Why would you want to do it yourself?
The push to build your own piece of furniture, rather than buy a completed piece, could come from several sources.
- – Price: you’ve seen a piece you would like, but can’t afford it
- – Quality: you’ve seen a piece you like, but it was made of particle board
- – Fit: you can’t find a piece in the correct size or shape for your needs
- – Uniqueness: you have a combination of needs that is unique enough that no one makes it
- – Fun: you like building things (we’ll include “get away from some task/person/thing I want to avoid” in this)
- – Nostalgia: you have some aged lumber that you’re dying to make use of
Many projects will touch on all of those motivations, and most will hit at least a couple of them. But even if “fun” is your top priority, you will want to consider at least a couple of the other factors when choosing projects.
Price & Quality
Price will often be a motivator for more expensive items. Exotic bed frames and dining tables that sell for thousands of dollars might be reasonably duplicated by the home builder for a fraction of the retail price.
But simple items like a side table or basic desk can often be purchased from superstores for less than you would pay for the lumber and hardware. If you can buy a new one for $99 or less, you’re not going to save much by building it yourself.
The quality to price ratio may be a factor with those lower priced items. If that $99 unit is cheaply made, you may decide that you can build a better one for a similar price. You may even be willing to pay a little more if you think yours will last longer.
Don’t forget that you may end up spending more money on tools, especially if you are just getting started with DIY projects. Of course the tools will last for many projects, and should not be considered part of the cost of the project. But it still represents cash needed to build that first piece.
Fit & Uniqueness
When fit and uniqueness are your motivators, about the only option to doing it yourself is to hire a professional to custom build it. That is usually very expensive. Even when you budget for tools, building your own saves money over hiring it out.
Once you are convinced your only option to get the piece you want is to build it yourself, you can focus on finding or creating a plan that fits both your skills, and available tools–or tools that are available within your budget.
Fun & Nostalgia
If you are building for fun or nostalgia, your tool collection will probably be the biggest influence your choice of projects. You may be willing to buy one new tool occasionally, but you will want to find projects that can be built with the tools you like using, and can afford.
Power tools like a router can be fun for some folks, and terrifying for others. Sanding by hand can be therapeutic, where power sanders can have the opposite effect. Bigger projects require more working space, and it’s frustrating working in cramped spaces. If it’s for fun, pick a project that fits your environment.
Ultimately, price can be a deceptive motivator. Although certain types of projects will result in saving money, many will not. If you don’t enjoy the work, you may feel it wasn’t worth any savings.
In most cases, success will be measured by the satisfaction a person gets from having filled an important need exactly to their own liking.