What Is Furniture?
Furniture is used to support human activities such as seating (stools, chairs, and sofas), eating and working with an item (tables and desks), or resting and sleeping. It is generally portable and may be constructed from wood, metal, stone, glass, or any combination thereof. It can also have a decorative or symbolic function, as in the case of religious altars and royal thrones. It can also be a part of a piece of architecture, such as the desks and shelving in a modern office or the benches on a park bench.
The design of furniture is a highly developed field in its own right, with contributions from such famous architects as Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Historically, the choice of materials for a piece of furniture has been dictated by its function and purpose. For example, a dining table is generally made from hardwoods that are suitable for use with food, and chairs need to be comfortable for prolonged periods of time.
The shape of a piece of furniture is determined by its size and the space in which it will be placed. The appearance of a piece of furniture can be enhanced through the use of carving, turning, or inlay work. It can also be decorated by the addition of bronze, ivory, or marble, or adorned with fabrics such as upholstery or drapery. For a more durable, stain-resistant finish, natural materials such as linen and tweed are often preferred over glossy synthetics, especially when children or pets will be using the furniture.