If you’ve spent hours searching for the perfect piece of furniture for your space, you might have realized that the perfect piece doesn't exist, which means you have to create it. From fabric color and design to size, creating a custom piece that fits your lifestyle and aesthetic is worth investing in. More often than not, custom pieces will have fewer flaws and design error, as there is more time and attention put into each and every detail.
Since ordering custom furniture is not a cheap undertaking, you want to make sure you’re taking everything into consideration and not making any miscalculations or mistakes. There are so many positives to ordering custom-made furniture, so you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make the process run smoothly.
To avoid hefty return fees and a customized piece of furniture that doesn't fit in your room, here are the five mistakes to avoid that everyone makes when ordering customized furniture.
Mistake #1: Playing It Safe
If you’re investing in a custom piece of furniture your gut reaction might be to go classic and neutral, but going in the opposite direction, aiming for a unique color or pattern can really pay off. Spencer Bass, creative director at Label 180 explains how going for something different and special can spark joy. “When you’re ordering a custom piece of furniture, you want to make sure it will have a shelf life, so to speak, and that you’ll be happy with your made-to-order decision in years to come,” he says.
Think about what sets your custom piece of furniture off from ready-made pieces. Is it the color? The shape? The fabric? If you’re investing in a custom-made piece of furniture it should reflect your style and personality. Plus, having a one-of-a-kind custom piece of furniture always creates a great conversational piece in your room. “When you order a custom desk, chair or anything else, go for something different, something special—a combination that truly reflects your personality and sense of style,” says Bass.
Mistake #2: Not Measuring Properly Before Ordering
The upside of ordering custom furniture is that you’re tailoring the piece to fit your lifestyle perfectly. From style and function, your custom furniture should be exactly what you’re looking for. When it comes to purchasing a custom couch, you want to make sure the size works well in your space. Whether you’re looking for a piece of furniture for a small space with specific or awkward dimensions or looking for a bigger piece that can seat a lot of people, you want to make sure that the custom furniture works well in your space.
“People often don’t measure at all, or they underestimate what a piece of furniture will look like in a space compared to what the tape measure shows,” says Edgar Blazona, creator of Benchmade Modern. “Many times customers don’t understand the orientation of a sectional and how to know if it’s right-facing or left-facing, which is so key to ensure you’re happy with your furniture for years to come.”
With Benchmade Modern, once you select the size that you think works best, they send a life-sized printout of the custom measurements right to your door so you can unroll it in your space and make sure your sofa or sectional truly fits into the room. If you’re dealing with a company that does not send a cutout of the actual piece, try mapping out the dimensions with painter's tape to gain an understanding of how the furniture will work in your space.
When it comes to sofas, you don't want it to overtake the room. “It’s tempting—you think you need the largest sofa available, but really a properly sized sofa that fits in scale with the rest of your room is what will work the best,” says Blazona.
Mistake #3: Not Requesting Fabric Samples in Advance
If you’re ordering a custom piece of furniture or custom window treatment from a store, you’ll most likely be able to see fabrics and finishes in person. If you’re ordering through an online store, the colors and textures that you see on a website can be completely different from what the actual fabric is like in person.
Before placing an order, Davina Ogilvie, founder of Wovn Home, says you should always order samples of the fabrics you are considering. “Be sure to always see and touch fabric samples in person. No matter how true to color photos online may seem, materials will always be more accurate in person,” she says.
Even if you are seeing fabrics in-person and in-store, you should still request samples to bring home. “It’s especially helpful to see color and texture in your home’s lighting as colors can read differently under different lighting conditions, “ says Ogilvie.
Bass agrees, noting that you want to test out how the swatch plays against other furniture and textiles in your room. “View your swatches in the room where the furniture will be placed to see how it looks with the lighting and against other pieces of furniture you already own. Spend some time with the swatches before you finalize your order to avoid being disappointed with your new piece.
Mistake # 4: Forgetting to Measure Your Home's Entryways and Hallways
On top of fitting in your space, you want to make sure that you can get your new, made-to-order furniture into your home. Nidhi Kapur, Founder & CEO of Maiden Home, warns that customers often forget to take these calculations into consideration when ordering large pieces of furniture. Your living room might look great with a massive sectional, but your hallways in your apartment building or front entrance of your house might not agree.
“To ensure that your custom piece will fit in your home on delivery day, walk the journey of your piece from outside your home to its desired location,” says Kapur. You want to make sure that the piece will clear all doorways, hallways, and tricky turns. Kapur recommends following this simple rule of thumb: the width of the entryway must exceed the piece’s depth OR its height.
To play it extra safe in terms of size, consider going modular. “Modular sofas are the ideal design for any size space and any sized hallway,” says Kapur. The Jones Modular allows you to build your own sofa piece by piece, which means more customization to design exactly to your space.
Mistake #5: Not Considering Rugs
When it comes to designing a room, a rug is often a good starting point. Kapur explained how choosing this fundamental piece helps you build the room from the ground up. “If you're working with an existing area rug, be mindful of how you want your new piece to sit on (or near) the existing rug,” says Kapur. If you’re not ready to get a new rug, on top of your custom made furniture, Kapur shared a great hack. “If your current rug feels too small for your custom piece, consider purchasing a large sisal rug and layering the smaller rug on top.”
According to our rugs dos and don'ts, you want your rug to extend under all furniture that is on top of it. For example, in a living room, all of the furniture should be on top of the rug. If this isn't possible, try to have the front legs of the major upholstered pieces on the rug and the back legs off. However, all the legs of smaller pieces should be on the rug.