Furniture Design – 10 Steps To Designing Furniture Like The Professionals

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There is a definite increase in interest in furniture design. Perhaps its a reaction to the sameness of everyday mass produced furniture, or it could be a result of the recent economic fall out and a turning away from a throw away culture… whatever it is there is no denying the design and especially furniture design is back in vogue.

There is a real sense of achievement in building your own piece of furniture; taking it from first conception to finishing the build.

Furniture design, perhaps more than other design disciplines is an example of applied creativity. That is that in order for a design concept to function, it has to meet other criteria not least the laws of physics!

You might have a great idea for a piece but the the question is do you want to be one of those have a go heroes that start with a brilliant idea in their minds eye which never quite matches in actual execution… if it gets finished? Or do you want to give yourself every possible chance or realising your dream furniture design by following the process design professionals use.

Heres the Chippendale School of Furnitures 10 step process to realising your furniture design as executed for designing and building a desk facilitated during their woodworking course.

1.Rough Sketch: Draw rough proportions working out required depth, width and height. Getting the perspective right is key to this first stage.
2.Add Spatial Relations: Start with the bigger blocks of the piece and figure out the actual sizes of each.
3.Complete Dimensions: Work out the overall dimensions making sure that the area of each identified block matches up.
4.Choose design forms: Decide whether the desk is floor based or on a plinth and what height you prefer.
5.Configure spaces: Decide on the depth and distribution of the drawers e.g. on left or right, depth, different sizes from bottom to top.
6.How will you build it? Choose materials.. is it to be solid wood, are you using veneers, should there be decorative panels or do you want to introduce other skills into the design such as marquetry.
7.Decide on component relationships: Figure out the dimensions of the top and sides of the desk, how thick should the different pieces be?
8.Get into the details: Youll probably have worked these out way back at the first step but here is your chance to make sure that the details of your design vision will work in practice.
9.Colour and finish: explore possible colours, finishes and types of wood that will compliment your design
10.Choose accessories and hardware: find the perfect handles and hardware that will set off your design.

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