Ready-To-Assemble furniture

I’m wondering about who designs all those RTA type furniture you see at Target, Crate+Barrel, etc…?

Do they hire designers as full-time employees or is it the consultancies that really do the design for new furniture products?

Also, would it be more helpful to get a degree in Industrial Design or mass-produced wood furniture design to get into one of those companies?


You see positions doing this type of work pop up from time to time, but I think it’s more limited now that ALL of those products are being made in east Asia.
My previous employer made RTA furniture for Target, Fred Meyer, Home Depot, etc etc. Best thing to do is to get the information off the boxes of these products, as even if they’re branded Target, it’s not made by them. The company is simply branding the product and providing the graphics for packaging.
Ever notice how some aisles in Target are completely color-coded? For an example, take a look at the automotive supply section. It’s all orange!! Think all of those products are made by the same company? Hardly, but Target dictates the graphics for everything to keep with a nice cohesive look to each section.
Getting back to RTA, there are definately places in the states that design/outsource for the large big-box retailers. Again, just look at the boxes for the information. Send them your portfolio.

Target, in particular, has somewhere around 60 designers on staff, so they touch on some of the products you’re interested in. But mostly, it’s all done by suppliers.

Thanks 6ix. Very valuable info.


It just so happens that I bought one of those ladder-style bookcases this past weekend from Lowes (who’da thunk they’d have some nice furniture?) Anyhow, it’s RTA and retailed for about $120.

The company printed on the box is located in Wilkesboro, NC, just outside of Winston-Salem.

Just got to the big-box retailers to get your company list. Then send them your portfolio. I’m sure you’ll find something by doing that.

Or, find a way to get into next spring’s furniture market in High Point and camp yourself out at the 220 Elm building. That’s where most of the cool RTA companies are located.

thanks again 6ix.

never been to high point, though i plan to at some point… i’m FAR from graduation.

is RTA something more ID related or furniture related? I’m kinda at a turning point right now, currently enrolled in product design (1st yr) with plans to x-fer to Kendall next year (already accepted) for furniture with a minor in ID.

i understand RTA works with more metal materials such as for legs and stuff, so I’m wondering what the correct path to take is… any advice?

a side note, i really am not interested in any other area of ID except residential furnishings.

Blu Dot, technically are they RTA?

I think they take interns, midwestsky.

i really like Blu Dot’s work. Their designs are clean/minimalist and look like they can take a beating. Down the road I’d love to intern for em if possible… but i’m a few years from graduation. I just don’t like their out-of-reach pricing… (out of MY reach anyway) :slight_smile: