tagMost people are doubtful about the idea of getting custom made furniture for one very good reason: money. The image of custom goods is of luxury, ultra-high-end living “Donald” style, and if you don’t see yourself in that income bracket anytime soon, you may dismiss the whole concept. This is unfortunate, because there can be many excellent, practical benefits to custom furnishings. A custom piece will solve certain problems that no ready-made equivalent can.

Fitting your space. Not everyone lives in a big open planned space, with all the furniture-maneuvering room in the world. Especially in cities, householders deal with oddly shaped spaces or spaces that have no relation to standard furniture sizes that mass production depends on. Conversely, a large open layout needs spatial division elements for comfort and organization. If you need a sofa to exactly fit a little window alcove, or a room divider suitable for an 18 foot ceiling, you’ll shop in vain.

Fitting functional needs. Store-bought furniture can’t always do what you need done. Example, you do a lot of desk work and have one particular corner to accommodate desk, computer, supplies, etc. You may be lucky and find sturdy ready-made pieces that will fit that corner and your work requirements. Or you may not!

Fitting your soul. A piece of furniture can fulfill a deep personal yearning or vision. That level of individual pleasure doesn’t come from standardized items. Another “soul” consideration is your awareness of environmental problems, from both ethical and health standpoints. If you don’t like the idea of living with glued-together processed wood, left over from clear-cutting and leaking toxic gases, keep in mind that mass-produced furniture is often built with such products.

Custom made furniture is a way to address all these issues, and need not bust your budget. To match space and function needs, you collaborate with a craftsman who helps you “spec” exactly the size, shape, and features that you need. Some makers will duplicate a piece you want used as a model. All aspects – function and measurements, shape, materials used, final finishing and (if applicable) custom upholstery or custom slipcovers – are carefully determined ahead of time. A piece needn’t be large or imposing to take its place in your house as a personal treasure. Acustom ottoman – perhaps echoing one that you saw elsewhere and loved — that looks and feels exactly right in your bedroom, or in front of your fireplace, can provide the same kind of satisfaction as a credenza or sofa.

As to environmental and cost issues: many custom builders use solid wood exclusively, and many are extremely green at every step of their process. A custom made sofa can be built free of polluting materials, from frame to covering. Some customizers can create your design using modular elements, which cuts costs considerably – for example, a unit using a combination of “cube” elements, drawers and shelving, assembled to exactly match your wall. Whether starting with modules or by using uncut wood, it’s your collaboration with the maker that creates a completely satisfying outcome.