Sometimes one size really doesn’t fit all, and when it comes to finding the perfect pieces for your home, custom-made furniture can be the perfect option. FELICIA KOH of Gallery 278 is no stranger to customising furniture for clients, and knows all too well the struggles people can go through when they find a home, only to realise their furniture just doesn’t quite ‘work’.
‘Customising can be in terms of aesthetics, form or function,’ she explains. ‘Sometimes it’s a bed that is longer, higher or wider, a storage cabinet that meets all your particular needs, a television console to house your equipment, or a desk that uses that corner bay window you never knew how to make use of.’
With a team of in-house designers, virtually any piece of furniture can be customised in store, from sofas and beds to furnishings. Other nifty ways to make a piece your own is by changing its colour, adding upholstery, making new slip covers, and customising accent pillows.
Customising your furniture can also be a great idea when you’re short on space, but don’t want to scrimp on style. ‘When you have space restrictions, sometimes the furniture you want for a particular area is not readily available off the shelf – for example, with entrance consoles or display shelves,’ explains CHRIS ANG, from Woody Antique House.
Customising furniture since 2000, Woody Antique House can tailor pieces from Chinese recycled elm, recycled teak from Indonesia, or Burmese teak, including furniture such as cabinets, entrance consoles and desks. Chris does advise not being too rigid in your customised design. ‘Take a long-term view, so that you can have the flexibility to use the item for another purpose, or in another location of the house.’
Besides the right size, finding the perfect colour and style can be another challenge, says DANIELLE LEE from Just Anthony. ‘You may have your eye on a piece of furniture you like, only for the colour and style to not quite match what you want. Customisation solves these problems, it allows you to have a piece made to suit the theme of your home.’
Apart from its full-bespoke pieces, Just Anthony also offers ‘part customisation’. Customers can purchase a unique piece such as old door panels, which can be crafted into cabinet doors, and then create a cabinet body around them. ‘This allows you to own a piece of furniture that is uniquely yours, as it cannot be replicated.’ Adding paintings of Chinese themes, such as butterflies, birds and flowers, can also really personalise a piece, or even carvings, to add to the design.
Making the Right Choice
So, what do you need to consider when deciding on how to customise your furniture? Check the dimensions and constraints of your space, says interior stylist ROU YING of BoConcept. ‘Before embarking on your search for furniture to fit out your home, always be sure to have the dimensions of your home ready for a better idea on the amount of space you have to work with. It’s also useful to be aware of any possible constraints such as an oddly shaped corner in a room.’ Also, don’t forget a colour swatch for reference, as this can help ensure that you get the right colour and texture for your furniture, so it matches the rest of your home – particularly important when it comes to wood grains.
With expert advice on hand, and BoConcept’s 3D programme available to customers, visualising your perfect home is made easier. ‘Customised furniture allows you to create a living space that is one of a kind with its own unique design and style. What’s more, it provides you with design solutions that cater to your specific home needs.’
Old to New
There may be an old piece of furniture that you’ve had for years that could do with a refresh, to work with your new space, or new tastes. ‘Custom-made furniture also means you can turn old-furniture into something wow and new,’ says NAAZLI SOMJEE from WTP The Furniture Company – think antique door turned into a striking new dining table top.
While all types of furniture can be customised, dining tables, beds and sofas tend to be top of the list. These products are key pieces of furniture for a home, so creating something individual and unique for the rest of the home to work around is often a good place to start. ‘Custom-made furniture seeks out individuality and uniqueness in every piece besides seamlessly integrating in fit, form, function and furnishing. Be it different woods such as oak, teak, mahogany, maple or walnut, WTP can custom make just one piece, or furniture for the entire home.’
Besides its design flexibility, Caroline Chin-Geyler from Arete Culture says one of the key benefits of custom-made furniture is its longer lifespan. ‘This is because this type of furniture always fulfils a specific function, and when you design the piece to fit your aesthetic preferences, you tend to keep it for a longer time.’ Furniture must, however, be functional to have a long lifespan; ‘but this doesn’t have to come at the price of form.’
For a family with young children, Caroline recommends eschewing more precious materials, like marble, for tile. ‘We use a marble-lookalike tile that delivers the same effect more affordably, and makes maintenance a breeze. Many of our clients use the following failsafe combinations to ensure their furniture can stand up to everyday wear: tempered glass and wood, or tiled table tops and metal bases.’
Building furniture with stainless-steel legs, particularly if you have a waterfront home, is another tip she passes on, and if you’re a family with young children or pets, you should consider darker colours. Arete offers plenty of readymade models under its Bespoke Boutique Collection, but also works with clients to customise their dream piece.
278 River Valley Road
Woody Antique House
Block 15 Dempsey Road, #01-11/12 (Showroom 1)
Block 13 Dempsey Road #01-05 (Showroom 2)
379 Upper Paya Lebar Road
#04-01/02/03 Paragon Shopping Centre
290 Orchard Road
WTP The Furniture Company
3 Kung Chong Road
This article is sponsored by the above outlets.
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