If you are of sound enough mind to make it past the crying children; the long, winding line for Swedish meatballs; and the expansive warehouse to pick up your furniture stacked in flat boxes, the modern, price-savvy furniture buyer has one more hurdle to jump. The at-home assembly process. Armed with just a set of confusing instructions and tools a buyer may or may not know how to operate, at-home assembly has been known to induce tears. It fact, studies show that having to assemble part A with part B, then screwing both into part C can spell the end for a relationship.
Many a flat-pack furniture startup has tried to eliminate the challenges of on-site shopping and delivery. The latest startup to join the crowded field is U.K.-based Swyft, with a new couch that can be assembled with just your own two hands. No additional tools—or tears—required. “No bolts, no spanners, just click and go,” says Swyft designer John O’Leary.
The range includes a three-seat sofa, two-seat sofa, and armchair available in six different colors in linen or velvet, with memory foam cushioning. Depending on the size of the sofa you choose, it is delivered in two or three boxes. But all, according to Swyft, are sized so they can be lifted by one person, are coded so the consumer knows which to open first, and include assembly instructions.
The reason no tools like a wrench or an Allen key are required is because the individual components of the sofa, like the armrest and base, for example, can be snapped together using a “Swyft-Lok” mechanism with two component parts made of folded steel and die-cast aluminum. The two attenuated oval shape pieces fit together hand-in-glove, so once assembled the lock stays in place due to some of the universe’s earliest tools—gravity and friction. According to Swyft founder Keiran Hewkin, specific furniture parts are typically designed to fit with others like puzzle pieces. This fastening mechanism allows the brand more design flexibility, and, she says, will be “key in all our future product developments.”
Swyft will release a model two and three sofa later this year, and plans to expand into other product categories like beds, tables, and cabinets.
“The ease by which the sofa can be put together also means we are not outsourcing a logistical headache and additional extensive labor to the customer, as is the case with most flat-pack furniture,” said Hewkin. “And when it comes to logistics, it’s as easy to get into the house to put up as it is take apart and move out.”
As of now, Swyft only ships within the U.K., but is actively looking for international distributors and has secured partners in Europe and Australia, says spokesperson Richard Watts.
Priced at around $778 for an armchair and $1,170-$1,300 for a two-seat or three-seat sofa, Swyft does run at a higher price point than retailers known for economic pricing, like Ikea. But the headache saved by easy assembly the company claims can be done in five minutes? Well, depending on your relationship status, that could be priceless.