Make Your Own Furniture to Save Money!


Bronze Wordsmith
May 17, 2018
I’m not a super-handy guy. Back in college, I never imagined that I would eventually fill my modest apartment with custom-made furniture and décor… and yet I did. My cozy one-bedroom had lots of items that were made or customized by myself and with the help of my super-useful friends.

Granted, the stuff in my apartment won’t get me featured in any of the big interior-design blogs. But that wasn’t the purpose of my DIY projects. The reason I did all this is really quite simple: I wanted to save money for more important stuff. Anyone whose jaw dropped after looking at the current prices of furniture will agree that building your own furniture is a great way to save money.

For starters, I need to offer a bit of a disclaimer: this won’t be an instructional blog post where I guide you step-by-step how to make your own furniture. How to build furniture is a topic that requires its own post altogether. Instead, I’ll be showing you some of the unique pieces I’ve made for myself, and hope they serve as ample inspiration for you and your budding DIY self.

make furniture to get money.jpg

You Don’t Need Super Carpentry Skills

None of my furniture projects took a lot of time and skill to do. But I should also give you another disclaimer: my best bud was finishing his degree in industrial design, and was good at woodworking. So I guess the first step to making your own furniture is to get a pal who’s handy with tools?

But in all seriousness, if I can do it, so can you - with or without assistance. If anything, my friend validated that all the stuff we did was super easy, and didn’t really require his assistance. He made things look so doable that I ended up believing what he said.

What you will spend on is time, though. That’s just the nature of the DIY game. But when you build your own furniture, you also spend a lot of money. And that money could go into a lot of cool things.

super carpentry skills.jpg

The Qualities You’ll Need

You don’t need expert carpentry or building skills, but there are still a few skills and qualities that will make the process of making and customizing furniture easier and more pleasant. Here are a few of the qualities I can think off:


Tools are always handy, but I think creativity is the single most important factor in DIY-ing your furniture. You can always buy new tools at the local hardware. But creativity requires nurturing. To do to that, well, you can start by reading the post, of course! But seriously, you can look online, whether on Etsy, Instagram, or Pinterest, for cool DIY projects to take inspiration from. Even if a particular project is way out of your league, you can always take certain elements from those projects and adapt them to your own skill level.

be creative.jpg


DIY doesn’t automatically cheap, which is why you will have to be resourceful when it comes to sourcing materials and tools. I know an independent furniture maker who uses reclaimed vintage wood from old houses for her pieces. That’s nice to have, but also costly, so that’s definitely not what we’re going for. Remember, the goal of making my own furniture is to save money. So keep an eye out for bargains and affordable materials at all times.

affordable diy materials.jpg

A Willingness to Learn

Even if you don’t have all the right skills at the beginning of your DIY journey, you must have a desire to learn as you go along. This will ensure you actually finish projects, despite the setbacks and challenges that will definitely come your way as you work on them.

willingness to learn.jpg


Okay, now that I’ve talked about the why’s and how’s of making your own furniture to save money, here are a few projects I’m particularly proud of:

Coffee table

I found a small wrought iron gate at my local junkyard. It looked rough, but it cleaned up nicely. I sanded the worn out paint away, then hired a local craftsman to repaint it. My friend then welded legs on each of the corners, so when you lay it down, it becomes a coffee table! I bought a plane of glass to top the table, for a nice even surface.

coffee table.jpg


This one is really simple: I used old fruit crates as nightstands and side tables. You can use any crates you find, but it would be best if you could find crates with nice, vintagey designs. Simply stack them on one corner, and there you have it. If you want, you can also paint the crates for a more uniform look. You can use all sorts of stuff, form acrylic paints and even wood stain.


Light shades

Fluorescent lighting can be pretty harsh on the eyes. Unfortunately, most student apartments come with pretty basic lighting fixtures. I solved this problem by hanging a shade over the bulb to diffuse the light. I got several sheets of thick parchment paper and created a drum using wooden embroidery hoops (both of which are available at your local craft store). If you find a drum-shaped lampshade, you could also take the shade and use that, instead of making one.

Light shades.jpg


For some reason, I hate having to buy drapes. So I decided to use old sheets instead. I sewed on loops that I could attach to the existing curtain rod above my windows.


Flower racks

My apartment has a small space at the back where I can grow plants. Not all the apartments in my town have this, and I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this. I like gardening, but plant racks can get expensive. So I bought some shipping pallets from the local junk shop and stacked my plants on those. It’s easy to do, and the wood complements the plants pretty nicely. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can use stacked pallets as a coffee table, or even a work desk.

flower rack.jpg
Last edited: