Furniture is a broad term for fitted objects or equipment that support human activities in the built environment. It usually consists of constructed wood, but metal, plastic and fabrics are also used. Depending on the context, furniture may be functional, decorative, symbolic or ceremonial. It can be grouped into categories such as seating, tables and storage. Modern furniture, particularly since the 1910s, has been characterized by experimentation with new materials and forms. Designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Sam Maloof and George Nakashima have shown a strong connection between their furniture and art.
People have gathered and arranged natural objects for use as furniture since the beginning of human civilisation. Early constructed wooden pieces such as cupboards and dressers began to appear in the homes of ancient Egypt around 30,000 years ago. More complex construction techniques such as joinery became common in the furniture of the dynastic period.
When buying furniture it is important to consider the space that you have available as this will influence what type and size of furniture you can purchase. It is also essential to know your budget as this will help you narrow down your options and avoid overspending.
Another consideration when choosing furniture is its color, grain and texture. Many types of wood have distinctive grain patterns and colors. Traditionally, the preferred woods were ash, oak, and maple but as these trees have become scarce and expensive, most new furniture is made with pine, fir or poplar.