- I hate furniture shopping. not only do you have to find something you like, but it has to be the right size, and regardless you pay a huge mark up to pay managers, designers, manufacturers, the salespeople, and whoever delivers it. Being cheap, I like to avoid paying as many middle man as I can. This is why I like to feature a lot of Do-It-Yourself projects that allow men to take a trip to a home improvement store as opposed to a furniture store.
One of the cheap options that has become really popular lately is black pipe furniture and storage. The benefit to doing these yourself is that it is custom, durable, and cheaper that most big box store options. You see it often with shelving, but I have also seen bed frames, desks and even lamps.
The type of pipe you want to use is a matter of preference. I like cast iron pipe, but galvinized aluminum, PVC and black ABS piping may be cheaper and more your style. Copper may be an option, but it is a soft metal that may not be able to take a lot of weight. Anything that will see a decent amount of weight should be made with at least a hard tempered “Type K” copper, but you should more likely use one of the other, more durable options.
Like with most raw building materials, the limit is your own ingenuity. I suggests starting simple, getting a feel for the material before moving on. Start with something like a lamp, which is a fairly inexpensive way to get some practice and see if you like working with piping. After that you can move on to more difficult things like chairs and multi-level desks.