Best 14 Practical Steps to Designing Furniture

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More than just wood – Other materials bring wonderful strengths to a piece of furniture. Copper, on the face of this music stand (left), adds warmth and colour and can be textured with the right tools. Hand-made Japanese paper comes in many colours, weights and textures. When placed in front of a light, like this lantern, its natural fibres are easily visible.

7 – Use models to work out an idea. Don’t make mistakes with your expensive exotic wood … do that with the cheap stuff:  2x4s, Masonite, Styrofoam, construction paper, etc. Use anything that is cheap, strong enough and easy to work with. You can also use different spray paints to mimic the colour of solid wood, allowing you a more realistic view of the finished piece. Models can be full sized or to scale.

stepstodesigningfurniture_13Time well spent – This lantern model saved me a lot of grief and wasted time. As soon as I made it, I realized it looked more like a weird waste bin than a classy lantern. I removed the taper on the sides and was happy with the final result.


Big or small – Sometimes it’s much easier and faster to make to-scale models of a piece before you start building it. Details are easy to make and the piece can be visualized quite clearly. I changed this table’s base substantially before deciding on the final details.

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