White double vanity units

Bespoke versus off the shelf

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New furniture can really transform an area, a room, a home.

Essentially you want to choose furniture that is both transformable and cost effective, so choosing between bespoke furniture or something off the shelf might be tough.

Generally when making a choice you will want to consider a range of factors such as aesthetic, budget, material, size and how it will work with the rest of your interior design. Then there is the actual source of the furniture. There are a few options out there, the most common being buying from off the shelf in a shop or getting something custom made by a skilled professional.

The differences between bespoke and off the shelf furniture

Bespoke furniture is custom made by skilled professionals in their chosen industries and they create individual pieces one at a time to your specifications. Simply put these professionals work with materials to produce a piece that suits your specific design needs, and as a rule the furniture will be traditionally made.

Off the shelf furniture from a shop became a popular alternative to bespoke furniture in the 50’s. This kind of furniture is often referred too as flat-pack furniture because they are mass-produced in a significantly uniformed style; they often come in parts and are then assembled at home.

The advantages and disadvantages of bespoke furniture


  • Your piece will be completely unique as it has been made to suit your individual specifications
  • It can be made to match or complement your own interior design
  • Furniture can easily be made to fit into any given space, helping you to maximise areas that are awkwardly sided and shaped
  • You can choose every detail from the size, shape, material and colour
  • Pieces can be a more eco-friendly choice, especially if they are locally sourced and/or they are reclaimed materials
  • An old piece of furniture can be transformed into a beautiful new-looking piece
  • By choosing a local bespoke professional or company over bigger outlets means that you are helping to support independent businesses
  • You have no need to assemble pieces as it is ready-made and more often than not can be installed for you
  • Bespoke furniture is traditionally made with higher levels of skill and attention to detail meaning that it is made to last and much more durable than a mass-produced piece


  • It might take slightly longer to produce as it is a hand-made piece
  • It may cost more to buy a piece of bespoke furniture because it is being designed specifically to suit your requirements, but you then know that your piece is unique, well made and long lasting

The advantages and disadvantages of off the shelf furniture


  • If the item is in stock you can take it home immediately
  • It will cost less than something that is bespoke because it is mass-produced by machines in factories
  • Flat-pack furniture comes in different ranges of sizes, shapes, colours and designs
  • Off the shelf furniture often comes in flat-pack boxes which you can then transport home
  • You can assemble off the shelf furniture yourself


  • Off the shelf furniture comes in significantly uniform designs meaning that they are not unique
  • It is often made from cheaper, lower quality materials
  • It is harder to find a piece which suits your requirements exactly, making it difficult to find something that can fit into a specific space, room or aesthetic
  • The furniture is not made to the high-standards of bespoke furniture which means it will not last long term

You’ll need to consider all of your options carefully before making a choice that suits you and your needs. By doing your research first you will be making sure that you are well informed and happy to make a choice that fits your requirements.