow the instructions, this should tell you what you will need. If you have a drill with the correct sized allen key attachment – this is very helpful and faster.

What if a pre-drilled hole is in the wrong place?
Before you get your drill out, email the company along with some photos and an explanation on what has happened. They should sort this out for you right away.

How tight do the screws need to be?
Do NOT over tighten, once it is nice and tight, STOP – just in case you have to correct a mistake while assembling.

Am I provided with exactly the number of bolts, screws, etc or will there be some leftover?
With Mocka you will receive the exact amount of hardware needed to assemble the product. But at times there may be a few extras as spares.

What’s the longest a piece of FP furniture will take to put together?
This really depends on the unit and your skill level. You will be fine as long as you follow the instructions and should be able to finish assembly within the day.

How much time, approximately, does assembly take (maybe you could compare a set of drawers to a chair, wardrobe)? It totally depends on the unit. Some things come partially assembled, others are completely in pieces. Ball park would range from five minutes to 10 hours!

Any tips for staying sane/not fighting with a loved one?

One word. Wine.


Bonus tips

  • Wear comfy clothing – you will feel like you’ve completed a workout by the time you’re done assembling
  • Read the instructions right through at the start
  • Protect your work surface with a drop cloth
  • Allow 24 hours for any glue to dry and harden before using your new piece of furniture
  • Save the allen key – you may need to retighten screws later on
  • Bear in mind that furniture is assembled on the floor and then placed upright – allow enough space for this
  • For more time-consuming pieces, factor in a drinks break to keep your sanity
  • Do NOT stay up all night determined to finish a piece. Wake up and give it a fresh pair of eyes in the morning

Interview by: Johanna Thornton. Photos by:

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