The Flat Pack Wars; Four Hours to Make a Bed

I’m getting a little bit nostalgic with our leaving Dubai date heading towards me faster than a speeding train, writing our three year wedding anniversary post and remembering our past houses.  Have I ever told you that before the heady days of being an expat in the sunshine we lived in London and we thought we were IT.  Ok ok I thought I was it.

Living in London, in the very trendy Clapham Common, pretending to be a big shot banker in Canary Wharf (not even in the city) power suit, clickyclacky heels and the world at my feet.

And while I was there, click clacking away, in ever so trendy Clapham, myself and the husband finally moved away from grotty, furnished lets and we had our first proper home together.  A beautiful flat, in a converted Victorian terraced house, that came unfurnished.  It was time to step away from student dwellings and mismatched IKEA furniture and move into the realms of couch shopping and owning a bookshelf for the many books we’ve collected together.

Our problem?  We didn’t have the funds for ready made furniture, the good stuff, so we were still left with the dreaded flatpack furniture from IKEA (and Tescos) to build ourselves.  I mean, this really was a test of our relationship, would we even survive the trip to IKEA??  Knowing our shortfuses we didn’t even try, as that coupled with London traffic just seemed a trip doomed to fail, so we ordered online from Tesco instead (and still managed to fall out over that….)

With move in date looming round the corner and me busy kitting the house out with all manner of things from eBay, Amazon and of course the beloved IKEA.  You know, those real essentials like the garden lantern, for our first floor flat.  We pushed to the back of our minds the fact that the furniture we were going to be receiving would come in pieces.  And lots of them.

We ignored the fact that the husband was yet to even gain his “Dad” title let alone those Dad DIY skills that the Telegraph reports are a dying trend, I am happy to report that he gained some “Dad skills” when he found out I was pregnant and wields a mean drill.  Our pictures have never been straighter.  My mind has never been more worried about DIY injuries.  But I digress….pieces. Not furniture.

And move in date was looming.

Then it arrived.  And we were so excited about getting into our flat. With our furniture, we still overlooked the fact that said furniture was due to arrive in pieces.  Except for the couch.  Which didn’t fit through the living room door and didn’t come to pieces and nearly lived in the hall.

The bed.  Pieces.

The bedside tables.  Pieces.

The chest of drawers.  Pieces.

The dining table.  Pieces.

You get the drift.

It took us nearly four hours to build the bed.  Yep.  Just the bed.  With clothes to unpack.  Food to buy.  A couch to be maneuvered into the living room still.  Four hours on one bed.  Blistered hands from using the IKEA screwdriver set.  And the rudiments of a bed frame.  Four hours later.

flat pack wars

In that four hours we had, one friend helping, two misread instructions leading to us unscrewing everything that had been screwed, countless cups of hot tea, plenty of muttered swear words, one fairly major argument. And a sinking realization that was just the bed frame done.

In four hours.

The rest?  Got done in the end, but not that day.  It was a mission and to this day I’m not sure where the bedside table handles ended up.

What we should have done is our usual trick of turning to the wonder that is Google and searched online for a reliable handyman service in Clapham, South London, who wouldn’t have taken four hours to make a bed.

And probably wouldn’t have lost the bedside table handles either.

Still, you live and learn.  And when we finally get to our next home I know who will be making up our inevitable flat pack furniture…..and it won’t be my hands that are blistered from the screwdriver.


Said Flat Pack Bed with one Baby fast asleep - c.2012
Said Flat Pack Bed with one Baby fast asleep – c.2012

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  1. May 19, 2016 / 2:17 am

    Haha, we’ve all been there. I’ve taken to always buying vintage furniture now, I found flat pack took almost as long to put together as it does to fall apart 😉

  2. May 27, 2016 / 10:32 am

    I hate flat pack stuff… I recently ordered an IKEA kids kitchen for our toddler group. Took me and a friend 2 bloody hours to put it together!! (Sorry about the swears, I’ve been up since 5am and not had enough coffee to be all polite and nice!!) and much frustration! Let’s not mention how long our adult size flat pack bed took to put together and the domestic disputes it caused…

    Ban flat pack, I say! Or at least make it easier to do!!

    Happy #effitfriday

  3. May 27, 2016 / 11:51 am

    It took me a whole day (and into the evening) to put together a flat-pack wardrobe when we moved into our house in Brixton. It was horrendous!! There was lots of swearing and then drinking wine. Hope the move went well 🙂 x #effitfriday

  4. May 27, 2016 / 12:13 pm

    haha! I hate moving and I hate DIY! thankfully the husband is a dab hand at just about anything and would prefer me NOT to help… so I’m safe! lol I hear ya though.. flat packed furniture is made JUST to cause arguments! haha #effitfriday

  5. May 27, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    gotta love a bit of flat pack. hubby has purchased a trampoline for the garden. I am wondering how long it will take to assemble or if I should set the timer…#effitfriday x

  6. May 27, 2016 / 6:56 pm

    Urgh I hate flat pack stuff. Hubby on the hand loves it (clearly bonkers), he really enjoys putting it together and is actually really good at putting it together. I hope the flat packing has gone ok now #effitfriday

  7. May 27, 2016 / 9:29 pm

    IKEA has strained our relationship many times. 😉 We have one room which is wall to wall Billy bookcases. The day those were all put together is never spoken of… #effitfriday

  8. May 28, 2016 / 12:25 am

    Ikea must be cited in more than a few divorce cases. I hate flatpack furmiture but I have discovered something worse.

    Dismantling flat pack furniture so it will fit upstairs. While it is perched precariously at the top of the stairs.

    You have my sympathy. I feel oddly proud of being part of a trend even of that trend is sucking at DIY.


  9. May 28, 2016 / 2:12 am

    But you’re not divorced because of it Laura, therefore, I proclaim the flat pack a success!
    In all seriousness, flat pack is the work of the devil himself. Me and my husband have almost killed each other trying to put our kitchen in. I was patient with him to a point, but in the end, he drove me so mad I almost paid someone to come and do it.
    Brilliant post.

  10. May 29, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    I like flat backs but don’t like instructions. I let hubby do it at least I won’t get hurt. Hehe X #effitfriday

  11. May 30, 2016 / 5:37 pm

    Four hours is nothing – it once took us two days to build an Ikea chest of drawers!! #effitfriday

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