As anyone who rents knows, “space-saving” is a magical, golden, almost-too-good-to-be-true description. Especially when used in relation to furniture; even more so when you rent in a space-challenged city. Don’t even get me started on when you flat share and are relegated to fitting your bedroom, living space, home office and even home gym into just one room (my housemates and I have nicknamed it “adult Jenga”). So you can only imagine my excitement when I discovered Mustard Made — seemingly the solution to all my small-space woes. Like me, you probably already recognise its rainbow-bright locker furniture, even if you don’t know its name (unsurprisingly, they are catnip for social media). Made with metal, the lineup ranges from bedside tables to double wardrobes, each coming as a flatpack and designed to “snap” together easily, without too much DIY faff or fall out between you and whoever you’ve roped in to help you. Plus, each is designed to increase your storage situation tenfold, with shelves you can move around and, in some, hanging rods.
Of course, as with anything in this world that’s actually useful and pretty to look at, they don’t come cheap: the range starts at £139 for The Shorty (the bedside table) and goes up to £499 for The Twinny (the double wardrobe). Curious to find out whether they’re worth all that dosh and all the hype, I tested out The Midi — a mid-size cabinet — in a soft lilac shade. Read on for my honest thoughts about how easy it was to build and whether the quality is up to scratch.
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Deciding on my Mustard Made locker.
When it came to picking out my locker, I was like a kid in a sweet shop — albeit a rather expensive sweet shop. I opted for The Midi because I wanted somewhere to display my record player and speakers on the top and to store my vinyl collection inside (if you know, you know — vinyl needs to be stored vertically and in a cool, dry environment away from direct sunlight, and it ends up taking up a lot of space). Before my Mustard Made, I have been using these vinyl storage cases which are not ideal (they’re heavy, clunky, hard to move around, and are a bit of an eyesore).
How it arrived.
I was a little worried about getting The Midi into my flat in the first place — I live in a basement with a narrow, twisty, turny staircase down to my door (don’t we love old houses?). It does come in just one box, but is rather heavy (remember, it’s metal, so not as light as your typical flatpack fibreboard or chipboard). Luckily, my delivery courier was able to help me carry the box down and into my preferred room.
Is it easy to build?
I admit it, assembly wasn’t as easy peasy lemon squeezy as I had anticipated, and compared to how simply Mustard Made’s cheery instruction videos make it appear. I opened up the box to find the seven panels, two doors, four shelves, the inside frame, two leg supports and an assortment of brackets, posts, washers, screws, L-shaped posts, and, of course, the handles and a set of keys for when you want to lock your locker. Quite frankly, it was enough to make me and my lack of DIY skills buckle. Luckily, I had called upon one of my housemates to help — despite Mustard Made’s own instruction demo showing one person completing most of the build. I can’t speak for all of its furniture designs (I reckon the small Shorty is a one-person job), but I would recommend you have a buddy, especially for holding up the frame and helping to guide it into the correct slots.
Initially, the metal panels feel a little fragile to be holding all the weight I hoped they could, but once we get going, sliding them onto the frame and clicking parts together, the structure quickly takes shape. With a helping hand, I didn’t struggle too badly, but it does take quite a bit of force to snap pieces together (the tension between them is strong; RIP my fresh gel mani!). In total it took us about 45 minutes to build, but we were also sipping on wine and having a boogie to Olivia Rodrigo’s new album at the same time (why DIY if you can’t make it fun?). The one thing I would change about building is that I would do it earlier during the day — these metal pieces make a racket if dropped or banged against each other, and I worried for my neighbours.
My final verdict.
I love it! I moved my Midi into my room and as you can see in my picture, I have so little space, it just about fits in at the bottom of my bed, but the shelves are surprisingly deep and hold way more than I anticipated — I now can also store my books and arts and crafts materials along with my vinyl collection. I also love that I can customise these shelves so in the future. If I decide to store my vinyl elsewhere, I can repurpose The Midi for something else.
Though it may have felt delicate when building, all together the metal panels feel strong and sturdy, and it looks amazing, adding a real pop of colour to my blank white box of a rented room. So much more fun than a boring white block from Ikea! I love that now it’s as much of a decor piece as all the trinkets I’ve covered it with. Most importantly though, when it’s empty, it’s far easier to move about than any of my wooden furniture, which means it’s perfect for the renting life. I know that when I come to move, I won’t need to worry about breaking my or my movers’ backs. In fact, I’m already planning to build my Mustard Made collection, adding to it the double Twinny wardrobe locker for my clothes and the single Skinny locker for my work and office bits, or in my bathroom where we have no in-built storage at all. In all, Mustard Made’s furniture is expensive, but so far it’s been worth every penny, if only for how much less stuff I have lying around and distracting me as I sleep, eat, work, work out and chill in my small room. Being able to shut doors on all that clutter has been ideal. As they say: tidy room, tidy mind!