Built-in Carpentry VS Loose Furniture: Which is better?

When it comes to furniture, you have the option of getting them custom-made or shop for ready-made pieces. There are pros and cons to both. 

So how should you decide between these two options? Ask yourself these 4 questions before you decide which is better for you.

What is your budget?

Generally speaking, built-in furniture costs more than loose pieces since they are made to your specifications. You also get to choose the finishing and materials used. With loose furniture, most of the time the cost is lower as they are mass-produced. 

To make the most of your budget, you would need to do a bit of homework. Start by listing down all the furniture you need for your home. Shop around; ask for quotations for built-in pieces and browse furniture stores to check out what’s out there. Then you can decide which serves your needs and budget best.

How much lifestyle changes do you foresee in the years to come?

Think about how different your lifestyle will be in the next 5 to 10 years. Will you be having kids? Will you be doing heavy cooking? Will your parents move in with you?

If you are a young couple that’s starting to build your family, you might want to leave a room without built-ins. That way you have the flexibility of changing it from a personal gym/workout space to a baby room, and maybe in the future change it into a study room.

How much/what kind of space do you have? 

If you’re blessed with a versatile squarish layout in your home, it’s easier to get away with buying loose furniture and arranging them however you prefer. Odd angles and awkward spaces are difficult to shop furniture for. In this case, you might need to customise built-ins to maximise your space.

This is also applicable if you’re living in a small home (think newer BTOs, or condos as opposed to large resale flats). Because of the space constraint, built-ins are the way to go since they can go all the way up to the ceiling – this lets you take advantage of the vertical height, and increase your storage space.

How long do you intend to use the furniture for?

Your long term plans are also an important factor to consider, before deciding between built-ins and loose furniture. Since built-ins don’t come cheap, it doesn’t make sense to spend on these if you’re planning to sell your home and move within a short period of time. If, on the other hand, you like to keep things fresh by updating your home every now and then, then it is more practical for you to get loose furniture to keep costs low and you also won’t have a hard time giving them up later on.

Protip: It is also alright if you don’t want to rush into committing (with built-ins), you can actually do your carpentry at a later time. 

Making your decision: Which is better?

Now that you know the pros vs cons of using built-in vs loose furniture, you’ll realise it is not about which is better, but rather which is more suitable for your needs and lifestyle.

Quick summary…If you’re looking for something more pocket-friendly in the short term and more flexibility, you can go for off-the-shelf furniture. On the other hand, if you want one that can maximise space and will be cost-efficient in the long run, then the built-in option would be better for you.

Need more inspiration before making your decision? Browse our projects or contact us at 9736 8330 to get connected with expert designers.