What Is Furniture?

Furniture is a group of moveable objects (such as chairs, tables, desks, beds) kept in a room or establishment to make it fit for living or working in. Furniture is generally regarded as more than just functional; it can be decorative, symbolic, or ceremonial.

In ancient Egypt, people began to construct and carve wood furniture in addition to using natural objects such as tree stumps and rocks for seating and sleeping. In ancient Greece and Rome, the use of thrones for seating and the multipurpose couches known as klinai were commonplace. In the Middle Ages, constructed wooden pieces grew in popularity and complex construction techniques were used. The seventeenth century was characterized by opulent Baroque designs, and the nineteenth century usually saw concurrent revival styles such as Neoclassicism, Gothic, and Art Nouveau.

Today, furniture design continues to evolve at a fast pace. The availability of materials such as plywood and tubular steel has allowed for simpler construction techniques, while the growth of Maker Culture in many parts of the world has encouraged a greater participation in the furniture design process.

In modern furniture design, principles such as scale, proportion, rhythm, and unity are often employed in the arrangement of a space, as well as the choice of furniture for that space. Some designers, like Jasper Morrison and Sam Maloof, have created one-of-a-kind pieces that are considered works of art, and these are often shown in museums or galleries. In the case of Japanese swords (katana, wakizashi, tanto) all but the blade are referred to as “furniture”. The word furniture comes from the Latin for fit and may refer to anything that is fitted or adapted to an environment.