If you've been considering commissioning bespoke joinery for your home, you probably have a wealth of questions swirling round your head. Getting clued up on the facts about bespoke joinery will ensure you're making the right decision, whatever home project you've got in mind.
Whether you're looking for a quirky bookcase to fit into an awkward alcove, or your storage solutions need to be optimised to suit your home, bespoke joinery could be the answer. Bespoke solutions maximise the potential offered by your space, and create standout items that you definitely won't see anywhere else.
'Bespoke joinery isn't simply about crafting furniture; it's an art form, a means to shape the narrative of space and create an environment that reflects your unique character,' says Artem Kropovinsky, founder of interior design studio Arsight. 'Opt for bespoke joinery when you're aiming to infuse a personal touch into your design project, be it a compact studio apartment or an expansive mansion.'
We've spoken to the experts and found out everything you need to know about bespoke joinery. From the type of projects it can cover to a breakdown of costs, our guide has you covered.
Everything you need to know about bespoke joinery
You probably already know that bespoke joinery is a more expensive alternative to ready-made items. Knowing about the potential offered by bespoke joinery will help you justify spending the extra cash, if you decide to. Here's everything you need to know.
What is bespoke joinery?
'Bespoke joinery is when any type of timber structure (such as bookcases, shelving, wardrobes etc), are created to specific requirements and sizes to fit an individual space,' says Tim Warren, Joinery Expert, Adkwik. 'It's joinery that is designed for one person or one place in mind, instead of every place in mind.'
Bespoke joinery involves building customised timber items from scratch, designed to fit the unique requirements of a certain space. 'It allows for customisation that ready-made furniture simply can't accommodate, whether that be in terms of style, function, or fitting into unusual dimensions', says interior designer Artem.
Bespoke joinery comes in really handy if you're looking for ways to make a small kitchen look bigger, or if you want to make the most of any smaller space. It can create really beautiful pieces of furniture which obviously, you won't see anywhere else.
'The scope of bespoke joinery is as limitless as your imagination,' says Artem. 'Think of custom kitchen cabinetry designed to maximize storage in the most aesthetic way possible, or a one-of-a-kind bookcase that becomes a focal point.'
What type of items does bespoke joinery create?
'Bespoke joinery includes a range of wooden items that are designed to precise specifications,' says Thomas Goodman, Property Expert, MyJobQuote. 'The items are often created to optimise the space in the home.'
There isn't really a limit to the type of items bespoke joinery can create, but typical examples include:
- Customised furniture items such as wardrobes, built-in shelving, cupboards, bookcases, and unique storage solutions
- Structural timber items such as staircases, windows, doors, roofing elements
When should you use bespoke joinery?
'You should use a bespoke joinery service when you want a piece of furniture or timber woodwork that is one of a kind and designed to fit exactly into your space,' says joinery expert Tim. 'People commonly go to a bespoke joiner when they're looking for a wardrobe to be made that fits perfectly into their home, or when they want something special that caters in particular to their precise needs.'
Bespoke joinery will create one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture and storage solutions, and not the type of storage ideas you can DIY. Opt for bespoke joinery if you're envisioning a specific piece of furniture, and you want an exact creation of the picture in your head. Equally, use bespoke joinery services when you want something to fit the specific dimensions of a room.
It's especially handy for making the most of small spaces. Small walk-in wardrobe ideas would benefit from a bespoke service, as the joiner can create a closet that fits perfectly into your space.
How much does bespoke joinery cost?
Like knowing the cost of a kitchen extension, you need to be aware how much bespoke joinery costs before commissioning any projects. It's definitely a more expensive route to go down than if you were to buy ready-made pieces of furniture and timber structures.
'Bespoke joinery costs more than standard pieces of furnishings as it includes many different personalised steps that take time and a lot of skill,' says joinery expert Tim. 'On average, a bespoke 3 door wardrobe costs around £3000, as an example.'
It takes a lot more time to build a bespoke item than something ready-made. There will need to be a consultation where the joiner takes measurements, and then the materials will need to be cut to exact size. If a joiner sources the materials themselves, they'll usually add an extra 30% on to the overall price tag.
Joiners usually charge a day rate, which can be anywhere between £150 and £220. The cost of a bespoke service will depend on how many hours the project takes, plus price of materials, so you won't be given an exact price until the initial consultation has taken place. It's always helpful to get several different quotes before commissioning anyone, so you know you aren't overpaying.
Where to find a bespoke joiner and how to know if they're any good
The easiest way to find bespoke joinery services in your area is to do some research online. You can use directories like MyBuilder, TrustATrader, Checkatrade, and MyJobQuote. These are reliable platforms that only offer qualified tradespeople, and there will be several different joiners for you to pick from. There should be reviews from previous customers on the site, which serve as an extra vote of confidence.
Joiners that advertise 'design and build' as part of their services will have experience on bespoke projects. You don't have to search for bespoke joiners specifically, as many qualified joiners will be able to work on bespoke projects, but look for the CSCS gold card, which is one of the highest qualifications a joiner can have.
'The most common way of discovery is probably word of mouth or reviews on Facebook and local Facebook pages,' says joinery expert Tim. Hiring someone that has been recommended by a friend is ideal, as you can feel confident that they'll do the job well. If you are sourcing someone on social media, try and source reviews before commissioning them, and ask them about the type of experience they have.
After the initial consultation, the joiner should give you an estimated cost of the project. Ask them to break down the cost so you understand where the figure comes from, and they should be able to tell you roughly how long it will take.
Is bespoke joinery worth it?
Bespoke joinery could definitely be worth the extra money if you're looking for unique items that suit the specific quirks of your home. If your budget allows for it, commissioning a joiner to create a customised piece of furniture will help you make the most of the space you're working with, as the item can be designed to fit the exact specifications.
'Custom-made storage is certainly the most effective solution for maximising the space in your home,' says Amit Malhotra, co-founder of design firm Aflux Designs. 'If you have tall ceilings for example, fitted shelves or wardrobes will ensure every nook and cranny is optimised and suited to your requirements and specifications – something which ready-made furniture won’t necessarily be able to provide. You can then choose how many shelves or drawers you need, the colour and the design, ensuring it pairs beautifully with the rest of your decor.'
Note that a bespoke project might take some time, so whether or not it's worth it will depend on how quickly you want it finished. And if you've been wondering how to add value to your home, bespoke joinery has the potential to do that. It might not be much, but it can definitely add selling points to potential buyers.
How much does bespoke joinery cost?
The cost of bespoke joinery can vary greatly depending on the work at hand, so it's difficult to give an exact figure. The tradesperson you hire will take into account cost of materials (on which they'll add an extra 30% if they source these themselves), complexity and length of project, plus their own day rate.
'A large part of the cost will be affected by the type of furniture and the level of customisation needed', says joinery expert Thomas. 'Smaller bespoke items such as built-in alcoves or shelving units may cost around £600-£2000. If you’re looking for larger bespoke items such as a TV wall unit or built-in wardrobes, you can expect to pay around £2000 - £7000. The prices can vary greatly depending on the level of customisation and the materials used.'
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Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.
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