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Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., Stools,
Chair One of the basic pieces of furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furni ...

Chair
s, and
sofa A couch, also known as a sofa, settee, futon, or chesterfield (see #Etymology, Etymology below), is a piece of furniture for seating two or three people. It is commonly found in the form of a bench (furniture), bench, with Upholstery, upholstere ...

sofa
s), eating (
tables Table may refer to: * Table (information), a data arrangement with rows and columns *Table (furniture), a piece of furniture with a flat surface and one or more legs *Table (database) *Calligra Tables, a spreadsheet application *Mathematical tabl ...
), and sleeping (e.g.,
bed A bed is a piece of furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furniture i ...

bed
s). Furniture is also used to hold objects at a convenient height for work (as horizontal surfaces above the ground, such as tables and
desk A desk or bureau is a piece of furniture with a flat table (furniture), table-style work surface used in a school, office, home or the like for academic, professional or domestic activities such as reading (activity), reading, writing, or using e ...

desk
s), or to store things (e.g.,
cupboard The term cupboard was originally used to describe an open-shelved side table for displaying dishware, more specifically plates, cups and saucers. These open cupboards typically had between one and three display tiers, and at the time, a drawer o ...

cupboard
s and shelves). Furniture can be a product of design and is considered a form of
decorative art ] The decorative arts are arts or crafts whose object is the design A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that plan or specification ...
. In addition to furniture's functional role, it can serve a symbolic or religious purpose. It can be made from many materials, including
metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appearance, and conducts Electrical resistivity and conductivity, el ...

metal
,
plastic Plastics are a wide range of syntheticA synthetic is an artificial material produced by organic chemistry, organic chemical synthesis. Synthetic may also refer to: In the sense of both "combination" and "artificial" * Synthetic chemical or sy ...

plastic
, and
wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natural composite material, composite of cellulose fibers that are strong in tension and embe ...

wood
. Furniture can be made using a variety of
woodworking joints to cut a large mortise. Image:Timber Framing Circular Saw.jpg, A worker uses a large circular saw to cut joints. Joinery is a part of woodworking Woodworking is the skill of making items from wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural ...
which often reflect the local culture. People have been using natural objects, such as tree stumps, rocks and moss, as furniture since the beginning of human civilization and continues today in some households/campsites. Archaeological research shows that from around 30,000 years ago, people started to construct and carve their own furniture, using wood, stone, and animal bones. Early furniture from this period is known from artwork such as a
Venus figurine , the earliest Venus figurine A Venus figurine is any Upper Paleolithic, Upper Palaeolithic Figurine, statuette portraying a woman, usually carved in Sculpture in-the-round, the round.Fagan, Brian M., Beck, Charlotte, "Venus Figurines", ''The Oxf ...
found in
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country in the world, covering over , and encom ...

Russia
, depicting the goddess on a throne. The first surviving extant furniture is in the homes of
Skara Brae Skara Brae is a stone-built Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12, ...

Skara Brae
in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a 96-mile (154 km) Anglo-Scottish bo ...

Scotland
, and includes cupboards, dressers and beds all constructed from stone. Complex construction techniques such as
joinery Joinery may refer to: * Woodworking joints, techniques and processes for connecting pieces of wood or lumber to produce more complex items * Joiner, someone who builds things by joining pieces of wood See also

* Join (disambiguation) * Joiner ...
began in the
early dynastic
early dynastic
period of
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric ...

ancient Egypt
. This era saw constructed wooden pieces, including stools and tables, sometimes decorated with valuable metals or ivory. The evolution of furniture design continued in
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era was ...
and
ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC ...
, with thrones being commonplace as well as the
klinai Klinai (Ancient Greek, Greek for couches; singular klinē), known in Latin as lectus triclinaris, were a type of ancient furniture used by the Ancient Greece, ancient Greeks in their Symposium, symposia and by the ancient Romans in their somewhat d ...
, multipurpose couches used for relaxing, eating, and sleeping. The furniture of the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarly to the Post-classical, Post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roma ...
was usually heavy,
oak An oak is a tree or shrub A shrub (or bush, but this is more of a gardening term) is a small- to medium-sized perennial woody plant. Unlike herbaceous plants, shrubs have persistent woody stems above the ground. Shrubs can be deciduous o ...

oak
, and ornamented. Furniture design expanded during the Italian
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in m ...

Renaissance
of the fourteenth and fifteenth century. The seventeenth century, in both Southern and Northern Europe, was characterized by opulent, often gilded
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashion ...

Baroque
designs. The nineteenth century is usually defined by revival styles. The first three-quarters of the twentieth century are often seen as the march towards
Modernism , Solomon Guggenheim Museum 1946–1959 Modernism is both a philosophy, philosophical movement and an art movement that arose from broad transformations in Western world, Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The moveme ...
. One unique outgrowth of post-modern furniture design is a return to natural shapes and textures.


Etymology

The English word ''
furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furniture is also used to hold objects at a con ...
'' is derived from the French word , the noun form of , which means to supply or provide. Thus ''fourniture'' in French means supplies or provisions. The English usage, referring specifically to household objects, is specific to that language; French and other Romance languages as well as
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
use variants of the word '' meubles'', which derives from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...

Latin
'' mobilia'', meaning "moveable goods".


History


Prehistory

The practice of using natural objects as rudimentary pieces of furniture likely dates to the beginning of human civilization. Early humans are likely to have used tree stumps as seats, rocks as rudimentary tables, and mossy areas for sleeping. During the late
palaeolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek wikt:παλαιός, palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of ...
or early
neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
period, from around 30,000 years ago, people began constructing and carving their own furniture, using wood, stone and animal bones. The earliest evidence for the existence of constructed furniture is a
Venus figurine , the earliest Venus figurine A Venus figurine is any Upper Paleolithic, Upper Palaeolithic Figurine, statuette portraying a woman, usually carved in Sculpture in-the-round, the round.Fagan, Brian M., Beck, Charlotte, "Venus Figurines", ''The Oxf ...
found at the Gagarino site in Russia, which depicts the goddess in a sitting position, on a throne. A similar statue of a seated woman was found in Catal Huyuk in Turkey, dating to between 6000 and 5500 BCE. The inclusion of such a seat in the figurines implies that these were already common artefacts of that age. A range of unique stone furniture has been excavated in
Skara Brae Skara Brae is a stone-built Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12, ...

Skara Brae
, a Neolithic village in Orkney, Scotland The site dates from 3100 to 2500 BCE and due to a shortage of wood in Orkney, the people of Skara Brae were forced to build with stone, a readily available material that could be worked easily and turned into items for use within the household. Each house shows a high degree of sophistication and was equipped with an extensive assortment of stone furniture, ranging from cupboards, dressers, and beds to shelves, stone seats, and
limpet Limpets are a group of aquatic snails that exhibit a conical gastropod shell, shell shape (patelliform) and a strong, muscular foot. Limpets are members of the class Gastropoda, but are polyphyletic, meaning the various groups called "limpets" ...
tanks. The stone dresser was regarded as the most important as it symbolically faces the entrance in each house and is therefore the first item seen when entering, perhaps displaying symbolic objects, including decorative artwork such as several Neolithic
carved stone balls Carved stone balls are petrospheres dated from the late Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. ...
also found at the site. File:Museum of Anatolian Civilizations 1320259 nevit.jpg, The Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük, a figurine discovered in Turkey and dated to approximately 6000 BC, is evidence that furniture existed in the
neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12,000 years ago when the first developments of ...
. File:Skara Brae house 1 5.jpg, A dresser with shelves furnish a house in
Skara Brae Skara Brae is a stone-built Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12, ...

Skara Brae
, a settlement in what is now Scotland that was occupied from about 3180-2500 BC File:CucuteniRitualStatues.jpg,
Cucuteni Cucuteni () is a commune in Iași County Iași County () is a county (județ) of Romania, in Western Moldavia, with the administrative seat at Iași. It is the most populous county in Romania, after the Municipality of Bucharest (which has the s ...
ritualic figurines staying on miniature chairs; 4900-4750 BC; painted ceramic; Archaeology Museum Piatra Neamț ( Piatra Neamț, Romania) File:CucuteniNeolithicChair.JPG, Cucuteni figurine staying on a miniature chair; 4750-4700 BC; ceramic; discoeved at Târpești (modern-day Romania); Archaeology Museum Piatra Neamț


Antiquity

Ancient furniture The furniture of the Ancient history, ancient world was made of many different materials, including Reed (plant), reeds, wood, Rock (geology), stone, metals, straws, and ivory. In Mesopotamia and Israelites, Israel, furniture would be Inlay, inlaid ...
has been excavated from the 8th-century BCE
tumulus File:Gamla uppsala.jpg, The Royal mounds of Gamla Uppsala in Sweden from the 5th and 6th centuries originally the site had 2,000 to 3,000 tumuli, but due to quarrying and agriculture only 250 remain. A tumulus (plural tumuli) is a mound of Soi ...

tumulus
, the Midas Mound, in
Gordion Gordion ( el, Γόρδιον, ''Górdion''; tr, Gordion or ; la, Gordium) was the capital city of ancient Phrygia. It was located at the site of modern Yassıhüyük, about southwest of Ankara (capital of Turkey), in the immediate vicinity ...
,
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small portion on the Balkans in Southeast Europe. It shares borders with Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; the B ...

Turkey
. Pieces found here include
tables Table may refer to: * Table (information), a data arrangement with rows and columns *Table (furniture), a piece of furniture with a flat surface and one or more legs *Table (database) *Calligra Tables, a spreadsheet application *Mathematical tabl ...
and inlaid serving stands. There are also surviving works from the 9th-8th-century BCE
Assyria Assyria () ( akk, 𒀸𒋩, syc, ܐܬܘܪ or ), also at times called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the Ancient Near East that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BC (in the form of the ...

Assyria
n palace of
Nimrud Nimrud (; syr, ܢܢܡܪܕ ar, النمرود) is an ancient Assyrian city located south of the city of Mosul, and south of the village of Selamiyah ( ar, السلامية), in the Nineveh plains in Upper Mesopotamia. It was a major Assyri ...
. The earliest surviving carpet, the Pazyryk Carpet was discovered in a frozen tomb in
Siberia Siberia (; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Northern Asia. Siberia has been Russian conquest of Siberia, part of modern Russia since the latter half of th ...

Siberia
and has been dated between the 6th and 3rd century BCE.


Ancient Egypt

Civilization in
ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric ...

ancient Egypt
began with the clearance and irrigation of land along the banks of the
River Nile The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin Nobiin, or Mahas, is a Northern Nubian languages, Nubian language of the Nilo-Saharan languages, Nilo-Saharan language family. "Nobiin" is the genitive case, genitive form of ''Nòòbíí'' ("Nubi ...

River Nile
, which began in about 6000 BCE. By that time, society in the
Nile Valley The Nile ( ar, النيل, an-Nīl, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin: Áman Dawū) is a major north-flowing river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In som ...

Nile Valley
was already engaged in organized agriculture and the construction of large buildings.Redford, Donald B. ''Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times.'' (Princeton: University Press, 1992), p. 6. At this period, Egyptians in the southwestern corner of Egypt were herding cattle and also constructing large buildings.
Mortar Mortar may refer to: * Mortar (weapon), an indirect-fire infantry weapon * Mortar (masonry), a material used to fill the gaps between blocks and bind them together * Mortar and pestle, a tool pair used to crush or grind * Mortar, Bihar, a village in ...
was in use by around 4000 BCE The inhabitants of the Nile Valley and delta were self-sufficient and were raising barley and
emmer Emmer wheat or hulled wheat is a type of awned wheat Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food. The many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum''; the most widely grown ...

emmer
(an early variety of wheat) and stored it in pits lined with reed mats. They raised cattle, goats and pigs and they wove linens and baskets. Evidence of furniture from the predynastic period is scarce, but samples from First Dynasty tombs indicate an already advanced use of furnishings in the houses of the age. During the , which began in around 3200 BCE, Egyptian art developed significantly, and this included furniture design. Egyptian furniture was primarily constructed using wood, but other materials were sometimes used, such as
leather Leather is a strong, flexible and durable material obtained from the tanning Tanning may refer to: *Tanning (leather), treating animal skins to produce leather *Sun tanning, using the sun to darken pale skin **Indoor tanning, the use of artif ...

leather
, and pieces were often adorned with gold, silver, ivory and ebony, for decoration. Wood found in Egypt was not suitable for furniture construction, so it had to be imported into the country from other places, particularly
Phoenicia Phoenicia (; from grc, Φοινίκη, ') was an ancient Semitic-speaking thalassocratic civilization that originated in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily modern Syria and Lebanon Lebanon (), officially known ...
. The scarcity of wood necessitated innovation in construction techniques. The use of
scarf joint A scarf joint (also known as a scarph joint) is a method of joining two members end to end in woodworking Woodworking is the activity or skill of making items from wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plan ...

scarf joint
s to join two shorter pieces together and form a longer beam was one example of this, as well as construction of veneers in which low quality cheap wood was used as the main building material, with a thin layer of expensive wood on the surface. The earliest used seating furniture in the dynastic period was the stool, which was used throughout Egyptian society, from the royal family down to ordinary citizens. Various different designs were used, including stools with four vertical legs, and others with crossed splayed legs; almost all had rectangular seats, however. Examples include the workman's stool, a simple three legged structure with a concave seat, designed for comfort during labour, and the much more ornate folding stool, with crossed folding legs, which were decorated with carved duck heads and ivory, and had hinges made of
bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (such as aluminum, manganese, nickel or zinc) and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or ...

bronze
. Full
chair One of the basic pieces of furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furni ...

chair
s were much rarer in early Egypt, being limited to only wealthy and high ranking people, and seen as a status symbol; they did not reach ordinary households until the
18th dynasty The Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt (notated Dynasty XVIII, alternatively 18th Dynasty or Dynasty 18) is classified as the first dynasty of the New Kingdom of Egypt New is an adjective referring to something recently made, discovered, or created. New ...
. Early examples were formed by adding a straight back to a stool, while later chairs had an inclined back. Other furniture types in ancient Egypt include tables, which are heavily represented in art, but almost nonexistent as preserved items – perhaps because they were placed outside tombs rather than within, as well as beds and storage chests. Stool with woven seat MET 14.10.3 view 4.jpg, Stool with woven seat; 1991–1450 BC; wood & reed; height: 13 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Jewelry chest of Sithathoryunet MET DP330328.jpg, Jewelry chest of Sithathoryunet; 1887–1813 BC; ebony, ivory, gold, carnelian, blue faience and silver; height: 36.7 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Hatnefer's Chair MET 21M CAT047R4 (cropped).jpg, Chair of Hatnefer; 1492–1473 BC; boxwood, cypress, ebony & linen cord; height: 53 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Egyptian Museum 000 (37).jpg, The ''Throne of
Tutankhamun Tutankhamun (, egy, wikt:twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn, twt-ꜥnḫ-jmn), Egyptological pronunciation Tutankhamen () ( 1342c. 1325 BC), commonly referred to as King Tut, was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family t ...

Tutankhamun
''; 1336–1327 BC; wood covered with sheets of gold, silver,
semi-precious A gemstone (also called a gem, fine gem, jewel, precious stone, or semi-precious stone) is a piece of mineral In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is a ...
and other stones, faience, glass and bronze; height: 1 m;
Egyptian Museum The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or the Cairo Museum, in Cairo, Egypt Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic language, Coptic: ⲕⲁϩⲓⲣⲏ) is the Capital city, capital and List of ...

Egyptian Museum
(Cairo)


Ancient Greece

Historical knowledge of Greek furniture is derived from various sources, including
literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expand ...
,
terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", literally "cooked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based ceramic glaze, unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the Pottery fi ...

terracotta
, sculptures, statuettes, and painted vases. Some pieces survive to this day, primarily those constructed from metals, including bronze, or marble. Wood was an important material in Greek furniture, both domestic and imported. A common technique was to construct the main sections of the furniture with cheap solid wood, then apply a veneer using an expensive wood, such as maple or ebony. Greek furniture construction also made use of
dowels A dowel is a cylindrical rod, usually made of wood Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the Plant stem, stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic materiala natural composite material, composite o ...
and for joining the wooden parts of a piece together. Wood was shaped by carving, steam treatment, and the lathe, and furniture is known to have been decorated with ivory, tortoise shell, glass, gold or other precious materials. The modern word “
throne (back left) and his or her List of Canadian monarchs#Consort, royal consort (back right) in the Senate of Canada; these may also be occupied by the sovereign's representative, the Governor General of Canada, governor general and his or her Vicer ...

throne
” is derived from the ancient Greek ''thronos'' (Greek singular: θρόνος), which was a seat designated for deities or individuals of high status or honor. The colossal chryselephantine
statue of Zeus at Olympia The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was a giant seated figure, about tall, made by the Greek sculptor Phidias around 435 BC at the sanctuary of Olympia, Greece, and erected in the Temple of Zeus there. Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ' ...
, constructed by
Phidias of the Parthenon to his Friends'' (1868) by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema Phidias or Pheidias (; grc, Φειδίας, ''Pheidias'';  480 – 430 BC) was a Hellenic civilization, Greek sculptor, painter, and architect. His Statue of Zeus ...

Phidias
and lost in antiquity, featured the god Zeus seated on an elaborate throne, which was decorated with gold, precious stones, ebony and ivory, according to
PausaniasPausanias (; Greek language, Greek: Παυσανίας) is the name of several people: *Pausanias of Athens, lover of the poet Agathon and a character in Plato's ''Symposium'' *Pausanias (general), Spartan general and regent of the 5th century BC *Pa ...
. Other Greek seats included the ''
klismos A klismos (Greek language, Greek: κλισμός) or klismos chair is a type of ancient Greece, ancient Greek chair, with curved backrest and tapering, outcurved legs. Ancient Greece Klismoi are familiar from depictions of Ancient Furniture, ancien ...
'', an elegant Greek chair with a curved backrest and legs whose form was copied by the Romans and is now part of the vocabulary of furniture design, the backless stool ( diphros), which existed in most Greek homes, and folding stool. The kline, used from the late seventh century BCE, was a multipurpose piece used as a
bed A bed is a piece of furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furniture i ...

bed
, but also as a
sofa A couch, also known as a sofa, settee, futon, or chesterfield (see #Etymology, Etymology below), is a piece of furniture for seating two or three people. It is commonly found in the form of a bench (furniture), bench, with Upholstery, upholstere ...

sofa
and for reclining during meals. It was rectangular and supported on four legs, two of which could be longer than the other, providing support for an armrest or headboard. Mattresses, rugs, and blankets may have been used, but there is no evidence for sheets. In general, Greek tables were low and often appear in depictions alongside ''klinai''. The most common type of Greek table had a rectangular top supported on three legs, although numerous configurations exist, including trapezoid and circular. Tables in ancient Greece were used mostly for dining purposes – in depictions of banquets, it appears as though each participant would have utilized a single table, rather than a collective use of a larger piece. Tables also figured prominently in religious contexts, as indicated in vase paintings, for example, the wine vessel associated with Dionysus, dating to around 450 BCE and now housed at the
Art Institute of Chicago The Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdiv ...

Art Institute of Chicago
.
Chest The thorax or chest is a part of the anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανι ...

Chest
s were used for storage of clothes and personal items and were usually rectangular with hinged lids. Chests depicted in terracotta show elaborate patterns and design, including the Greek fret. Bronze foot in the form of a sphinx MET 2000.660.jpg, Foot in the form of a sphinx; circa 600 BC; bronze; overall: 27.6 x 20.3 x 16.5 cm;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
(New York City) Bronze rod tripod stand MET DT4174.jpg, Rod tripod stand; early 6th century BC; bronze; overall: 75.2 x 44.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Athenian red-figure pelike, found in Gela, 5th c BC, slave boy, AshmoleanM, AN 1972.268, 142536.jpg,
Pelike 220px, Woman and a youth, Apulian red-figure pelike, ca. 370 BC, British Museum (F 316) A pelike ( grc, πελίκη) is a one-piece ceramic container similar to an amphora. It has two open handles that are vertical on their lateral aspects and ev ...

Pelike
which depicts a boy carrying furniture for a symposium (drinking party), in the
Ashmolean Museum The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology () on Beaumont Street, Oxford, England, is the world's second university museum (after the establishment of the Kunstmuseum Basel in 1661 by the University of Basel in Switzerland) and Britain's first pu ...
(
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Ki ...

Oxford
, UK) Pentelic Marble Funerary Stele of Hegeso, Found in Kerameikos, Athens, 410-400 BC (28387059682).jpg, Funerary stele in which appears somebody staying on a ''
klismos A klismos (Greek language, Greek: κλισμός) or klismos chair is a type of ancient Greece, ancient Greek chair, with curved backrest and tapering, outcurved legs. Ancient Greece Klismoi are familiar from depictions of Ancient Furniture, ancien ...
'', from circa 410-400 BC, in the National Archaeological Museum (
Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica (region), Attica region and is one of the List of oldest ...

Athens
, Greece)


Ancient Rome

Roman furniture was based heavily on Greek furniture, in style and construction. Rome gradually superseded Greece as the foremost culture of Europe, leading eventually to Greece becoming a province of Rome in 146 BC. Rome thus took over production and distribution of Greek furniture, and the boundary between the two is blurred. The Romans did have some limited innovation outside of Greek influence, and styles distinctly their own. Roman furniture was constructed principally using wood, metal and stone, with marble and limestone used for outside furniture. Very little wooden furniture survives intact, but there is evidence that a variety of woods were used, including maple, citron, beech, oak, and holly. Some imported wood such as satinwood was used for decoration. The most commonly used metal was bronze, of which numerous examples have survived, for example, headrests for couches and metal stools. Similar to the Greeks,
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
used tenons, dowels, nails, and glue to join wooden pieces together, and also practised veneering. The 1738 and 1748 excavations of
Herculaneum Herculaneum ( it, Ercolano) was an ancient town, located in the modern-day ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and f ...

Herculaneum
and
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune The (; plural: ) is a local administrative division of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is ...

Pompeii
revealed Roman furniture, preserved in the ashes of the AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius. Handbook of ornament; a grammar of art, industrial and architectural designing in all its branches, for practical as well as theoretical use (1900) (14804265373).jpg, Illustration of Roman furniture details, from 1900, very similar with
Empire style The Empire style (, ''style Empire'') is an early-nineteenth-century design movement in architecture, furniture, other decorative arts, and the visual arts, representing the second phase of Neoclassicism. It flourished between 1800 and 1815 during ...
furniture Clevelandart 1995.10.jpg, Tripod base; circa 100 BC; bronze; overall: 77 x 32.3 x 28 cm;
Cleveland Museum of Art Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North A ...

Cleveland Museum of Art
(
Cleveland Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the United States, U.S. U.S. state, state of Ohio, and the county seat of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Cuyahoga County. It is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, across the U.S. ...

Cleveland
,
Ohio Ohio () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. Of the List of states and territories of the United States, fifty states, it is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 34th-large ...

Ohio
, USA) Forziere con sacrificio a giove, I secolo dc, legno, ferro e bronzo, con ageminature, dalla casa di trittolemo a pompei (napoli, man) 01.jpg, Treasure chest with a sacrifice of
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant A gas giant is a giant planet composed mainly of hydrogen Hydrogen is the chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol H and at ...
depicted on it; 1st century AD; wood, iron and bronze, with ageminature; from
Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the ''comune The (; plural: ) is a local administrative division of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is ...

Pompeii
;
Naples National Archaeological Museum The National Archaeological Museum of Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ; grc, wikt:Νεάπολις, Νεάπολις, Neápolis), from grc, Νεάπολις, lit=new city. is the regional capital of Campania and the third-larges ...
(
Naples Naples (; it, Napoli ; nap, Napule ), from grc, Νεάπολις, Neápolis, lit=new city. is the regional capital of Campania (man), it, Campana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 ...

Naples
, Italy) Couch and footstool with bone carvings and glass inlays MET DP138722.jpg, Couch and footstool with bone carvings and glass inlays; 1st–2nd century AD; wood, bone and glass; couch: 105.4 × 76.2 × 214.6 cm;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
(New York City)


Middle Ages

In contrast to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome, there is comparatively little evidence of furniture from the 5th to the 15th century. Very few extant pieces survive, and evidence in literature is also scarce. It is likely that the style of furniture prevalent in late antiquity persisted throughout the
middle ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarly to the Post-classical, Post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roma ...
. For example, a throne similar to that of
Zeus Zeus or , , ; grc, Δῐός, ''Diós'', label=genitive In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' compos ...

Zeus
is depicted in a sixth-century
diptych A diptych (; from the Greek δίπτυχον, ''di'' "two" + '' ptychē'' "fold") is any object with two flat plates which form a pair, often attached by hinge. For example, the standard notebook and school exercise book of the ancient world was ...

diptych
, while the
Bayeux tapestry The Bayeux Tapestry (, ; french: Tapisserie de Bayeux or ; la, Tapete Baiocense) is an embroidery, embroidered cloth nearly long and tall that depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William the Conqueror, Wi ...
shows
Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor ( ang, Ēadƿeard Andettere ; la, Eduardus Confessor , ; 1003 – 5 January 1066) was one of the last Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the so ...

Edward the Confessor
and Harold seated on seats similar to the Roman
sella curulis A curule seat is a design of chair noted for its uses in Ancient Rome and Europe through to the 20th century. Its status in early Rome as a symbol of political or military power carried over to other civilizations, as it was also used in this regard ...
. The furniture of the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th to the late 15th centuries, similarly to the Post-classical, Post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roma ...
was usually heavy,
oak An oak is a tree or shrub A shrub (or bush, but this is more of a gardening term) is a small- to medium-sized perennial woody plant. Unlike herbaceous plants, shrubs have persistent woody stems above the ground. Shrubs can be deciduous o ...

oak
, and ornamented with carved designs. The Hellenistic influence upon
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
furniture can be seen through the use of acanthus leaf´ves,
palmette File:Terracotta architectural plaque with lotus and palmette designs MET DP258363 (cropped).jpg, Etruscan civilization, Etruscan architectural plaque with palmettes, from late 4th century BC, painted terracotta, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art ...

palmette
s, bay and olive leaves as ornaments. Oriental influences manifest through rosettes,
arabesque The arabesque is a form of artistic decoration consisting of "surface decorations based on rhythmic linear patterns of scrolling and interlacing foliage, tendrils" or plain lines, often combined with other elements. Another definition is "Folia ...

arabesque
s and the geometric stylisation of certain vegetal motifs. Christianity brings symbols in Byzantine ornamentation: the pigeon, fishes, the lamb and vines. The furniture from Byzantine houses and palaces was usually luxurious, highly decorated and finely ornamented. Stone, marble, metal, wood and ivory are used. Surfaces and ornaments are gilded, painted plychrome, plated with sheets of gold, emailed in bright colors, and covered in precious stones. The variety of Byzantine furniture is pretty big: tables with square, rectangle or round top, sumptuous decorated, made of wood sometimes inlaid, with bronze, ivory or
silver Silver is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same n ...

silver
ornaments; chairs with high backs and with wool blankets or animal furs, with coloured pillows, and then banks and stools; wardrobes were used only for storing books; cloths and valuable objects were kept in chests, with iron locks; the form of beds imitated the roman ones, but have different designs of legs. The main ornament of
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
furniture and all applied arts is the ''
ogive Ogive on a 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge An ogive ( ) is the roundly tapered end of a two-dimensional or three-dimensional object. Ogive curves and surfaces are used in engineering, architecture and woodworking. Etymology The earliest use of the ...

ogive
''. The geometric rosette accompanies the ogive many times, having a big variety of forms. Architectural elements are used at furniture, at the beginning with purely decorative reasons, but later as structure elements. Besides the ogive, the main ornaments are: acanthus leaves, ivy, oak leaves, haulms, clovers,
fleurs-de-lis The fleur-de-lis, also spelled fleur-de-lys (plural ''fleurs-de-lis'' or ''fleurs-de-lys''), is an iris (in French, and mean 'flower' and 'lily' respectively) that is used as a decorative design or symbol. The fleur-de-lis has been used in t ...

fleurs-de-lis
, knights with shields, heads with crowns and characters from the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek ...

Bible
. Chests are the main type of Gothic furniture used by the majority of the population. Usually, the locks and escutcheon of chests have also an ornamental scope, being finely made. Triptych with deesis and saints Museo Sacro Vaticano Inv2441 n02.jpg,
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
ivory panel in which is depicted somebody (possible
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label= Hebrew/ Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, ...

Jesus
) staying on a Byzantine throne Reliquary Casket with the Deesis, Archangels, and the Twelve Apostles MET sf17-190-238s5.jpg,
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It surviv ...
reliquary casket with the deesis, archangels, and the twelve apostles; 950–1000; ivory with gilt-copper alloy mounts; overall (with mounts): 7.1 x 18.3 x 10.8 cm;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
(New York City) Coffret (Minnekästchen) MET DP273975 (cropped).jpg, German
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
coffret (Minnekästchen); circa 1325–1350; oak, inlay, tempera, wrought-iron mounts; overall: 12.1 x 27.3 x 16.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Paschal Candlestick MET DP102923.jpg, Spanish Gothic paschal candlestick; circa 1450–1500; wood with paint and gilding; 195.6 × 43.8 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Chest MET sf57-144-3s4.jpg, French Gothic chest; late 15th century; wood; 30.2 x 29.2 x 39.4 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Chest MET sf16-32-106s1.jpg, French Gothic chest; late 15th century; walnut and iron; overall: 47 x 38.7 x 75.9 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Analogion MNaR 11162 (1).jpg,
Romanian Romanian may refer to: *anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Euro ...
analogion An analogion ( el, Ἀναλόγιον) is a lectern or slanted stand on which icons An icon (from the Greek 'image, resemblance') is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pig ...
; second quarter of the 16th century; carved,
openwork alt=A gold bracelet with a pattern and writing created by making holes in the bracelet, Ancient Roman gold bracelet from the Hoxne Hoard. ''JULIANE'' is spelled out in opus interrasile openwork.">opus_interrasile.html" ;"title="Hoxne Hoard. ''JULI ...

openwork
and champlevé wood; 115 x 58 x 65 cm; from the
Probota Monastery Probota Monastery ( ro, Mănăstirea Probota) is a Romanian Orthodox monastery in Probota village, Dolhasca town, Suceava County, Romania. Built in 1530, with Peter IV Rareș as ''ktitor'', it is one of eight buildings that make up the churches of M ...
(
Suceava County Suceava County () is a county ('' ro, județ'') of Romania. Most of its territory lies in the southern portion of the historical region of Bukovina, while the remainder forms part of Western Moldavia proper. The county seat is the historical city ...

Suceava County
);
National Museum of Art of Romania The National Museum of Art of Romania ( ro, Muzeul Național de Artă al României) is located in the Royal Palace in Revolution Square, central Bucharest Bucharest ( , ; ro, București ) is the capital and largest city of Romania R ...

National Museum of Art of Romania
(
Bucharest Bucharest ( , ; ro, București ) is the capital and largest city of Romania, as well as its cultural, industrial, and financial centre. It is located in the southeast of the country, at , on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than north ...

Bucharest
)


Renaissance

Along with the other arts, the Italian
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in m ...

Renaissance
of the fourteenth and fifteenth century marked a rebirth in design, often inspired by the
Greco-Roman File:Merida Roman Theatre2.jpg, Roman Theatre of Mérida, Spain. The term "Greco-Roman world" (also "Greco-Roman culture" or ; spelled Graeco-Roman in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth), as understood by modern scholars and writers, r ...
tradition. A similar explosion of design, and renaissance of culture in general occurred in Northern Europe, starting in the fifteenth century. Cassone (chest), pair with 1975.1.1947 MET SLP1940-1.jpg,
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in m ...

Renaissance
cassone A cassone (plural ''cassoni'') or marriage chest is a rich and showy Italian type of chest, which may be inlaid or carved, prepared with gesso Gesso (; " chalk", from the la, gypsum Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium su ...
(chest); mid 16th century; walnut, carved and partially gilded, coniferous wood; height: 73.6 cm, width: 1.7 m, depth: 63.5 cm;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
(New York City) Cassone (one of a pair) MET DP106698.jpg, Renaissance cassone; circa 1550–1560; carved and partially gilded walnut; 86.4 x 181.9 x 67.3 cm; from
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
; Metropolitan Museum of Art Dresser (Dressoir aux harpies) MET DP105799.jpg, French Renaissance dresser (dressoir aux harpies); circa 1570–1590; carved walnut with interior elements of oak, pine, and some iron accessories; height: 144.8 cm, width: 137.8 cm, depth: 50.8 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Armoire Louvre OA 6968.jpg,
Henry II Henry II may refer to: Kings *Henry II of England (1133–89), reigned from 1154 *Henry II of Jerusalem and Cyprus (1271–1324), reigned from 1285; king of Jerusalem in name only from 1291 *Henry II of Castile (1334–79), reigned 1366–67 and ...
wardrobe, decorated with
caryatid A caryatid ( ; grc, Καρυάτις, pl. ) is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar supporting an entablature on her head. The Greek language, Greek term ''karyatides'' literally mea ...

caryatid
s,
festoon A festoon (from French ''feston'', Italian ''festone'', from a Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic ...

festoon
s and other Renaissance ornaments; circa 1580; walnut and oak wood;
Louvre The Louvre ( ), or the Louvre Museum ( ), is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of Franc ...

Louvre


17th and 18th centuries

The 17th century, in both Southern and Northern Europe, was characterized by opulent, often gilded
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashion ...

Baroque
designs that frequently incorporated a profusion of vegetal and scrolling ornament. Starting in the eighteenth century, furniture designs began to develop more rapidly. Although there were some styles that belonged primarily to one nation, such as
Palladianism '', in an English translation published in London, 1736. Palladian architecture is a European architectural style An architectural style is a set of characteristics and features that make a building or other structure notable or historically id ...
in
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
or
Louis Quinze The Louis XV style or ''Louis Quinze'' (, ) is a style of architecture and decorative arts which appeared during the reign of Louis XV of France, Louis XV. From 1710 until about 1730, a period known as the Régence, it was largely an extension of t ...
in French furniture, others, such as the
Rococo Rococo (, also ), less commonly Roccoco or Late Baroque, is an exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style of architecture, art and decoration which combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colors, sculpted molding, a ...
and
Neoclassicism Neoclassicism (also spelled Neo-classicism; from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its pop ...
were perpetuated throughout Western Europe. During the 18th century, the fashion was set in England by the French art. In the beginning of the century
Boulle Boulle is a French surname. Notable people with the surname include: * Jean Boulle, the father of André Charles Boulle, a cabinetmaker to the King of France * André Charles Boulle (1642–1732), French cabinetmaker to the Sun King * Jean-Philippe ...
cabinets were at the peak of their popularity and Louis XIV was reigning in France. In this era, most of the furniture had metal and enamelled decorations in it and some of the furniture was covered in inlays of marbles lapis lazuli, and porphyry and other stones. By mid-century this
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashion ...

Baroque
style was displaced by the graceful curves, shining ormolu, and intricate marquetry of the
Rococo Rococo (, also ), less commonly Roccoco or Late Baroque, is an exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style of architecture, art and decoration which combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colors, sculpted molding, a ...
style, which in turn gave way around 1770 to the more severe lines of
Neoclassicism Neoclassicism (also spelled Neo-classicism; from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its pop ...
, modeled after the architecture of
ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era was ...
and ancient Rome, Rome. There is something so distinct in the development of taste in French furniture, marked out by the three styles to which the three monarchs have given the name of "Style Louis XIV, Louis Quatorze", "
Louis Quinze The Louis XV style or ''Louis Quinze'' (, ) is a style of architecture and decorative arts which appeared during the reign of Louis XV of France, Louis XV. From 1710 until about 1730, a period known as the Régence, it was largely an extension of t ...
", and "Louis Seize". This will be evident to anyone who will visit, first the Palace of Versailles, then the Grand Trianon, and afterwards the Petit Trianon. Olanda, guardaroba (kast), 1625-50 ca.jpg,
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the features that make a building or structure historically identifiable * Design, the process of creating something * Fashion ...

Baroque
Dutch wardrobe; 1625–1650; oak with ebony and rosewood veneers; overall: 244.5 x 224.3 x 85.2 cm;
Cleveland Museum of Art Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North A ...

Cleveland Museum of Art
(
Cleveland Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the United States, U.S. U.S. state, state of Ohio, and the county seat of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Cuyahoga County. It is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, across the U.S. ...

Cleveland
,
Ohio Ohio () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. Of the List of states and territories of the United States, fifty states, it is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 34th-large ...

Ohio
, US) Francia, tavolo da parete, 1685-90 ca.jpg, Baroque French pier table; 1685–1690; carved, gessoed, and gilded wood, with a marble top; 83.6 × 128.6 × 71.6 cm;
Art Institute of Chicago The Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdiv ...

Art Institute of Chicago
(US) Clevelandart 1968.31.jpg, Baroque console table depicting Chronos, or the father time; 1695; painted and gilded wood, with marble at its top; overall: 95.3 x 107.3 x 62.9 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art Germany, Mainz, 18th century - Gaming Table - 1953.284 - Cleveland Museum of Art.tif,
Rococo Rococo (, also ), less commonly Roccoco or Late Baroque, is an exceptionally ornamental and theatrical style of architecture, art and decoration which combines asymmetry, scrolling curves, gilding, white and pastel colors, sculpted molding, a ...
gaming Table; circa 1735; wood and ivory marquetry; overall: 78.7 x 94 x 54.6 cm; from Mainz (Germany); Cleveland Museum of Art Commode by Gilles Joubert, France, c. 1735, oak and walnut, veneered with tulipwood, ebony, holly, other woods, gilt bronze, imitation marble - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - 20180922 164303.jpg, Rococo French commode; by Gilles Joubert; circa 1735; oak and walnut, veneered with tulipwood, ebony, holly, other woods, gilt bronze and imitation marble; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, USA) Commode MET DP105695.jpg, Rocaille Parisian commode; 1745–1749; pine and oak veneered with amaranth and bois satiné, walnut, gilt-bronze mounts, and portoro marble top; 87.6 x 139.7 x 57.8 cm;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
(New York City) Jean pierre latz, commode, 1745-50 ca, con terracotta di un seguace di clodion.jpg, Rococo French chest of drawers; circa 1750; oak, tulipwood marquetry, gilt metal mounts and marble; overall: 88 x 156.5 x 69.9 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art Armchair (fauteuil à la reine) MET DP106642.jpg, Rococo German armchair; circa 1750–1760; carved and gilded beech, covered in blue damask not original to the armchair;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
(New York City) Skåp i stora salongen. Italiensk rokoko. 1770-tal - Hallwylska museet - 106872.tif, Rococo cabinet; 1770s; gilded walnut wood; height: 373 cm, width: 190 cm, depth: 67.5 cm; Hallwyl Museum (Stockholm, Sweden) Drop-front desk (secrétaire à abattant or secrétaire en cabinet) MET DP105712.jpg, Louis XVI style, Louis XVI drop-front desk (secrétaire à abattant or secrétaire en cabinet); circa 1776; oak veneered with tulipwood, amaranth, holly, and sycamore, six Sèvres soft-paste porcelain plaques and many other materials; 110.1 x 102.9 x 32.7 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Drop-front secretary (Secrétaire en armoire) MET DP106952.jpg, Louis XVI drop-front secretary (Secrétaire en armoire); 1783; oak veneered with ebony and 17th-century Japanese lacquer, gilt-bronze mounts, marble top and many other materials; overall: 144.8 × 109.2 × 40.6 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Armchair (fauteuil) from Louis XVI's Salon des Jeux at Saint Cloud MET DP113960.jpg, Louis XVI armchair (fauteuil) from Louis XVI's Salon des Jeux at Saint Cloud; 1788; carved and gilded walnut, gold brocaded silk (not original); overall: 100 × 74.9 × 65.1 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art


19th century

The nineteenth century is usually defined by concurrent revival styles, including Gothic Revival architecture, Gothic, Neoclassicism, and Rococo. The design reforms of the late century introduced the Aesthetic movement and the Arts and Crafts movement. Art Nouveau was influenced by both of these movements. Armchair MET DP171127.jpg, Armchair; by Duncan Phyfe; 1805–1815; mahogany; 84.1 x 51.8 x 42.5 cm;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
(New York City) Desk chair (fauteuil de bureau) MET DP278961.jpg, French Empire style, Empire desk chair; circa 1805–1808; mahogany, gilt bronze and satin-velvet upholstery; 87.6 × 59.7 × 64.8 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Coin cabinet MET DP103176.jpg, Egyptian revival decorative arts, Egyptian revival coin cabinet; 1809–1819; mahogany (probably Swietenia mahagoni), with applied and inlaid silver; 90.2 x 50.2 x 37.5 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Charles-honoré lannuier, tavolino da gioco, 1815 ca.jpg, Empire style, Empire book table; by Charles-Honoré Lannuier; circa 1815;
Art Institute of Chicago The Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdiv ...

Art Institute of Chicago
(Chicago, USA) Pair of Rococo Revival Slipper Chairs LACMA M.57.27.2a-b.jpg, Pair of Rococo Revival slipper chairs; 1840–1860; rosewood, original silk damask upholstery; 95.25 x 45.72 x 48.26 cm (each); Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA) Gothic Revival Side Chair, unidentified maker, American, 1845-1865, walnut frame with upholstered seat and back - Huntington Museum of Art - DSC05106.JPG,
Gothic Gothic or Gothics may refer to: People and languages *Goths or Gothic people, the ethnonym of a group of East Germanic tribes **Gothic language, an extinct East Germanic language spoken by the Goths **Crimean Gothic, the Gothic language spoken by ...
Revival chair; 1845–1865; walnut frame with upholstered seat and back; Huntington Museum of Art (Huntington, West Virginia, Huntington, West Virginia, USA) Tête-à-tête MET DT177.jpg, Loveseat, Tête-à-tête, an example of Napoleon III style, Second Empire furniture; 1850–1860; rosewood, ash, pine and walnut; 113 x 132.1 x 109.2 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Small Table LACMA 59.64.2.jpg, Small French table; circa 1880; wood, ormolu and lacquer; 68.9 x 26.99 x 38.42 cm; Los Angeles County Museum of Art Chair LACMA M.2009.115 (5 of 5).jpg, Art Nouveau chair; by Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo; circa 1883; mahogany; 97.79 x 49.53 x 49.53 cm; Los Angeles County Museum of Art Hector guimard, poltroncina, dalla casa di louis ciollot a lille, 1898.JPG, Art Nouveau armchair; by Hector Guimard; 1898; Musée d'Orsay (Paris) Louis majorelle, poltrona, francia, 1898 ca.JPG, Art nouveau armchair; by Louis Majorelle; 1898; Musée d'Orsay HMF Hermann Kreuzer Esszimmer-Bueffet.jpg, Buffet decorated with a pair of Corinthian order, Corinthian columns; 1899; walnut, ash, beech, glass and metal; Historical Museum, Frankfurt, Historical Museum of Frankfurt (Germany) Desk, designed by Frank Furness, 1870-71, Philadelphia Museum of Art.jpg, Ornamental desk (walnut), designed by Frank Furness, 1870-71, Philadelphia Museum of Art


Early North American

This design was in many ways rooted in necessity and emphasizes both form and materials. Early British Colonial American chairs and tables are often constructed with turned spindles and chair backs often constructed with steaming to bend the wood. Wood choices tend to be deciduous hardwoods with a particular emphasis on the wood of edible or fruit bearing trees such as cherry or walnut.


Modernism

The first three-quarters of the twentieth century is often seen as the march towards
Modernism , Solomon Guggenheim Museum 1946–1959 Modernism is both a philosophy, philosophical movement and an art movement that arose from broad transformations in Western world, Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The moveme ...
. Art Deco, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Jugendstil, Wiener Werkstätte Style, Wiener Werkstätte, and Vienna Secession designers all worked to some degree within the Modernist idiom. Born from the Bauhaus and Art Deco/Streamline styles came the post WWII "Mid-Century Modern" style using materials developed during the war including laminated plywood, plastics, and fiberglass. Prime examples include furniture designed by George Nelson Associates, Charles and Ray Eames, Paul McCobb, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Eero Saarinen, Harvey Probber, Vladamir Kagan and Danish modern designers including Finn Juhl and Arne Jacobsen. Postmodernism, Postmodern design, intersecting the Pop art movement, gained steam in the 1960s and 70s, promoted in the 80s by groups such as the Italy-based Memphis movement. Transitional furniture is intended to fill a place between Traditional and Modern tastes.


Ecodesign

Great efforts from individuals, governments, and companies has led to the manufacturing of products with higher sustainability known as Ecodesign. This new line of furniture is based on environmentally friendly design. Its use and popularity are increasing each year.


Contemporary

One unique outgrowth of post-modern furniture design is Live edge, heralding a return to natural shapes and textures within the home.


Asian history

Asian furniture has a quite distinct history. The traditions out of India, China, Korea, Pakistan, Indonesia (Bali and Java) and Japan are some of the best known, but places such as Mongolia, and the countries of South East Asia have unique facets of their own.


Far Eastern

The use of uncarved wood and bamboo and the use of heavy lacquers are well known Chinese styles. It is worth noting that Chinese furniture varies dramatically from one dynasty to the next. Chinese ornamentation is highly inspired by paintings, including: bamboo trees, chrysanthemums, waterlilies, irises, magnolias, flowers and branches of cherry, apple, apricot and plum, or elongated bamboo leaves. Animal ornaments include: lions, bulls, ducks, peacocks, parrots, pheasants, roosters, ibises and butterflies. The dragon is the symbol of earth fertility, and of the power and wisdom of the emperor. Lacquers are mostly populated with princesses, various Chinese people, soldiers, children, ritually and daily scenes. Architecture has brought geometric ornaments, like Meander (art), meanders and labyrinths. The interior of a Chinese house was simple and sober. All Chinese furniture is made of wood. The used species are: ebony, teak, rosewood for heavier furniture (chairs, tables and benches) bamboo, pine and larch for lighter furniture (stools and small chairs). Traditional Japanese furniture is well known for its minimalism, minimalist style, extensive use of wood, high-quality craftsmanship and reliance on wood grain instead of painting or thick lacquer. Japanese chests are known as Tansu, known for elaborate decorative iron work, and are some of the most sought-after of Japanese antiques. The antiques available generally date back to the Edo period, Tokugawa and Meiji periods. Both the technique of lacquering and the lacquer (resin of Rhus vernicifera) originate from China. Rhus vernicifera grows very well in Japan too. The recipes of preparation are original Japanese: resin is mixed with wheat flower, clay or pottery powder, turpentine, iron powder or wood coal. In ornamentation, the chrysanthemum, known as kiku, the national flower, is a very loved ornament. When it has 16 petals, it is the imperial symbol. Cherry and apple flowers are used for decorating screens, vases and shōjis. Animal ornaments include: dragons, Common carp, carps, cranes, gooses, tigers, horses and monkeys. Architectural elements are also present: houses, pavilions, towers, torii gates, bridges and temples. The furniture of a Japanese house consists of tables, shelves, wardrobes, small holders for flowers, bonsais or for bonkei, boxes, lanterns with wooden frames and translucent paper, neck and elbow holders, and jardinieres. Low-back armchair, China, late Ming to Qing dynasty, late 16th-18th century AD, huanghuali rosewood - Arthur M. Sackler Gallery - DSC05918.JPG, Chinese low-back armchair; late 16th-18th century (late Ming dynasty to Qing dynasty); huanghuali rosewood; Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Washington D.C.) Japan, Edo Period - Incense Guessing Game - 1921.405 - Cleveland Museum of Art.tif, Japanese incense guessing game; 1615–1868; lacquer; overall: 23 x 25.4 x 16.6 cm;
Cleveland Museum of Art Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North A ...

Cleveland Museum of Art
(
Cleveland Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the United States, U.S. U.S. state, state of Ohio, and the county seat of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Cuyahoga County. It is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, across the U.S. ...

Cleveland
,
Ohio Ohio () is a U.S. state, state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern region of the United States. Of the List of states and territories of the United States, fifty states, it is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 34th-large ...

Ohio
, US) Pedestal desk, China, Qing dynasty, 1644-1911 AD, huanghuali wood (yellow flowering pear), brass fittings - Portland Art Museum - Portland, Oregon - DSC08449.jpg, Chinese pedestal desk; 1644–1911; huanghuali wood (yellow flowering pear) with brass fittings; Portland Art Museum (Portland, Oregon, Portland, Oregon, SUA) Chest with Cartouche Showing Figures on Donkeys in a Landscape, Magnolias, Plum Blossoms, Peonies, Birds, and Butterflies LACMA M.80.153.jpg, Japanese chest with cartouche showing figures on donkeys in a landscape; 1750–1800; carved red lacquer on wood core with metal fittings and jade lock; 30.64 x 30.16 x 12.7 cm; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA) Japan, Okinawa Prefecture, Ryukyu Islands, Edo Period - Tiered Food Box with Stand - 1989.5 - Cleveland Museum of Art.tif, Japanese tiered food Box with stand; late 18th century; red lacquer over a wood core, with litharge painting and engraved gold designs; overall: 53 x 68 cm; Cleveland Museum of Art Moon-gate bed shown in the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, Ningbo, China, c. 1876, satinwood (huang lu), other Asian woods, ivory - Peabody Essex Museum - DSC07353.jpg, Chinese moon-gate bed; circa 1876; satinwood (huang lu), other Asian woods and ivory; Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, Massachusetts, Salem, Massachusetts, USA) MBAM 2009.84, Chinese canopy bed.JPG, Chinese canopy bed; late 19th or early 20th century; carved lacquered and gilded wood; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal, Canada) 2代由木尾雪雄作-Writing Box (Suzuribako) and Writing Table (Bundai) with Pines at Takasago and Sumiyoshi MET DP330034.jpg, Japanese writing table; early 20th century; lacquered wood with silver fittings and various other materials; height: 12.3 cm, length: 60.96 cm, width: 36.83 cm;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
(New York City)


Types


For sitting

Seating is amongst the oldest known furniture types, and authors including Encyclopædia Britannica regard it as the most important. In additional to the functional design, seating has had an important decorative element from ancient times to the present day. This includes carved and sculpted pieces intended as works of art, as well as the styling of seats to indicate social importance, with senior figures or leaders granted the use of specially designed seats. The simplest form of seat is the
chair One of the basic pieces of furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furni ...

chair
, which is a piece of furniture designed to allow a single person to sit down, which has a back and legs, as well as a platform for sitting. Chairs often feature cushions made from various fabrics. Petit fauteuil de Toutânkhamon 2019.jpg, Art of Ancient Egypt#Furniture, Ancient Egyptian armchair of
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Tutankhamun
; 1336-1326 BC; wood, ebony, ivory and gold leaf; height: 71 cm; Exposition of Tutankhamun Treasure in Paris (2019) Set of fourteen side chairs MET DP110780.jpg, Neoclassicism, Neoclassical chair; circa 1772; mahogany, covered in modern red Morocco leather; height: 97.2 cm;
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2019 population of 8,336,817 ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
(New York City) Armchair (Fauteuil à la reine) (one of a pair) MET DP106762.jpg, Louis XVI style, Louis XVI armchair (Fauteuil à la reine); 1780–1785; carved and gilded walnut, and embroidered silk satin; height: 102.2 cm, width: 74.9 cm, depth: 77.8 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art Settee MET DP287568.jpg, Louis XVI settee; designed in circa 1786, woven 1790–91, settee frame from the second half 19th century; carved and gilded wood, with wool and silk; 107.3 × 191.5 × 71.1 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art


Types of wood used

All different types of woods have unique signature marks that can help in easy identification of the type. Both hardwoods and softwoods are used in furniture manufacturing, and each has its own specific uses. Common softwoods used include pine, redwood and yew. Higher quality furniture tends to be made out of hardwood, including oak, maple, mahogany, teak, walnut, cherry and birch. Highest quality wood will have been air dried to rid it of its moisture.


Standards for design, functionality and safety

* EN 527 Office furniture – Work tables and desks * EN 1335 Office furniture – Office work chair * ANSI/BIFMA X 5.1 Office Seating * DIN 4551 Office furniture; revolving office
chair One of the basic pieces of furniture Furniture refers to movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating (e.g., chairs, stools, and sofas), eating (table (furniture), tables), and sleeping (e.g., beds). Furni ...

chair
with adjustable back with or without arm rests, adjustable in height * EN 581 Outdoor furniture – Seating and tables for camping, domestic and contract use * EN 1728:2014 Furniture – Seating – Test methods for the determination of strength and durability– updated in 2014. * EN 1730:2012 Furniture – Test methods for the determination of stability, strength and durability. * BS 4875 Furniture. Strength and stability of furniture. Methods for determination of stability of non-domestic storage furniture (British Standards, British Standard) * EN 747 Furniture – Bunk beds and high beds – Test methods for the determination of stability, strength and durability * EN 13150 Workbenches for laboratories – Safety requirements and test methods * EN 1729 Educational furniture, chairs and tables for educational institutionsBS EN 1729 Chair and Table Guide
/ref> * RAL-GZ 430 Furniture standard from Germany * NEN 1812 Furniture standard from the Netherlands * GB 28007-2011 Children's furniture – General technical requirements for children's furniture designed and manufactured for children between 3 and 14 years old * BS 5852: 2006 Methods of test for assessment of the ignitability of upholstered seating by smouldering and flaming ignition sources * BS 7176: Specification for resistance to ignition of upholstered furniture for non-domestic seating by testing composites


See also

* Casters which make some furniture moveable * Furniture designer * Metal furniture


Notes


References

* * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

* Images of online furniture design available from the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) – including images from th
Design Council Slide Collection


From Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, University of Victoria


Home Economics Archive: Tradition, Research, History (HEARTH)

An e-book collection of over 1,000 books on home economics spanning 1850 to 1950, created by Cornell University'
Mann Library
Includes several hundred works on furniture and interior design in this period, itemized in
specific bibliography

''American Furniture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art''
a fully digitized 2 volume exhibition catalog {{Use dmy dates, date=April 2017 Furniture, Decorative arts Home Industrial design Domestic implements