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How much does Custom Furniture cost in Australia?

The cost of custom furniture in Australia can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the size, complexity, design, materials, and finish of the piece. However, as a general rule of thumb, custom furniture is more expensive than mass-produced furniture.

According to the Australian Furniture Association, a custom-made dining table can cost anywhere from $4000 to $13,000, while a custom-made bed can cost between $2,000 and $6,000.

Of course, the actual cost of your custom furniture will depend on a number of factors. For example, if you choose to use high-end materials, such as exotic solid wood, leather or precious metals, or if you request a complex design with intricate details, you can expect to pay more.

Here are some of the key factors that affect the cost of custom furniture:

  • Size: Larger pieces of furniture are typically more expensive than smaller pieces.
  • Complexity: More complex designs with intricate details are more difficult and therefore expensive to make than simple designs.
  • Design: Custom furniture makers often charge a design fee, which can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending on the complexity of the design.
  • Materials: The cost of materials can vary depending on the type of wood, fabric, and other materials used.
  • Finish: Special finishes, such as french polish or decorative finishes, add to the overall cost of the furniture.
  • Uniqueness: If you want a truly one-off piece, you have to absorb the design and iteration time in the overall cost of that piece. If you choose something the same or similar to something the maker has created before, you can expect to pay less.

Here’re price ranges for the commissions I’ve made in the past:

  • Dining table: $4,000 to $12,000
  • Desks: $1,000 to $22,000
  • Dining chairs: $1,600 to $4,000
  • Lounge chairs: $2,200 to $2700
  • Cabinets and ‘Casework‘: $1,200 to $26,000

Dining tables and desks can be small and simple, or big and complex. Tables with integrated expansion panels take considerable time and skill to make, and cost a lot more than a simple Nakashima style table. Likewise, rare or unique pieces of timber such as this Red Gum slab and Epoxy table cost more than a simple top laminated from Tasmanian Blackwood.

A rare and unique air-dried Red Gum slab taking in its first coat of oil.

Dining chairs use relatively little material, but are generally considered the most difficult type of furniture to make. They’re intricate, and must be both beautiful and comfortable. You know if you’re talking to a chair maker you’re talking to a skilled furniture maker!

Cabinets, while appearing simple, can be complex to make, and are a great opportunity to include visible hand-cut joinery, something that really sets custom furniture apart from factory-made mass-produced furniture.

Hand-cut dovetails in a cabinet’s drawer

While custom and handmade furniture is usually more expensive, it isn’t always. It’s important to remember that you can buy a $7000 dining table from Harvey Norman that was made in a Chinese factory. Or you could buy a locally made dining table for $5000. The best way to find out what you can get for your budget is to contact a maker and find out what they can do for you. You might be surprised!

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