RTA furniture or “Ready to Assemble” furniture is a long time American tradition, most known with the label “Assembly Required.” These furnishings are found in all kinds of settings including offices, dorm rooms, bedrooms, and even outdoors.

Any furniture that comes in pieces in a flat carton falls under the category of RTA furniture:

  • Dressers
  • Nightstands
  • Swing sets
  • Beds
  • Cube organizers
  • Desks
  • Kitchen Cabinets
  • Wardrobes
  • Entertainment Centers, and so on.

You may not have heard the term “RTA Furniture” before but many of you are already familiar with an entire store known for it: Ikea. Many of you have experienced going down the twisted aisles of the large warehouse, reaching the end and grabbing a large flat cart to pulling out large flat packages that are supposed to turn into entertainment centers or bed frames.

What’s the difference between RTA vs. DIY?

More people are familiar with the concept DIY (Do It Yourself) which is a popular concept in home maintenance and crafting. The only significant difference is that RTA often refers furniture that is prepackaged and self-contained with all its pieces to build a product whereas DIY often requires the creator’s own ingenuity and resources.

In other words, RTA is a more specific tenet of DIY. Imagine that RTA refers to a model kit to build a toy plane but DIY can refer to either build that model plane kit or crafting the individual pieces yourself to create your own aircraft.

What are the advantages to RTA?

  • The products are more inexpensive because you are saving yourself the assembly cost by putting it together yourself.
  • Since the packages are flat, the shipments will be easier to transport. The packaging is created with the ability to put this into your vehicle and bring it home in mind.
  • Finishing the project usually gives someone a sense of accomplishment because the result is a physical product that you have put together with your own hands.

What are precautions to RTA furniture?

  • Even though the package comes complete with all the pieces, some basic tools like a Philips or flathead screwdriver, a hammer or a rubber mallet would still be needed to put this together.
  • Success of building RTA furniture depends on your ability to follow directions and keeping track of pieces. You need both patience and workspace to construct the piece.
  • Depending on where you picked up your furniture, you will not be able to call the store for assistance. You will need to call the manufacturer directly for support.

If you are still struggling with building your RTA furniture or do not wish to put these together yourself, there are companies that are dedicated to assembly services such as TaskRabbit, Handy.Com and Mr. HandyMan. In fact, these services have become freelance incomes for skilled individuals similar to how Lyft and Uber have done this with their personal services in transportation.

Misconceptions about RTA

-Misconception 1: The materials are often shoddy

While RTA furniture that is on the more inexpensive end is mass produced and a shopper needs to be aware that “wood laminate” does not have the same sturdiness of wood, not every ready to assemble piece is a desk from a name brand superstore.

RTA Kitchen cabinets are a prime example of RTA furniture where the materials are higher-tier quality. As kitchen cabinets, they have to be able to stand the test of time and could increase the value of a home, so these are investment pieces as well as a design choice for your kitchen.

-Misconception 2: The instructions are hard to follow

Instructions for almost all furniture come with simple text and diagrams, including pictures of all of the pieces that are included with the box. Many boxes have instructions that ONLY have pictures so there is no mistranslation of the instructions. If you can put Lego bricks together to make a toy vehicle, you can put RTA furniture together.

-Misconception 3: Must have a good carpentry skill level to put RTA Furniture together

Ready to Assemble furniture is meant for the average customer to take home to put together with relative ease. But if in doubt, you can always make this a project to assemble with a friend.

-Misconception 4: The assembled piece never looks like the one in the picture

RTA furniture could not survive as an industry if the final merchandise was not largely based on the product picture. However, product review sites like RTA Cabinet Reviews or even comments and ratings made on Amazon will give input and guidance to fellow shoppers who want outside validation before committing to their purchases.

This basic rundown of Ready to Assemble furniture is meant to be a guide into answering your questions.  But do you have any other questions? Comment below and check out the other reviews here at RTA Cabinet reviews!