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The Beginner's Guide to Custom Furniture

Investing in furnishings is a big deal, no matter how you go about it. Discover the pros and cons of bespoke furniture, and whether you can afford it.

TL/DR: We get excited for first-timers. Just get in touch, and we'll guide you through the process, or help you find the best alternative. It's surprisingly simple and fun.

On average, 30-40% of our orders come from returning clients - it's that fulfilling of a process. That said, every artist was once an amateur. If you're new to the idea of commissioning custom furniture, we'll show you how it's done the BFA way.

Do I Need Bespoke Furniture?

It can be overwhelming to consider all of the possibilities at first. Should we go custom at all, if a premade option that nearly works exists? How do we decide on a design? Which wood species do we want? Can we afford it? All these questions and more are normal, and it's a big part of why we love what we do. If your project isn't the right fit, we'll tell you so, and even help you find the right product or resource. If it's in our wheelhouse, we'll take you through the tried-and-true steps of the BFA experience.

The solution starts with the problem. Are you tired of the same poor quality at high prices? Are the the dining tables you've seen not quite the right size? Is there an alcove that the record collection can fit in, if only the right piece of furniture existed? Do you have entirely too many wood tones in the house, but want an heirloom-quality bedroom set? Start there.

Bespoke furniture is often around the same price or slightly more than big-box stores,so what's up with that? Simply put, when you work with a shop like BFA, the largest portion of your dollar goes into the furniture itself. We aren't busy building palatial showrooms, hiring marketing or PR firms, or paying legal teams to handle recalls, and we certainly aren't shipping thousands of tons of furniture around the world then telling you shipping is "free."

Why BFA?

When everyone decided to become a woodworker in 2020 (like Walnut is the new sourdough), the world of custom furniture got bigger, seemingly overnight. How, then, do you decide who to work with?

  1. Do your research. What do their reviews look like? How long have they been in business? Are there photos of their work, or just text? You may discover the next George Nakashima, or your project may be a guinea pig.

  2. We love Etsy just as much as the next handmade-o-phile, and some of those prices seem too good to be true. Trust your gut. We've seen too many of you after an Etsy nightmare, whether it's a quality, design, service or delivery disaster.

  3. Pay close attention to a company's specialties, including what reviewers actually ordered. Cabinetry and epoxy projects don't require nearly the skill and precision of freestanding, oiled furniture.

When you order made-to-order or custom furniture from BFA, you'll get three main benefits:

  1. You'll never have to buy it again. The furniture will be a perfect fit. It will perform optimally, adapt easily to changing tastes and functions, and come with a lifetime guarantee.

  2. It will be uniquely yours. Your furniture will be a reflection of your family and what home means to you, plus a silent lesson to future generations that real furniture makes memories.

  3. Your experience doesn't end on delivery day. Yes, we perform our own deliveries, but we'll also help you move, we'll touch up your dining table when the kids are old enough, we'd cut your king bed down to a queen when you downsize, and we'll remember your names when you come back in years later.

Getting Started

Use our measuring guide or schedule a home consultation to get the overall dimensions just right (don't sweat the measurements for beds or seating, where standard sizes come from mattresses and bodies). Don't worry if you aren't totally sure of sizing: we can visit or schedule a virtual design session after the order is placed to double and triple-check together.

Fill us in on your usage reqirements (how many guests should fit at the dining table most of the time and on special occasions, what size mattress you use, etc.). We'll ask the relevant questions about the surroundings (how big is the sofa next to the new coffee table? what is your flooring material?) to refine sizing, determine configuration and get a leg up on wood species.


We offer two paths to perfection: made-to-order and custom. Made-to-order furniture comes from our library of original designs, available in tried-and-true sizes and built from your choice of American hardwood species. Custom furniture starts with an idea, either from past BFA builds or from your imagination.

No matter which path you choose, you get to decide on your favorite wood species for the project. We're wood nerds, so please let us help - tell us what your floors look like, what other wood tones are in the house, and what feeling you want in the space. Prioritize color, hardness, and grain pattern depending on your preferences. Rest easy knowing that your furniture will be solid wood and almost endlessly repairable, either by us or by you if you're up for it.

Love our work, but not sure how it will fit in with your existing pieces? From our experience, there's always a starting point. Artwork you love, the antique side table, and a modern kitchen are equally valid inspiration for your next piece of functional art.

Pricing + Ordering

Quotes are based on the complexity of the design, and the wood species used - in that order. Wood species can affect pricing by up to 15%, depending on the breakdown of labor to materials in a given design.

The majority of costs come from labor. We pay well, both for a sustainable wage in Boulder County, and for the highest skill level anywhere. It is for this reason that pricing isn't directly proportionate to the size of a piece.

To order, place a nonrefundable 50% deposit in person or online. That reserves your position in the queue, with an average fo 8-12 weeks to delivery from there.

Lead Time

You probably already know that it's worth the wait, but that doesn't necessarily make waiting easier. While we love it when you give us the time to build our best, the truth is that our design and build process cannot be rushed, not for all the tea in China. It takes weeks to select just the right wood, to position, orient and shift the material for grain-matching and color balance, and two weeks or more just to sand and oil it to perfection.

Of course, it doesn't usually take the full 8-12 weeks to create your pieces. The first few weeks are dedicated to design details, when we finalize sizing, configuration and details like handles and cord management. Meanwhile in the workshop, we're completing orders ahead of yours. In some cases, you'll receive scale renderings of your furniture before we start making sawdust. You can look forward to updates along the way, too.

Lee puts it well: do you want to be seated immediately at an empty sushi restaurant, or wait for half an hour for a table at Izakaya Amu?


When you've invested in furniture, delivery day shouldn't be a letdown. We perform our own local deliveries, so we're not only careful with your new furniture, but also your walls, your floors, your landscaping and your pets. Furniture is either fully assembled or assembled onsite due to weight or size considerations (beds and casegoods going up stairs). There's zero packaging to worry about, which is a relief both for you and for the environment.

If you're having your furniture shipped, white-glove service includes blanket wrapping, in-home service with positioning, and unpackaging. Those blankets get reused! If any assembly is required, it's extraordinarily straightforward and usually tool-free. We're available for a phone call or video chat if you need any help.

Use our measuring guide or schedule a home measure to ensure access.

Questions? Let's connect.

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