So you may not know that I run another site in addition to CampusRiot: Redesign Revolution, a design blog. While searching for inspiration for that blog, I came across SmartDeco furniture, which are simple, no-tools-involved, 100% recyclable furniture that are pretty perfect for students who move really frequently and have no use for permanent, heavy furniture. I was so ecstatic about the concept that I featured it on my design blog and contacted their company to see if I could get one of their furniture pieces to review — they were generous enough to send a SmartStand my way.
I am going to review the SmartDeco SmartStand on the following qualifications: weight, ease of installation, durability, price, and overall look.
Before talking about the SmartStand, you should know that you can get the following items from them:
- SmartSet (the desk, stand, and dresser combo)
- Connection Kits for the Stand and Dresser
To be honest, I kind of assumed that cardboard furniture would be super light. When the folks at SmartDeco shipped the box to me, I was pretty surprised how heavy the nightstand, which I thought was the smallest piece of furniture, actually was! I was expecting to easily carry this onto the subway and into my apartment with no problem. But when I lifted the box, I found that it wouldn’t be the case. In my disappointment, I give the weight a C.
However, I’m sure more people would be shipping this product to their home, so the weight might not be as much of an issue. For reference: I’m not really sure how heavy it is, but it’s definitely heavier than the standard LACK side table, which weighs at 9 lbs according to IKEA. Maybe 15 lbs? I’m apparently a weakling, now that I think about it.
Edit: SmartDeco has confirmed that the SmartStand weighs 13 pounds. I wasn’t too far off!
Ease of Installation: A-
I watched the video one time and then installed it with my fellow blogger, Nicole. I opened the box and stared at the pieces blankly for about 5 minutes, went to my computer to watch the 5 minute video, and then installed it with Nicole (who didn’t watch the video), which took a little less than 15 minutes. So it took me a total of 25 minutes from unopened box to finished SmartStand.
I’m giving it an A- from the point of view of a person who probably won’t bother to read instructions. Because I only went through it once, I was unclear about some steps in assembly. There are many perforations and some you have to fold out rather than in! However, it is really simple to put together if you’re careful about it. We just had to stand there for a couple minutes to think some parts through, and then it came together really easily.
Recommendation: If you’re going to assemble this by yourself, watch the video in sections and assemble in between so you don’t mix up parts and put it together wrong!
My coworkers didn’t trust it when they saw the final product, but I knew better: I knew that it would already be more sturdy than my crappy IKEA desk that can hardly handle all my textbooks. So I did a test. I grabbed about 2 dozen apples, a computer monitor, and several textbook-sized books and magazines I had laying around.
The SmartStand didn’t budge. Color me surprised!
Also, when you have the final product, you will notice how thick the stand is. They also provide a plastic covering to protect the top from water damage, which I think makes it relatively long lasting, considering it’s a cardboard box. I think these factors will make people less concerned about its durability!
My coworkers were surprised that a cardboard-made nightstand would cost $37 (the white version would cost $41, but you get to personalize it with your own paint colors and other creative ideas, so it might be worth it.
However, I am more concerned about the environment and the ability to get rid of/reuse when I have to pick up and move again. The boxes on their own work well as moving boxes. (And shipping boxes cost a lot more than you’d think if you’re not buying in bulk!) The fact that this unit is reusable AND multi-functional and won’t fall apart like my IKEA dresser probably will during my next move, I think the price is pretty good. Some people might not see it that way; hence, the B+.
Overall Look: A
I absolutely love how this piece of furniture actually stands up to my own furniture at home! It’s got smooth lines, great angles, and can really fit in with a lot of modern furniture! And I think my dorm room furniture was this exact color, so it wouldn’t have any trouble fitting in with the real thing.
Overall Grade: A-
When I think about the donation bins at my old college dorm, I realize how wasteful college students tend to be. They buy these expensive hampers, drying racks, pillows, and other furniture pieces and just throw them away at the end of the year. Why waste all that money, just to throw away/donate all this extra stuff? Maybe you don’t need stuff that will just stay around in a landfill forever. The SmartDeco SmartStand and other products provide that opportunity!