Retail Furniture - Fast Furniture

29th September 2022

Fast Furniture

Fast in through your front door… and fast out again!

What is fast furniture and why all the fuss?

Fast Furniture is a term which has been popping up all over the internet in the last couple of years and has left many of us wondering what it means. Like fast fashion, fast furniture runs in the same vein, it's affordable, mass made, frequently poorly constructed, requires home assembly and is often discarded quickly.

Fast furniture is a relatively new phenomenon, which has its roots in convenience. The worldwide boom in fast furniture in the last 10 years has been due to our modern lifestyle… people are moving, relocating, downsizing and upgrading their homes…more than ever before! The fast furniture industry has been quick to respond to this on-the-go lifestyle with the allure of stylish lines, on trend looks at questionably low prices and inferior quality.

So what’s the problem with that? Affordable convenience is what everyone wants these days isn’t it? 

Well read on because beneath the glittering allen key and the convenient flatpack box lies a dark side to this fashion furniture.


Fast furniture is made with one thing in mind…money! Low prices and high profit often means that responsible sourcing of safe and environmentally friendly materials is not a priority. 

This cheaply crafted furniture has become a major concern for environmental scientists who study the massive growth rates of our landfills. Some of the largest items they are seeing being thrown away is in the ‘fast furniture’ category, much of it sadly, is barely used but almost all defective… with missing or broken legs, water damaged chipboard, collapsed drawer bottoms and broken joints. The cost of repair is often prohibitive and it becomes cheaper to throw away the item rather than try and save it. The same theme follows house or flat moves where it is frequently cheaper to toss cheap furniture rather than to pay for moving it.

The most lamentable part of this story is that most of this cheap furniture is constructed from equally cheap materials therefore there is no way of recycling it, and it adds to global pollution on grand scale.

The Guise of Affordability

Fast furniture relies on the half truth that it is more affordable, and if you are looking at the short term then yes, this may be true. In reality it is a little disingenuous, because fast furniture is in many ways robbing people of their hard-earned money. While it may seem like a £200 bed that you put together yourself is a really great idea, with fast furniture you will be lucky to have that bed last through the daily wear and tear of more than a year. This rings true for other furnishing items that could quickly fall apart and it won’t be long before you are back at the store or online buying a replacement. So if you think about the bed scenario… over a lifetime if you need to purchase up to 35 cheap beds you may also have a lot of sleepless nights and probably a lot of expensive visits to the chiropractor!

Fast Furniture Red Flags

You might be wondering; how can you tell if a piece of furniture you are looking at is cheaply made? One of the biggest red flags is price, if you see a price that is way too good to be true unfortunately it probably is, that’s the allure that reels so many of us in. The other red flag to look for is flat pack furniture, now this is not alway an indicator of fast furniture, the key is pricing combined with self-assembly. You can also look at materials used as an indicator, things like particle board, plastic knobs and handles, thin veneers, shaped, glued or nailed joints, poor foam density can all be signs that the piece may be inferior.

Picking the right furniture 

Whether you are looking to invest in furniture that you won’t have to keep repurchasing or you are looking to make a change to significantly decrease your environmental impact, it can sometimes be hard to know where to start. 

Shopping locally is one of the biggest ways to combat fast furniture, a local stockist will be able to provide information about products, materials, and the manufacturing practices in place so you can have the peace of mind that you are buying the right piece for your needs.

Some people may feel the effects of 'sticker shock’ when they are moving from fast furniture to furniture which will last a lifetime. The best way to combat this is to shop the sales where you will find excellent value at great prices. Take your time. View your choices and learn about the products. Doing some research before the sales will help you to budget for the pieces you aspire to, and will help you spot a deal when you see one and stop you from getting swept up in the excitement of the sale and making a bad purchase.

Fad and Fashion 

Fast furniture can allow the dedicated followers of fashion to always be on trend. It forms a noncommittal approach to decorating. To avoid this and to protect your wallet we encourage you to make classic choices which can evolve with your style over time. Classics like mid century modern, traditional, or rustic pieces have fared all of the trends and will look good in the years to come. Buying classic pieces doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy home trends. You still can enjoy all the changes in style using your home accessories like lamps, artwork and other decor and you should have plenty of room in your budget for this since you won’t be buying new furniture every few years. 

If your style changes drastically, refinishing your furniture is always an option, when you buy solid well-made pieces.  It will allow you to refresh your whole home, without buying new furniture. You will still be able to incorporate all the great and fun new trends to come, and you can rest easy knowing that you have invested in timeless classics which will last a lifetime. 

If you choose to invest in quality pieces, maintenance will be key for you, making sure you keep bolts tightened, textiles clean and protected with the right products and invest in an extended warranty to protect your purchase. Keep wood polished and healthy looking and you can’t go wrong. Your local furniture stockist will be able to point you in the right direction for proper care for these ‘investment pieces and can direct you to manufacturer guidelines for getting the most out of your furniture. 

Not So Fast!

Buying investment pieces is a bit of a collectors game which can be very stimulating in itself, but we recommend slowly replacing fast furniture pieces as they begin to dissatisfy you, with beautiful longer lasting pieces, this will allow you to slowly build a solid furniture collection… and you can be sure you won’t waste any more money on cheap throw away furniture. 

If you are interested in making the change, and want to find somewhere to start, the Consultants at the Peter Green showroom would be happy to introduce you to the beautiful quality pieces we have such a reputation for helping customers find.

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Posted by Natalie Thompson
29th September 2022

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