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Assembling IKEA Furniture Alone | Is It Possible?

It can be an exciting experience to bring home new IKEA furniture, especially if you’re the do-it-yourself type. That excitement might fade, however, when you take a look at the instructions and see a recommendation for two people when you were prepared for a solo project.

Is it really necessary to have someone help you? Well, it is simply a recommendation, so you don’t have to have someone helping out. However, it may still be very beneficial for you to recruit a helping hand, even if doing so is not a requirement.

It is possible to assemble IKEA furniture alone, but IKEA recommends more than one person for assembly. Help can save time, mitigate frustration, and even prevent injury. Time, patience, organization, and some tools are essential for making the solo assembly of IKEA furniture successful.

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When looking at IKEA’s assembly instructions, you’ll find that it is normally recommended for at least two people to work on putting together a piece of furniture. This makes it easier, quicker, and safer and also reduces the chance of the item being damaged during assembly.

While there are many benefits to having a second person assist you (IKEA furniture assembly has many factors that make it difficult), you might still prefer to work alone. In many cases, this may be perfectly within the realm of possibility.

Heavy Items Require More Than One Person

If you are going the solo route, then steer clear of heavier items. At the very least, get some help moving the box into the area in which you are going to do the assembly.

Looking at the box can tell you if the product requires a “team lift,” meaning it is recommended that more than one person carries the item. If this is the case, you should assume the item is very heavy.

While you might be stronger than average, it’s still a good idea to have a hand when moving particularly heavy furniture. A slip-up could mean breaking the product, damaging your home, or injuring yourself.

The furniture could be large and unwieldy on top of being heavy, meaning a second person would be a huge help in helping you to maneuver it around.

Furthermore, if you must lift and attach heavy pieces during the assembly process, this can be especially difficult and even dangerous if you are alone. You might have to let go of a piece to secure it using both hands, leaving it free to fall and hurt you.

Can Depend on Your Personal Experience

If you have experience with construction, DIY, or other areas that require a similar skill set, you may be able to put together your IKEA furniture just fine on your own.

However, if you are entirely unfamiliar with the skills needed for furniture assembly, you may end up finding yourself more than a little confused. This is where having a partner can come in handy, especially if they are particularly skilled in construction or DIY projects.

Having another person to help you interpret the instructions can’t hurt. IKEA’s instructions are pictographic, which can be hard to decipher if you’re not great with just visuals. An additional perspective is always useful when working through any confusing portions, which could be immensely frustrating to deal with on your own.

Need to Put Time Aside

IKEA furniture has a mixed reputation. On one side of the coin, it’s praised for being easy and fun. On the other side, it’s criticized for being confusing, frustrating, and time-consuming. When you assemble it alone, it is more likely to be all of these things. 

If you’re not particularly familiar with construction, you may want to factor in your personal experience when estimating how much time the project will take to assemble on your own. This will be especially important if you need your furniture finished urgently for any reason.

For example, you may be busy with work or family, and you can’t afford to put aside several hours for one project unless you want to risk leaving a half-finished mess sprawled out across the floor. Maybe you can’t unpack your boxes until you have a proper place to put things, or you have guests coming over soon.

No matter what your reasoning is, if you’re in a rush, it might be a good idea to enlist someone’s help.

What Kind of Furniture

Concentrated young man reading the instructions to assemble furniture in the kitchen at home.

In regards to complexity, the number of parts and features your furniture has will not only determine assembly time but also difficulty.

If you must put together multiple drawers, a door, shelving, and decorative pieces, the assembly will be much more difficult as a solo job. 

Between keeping track of small parts, figuring out what pieces join together, holding parts in place while you attach them, and moving the furniture itself into place once done, there are a lot of tasks that become harder when your furniture is large or complex.

If you’re putting together something simple like a classic four-post nightstand, you are likely to have a relatively easy time finishing the project on your own. 

If the furniture you bought is a multi-shelved walk-in wardrobe, you are probably going to need help putting it together, or at least with moving the unit into place once complete.

Help Can Have Its Benefits

It is important to remember that asking for help is quite far from giving up! If that type of thought is holding you back, try to reframe your thinking. Getting help is just another way of completing what needs to get done, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

We’ve already briefly touched on how assistance may be necessary, but it comes with other benefits you might not have considered, as well.

Saving Time

This benefit may seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning how much time you could save by enlisting the help of a friend or family member.

Yes, the mental load of keeping track of all your parts and tools becomes lighter, and yes it can be nice to have someone help interpret IKEA’s instruction manuals. Each of these simple processes adds up in regards to time, as well.

Every time you have to tiptoe over a board to get to a tool, put everything down to look at your instructions, or look for a missing screw, you’re spending time on tasks that could be handled by someone else.

Of course, if the person whose help you enlisted is more experienced with construction and DIY than you are, then their knowledge and skills can help get the job done even faster on top of the time they can help you save just by splitting or sharing tasks.

Help Makes Assembly Safer

When you are constructing a piece of furniture on your own, there is no one to hold one end while you secure the other. There is no one to shine a torch over what you are doing or warn you if you are about to bump something.

The result is a higher safety risk during assembly. This is likely one of the primary reasons why IKEA recommends you have help. They don’t want to be liable for any harm that may befall customers who bite off more than they can chew.

More Useful Tools

You may not have tools of your own, especially if you’re inexperienced with furniture assembly. In addition, you may have your own tools but you’re in the process of moving in, so you might not have them with you at the moment.

Here’s another place that a friend or family member could step in and save the day.

IKEA will provide you with the necessary tools for assembling the furniture you buy, but these tools aren’t always particularly efficient and some assemblies require power tools, which aren’t included. Here are some that you may find useful instead, depending on what furniture you’re putting together.

Tips for Assembling IKEA Furniture

Man assembling furniture at home on the floor

Whether or not you end up deciding to get help from another person, here are some tips you can take advantage of to make the process of assembling your new IKEA furniture an easier task all around.

  • Before you begin assembling anything, organize and take inventory of all the tools and parts in the area around you. This will help you stay organized as you work and keep small parts from being lost so easily. It also allows you to see what spare parts are provided so that you don’t get to the end and wander if you missed a step because there are pieces left over.
  • Review the instruction manual and identify all of the pieces. This process will allow you to picture how everything will begin to come together, making it easier to follow the steps as you work.
  • Use wood glue as you work to keep your project stable. While IKEA furniture is of decent quality for the price, it isn’t always the most durable. The glue will help your furniture last longer. However you should bear in mind that this may be considered a modification and interfere with returns.
  • Before securing a piece, double and even triple-check that you are attaching the right part in the right way. This will prevent you from realizing several steps later that you made a mistake, causing you to undo all your work and start over. If you choose to use wood glue, this step becomes even more important since you won’t be able to “undo” what you have done.
  • Use videos, if they are available. If you can find a video of someone assembling the product you bought, don’t consider it to be cheating; a video is just another tool to help you get the job done!

Alternative Option: Hiring Assembly Professional

Of course, you may be in a situation where you have neither the time nor patience to figure out how to put together your new furniture. It may also be difficult for you to find a second person who is able to help you.

No matter the reason, you’re still not out of options if you find you are unable or unwilling to complete the assembly on your own.

There are services through which you can hire a professional to assemble your IKEA furniture for you. For example, IKEA itself has partnered with TaskRabbit, a company that will allow you to book hired help and save yourself the headache.


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