Furniture Assembly for Dummies

By Hand On The Hip - 5/16/2018

Hello lovelies!

Moving to a new country comes with its own challenges and when you move to a country where labor charges are indispensably high, you gotta up your game in every way possible. I have always been interested in arts and crafts, I've done exceedingly well in mechanical workshop during my engineering and I knew that it would come in handy some day. My husband and I spent hours together researching, buying and assembling furniture for our new home and this only paves way to a new blog post to show you guys how we achieved what we did, how we screwed up a few things here and there, but eventually learnt a great deal of things that we never would have had we not got this opportunity.

If you've read my previous post (One month in a foreign land), you'll know that I've had some time for myself and I'm still waiting on my work visa. You'd think I'm bored out of my mind, but I've had to run around quite a bit for furniture and since we need to fix it ourselves, I've had my hands full! Although things are much easier in India, this definitely was a learning experience for me. In this post, I have decided to showcase some before, during and after pictures of all the furniture we bought (please don't mind the mess and low quality images :p) along with the price (1 Aussie Dollar is approx. 50 INR) and dealers we purchased it from. Let's get started?


Bed with 2 storage drawers from Ikea (Price: $418)

Side table from Ikea (Price: $10)

Living Room

Sofa set from Ikea (Price: $500)

Dining set from Ikea (Price: $139)

TV Stand from Fantastic Furniture (Price: $99)

Armchair from Kmart (Price: $45)

Coffee Table from Kmart (Price: $30) and Carpet from Ikea (Price: $200)

Stand from Ikea (Price: $20)

Book Shelf from Kmart (Price: $45)

Guest Room

Bed from Ikea (Price: $200)

Chest of Drawers from Ikea (Price: $149)

Study Table from Ikea (Price: $69) and Office Chair from Ikea (Price: $59)


Bar Stools from Target (Price: $30 each)


Shoe Cabinet from Amazon (Price: $93)

And as always, I am going to share some tips with you guys so that you can be more prepared than I was. Better safe that sorry, right? :D
  • Research is key. You definitely should read up about where you can get furniture in your city for the best price and shortlist your options. The internet is your best friend. Ask around and find out where your friends or colleagues got their stuff from. In our case, things we got from Ikea had super clear instructions and nothing could possibly go wrong, but when we tried to build stuff from Amazon and Catch it was frustrating because the instructions were gibberish. 
  • Prepare a budget plan for your furniture. In a place like Sydney, it's super easy to blow money. Since I am not earning yet and my husband is the only breadwinner of the family, we had to be careful with our money. Although buying cheap stuff from random websites is a call for disaster, there's no harm looking for something reasonable in a reputed store or website. 
  • Read reviews on the internet before you make a purchase. We found a really inexpensive sofa on Catch which was from VidaXL and we purchased it without thinking twice. We received it super late, there were missing screws and worst of all, the sofa was too small to be true. We then discovered that the sofa had terrible reviews. Had we done our homework before, we'd have saved a lot of time.
  • Do pay a visit to hypermarkets in your city. You will be surprised to find some amazing stuff for really reasonable prices. Kmart was our savior at all times! We also picked up some pre-assembled bar stools from Target that proved to be pretty useful.
  • Be prepared, well in advance, with your toolbox. Hammers, screw drivers and power tools are must-buys if you are doing some carpentry with zero experience. If you don't have the budget for it, you can always borrow from friends or neighbors. 
  • Read the measurements of the product before buying it. We ended up getting a teeny tiny TV stand that would not hold even 1/4th of our television. It's a fantastic idea to read the measurements on the product specs of your product before you make a purchase. We also ended up buying a $40 rug hoping that it would be big enough for the living room, but it turned out to be as small as a doormat! :(
  • Don't hesitate to use hacks. You don't necessarily have to use one piece of furniture for what it's meant to be used as. For instance, we did not throw away the TV stand that wasn't big enough for the TV. Since the stand was multi-purpose and we ended up using it like a side table. If you don't wanna spend a lot on fancy armchairs or sofas, you can always buy a basic one and decorate it with cushions of vibrant colors.
  • Read the instruction manual carefully. If you screw up even one step and don't realize it, you'll have a lot of re-work to do and it can get really annoying. The instruction manual is your Bible. Read the manual inside out even before you start building.
  • If you screw up with a screw or two, do not worry. You can always undo what you did wrong and then re-build your furniture. If you don't know how to fix your mistakes, you can always Google it. I messed up with a weird screw and thanks to some videos on YouTube, we could figure our way out of the mess.
  • Return and get a refund if you don't like what you see. If you think the products sent to you are damaged or have missing parts, do not hesitate to return them. I am so glad that I could return that horrible sofa we purchased despite assembling it. People are usually nice enough to give you a full refund.
  • Try saving up on delivery fee by getting your friends to help you out. We made the mistake of spending nearly $500 on delivery because we didn't think this through. However, if you have no choice, try ordering everything you need in one go, because usually it doesn't matter how many things you order, the delivery fee remains the same.
  • Get a strong husband :D Or even a friend who can help you. I am not even joking! It not only helps you get things done faster, but your chairs and tables would end up being tightly held together and won't come off easily.
  • Ask your friends to help out! If you and your husband are both absolutely useless, then reach out to your friends or colleagues who can come over on a weekend and help you pick up or set up furniture which is also a great excuse for you to throw a beer and pizza party :D

We must have spent approximately $2500 (a little more than one lakh rupees) for all of the furniture, related items and delivery. Not bad, huh? But more importantly, I really had oodles of fun building furniture. I had even more fun taking pictures, videos and documenting the whole process. For someone who's been homebound for the past couple of months, this feels like a great accomplishment and I definitely have made good use of my free time. I would recommend this to all newly weds because it also gave me and the hubster a platform to work together as a team and I must say, it was a fabulous team building exercise!

Thank you for all the love you guys showered me with for all my furniture assembly stories on Instagram. If you have missed it, don't worry, I have all the stories on my highlights. I am glad that the whole series was a grand success and stay tuned for a complete house tour on my Instagram page.


Hand On The Hip

P.S. It would be a horrid thing to do if I did not give credit to Meghna Badami from who actually suggested that I record every little detail of how I set up my home. You're the best, woman!

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