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Ready-to-Assemble - Changing How People Buy Furniture

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/24/2006 | Home Improvement
It's amazing how something as simple as a new bookcase or coffee table can change how a person feels about their home. Now that ready-to-assemble furniture (commonly called RTA) is so widely available, and the prices so much lower than ready-made, has society been given the gift of good taste or have standards been lowered?

"Do People Want RTA Furniture?"

A resounding "YES" answers that question. RTA sales have increased tremendously - especially in discount and do-it-yourself venues.

Stores like WalMart are increasing their offerings to a ready group of consumers while industry giant IKEA continues to spread the availability of stylish furnishings around the globe. According to market analysis reports, RTA furniture is one of the fastest growing segments of the furniture market in the world.

"Is RTA Good Quality?"

Ready-to-assemble furniture has made it's reputation in simple storage items, like microwave stands and bookcases, which were often considered low quality. Price point and package handling have always been a big feature of RTA. You could easily take what you need from the store and put it together at home that same day.

On the other hand, consumers are beginning to demand more sophisticated design as well as durability. While the consumers' standards may be increasing, their pocketbook still forces them to watch for price. Many younger consumers are looking to create stylish rooms that integrate with newer technology - the slim and modern designs common to RTA have a clear win over heavier, more expensive furnishings with this group.

The quality of RTA is also improving. Better materials can be afforded when the consumer saves on shipping costs by buying items flat-packaged.

"What About Putting It Together?"

More involvement by local manufacturers has improved the clarity of instructions available to the do-it-yourselfer. The common problem of RTA was often that instructions were translated by the foreign makers - leading to confusion and frustration. Improvements to the instructions lead to happier consumers, fueling the trend even further.

"What is Available in RTA Furniture?"

While RTA furniture originally focused on the home entertainment or home storage markets it has branched out considerably. Many office supply stores began carrying desk and office furniture to take advantage of the trend for home offices. RTA furniture has since expanded into dining room, bedroom and living room furniture.

Now you are just as likely to find a designer look bedroom set at your grocery store or discount department store as at an uptown furniture boutique. Store buyers know consumers want it and are increasing their display space to fill the need. While those who can afford to choose still turn to ready-made furniture, RTA makes a stylishly furnished home possible for just about everybody. function SubmitRating(btn) { ratingchecked = false; if (btn.form.aRating0.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating1.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating2.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating3.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating4.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (ratingchecked) { btn.form.btnRating.value=btn.value; btn.form.submit(); } else { alert("Be sure a rating value has been selected to continue."); } }