Gemma Comas

What to know: The makers of ready-to-assemble furniture usually keep plenty of spare hardware on hand. “A reputable manufacturer will be happy to send whatever you need,” says Thomas Nouis, owner of Assembly Required, a furniture-assembly service based in Shoreview, Minnesota. And hold on to instruction sheets―those for Crate & Barrel furniture, for example, list the serial number of each part. Ikea lets you pick up missing hardware right at the store, says company spokesperson Janice Simonsen. “You can also call Ikea’s toll-free help line and have your parts delivered within a few days in most cases,” she adds.

Where to go: For Crate & Barrel parts, call 800-606-6387; for Ikea, call 800-434-4532; for Kmart customer service, call 866-562-7848; for Target customer service, call 800-303-0308 (have the manufacturer’s name ready). Missing basic hardware? Nouis recommends picking up a close match at a good hardware store.