Best 14 Practical Steps to Designing Furniture

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Taking Things for Granted – After making a list of all the things I took for granted about a typical cabinet on stand, I chose one point and didn’t follow the typical route. This whisky cabinet (left) has everything most cabinet on stands would have; the only difference is that it has six sides, instead of the typical four.

4 – Use two, or a maximum of three strong elements in one piece of furniture. Any more will likely clutter or overpower a piece of furniture. Often the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) theory is good guidance. “Elements” can be figured wood, strong curves or angles, texture, pattern, contrast, visible joinery, etc. If you cram too much into a piece the details tend to disappear and the piece of furniture becomes too busy and difficult to look at.


Too much of a good thing – By limiting a piece of furniture to two, maximum three, strong elements you ensure that the piece is not too overwhelming to look at. This legs on this chest (left) command attention, as do the rich red drawer fronts, made of chakte-kok.

5 – Give yourself time to think. My favourite thing to do when I get stuck for ideas is to go for a walk in the woods and not pressure myself to continue the piece of furniture. By just allowing myself to relax, and not be forced to come up with an answer, I often come up with a solution. Walks may be the best thing for me to generate ideas. This might also be why I often bring nature into my designs. Another option is to work on another piece of furniture, until you’re sure of the next step. Be prepared to put something on hold until you come up with an idea you like, or you may kick yourself later for ruining a piece.

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