What Is Furniture?


Furniture is any movable object that supports human activities in a room or other building, such as seating (chairs, stools and sofas), eating (tables), working, sleeping, or storing things. It can also be decorative or serve ceremonial purposes. It is often made of wood, but can be made from a wide variety of materials. In addition to its practical functions, furniture can be considered a work of art.

The word furniture comes from the French verb fourniture, meaning equipment. The related words in most other European languages, including German Mobilier, French meuble, Italian mobiliare, and Spanish mueble, come from the Latin adjective mobilis, meaning movable.

Most modern furniture is made from wood. However, there are exceptions such as metal and plastic. Wood is typically stained or painted, though some pieces—such as a ladder-back chair or a four-poster bed—may be left natural with only the grain visible. It is also possible to make furniture from composite materials such as particle board, which consists of small wood particles glued together.

Some pieces of furniture are decorated with carvings, paintings, or other embellishments. The decorations on a piece of furniture may vary from period to period, but some common techniques include decoupage, which is the process of applying cut paper decorations to objects such as tables; fluting, which are vertical grooves that resemble fan-like leaves; and ebonising, in which wood is darkened to resemble black ebony. Other forms of ornamentation for furniture have included dentil molding, which consists of evenly spaced blocks usually used on a cornice; and gilding, in which gold or other metallic leaf is applied to surface areas.