The idea of custom furniture may come off... a little scary.
How do you know if you've found the right craftsperson? How do you know they have the skillset? How do you know your vision will come to life?
I get it.
As a woodworker and enthusiast for hand-crafted goods, I'll help you break down the process to make it a little easier.
1. Develop your Vision
Every detail doesn't have to be fully thought out, but the more information you can convey to your designer, the better the result. Here are some questions that I think would be useful to think about:
- What is its purpose?
- What is the size and space of the area it'll take up?
- What is the feel, look, or vibe you're going after?
- What styles do you like and dislike?
- Are there certain materials that you're looking for or wanting to stay away from?
- Are there colors or tones that resonate with you?
- What are your size preferences and if you want to go a step further, what are some of the dimensions you'd like?
One of the best strategies I could recommend for getting ideas is by browsing through Pinterest boards. Pin things that stand out to you as well as things that don't stand out to you. Pictures will help your craftsperson develop better insight into what you want.
The clearer you get on your must haves, the more it will help your process. More importantly, it'll help you communicate the yes's and no's of the project with your maker of choice. The less clear you are on your vision, the more you'll need to rely on the decisions of the maker... which, as a side note: If you have the right maker, this could actually become something spectacular. For the most part though, getting clear on what you want ensures that you don't end up with something you don't like.
2. Find the Right Person
Once you have an idea... even a rough idea, it's time to seek out the maker.
If location matters, Google "custom furniture" in your area. If it doesn't, browse Etsy, Instagram, YouTube, and even TikTok to see who's out there. If someone passes your vibe check, browse their work on all their channels to see what they've done and what you think of it.
Keep in mind though, that just because they haven't done a particular piece in your style... doesn't mean that they can't. BUT... admittedly... examples of previous work in similar styles and/or builds is an immediate +10 points in my book.
But the absolute best way? Reach out and ask. Send them a DM, an e-mail, or at the very least, leave a comment on one of their posts. Get talking about your vision and see what they say back. This initial conversation is going to be important for deciding how comfortable you will feel with that craftsperson.
You may not get the "right person" immediately. Perhaps they were a bit rude, perhaps they can't or won't do what you're looking for, or maybe you both are just not "clicking". Whichever the reason, don't worry and keep reaching out. There are so many talented craftspeople out there I'm certain that you'll find the right one for the job.
Once you've found the right craftsperson for the job, the third step is to make sure you over-communicate. Don’t worry about asking too many questions and don’t worry about expressing your worries, concerns, or even little thoughts. Your craftsperson should want to make sure your piece is something you will love and cherish for as long as possible and to do so, takes understanding and communication from both sides.
I hope this helps you in your journey to find the right craftsperson for the idea in your mind. I feel this applies to essentially all crafts and trades - knives, tattoos, woodworking, metalworking, clothing, and so much more. While it does take a little extra work… the end result is something that will be more personal and unique to you. And having something like that, created and crafted specifically for you, is an absolutely priceless feeling.