6 Kinds of Furniture You Should Know How to Build

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Furniture is one of the biggest expenses when it comes to owning a home, because you always need stuff to put other stuff on top of, places to sit, and places to sleep. There are some kinds of furniture you should know how to build to save yourself a lot of money and always have those little odds and ends you always need.

Know how to build certain kinds of furniture, and you will able to fill your home with custom pieces that are inexpensive and look just as good as anything you'd buy in a store. With a few simple tools, anyone can build some pieces of furniture that you'll always need.

Furniture You Should Know How to Build

Building furniture sounds like a really big challenge but when you get right down to it, some items are actually very simple. With a little bit of hardware, some materials, and some tools, you can build all kinds of pieces for your home that you'll love having.

Side Table

Small side tables are always an afterthought until you don't have one. The truth is, this is not an accessory but an essential piece for any home.

Make your own using Plexiglas, which is highly affordable and easy to work with. You can make a table using a piece of Plexiglass about 67 inches long, 47 inches wide.

Hold a heat gun about four inches away from where you want to make a fold and bend the Plexiglass to create a U shape. It’s that straightforward to make yourself an amazing DIY side table.

You will also need clamps to hold the Plexiglass and something heavy to shape it around, like wooden blocks. This project is a bit labor-intensive and does take some time, but you will end up with a very modern, highly custom side table when all is said and done.


A headboard is one of the easiest pieces of furniture you can possibly make because all you need is an MDP panel, some fabric, and a few tools and materials.

Heck, you don't even have to sand the wood. Just measure it to the size you want, cover it with glue, and press foam batting on top.

All you have to do then is cover the whole thing with fabric. Use a staple gun to secure the fabric on the backside of the headboard, and you're done.

The headboard will be cushiony, and it can have any style and look you want, based on the fabric you choose. You can even get more complicated with this DIY and create a tufted headboard, if you’re feeling brave.


Make a beautiful bench for an entryway or to use as an accent table. All you need are four even table legs, which you can salvage secondhand from any existing piece of furniture.

Feeling more DIY-inspired than that? Cut 2x4 pieces of wood to four equal lengths.

Top the four legs with a sheet of plywood cut to size, secure it to the legs with leg anchors and you've got a bench. Use paint, tile, or some other finishing material and you can give it a really custom look.

Media Box

Create a sleek media box to house a DVR, gaming console, and any media-related electronics you might have. All you need to do is build a box out of plywood or some other wood you like.

Cut three short pieces of wood to the same length to serve as the sides and support, and then cut one long plant to support the TV or computer monitor. The long piece will rest on the short pieces, one at either end and one directly in the middle.

Secure it all together with L-brackets, stain or paint it, and you've got a custom media box. You can cut the wood to any size you like to get the right height and width, depending on the finished result you want.

It costs a lot of money to get a whole new media setup every time you get a new TV or device. This simple project makes it easy to give your living room a neat, organized look without spending big bucks.

If you want to take the project one step further, cut a second long piece of plywood to serve as a bottom for the media box.

Basket Table

Attaching legs and all that to create a table isn't so difficult...but it could still be easier. Get yourself one big basket or a couple of big baskets that are the same size instead.

Mostly, you want the baskets to be at the same height if you’re using two. Choose sturdy baskets with wide mouths.

Place the basket or baskets on the floor. Cut a piece of plywood to size, sand it, and stain it or paint it.

Now, slap that guy on top of the baskets and step back to admire your new table. This is a great way to create a coffee table, side table, or nightstand without any stress at all.

Leave the table top unattached so that you can still use the baskets as storage. You can even get creative and get wire baskets that you can see through to make the stored items part of the decor.

Shelving Unit

Shelves are probably the easiest furniture to DIY and add to your home. With some L-brackets and pieces of wood, anything can become a shelf from branches to planks.

Get a bit creative ad create a hanging shelving unit using boards and thick ropes. This adds a touch of rustic charm to any room and it’s a little bit more unusual than standard wall shelves.

You don't need a lot of tools and materials to create this unique shelving unit. If you have a drill to create pilot holes, you can get this project done pretty quickly and easily.

Get as many boards as you need to create shelves, though more than four shelves could create a cramped unit. Sand, paint, and stain them to look how you like.

Place two large eyebolt anchors at the highest point of the wall, anchoring to studs, and thread ropes of equal length through each. After you drill four holes near each corner of the wooden boards, you can knot them in place on the rope and create your own interesting shelving unit.

Tie two thick knots under each shelf on each side and tie off the ends of the rope under the last shelf. You don’t want to put a lot of fragile items on these shelves because the shelves can swing and sway, so avoid putting the fine crystal and china here.

You can make the unit sturdier by leaving the ropes longer and adding two more eyebolt anchors near the bottom of the floor. The ends of the rope can be threaded through these bolts, and the ends firmly knotted.

Furniture You Should Know How to Build FAQ

What do I need to start building furniture?

When you're ready to try your DIY skills at building furniture, invest in some basic safety equipment like eye goggles, gloves, and hearing protection. You should also get a face mask so you're not breathing in sawdust.

Get a hammer, some screwdrivers in basic sizes, and some saws to cut wood with. Along with wood glue, nails, and screws, this is your basic toolkit for constructing furniture.

The more furniture you build and different DIY projects you take on, you’ll add to this basic toolkit and may even up with specialized tools like jigsaws and miter saws that can create very elaborate cuts to give your creations even more flair.

You'll also need a place to work. You want an area where you can spread out where you can safely work on projects, in a place where they won't get dirty as you work.

You also need to be protected from the elements. Wind, rain, and other weather conditions can wreck your furniture project.

Is it cheaper to build your own furniture?

It is far cheaper to build furniture than to buy it, and in most cases, you can use more expensive materials to build furniture than buying the same type of furniture made with the same materials. It costs much less to get the materials to make furniture than it does to buy something that's already shaped and put together.

You also have more control over what the furniture is made from, its size, and its overall look because you're doing everything yourself. However, remember that you will be investing your time into every project, and that also has its own value.

The reason many people buy furniture is that it takes much less time to pick something from a store than it does to buy the wood, gather the tools, and actually build something.

What makes furniture expensive?

A few different factors go into the price of furniture to determine how expensive or affordable it will be. The materials used to make the furniture matter, as the more high-end materials will make a piece cost more.

A chair made with a silk cushion, for example, will cost more than a chair made with a cotton cushion. Items made from rare woods, like sandalwood, will also cost more than those made from common woods, like oak.

Scarcity also makes furnishings more expensive. Supply and demand matter, and this always helps to dictate prices in every industry.

When only a few pieces of one item of furniture are made, say 250 artisanal desks, each one of them will cost a great deal more than mass-produced furnishings, such as 10,000 desks made by a furniture factory.

When there are fewer items available, the items that are available cost much more than items that are very easy to find and readily available. Scarcity also makes furnishings expensive.

Handcrafted furnishings also cost more than those that are machine-made, as more time and care went into the making of the handcrafted pieces.

Custom-built furniture is also more expensive than pieces that are ready-made. It takes more time and care to create a custom piece, and usually, you will also be paying for the skill of the woodworker because this person’s time is valuable, and you must pay for their time as well.

What wood is best for furniture?

Wood is categorized into one of two types: hardwood and softwood.

Hardwoods are trees that are deciduous, those trees that lose their leaves in winter. Evergreen or coniferous trees, which have cones, are softwoods.

Broadly speaking, hardwoods are more durable than softwoods. Hardwoods include oak, hickory, maple, cherry, and walnut, while the softwood family includes pine, cedar, and spruce.

Both types of wood are used for furniture, but hardwoods are used more often because they are more durable. Almost all types of wood are used to make furnishings, sometimes in blends with other types of wood, but some woods are used more often than others.

Teak and mahogany are popular choices for outdoor furniture, while white oak and cherry are common in interior furniture. Pine is also well-known as a furniture material, and cedar chests are highly sought-after by many.

What is the cheapest good wood?

Wood prices fluctuate based on the market. Some woods are more available seasonally, for example, or more abundant and therefore less expensive in a particular region.

For the most part, however, plywood and MDF are very affordable wood options because they are made up of wood scraps. Pine is another very inexpensive wood that is popularly used to make furniture of all kinds.

Reclaimed wood can be the very cheapest, however, because you can get it for free. Reclaimed wood is also highly sought-after by DIYers because it can be used to create unique pieces.

Further Reading

7 Ways to Make Cheap Furniture Look Expensive

10 Hacks for Customizing Furniture

10 Tips for Spray Painting Your Wood Furniture

Answering Furniture Painting and Finishes Questions

How to Choose Paint When Redoing Furniture

How to Refinish Wood Veneer Furniture

How to Restore Furniture With Water Damage

Patio Furniture You Can Build Yourself

Where to Find Free Furniture Woodworking Plans